WITH BELLS ON: JINGLE BALL
Joe Jonas, right, is all good with the Jingle Ball format.
"I really do love it," the DNCE singer told the Times in a recent phone interview. "It's different from what you're used to. You get to celebrate a year, particularly with artists you don't get to see together unless you're at an awards show."
That's true. But after seven years of the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball in Tampa, I'm wondering if it's starting to feel a little stale.
This year's headliner, Pitbull, is playing his third Jingle Ball; Fifth Harmony and DNCE, their second — and all three have played Tampa Bay this year. That might not matter to the corporate overlords at iHeartMedia, who in recent years have transformed the loose Jingle Ball network into a sleek 12-date parade of pop royalty highlighted by a national TV special (which airs at 8 p.m. Thursday on the CW).
Tampa's also got EDM smashmakers the Chainsmokers, who will drop their hit Don't Let Me Down with singer Daya; Record of the Year Grammy nominees Lukas Graham (7 Years); and Martin Garrix, recently crowned the world's No. 1 DJ. Fans also get a free preshow party outside the arena with Daya, Jon Bellion, Sabrina Carpenter and Hey Violet.
That Tampa has a Jingle Ball is a good thing; I'll be there Saturday with bells on. But I'm hoping for some sort of shakeup in 2017 — collaborations, celebrity hosts, unexpected surprises, more fun that feels less scripted.
In the meantime, the preshow starts at 3 p.m., the main show at 7 p.m. at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive. $41 and up. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.
For more with Joe Jonas, see tampabay.com/soundcheck.
AN OUTLAW COMES HOME: HENRY PAUL
Think a hometown concert with your pals sounds like a stress-free way to ease into the holidays? Not for Henry Paul.
On Friday, Paul will return to the Capitol Theatre for a long night of music from his three big projects — Southern rockers the Outlaws (Green Grass and High Tides), country vocal group BlackHawk (Goodbye Says It All) and the Henry Paul Band.
"Makes for a long night for me," Paul said in a recent phone interview. "I would say that if we start it at 8 o'clock, we'll be lucky to be done by 11:30 or midnight."
This is the third year of Paul's career-spanning "Green Grass and Yule Tide Jam" in Clearwater. The Outlaws remain one of the most successful groups to come out of Tampa, and he says he still sees plenty of familiar faces here, even though he moved away in the '90s.
"Once a year we can come and play our hometown market and visit with all of our friends," he said, "and it's really one of the parts of the year that I look most forward to."
$37.50 and up. 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. atthecap.com.
For more with Henry Paul, see tbtim.es/18rk.
CHRISTMAS ROCKING: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
You can make a case that Trans-Siberian Orchestra is the biggest rock band in Florida. The group's mega-spectacular holiday tours, which pack arenas coast to coast, are among the music world's highest-grossing every year. That's no surprise to fans in its home base of Tampa, who flock to its annual shows at Amalie Arena for a blitzin' display of pyro- and classical-tinged metal. The show returns at 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday with a show based on TSO's long-running PBS special The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. Pregame with eggnog and bring your earplugs. $32 and up. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.
CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Mind Your Manners
Any band that called St. Petersburg home in recent years probably saw Rick Manners at a show. The Holiday musician, stagehand and all-around scene booster was a constant presence in the 'Burg, both in the crowd and behind the scenes. So it's only fitting that musicians will gather this weekend for Mind Your Manners: A Celebration of Rick Manners, who died after a stroke Dec. 5. Manners left instructions for friends to hold a celebratory memorial concert, so at 4 p.m. Sunday, the Local 662, 662 Central Ave., will do so with Redfeather, the Scurvy, Slade and the Wasters, Geri X, Twisty Chris and the Puddin' Packs and more. "He made a big impression on everyone," said organizer Nick Marcisin, who worked with Manners at Night of the Living Sound Productions in St. Petersburg. "There's 14 bands right now. I've had to turn down almost 20. It should be a weekend." Free. facebook.com/thelocal662.
OUT FROM THE GROVES: J.T. Brown
Sturgill Simpson's surprise Grammy nomination for Album of the Year bodes well for J.T. Brown. The Tampa singer-songwriter (not to be confused with the Tampa Bay Lightning right winger) calls his new album Phantom Heart "space folk," a description that blends elements of stonerish Southern rock, dusty alt-folk and country-fried soul. It's a full and fleshed-out collection that sounds a little like Simpson's A Sailor's Guide to Earth — high praise, but surely no a surprise if you were a fan of Brown's old band the Groves. He'll release Phantom Heart with two shows this weekend: 7 p.m. Friday at Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City; and 7 p.m. Saturday at Paper Crane, 910 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Both are $10. facebook.com/jtbrownmusic cq.