06/17/13 Music & Concerts
This has been quite the birth week for proud, paranoid papa Kanye West. He and girlfriend Kim Kardashian — the only person on the planet more desperate for attention than he is — welcomed a daughter.
And perhaps even more important to the 36-year-old Chicago rapper and provocateur, 'Ye releases into the world his sixth LP today, the demurely titled Yeezus, the sound of a restless egomaniac unleashing every last ounce of aggression before a life of diaper changing. If his next record is a hip-hop lullaby, at least he wilded out one last time....
Hope and Crosby, Martin and Lewis, Aykroyd and Belushi, Cheech and Chong: Hollywood history is fat and funny with classic "buddy" duos, slapstick fellas who just couldn't quit each other.
But where's the fun in two when you can have 10? "Buddies" is the operative word this summer, as a few long-running, still-blooming cliques — seen in such new flicks as The Internship, This Is the End, Grown Ups 2 and then some — will fill up the silver screen with strength-in-numbers shenanigans....
06/06/13 Music & Concerts
ST. PETERSBURG — With the cranium-rattling levels of bass, chaos and raised-fist rap lyricism filling up the Mahaffey Theater Thursday — De La Soul! Public Enemy! Ice Cube! LL Cool J — it was easy to get seduced by the Kings of the Mic Tour.
A little older, a little thicker, a lot richer, these hip-hop progenitors still possess the sweat, passion, VOLUME to stir the blood, make you feel youthful, unconquerable. They made you feel like it was okay to wear your baseball hat backwards again. Oh yeah, feels good!...
06/05/13 Music & Concerts
This isn't the coolest stance for a critic to boast, but I gave up on being slick decades ago, so have at it: I like Miley Cyrus.
I like that wavering, unabashed tone in her overeager voice. I like how she once did an earnest cover of Bob Dylan's You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. I like how, for better or hide-your-eyes-kiddies, the former Disney star is growing up, and screwing up, and endlessly breaking up (poor ex-fiance Liam Hemsworth) in the spotlight....
06/05/13 Music & Concerts
There was a time in Fleetwood Mac's storied musical history when just about everyone in the band — Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie — was sharing one big ol' bed. • Oh, it was a mess, a disaster, the ultimate cautionary tale of dating co-workers. It was also a brilliant business move! Romantic entanglements fueled 1977's Rumours, one of the top-selling albums of all time, a hooked-out conceptual masterpiece of he-said, she-said, I-hate-your-guts. • When the Mac plays the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Friday, Christine McVie won't be there, but the rest of the crew, all in their mid to late 60s, will be. And although there is relative peace now, their songbook — Don't Stop, Go Your Own Way, Big Love — remains a patchwork of grudges and broken hearts. • All that bed-hopping and backbiting got us thinking about other romantically messy bands that turned something awkward into something beautiful — or maybe it's the other way around? There was Sonny & Cher, of course. And Ike & Tina Turner. All those Swedish blonds in ABBA were hitched at one point. But we prefer the drama of the following heartachers:...
06/05/13 Music & Concerts
Chiseled rap royal LL Cool J and haggard guitar god Eddie Van Halen may seem like strange bedfellows. (For instance, one loves the gym; the other loves the Jim Beam.) But to the famously muscled hip-hop mogul, their unlikely flow-meets-fret pairing on his bold new album makes a beautifully twisted sense. • After all, at this point in their iconic careers, they've both earned the right to mix it up. • "I really wanted to do something unconventional," Cool J, 45, tells me during a short but high-octane phone call. • He will perform offbeat tracks from Authentic — as well as his braggadolicious hits — tonight (June 6) at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg as part of the Kings of the Mic Tour. "I wanted to surprise you guys musically, get people I've respected and put 'em on the album. I wanted to make a crazy workout record, you know?" • Thus, Blink-182's Travis Barker, alt-rockers Fitz and the Tantrums, soulster Seal and country singer Brad Paisley (more on him in a second) all play on Authentic. Eddie VH, now 58, shreds on two cuts, Not Leaving You Tonight and We're the Greatest. • "Eddie is an absolute genius and a mad scientist in the studio," says a still-wowed Cool J, who then proceeds to rap a verse from We're the Greatest: "I'm on a hacksaw tour! Eddie got a Frankenstein aimed at your door!" • By the way, it's a total geeked-out thrill having LL Cool J slam a vicious verse just for you....
