ALL THAT: CLEARWATER JAZZ HOLIDAY
Four years in, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday's strategy of booking more pop-friendly acts seems to be paying off.
"We have worked to introduce new genres into the festival that have had the effect of not only appealing to a wider demographic, but also introducing new audiences to the wonderful heritage of jazz music that we have," Steve Weinberger, CEO of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation Inc., told my colleague Piper Castillo. "Certainly it's affected attendance. There are new people attending, more so than ever."
This year's 36th annual festival, which runs Thursday through Sunday at Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater, is as poppy as ever, with headliners including Sheryl Crow, Buddy Guy and the Avett Brothers. Here's a daily guide.
Thursday: Soul stalwarts the O'Jays (Love Train) headline at 8:45 p.m., preceded by soul icon Gladys Knight (Midnight Train to Georgia) at 6:45 p.m. and Gloria West and the Gents at 5. Gates open at 4:30 p.m.
Friday: Salty blues legend Buddy Guy headlines at 9:30 p.m., but don't miss sax star (and St. Pete native) Mindi Abair at 7:45 p.m. (for an interview with Abair, see tampabay.com/soundcheck). There's also Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Band (6 p.m.) and the James Suggs Quintet with Dave Stryker (4:30 p.m.). Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday also brings the Holiday's official after party featuring Allon Sams and more, starting at 10:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $16-$21. rutheckerdhall.com.
Saturday: Hitmaker Sheryl Crow (All I Wanna Do), who performs at 9:15 p.m., is one of the Holiday's biggest pop headliners to date. Joining her on her triumphant return to Tampa Bay are Big Sam's Funky Nation (7:15), Nicole Henry (5:30), Phill Fest (4) and the Jack Wilkins Blue and Green Project (2:30). Gates open at 2 p.m., and the night closes with fireworks at 10:45.
Sunday: For the second time in four years, massively popular neo-Americana troupe the Avett Brothers will close out the Holiday's younger-skewing final day at 7:30 p.m. Langhorne Slim and the Law (5:30), the Quebe Sisters (4) and the Ruth Eckerd Hall/Clearwater Jazz Holiday Youth Jazz Band (2:30) round out Sunday's bill. Gates open at 2 p.m.
Single-day tickets for all four days are $15-$150. A two-day pass for Friday and Saturday is $25; a four-day pass is $50. For full details, including parking maps and park-and-ride options, see clearwaterjazz.com.
SO MANY COLORS: Zedd
Stunning. Crazy. Epic. Bonkers. Reviewers are running out of words to describe the otherworldly visuals of DJ and producer Zedd's new True Colors Tour, which hits the USF Sun Dome on Saturday.
The spectacle had better be bonkers, because otherwise, EDM arena shows are no sure thing, lacking both the sweaty intimacy of a club gig and the euphoria of a massive festival. Zedd has experienced both extremes in Tampa Bay, having packed out smaller venues like the Amphitheatre and Ritz Ybor and headlined the monstrously successful Sunset Music Festival. He's also played the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball at Amalie Arena, and will do so again on Dec. 19.
Will his first show as an arena headliner pay dividends?
Musically, the Russian-German 26-year-old born Anton Zaslavski has all the chops in the world, having composed many of the biggest pop-EDM singles of the past four years (Stay the Night with Hayley Williams, Clarity with Foxes, Break Free with Ariana Grande, I Want You to Know with Selena Gomez).
But he strives to be a visual boundary-breaker, too, more so than ever on this tour. "I wanted people to have a destination to see something unique something they will never see at a festival," he told MTV before a recent sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden. "I want to give back to my fans and give them a night they will never forget."
Dillon Francis and Alex Metric join Zedd at 7:30 p.m. at the Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave. in Tampa. Zedd is a proponent of (almost) all-ages shows, so unlike most raves, this one is open to ages 16 and up. $32.75 and up. sundomearena.com.
GET UP, STAND UP: Iration, Chillin' Music Fest
Tampa Bay's reggae-rock fans have several options this weekend, including a festival and a two-day show that'll feel like one.
Kicking things off are Hawaii-natives Iration, above, who play a two-night stint at Jannus Live (200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg) on Friday and Saturday. Few bands can pull off that kind of doubleheader, and they almost always hail from this genre (Sublime With Rome, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution). Can sunny-vibed Iration — which opened for Rebelution during a two-night stand in 2014 — follow suit? Joining them are The Movement, The Green and Hours Eastly. Doors open at 6 p.m.; tickets are $19. See jannuslive.com.
Across the bay on Saturday is the second Chillin' Music Fest, which brings jam-pop headliners O.A.R., right, to Curtis Hixon Park, along with surf-tinged rock, ska and pop acts like Stick Figure, Ballyhoo!, the Supervillains and Jack Johnson-esque singer-surfer Makua Rothman.
"The second year is always 10 times better than the first year," said organizer Scott Bush. "Everyone's been a whole lot more receptive, from the booking agents to the sponsors to the bands themselves." Impressively, Chillin' has managed to add bands while lowering ticket prices for 2015; Bush expects a 30 to 40 percent boost in attendance as a result.
A slew of notable locals and regionals, including Resinated and UNRB, round out the three-stage show, which starts at 1 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. Other activities include a beer pong tent and huge screens to watch college football. $30-$100 in advance, $50-$150 at the gate. chillinmusicfest.com.