Sunday, July 22, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Beyonce proves she's in a lane of her own at MTV VMAs

NEW YORK — Beyonce proved once again she is the contemporary rock star, and she used the MTV Video Music Awards stage to showcase her skills and outshine her peers, from Rihanna to Britney Spears.

Beyonce won eight awards, including video of the year, and performed five songs from her visual album "Lemonade" in an epic 16-minute concert Sunday that had the audience at Madison Square Garden in awe.

She sang live, danced heavily and worked the crowd as she ran through "Pray You Catch Me," ''Holy Up," ''Sorry," ''Don't Hurt Yourself" and "Formation," which won the top prize over Adele, Drake, Justin Bieber and Kanye West.

"First of all, I'd like to thank my beautiful daughter and my incredible husband for all of their support," said Beyonce, who walked the carpet with daughter Blue Ivy and the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner — who all appeared in "Lemonade" movie.

It was reminiscent of the 2014 VMAs, when Beyonce also performed for 16 minutes and accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award. This year it was awarded to Rihanna, who split up her performances throughout the night, singing hits such as "Work," ''We Found Love" and "Love on the Brain."

But the biggest moment for Rihanna came when Drake — in a tuxedo — presented the award to his former girlfriend. He said he met Rihanna in 2005 on the set of her first music video for "Pon de Replay."

"She's someone I've been in love with her since I was 22 years old," Drake said as Rihanna blushed and the audience cheered loudly. "She's one of my best friends in the world. All of my adult life I've looked up to her even though she's younger than me."

Rihanna, 28, thanked her family, friends and hometown of Saint Michael, Barbados, for helping her succeed in her 11-year-career.

"My success started as my dream, but now my success is not my own. It's my family, my fans, my country ...it's women, it's black women," she said.

Beyonce's top-notch performance starkly contrasted with that of Spears, who returned to the VMA stage after 10 years. Not only did she lip sync, in typical fashion, but she did so badly. Spears performed her hit "Make Me..." and danced slickly, but she didn't actually sing a word of the song live. She was joined by rapper G-Eazy — and she lip synched the hook to his hit song, "Me, Myself and I."

In true Kanye fashion, the rapper ranted onstage, touching on subjects from music to his beef with Taylor Swift to violence in his hometown Chicago before he debuted his music video for "Fade," which starred Teyana Taylor. He talked about his "Famous" video, which features what appear to be naked images of himself, his wife Kim Kardashian, Swift, Donald Trump and others. He even pointed to former girlfriend Amber Rose, who was in the audience and is also in the video.

Drake won best hip hop video for "Hotline Bling" and Calvin Harris won best male video for "This is What You Came For." David Bowie — who died from cancer earlier this year — received four nominations for "Lazarus" and won best art direction. The music video, which shows him looking frail in bed with bandaged eyes, was released just days before the icon's Jan. 10 death.

Performers included Nick Jonas, The Chainsmokers, Ty Dollar $ign and Ariana Grande, who brought spin class to the VMA stage when she sang the reggae-tinged "Side to Side" with Nicki Minaj.

In one of several odes to the recent Olympic Games, Michael Phelps said he's been inspired by hip-hop music before introducing Future, who Phelps said he listened to before swimming and making the grimace that went viral. The rapper-singer-producer performed his hit "(Expletive) Up Some Commas."

Jimmy Fallon, who presented video of the year, dressed as Ryan Lochte and even sported the platinum blonde hair. As Lochte — who is dealing with trouble after filing a false robbery report over an incident during the Rio Olympics — Fallon lied onstage about writing Justin Bieber's "Sorry" and directing the clips nominated for video of the year.

Other presenters include Alicia Keys, Puff Daddy and four of the Final Five gymnasts (Gabby Douglas was hospitalized for a mouth infection).

Adele was behind Beyonce with eight nominations, but the British singer did not attend the show and did not win any Moon Men. Beyonce's wins included best female video, pop video, breakthrough long-form video, choreography, direction, cinematography and editing.