ST. PETERSBURG — The quizmaster fires the final question:
"Who directed Apple's revolutionary '1984' ad that first aired during Super Bowl XVIII?"
I know this. I totally know this.
Jeez, I think I know this. Maybe another beer would help?
We have 30 seconds to answer — and maybe win the team trivia challenge at a packed Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill....
Eric Probst, 43, is a quizmaster at Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill. (He's also a college buddy who lured me into the utterly addictive world of team trivia.) A fraud prevention specialist when he's not teasing brains, Probst takes the art of a good trivia question seriously, mainly because a bad one will wreak havoc among the barflies. "Oh, yeah, I've been booed before," he says. Here are Probst's favorite questions from past games. Don't worry about points. Just have fun! No cheating! ...
Find a spot
Tons of bars and restaurants in Tampa Bay feature weekly team trivia nights. Here's a list of 10 to get you started. Prizes and rules tend to differ from game to game, but rest assured you will be asked to name all of The Golden Girls at some point. Good luck!
Mr. Dunderbak's: 7 p.m. Mondays; cash prizes. 14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa. (813) 977-4104. ...
05/23/13 Music & Concerts
ST. PETERSBURG — Old-timey music aside, there was a resolute vaudeville charm, a retro notion of whizbang show biz, at Steve Martin's endlessly entertaining gig at a soldout Mahaffey Theater on Thursday.
Yes, there was nimble bluegrass and pretty lights and perfect sound and Martin's deft clawhammer banjo picking, a hobby that's given the funnyman a second career. There were solos and duets and blazing showoff moments from Martin's drop-jaw-awesome band, the Steep Canyon Rangers. And in the two-hour-plus show's second half, lilting chanteuse Edie Brickell (remember your crush on her in the '80s? What I Am and all that?) showed up to do puckish cuts from her and Martin's new album, Love Has Come for You. ...
05/22/13 Music & Concerts
How to explain the lovefest slobbered upon digi-duo Daft Punk these days? After all, the electronic-dance DJs aren't the warmest les hommes in the world.
They wear nerdo sci-fi helmets obscuring their French faces. They've released a handful of obtuse albums since 1993, including 2010's Tron synthtrack and this week's Random Access Memories, which is already No. 1 on iTunes. ...
TAMPA — If you look beyond the onstage sex and bongwater guzzling and guttural profanity and heroin needles, American Idiot the musical is a sweet time at the theater. No, really, it is — but come to think of it, you might want to look beyond the robust tighty-whitie flaunting, too.
Taut, angsty and filled with throbbing heart, on Friday the show based on Green Day's 2004 Grammy-winning album unveiled like one of the Berkeley trio's punk anthems, ferocious but vulnerable. I'm not sure the confines of Morsani Hall at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts have seen such a slamdance. And yet there was also great warmth in the 90-minute, no-intermission snapshot of a modern teenage wasteland. The play's run ends today with two shows; prepare to be challenged but ultimately entertained, tighty-whities and all....
TAMPA — There's a fantastically subversive moment in the first Madagascar 'toon when Alex the lion — an escaped New York zoo critter freaked out by his newfound freedom — gets zapped with a tranquilizer dart. He immediately spins into a hallucination soundtracked by Sammy Davis Jr.'s Candy Man. The kids might not get the gag, but man, this parent sure did.
But alas, the new Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation show at Busch Gardens — like the Sesame Street partnership, another move to bring in a hot franchise to compete with the Mouse House — is aimed almost entirely at the young'uns and their unbridled need to squirm and shout. The juniors will love the 20-minute set; me, I wanted more funny animals, less annoying humans....
05/15/13 Music & Concerts
No one saw the Pistol Annies coming. Led by Nashville troublemaker Miranda Lambert, whose solo career was already gangbusters, the sorta-supergroup sounded like the kind of girls who would steal Carrie Underwood's lunch money.
The Annies were pretty, but they sure weren't princesses. Their 2011 surprise, under-the-radar debut Hell on Heels was a lo-fi blast, a sexy, sepia-toned salute to the sass of patron sinner Annie Oakley. Drink, smoke, shoot, shatter some poor boy's heart — repeat....
The MidAmp? The MidFlo? The MF?!
Let the whimsical nickname hunt commence as the former Live Nation Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds (previously the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds) got a new amazingly unsexy name on Wednesday: The MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
(Personal note as a music critic: Sigh. Thanks for nothing, Hooters.)...