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Music Planner: Holiday vibes with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Rob Thomas, Third Eye Blind and more

HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Trans-Siberian Orchestra

We're in Paul O'Neill's busy time of the year. Even when he gets a day at home in Central Florida, he's still working as hard as ever. "We just bought our first major recording studio in Tampa," said O'Neill, the founder and composer of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who bring their annual holiday spectacular to Amalie Arena for two shows on Sunday. "We have two huge (recording) rooms that we can go in 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We don't have to wait for time. Florida is basically becoming the center for recording for us right now."

Trans-Siberian Orchestra has always been one of Florida's grandest musical exports, coalescing around members of hard rock bands like Tampa's own Savatage, and traveling the globe with their majestic Christmas-themed rock operas. Taking over Temple Terrace's venerable Morrisound Studios earlier this year just cements their status in the Sunshine State. This year's holiday tour is based on The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, TSO's long-running, careermaking PBS special and DVD, though you might also hear songs from Letters From the Labyrinth, their first new album since 2009. But the songs they play are almost secondary to the sprawling, pyro-laden shows they put on. "Our crew is beyond-belief great," O'Neill said. "If you have a great song, that's great, but if you have a great production where the lights and the lasers and the pyro and everything else is going off in time, off of one nervous system, it helps to take it to a whole other level." Shows are at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $33 and up. (813) 301-2500.

PUCKER UP: Mix 100.7 Mistletoe Show

Mix 100.7 may spin mostly safe, adult-alternative pop, but that doesn't mean they can't throw a heckuva holiday party. Last year's inaugural Mix 100.7 Mistletoe Show, featuring Train, Mary Lambert and Matt Nathanson, was a surprisingly rollicking and free-spirited affair. Did someone spike the green room eggnog or something? Bet on more of the same at this year's event, 7:30 p.m. Monday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. A pair of popular '90s holdovers headline the show: Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas and cult San Fran rockers Third Eye Blind. But get there early for Fight Song enchantress Rachel Platten, who will release her major-label debut Wildfire on Jan. 1; and Wasn't Expecting That balladeer Jamie Lawson, the first act Ed Sheeran signed to his label. $42.75 and up. (727) 791-7400.


Thursday's Kevin Griffin concert in Ybor City was supposed to be at the Attic, a sparkling new bar, brewery and music venue in a historic hardware building at the corner of Eighth and 15th. But it turns out that renovating a 120-year-old building takes a little longer than expected. "Right out of the gate, we want to do everything 100 percent right," said Kevin Lilly, co-founder of Rock Brothers Brewing, the enterprise behind the Attic. That means delaying their grand opening until spring, and moving this show by the frontman of Better Than Ezra to the Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica de Cuba. Griffin will perform intimate solo renditions of his Better Than Ezra hits (Good, Desperately Wanting, At the Stars) and songs he has written for artists like James Blunt, Sugarland and Howie Day (including the hit Collide). 6 p.m. $25-$45.

BLUE-EYED SOULS: WMNF's Frank Sinatra tribute

Skipper's Smokehouse is better known for blues, jam and smoked mullet than classic jazz and swing. But that'll change when WMNF-FM 88.5 hosts a tribute concert to the late, legendary Frank Sinatra, who would have turned 100 Saturday. Artists including Ronny Elliott, Talk to Mark, the Sara Rose Band and Funny Bunny will put their spins on Sinatra classics like Come Fly With Me, Strangers in the Night, Summer Wind and I've Got You Under My Skin. Want a preview? The Times asked three of Saturday's performers — cabaret pianist Paul Wilborn, power lounge quintet Vodkanauts and teenage folk duo AB+ — to cover My Way in their own style. Check out the mashup video at Saturday's show begins at 7 p.m. at Skipper's, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $12-$15. (813) 971-0666.

ON THE MOVE: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Dokken

Last week, Ferg's Sports Bar owner Mark Ferguson made the sudden decision to cancel a nascent but burgeoning live music series at his bar. That threw this weekend's two concerts by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Dokken up in the air. Luckily, the city of Pinellas Park stepped in this week to play host. Bone Thugs, Mike Jones and Mims will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at England Brothers Bandshell Park, 5010 81st Ave. N. Dokken and Quiet Riot will follow at the same venue at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets ($16.95 and up for Bone Thugs, $19.99 and up for Dokken) purchased when the shows were at Ferg's will still be valid in Pinellas Park. For details, see or


Want a free two-day ticket to the 2016 Gasparilla Music Festival, March 12-13 in Tampa? Bring an old musical instrument to the Recycled Tunes Musical Instrument Drive from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Channelside, 615 Channelside Drive. There will be music, family-friendly activities and more. GMF tickets are currently selling for $40, so that's a nice holiday gift you can go ahead and knock out.

Music Planner: Holiday vibes with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Rob Thomas, Third Eye Blind and more 12/09/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 3:07pm]
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