Comments
Twenty One Pilots sell out Tampa concert hours after tickets go on sale

Twenty One Pilots sell out Tampa concert hours after tickets go on sale

Not that you needed any proof that Twenty One Pilots are the most popular alternative act in America.But if you slept on tickets to their upcoming fall tour, you might be out of luck.The Ohio duo's Nov. 3 concert at Tampa's Amalie Arena sold virtuall...
Published: 07/20/18
SoundBytes: The Struts, After the Burial, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and more

SoundBytes: The Struts, After the Burial, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and more

— Glam-rockers the Struts, most recently seen locally opening for the Foo Fighters at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, have announced a much more intimate show on Oct. 14 at the Orpheum. Spirit Animal opens. Tickets go on sale Friday. ...
Published: 07/19/18
Leslie Jones from ‘Saturday Night Live’ coming to the Tampa Improv

Leslie Jones from ‘Saturday Night Live’ coming to the Tampa Improv

You always have to keep your eye on the Tampa Improv's calendar, because every now and then, they'll sneak a pretty good show up on you.Case in point: Leslie Jones.The Emmy-nominated Saturday Night Live star has just announced a weekend of dates at t...
Published: 07/18/18
SoundBytes: Ray LaMontagne, Minus the Bear, Boosie Badazz and more

SoundBytes: Ray LaMontagne, Minus the Bear, Boosie Badazz and more

— Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne is heading back on the road, and coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Nov. 11. It's an acoustic tour, but he'll be joined by Wilco bassist John Stirratt. Tickets are $49.50 and up. Click here.&#...
Published: 07/18/18
Smashing Pumpkins or Dave Matthews Band? Plus Rascal Flatts, Chicago and more concert picks

Smashing Pumpkins or Dave Matthews Band? Plus Rascal Flatts, Chicago and more concert picks

The best concerts this week in Tampa Bay.
Published: 07/18/18
Kim Walker-Smith talks postpartum depression, women in ministry and more

Kim Walker-Smith talks postpartum depression, women in ministry and more

Kim Walker-Smith, the lead singer for renowned worship band Jesus Culture, felt overwhelmed and dazed following the birth of her second son.She cried without knowing why. She mumbled her words. When her mother suggested postpartum depression as the c...
Published: 07/17/18
SoundBytes: Brian Setzer Orchestra, Behemoth, Koo Koo Kanga Roo and more

SoundBytes: Brian Setzer Orchestra, Behemoth, Koo Koo Kanga Roo and more

— After avoiding this marketplace for years, the Brian Setzer Orchestra will bring their wildly popular annual Christmas tour back to Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall on Dec. 5. Tickets are $52.75 and up. Click here for details. (And for a review ...
Published: 07/16/18
Penn and Teller postpone Mahaffey Theater performance due to Teller’s back surgery

Penn and Teller postpone Mahaffey Theater performance due to Teller’s back surgery

Raymond Teller, half of the great magic and comedy duo Penn and Teller, tweeted last week that his recent back surgery "was an even bigger success than I'd expected."Good news for him! But it's still bad news for Tampa Bay fans.While Teller is recove...
Published: 07/16/18
Underoath coming to the Yuengling Center in Tampa

Underoath coming to the Yuengling Center in Tampa

Underoath's comeback is getting bigger than ever.The (formerly) Christian metalcore band, one of the biggest acts ever to come out of Tampa Bay, broke up in 2013, reformed in 2016, and have been touring the world and playing to huge audiences ever si...
Published: 07/16/18
Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus talks vocal longevity, picking future A-listers as openers and more

Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus talks vocal longevity, picking future A-listers as openers and more

With more than a dozen No. 1 hits like Bless the Broken Road and What Hurts the Most, Rascal Flatts remain one of Nashville's most reliable headliners; their summer tour hits Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday.But two decades in, ...
Published: 07/16/18