Make us your home page

Music Planner: 97X Next Big Thing, Lauryn Hill; Melissa Etheridge brings holiday cheer

HOLIDAY CHEER: Melissa Etheridge

Let's clear up one thing: Melissa Etheridge's Christmas tour isn't really a Christmas tour.

"There is this time of year that everyone kind of has the same feeling," Etheridge said in a recent phone interview. "We all call it something different, but historically through ancient times, it's always been around the winter solstice. There's this common theme of peace and goodwill that we have."

And if there was ever a time when the world needed peace on earth and goodwill toward men, it's the end of 2016.

"Now, we need it more than ever," she said. "I'm really looking forward to speaking on that level to people, saying, 'This is when all good people come together.' "

Etheridge, 55, is performing with a trio on this tour, which means fans might not get the beefed-up versions of I'm the Only One or Come to My Window they're used to, and they certainly won't get the stacked horns and organs of her new album Memphis Rock and Soul. But they'll hear her hits and selections from her 2008 holiday album A New Thought for Christmas. And hopefully that'll bring some holiday cheer.

"My whole point, the purpose of the whole show, is that people leave feeling better than when they came in," she said.

8 p.m. Thursday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $49.50 and up. (727) 892-5767.

For more of our interview with Melissa Etheridge, see

STRANGER THING: 97X Next Big Thing

There was a time when 97X Next Big Thing was the sole dominion of guitar-rock acts like My Chemical Romance, 30 Seconds to Mars and Rise Against. But as commercial alt-rock has shifted from its angsty roots, the St. Pete station has shifted with it.

But that's okay, considering the enormous crowd that will turn out for a lineup of synth-pop acts and mellow folkies at Saturday's Next Big Thing. Headlining this year's affair are British pinups the 1975, above, who hit superstar status in 2016 with their acclaimed album I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. They'll be joined atop the bill by Americana outfit the Head and the Heart (All We Ever Knew), glitch-pop duo Phantogram (You Don't Get Me High Anymore) and dance-popsters Capital Cities (Safe and Sound).

The key to Next Big Thing is getting there early and discovering someone new. You might be familiar with Kongos (Come With Me Now) or the Naked and Famous (Young Blood), but how about electro-folk singer Bishop Briggs, who spent part of this summer opening for Coldplay? Or adventurous Nashville group Judah and the Lion, whose Take It All Back just hit the Top 5 of radio's alternative airplay chart?

Lewis Del Mar, Weathers, Coin, 888 and more round out a lineup designed to get you dancing, not thrashing. Shimmy along at 10 a.m. at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $37.45 and up. (813) 740-2446.

X FACTOR: Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill is not the same artist she was in 1998, back when her debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, became a culture-sweeping sensation. Today the singer and rapper even goes by a new handle: Ms. Lauryn Hill, a formalization that demands a degree of respect from a world that doesn't know quite what to make of her. For years, she has steadfastly refused to give Miseducation a proper follow-up, instead focusing on her personal life and legal affairs, and delivering sporadic, erratic tours and one-off performances. Hill's latest effort is the MLH Caravan: A Diaspora Calling tour, a celebration of African and Caribbean music through which she filters her own solo and Fugees hits. It's foolish to expect the woman you see on stage in 2016 to sound just like the L. Boogie of 1998, but you'd do well not to bet against her — Hill remains a compelling live performer, albeit one who insists on following her own muse. She'll perform with Seun Kuti, the son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $61.50 and up. (727) 892-5767.


Don't let your opinion of the ukulele be tarnished by recent pop-chart success of easy-listening hits like Jason Mraz's I'm Yours, Vance Joy's Riptide or Train's Hey, Soul Sister. In the right hands, there's much more to the humble, quirky uke. Community radio station WMNF-88.5 FM will prove it from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the second annual Uke It Out Festival. Local acts like the Applebutter Express, right, Ronny Elliott, Rebekah Pulley and more will team up for a uke-heavy session featuring Beatles and Led Zeppelin jam-outs and an all-star finale. $12 advance, $15 at the gate. Cage Brewery, 2001 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 201-4278.

Music Planner: 97X Next Big Thing, Lauryn Hill; Melissa Etheridge brings holiday cheer 11/30/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 10:59am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Five ideas for party foods to bring to your potluck


    What's in a name? That which we call a casserole by any other name is still, well, a casserole. Generally a go-to for potlucks, casseroles are quick and easy to transfer, and they can feed a lot of people. But take a look at your next potluck table and count how many casseroles there are. You can change the game …

  2. A new study says french fries could kill you, but is that accurate?


    Hey, you, reading this story over a pile of french fries: Back slowly away from the crispy spuds. They're out to get you.

  3. Pasco libraries offer relief from the heat with reading programs, activities


    HOLIDAY — Angelina Ponzo has a goal this summer: to read as many books as possible.

    Alexis Ponzo, left, uses watercolor crayons to draw a heart tattoo on her daughter Angelina's arm during a recent summer reading program event at Centennial Park Library in Holiday. Local libraries are hosting reading programs and a variety of educational, entertaining and family friendly events throughout the summer months.
  4. Want to feel old? It's been 20 years since the first 'Harry Potter' was published


    He was so cute: Blond hair, blue eyes and a killer smile. He was dressed in a black robe with a fake scar on his forehead and regaling our fifth-grade class with his book report on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As a 10-year-old with only the most sophisticated of tastes (give me a Baby-Sitters Club any day), …

    An auctioneer holds a first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" containing annotations and illustrations by author J.K. Rowling. The tale has turned 20,  published in Britain on June 26, 1997. Since then, it has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 79 languages. (Associated Press [2013])
  5. Restaurant review: Deccan Spice in Feather Sound is a gateway to the allures of Indian cuisine

    Food & Dining


    Feather Sound's Tru Lounge, which was Flo Lounge before that, morphed into Grand Siam in 2012, a giant Thai restaurant owned by the folks who had Ban Thai restaurants in Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon and Lakeland. It was lavish with dramatic fluted chandeliers and a long, polished wood sushi bar, but it …

    Some of the selections at a recent lunch buffet at Deccan Spice included chicken biryani, gobi masala and murgh masala.