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Jay Cridlin, Pop Music/Culture Critic

Jay Cridlin

Jay Cridlin is the Pop Music/Culture Critic for the Tampa Bay Times and tbt*, and the editor of Soundcheck, a blog about music and concerts in Tampa Bay. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2002 and has been with the Times ever since.

Phone: (727) 893-8336

Email: cridlin@tampabay.com

Blog: Soundcheck

Twitter: @JayCridlin and @tbtsoundcheck

Instagram: @cridlin

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  1. This week in Tampa: Vans Warped Tour, American Idol Live!, Shinedown, Shaggy and more

    Blog

    Welcome to a slightly revamped version of This Week In Tampa! From this week forward, Times Pop Music/Culture Critic Jay Cridlin and tbt* music contributor Ray Roa will collaborate on the week's top music picks around Tampa Bay. And there are a lot of 'em!

    This week, Jay and Ray delve into American Idol Live!, Shinedown (above), Shaggy, The Fixx, mewithoutYou, Caked Up, Superheaven, Paul Oakenfold and more. We also dig into St. Pete's Vans Warped Tour and Ybor City's annual Hot Dog Party on Friday, both of which will feature lupine St. Pete punks Wolf-Face. Click here for Jay's preview of those shows....

  2. Crayons abound as Crayola Experience opens in Orlando's Florida Mall

    Kids

    ORLANDO — Snipping a ribbon of uncut yellow crayon wrappers, Crayola executives on Wednesday officially opened the Crayola Experience, a wildly colorful celebration of artistic creativity at Orlando's Florida Mall.

    In the works for a year, the 70,000-square-foot attraction features an assortment of some 25 interactive art activities, ranging from simple coloring sheets and clay-modeling stations to one-of-a-kind experiences not seen anywhere else. ...

    The view of the Crayola Experience from inside the mall.
  3. Nick Fradiani talks about the business side of winning 'American Idol,' writing new music and more

    Blog

    If you spent time at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in the late ’80s or early ’90s, you may have bumped into a future American Idol.

    “My family stayed in St. Pete every single summer of my life, from when I was I don’t know how old,” said Nick Fradiani, whose father, a professional musician, used to take summer gigs playing piano at the resort. “There are videos of me singing at the TradeWinds when I was like 4 years old.”...

  4. Uncle John's Band hits Chicago for Grateful Dead glory

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Minutes after midnight, Uncle John's Band closes another sprawling set at Skipper's Smokehouse with the Grateful Dead's U.S. Blues, drawing cheers from the tie-dyed faithful.

    Bassist Mike Edwards deflates into a stoop at stage right, wincing, rubbing his hip and his head. He fingers a cigarette as giddy fans share kudos.

    "That was a long four hours," he says, limping off stage....

    As a young man, Mike Edwards wasn't immediately smitten with the music of the Grateful Dead. But he soon fell for the iconography of skeletons and dancing bears. Uncle John's Band, a long-running Grateful Dead tribute band based in St. Petersburg rehearses a new Dead tune. The group has been tapped to perform at an event connected to the Grateful Dead's "Fare Thee Well" concerts in Chicago over July 4.  weekend. 
JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  TIMES
  5. Music Planner: American Idols, Wolf-Face and the Warped Tour

    Music & Concerts

    CLOSER, MORE PERSONAL: AMERICAN IDOL LIVE!

    Life immediately after winning American Idol isn't the gravy train you might think. "The first couple of weeks have been total chaos — long, long days, a lot of travel, haven't slept much," said Nick Fradiani, who in May was crowned champion of American Idol's 14th season. Fradiani has been so busy pushing his single Beautiful Life to radio stations all over the country — "Boston, Providence, Minnesota, Arkansas, all over the place" — that it wasn't until recently he finally had time to sit down and think about, y'know, making new music. But he doesn't mind. "The more you can put yourself out there, the better," he said. "They're putting me to work, for sure."...

    American Idol winner Nick Fradiani and finalists Jax, Clark Beckham, Tyanna Jones and Rayvon Owen will hit Ruth Eckerd Hall on Tuesday.
  6. Original Wailers, Tonic, Everlast, more coming to ROC Park in Madeira Beach

    Blog

    So this new waterfront park in Madeira Beach really seems to be coming into its own as a concert destination, huh?

    A couple of weeks ago, ROC Park ("ROC" stands for "Remember Our Children") hosted this year's Summerland Tour with Everclear, the Toadies, Fuel and more. And in August, it'll host one of the most anticipated outdoor festivals of the summer, with Culture Club, Howard Jones, C+C Music Factory and more....

  7. Vance Joy to play free concert at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

    Blog

    Do you love free stuff? Do you love that song Riptide? Do you love Vance Joy, but don't feel like braving the screaming throngs at this Halloween's Taylor Swift concert to see him?

    This show is for you.

    Joy, the Australian singer-songwriter behind the smash pop hit Riptide, will headline the latest free 97X Shindig concert on July 22 at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. All you have to do is show up at one of the station's many ticket drops across Tampa Bay between now and the show, and entry is yours (although be forewarned, these shows tend to fill up fast, so get there early)....

  8. Juicy J cancels Sunday's concert at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa

    Blog

    It's hard out there for a pimp. And for Juicy J fans in Tampa, it just got a whole lot harder.

    The Three 6 Mafia rapper has canceled Sunday's concert at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa, according to announcements from the venue and promoters Dope Entertainment. However, his show in Orlando on June 26 is still a go.

    Dope says the Tampa show was canceled "due to personal reasons beyond his control. ... We apologize, but please understand this situation was out of (our) control. Thank you for your understanding."...

  9. Tampa music scene rallying around local producer, guitarist Steve Connelly

    Blog

    Steve Connelly has for decades been among the Tampa Bay music scene's most ubiquitous personalities. As a guitarist, he was signed to a national label, appeared on the Tonight Show, played a stadium with the Grateful Dead. As a producer, he's brought life to hundreds of songs at his Zen Recording in Pinellas Park by artists like Ronny Elliott, Rebekah Pulley and Have Gun, Will Travel....

  10. Music community rallies around producer Steve Connelly

    Music & Concerts

    Musicians struggle to put the Steve Connelly touch into words.

    "He records bands in this almost supernatural way," Robert Vessenmeyer said.

    "Steve," Natty Moss Bond said, "goes somewhere the rest of us don't go."

    Ask almost any local artist about Connelly, and you'll hear more of the same. Connelly, who turns 62 on Tuesday, has for decades been among the Tampa Bay music scene's most ubiquitous personalities. As a guitarist, he was signed to a national label, appeared on the Tonight Show and played a stadium with the Grateful Dead. As a producer, he's brought life to hundreds of songs at his Zen Recording in Pinellas Park, each bearing that hard-to-define Connelly touch....

    Steve Connelly, a longtime local musician and record producer, rehearses with his band Steve Connelly and the Lesser Gods. They will perform Saturday at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa at a benefit for Connelly, whose studio roof recently collapsed.
  11. Review: Alabama Shakes might be the next great American band

    Music & Concerts

    Here, this is always a fun one: Who's the greatest American rock band of all time?

    You've got your Beach Boys, your Eagles, your R.E.M.s, your Nirvanas. The Grateful Dead and the Band have their backers. Some progressive thinkers might toss out the E Street Band or the Heartbreakers.

    At the heart of the question, though, is another that requires deeper consideration: What, exactly, makes an American band a great American band?...

    Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes performs at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.
  12. SoundBytes: The Neighbourhood, Ani DiFranco, Purity Ring, Alvin and the Chipmunks and more

    Blog

    -- Two big new rock shows coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg: Breaking Benjamin with Young Guns on Aug. 26 (click here for details); and The Neighbourhood (above) with Bad Suns and Hunny on Sept. 21 (tickets are $30 and up; click here)....

    The Neighbourhood
  13. Billy Gardell of 'Mike & Molly' on comedy, the road and battling weight

    Stage

    When Mike & Molly hit its 100th episode in January, Billy Gardell wasn't gifted with a fancy Ferrari or a brand new beach house in Cabo.

    "There wasn't a lot of gifts," said the CBS sitcom's eponymous Mike. "The network sent us all really nice watches. Back in the '80s, it was cars. But, you know. Inflation."

    All kidding aside, 100 episodes still is a massive milestone. The film success of Gardell's on-screen wife, Melissa McCarthy, had a lot to do with that. But it took more than a breakout star for Mike & Molly to become a genuine hit, going beyond its one-note premise — two overweight lonelies meet cute and fall in love — to deliver a sitcom that resonates....

    Billy Gardell, whose family moved to Florida when he was a kid, spent years on the Florida standup circuit.
  14. Billy Gardell talks 'Mike & Molly,' managing his weight, Monopoly strategies and more

    Blog

    When Mike & Molly hit its 100th episode in January, Billy Gardell wasn’t gifted with a fancy Ferrari or a brand new beach house in Cabo.

    “There wasn’t a lot of gifts,” said the CBS sitcom’s eponymous Mike. “The network sent us all really nice watches. Back in the ’80s, it was cars. But, you know. Inflation.”

    All kidding aside, 100 episodes still is a massive milestone. The film success of Gardell’s onscreen wife, Melissa McCarthy, had a lot to do with that. But it took more than a breakout star for Mike & Molly to become a genuine hit, going beyond its one-note premise — two overweight lonelies meet cute and fall in love — to deliver a sitcom that resonates....

  15. Review: Romeo Santos whips Tampa's Amale Arena into historic, bilingual frenzy

    Blog

    If there were any lingering doubts about whether Tampa's a viable tour stop on the Latin pop circuit, the gale-force screams that greeted bachata star Romeo Santos on Friday at Amalie Arena blasted them all away.

    “Is this building full of Latinos tonight?” the Bronx-born heartthrob yelled early in his sold-out, endlessly energetic show, eliciting deafening shrieks in the affirmative. This was their Bieber, their Usher, their Timberlake, all rolled into one and wrapped in an impeccable, form-hugging rose blazer....

    Romeo Santos, the King of Bachata, brought a royally appropriate mic stand to Tampa's Amalie Arena on June 19, 2015.