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Review: Pitbull plugs Florida in hit-filled concert at Tampa's Amalie Arena

Pitbull performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on July 30, 2016.

Luis Santana

Pitbull performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on July 30, 2016.

At Amalie Arena in Tampa Saturday night, Mr. Florida was home.

"We came from California, Texas," Pitbull said. "It's nice to be in Florida baby."

Over the next 90 minutes, the state's official tourism ambassador made us pretended like we actually make it to the beach or the club every day.

"Nobody parties like folks from Florida. ... We got that hot blood. ... We home, we in Tampa now."

For Alli Knothe's full review of Pitbull's Tampa concert, click here.

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Review: Boris soaks in 'Pink' at the Orpheum

Boris performed at the Orpheum in Tampa on July 28, 2016.

Jimmy Geurts

Boris performed at the Orpheum in Tampa on July 28, 2016.

It wasn’t that long ago that album performance shows largely seemed to be the territory of household names — your Bruce Springsteens and so forth.

Yet the demand for such concerts has grown so large, as has the vastness of the media landscape, that even Japanese avant-rockers Boris are doing a tour for the tenth anniversary of their album Pink, including a stop Thursday at the Orpheum in Tampa. (Technically it’s been 11 years since its initial release in Japan, but a decade since the U.S. re-release where it became most widely known.)

Eight years before Deafheaven’s Sunbather, Pink blended metal with shoegaze and other genres in a crossover success that landed on Pitchfork’s Top 10 for that year. It even did the atypically bright-colored cover art first.

The album’s sound reflects Boris’ diverse influences. The band’s name comes from a song by sludge-grunge-noise-metal legends the Melvins, who played the same venue only a few months ago. …

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Dave Matthews Band Photo Gallery

Boyd Tinsley plays a solo on his violin while performing with the Dave Matthews Band performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Wednesday, July 27, 2016.

Octavio Jones

Boyd Tinsley plays a solo on his violin while performing with the Dave Matthews Band performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Wednesday, July 27, 2016.

The Dave Matthews Band played an electrifying performace to a crowd of 17,000 in attendance at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa. Opening with 'Lie In Our Graves', 'Crash Into Me' and Belly Belly Nice', old and new fans were not disappointed with a sound that is celebrating their 25th Anniversary tour that formed in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1991. The band will play two more shows at the Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach this weekend to wrap up their east coast tour before having the finale in George, Washington. 

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The Go-Go's Jane Wiedlin talks about the band's farewell tour, music industry sexism and more

The Go-Go's

Carl Timpone

The Go-Go's

The 2016 Billboard Music Awards featured a murderer’s row of A-list ladies: Madonna and Celine Dion, Rihanna and Ariana Grande, Pink and Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears and Meghan Trainor. Gigantic stars, all.

And yet something about that night still felt off to another Billboard performer: Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s.

“I think my biggest disappointment about being the first successful all-female band that wrote their own material and played their own instruments is that there isn’t anyone out here who’s taken over the crown,” the guitarist, 58, said in a recent phone interview.

“From watching the Billboard Music Awards, I think things have backslid. Women are so hypersexualized. You don’t really see a lot of them writing their material, and you definitely don’t see them playing instruments, and you definitely don’t see an all-female band. It’s weird. You would think things would’ve changed, but I don’t think they’ve changed at all.” …

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Review: Gwen Stefani shares the love with Tampa

Gwen Stefani performs with her band at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.


Gwen Stefani performs with her band at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.

Gwen Stefani was in love with Tampa on Tuesday night, professing her adoring affection throughout her two hour set at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater.

“There’s no way that I won’t remember this forever. You guys gave me extra love tonight,” she told the crowd.

Only the eighth stop on her This Is What The Truth Feels Like tour, the ska-princess turned dance queen seemed unable to contain genuine enthusiasm about being on stage again after almost a decade.

“I’m just going to talk to you guys all night,” she said. “By the way, it’s been 7 years since I was on stage. So, I’m counting on you every night to get me off, basically.”

The Tampa crowd filled with thirtysomething Gwenabees did not disappoint.

Flanked by about a dozen high-quality dancers (I could not take my eyes off them all night), Stefani started her set with Red Flag, a track off her new album, This Is What The Truth Feels Like.

It is an appropriate opener because it’s a fresh song that shows off Stefani’s genre-blending vocal skills and band-girl bravado. Red Flag features a sing-song chorus wrapped around lyrics that Stafani delivers in a punkish, alto vocal that is essentially rapping. …

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Ted Nugent plays guitar, stokes resentments

Ted Nugent performed Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Courtesy of Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Ted Nugent performed Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

CLEARWATER -- Apart from a boisterous few, the crowd nearly filling Ruth Eckerd Hall on Saturday to see rocker Ted Nugent seemed remarkably calm, even a little sedate at first. Many were regulars, their loyalty praised by Nugent, who has been passing through for decades. 

Some wore American flag shirts, flag bandanas or even flag pants, the couture matching two flags on the stage and a gigantic flag backdrop that appeared as Nugent appeared in the fog, playing the National Anthem. Nugent loves America, a fact he underscored repeatedly over two very fast-paced hours. 

A volunteer deputy Lake County, Mich., he can't thank law enforcement enough, and also gave separate shoutouts to each branch of the military, drawing raised fists and cheers. Anything that didn't fit directly into patriotism, such as the soul and rhythm-and-blues of his Detroit heritage, he lumped into an ongoing admonition to "never forget where you come from," which is still America.  …

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Review: Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa give Tampa a powerful contact high at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Wiz Khalifa performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on July 21, 2016.

Kasamba Kokayi

Wiz Khalifa performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on July 21, 2016.

"I don’t know about you,” Wiz Khalifa told the crowd of 12,000 at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Thursday night, “but I came here to get high as f---.”

Judging from the puffs and tufts and billows emerging from the crowd, he wasn’t alone. No surprise there, as Khalifa’s stagemate on the second night of the High Road Summer Tour was Snoop Dogg, only the most famous stoner in popular music.

The West Coast legend and his chart-topping Pittsburgh protégé – at least in the weed department – left the Amp in a haze of hip-hop hits and sweet Mary Jane (or maybe that should be Merry Jane, the cannabis lifestyle brand that serves as this tour’s title sponsor).

Blunts were puffed and passed to and from the crowd as Snoop and Wiz – “the new Cheech and Chong,” Snoop rapped on That Good, one of many weed-themed joints on the night – gave the Amp a buzz to remember.

There was a time, of course, when Snoop, 44, was perceived as a proper Left Coast gangster, actually accused and acquitted of murder, and not the cuddly dope-tokin’ Pee Wee football coach the world knows today. …

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Reel Big Fish to headline Tampa's Summer of Rum Festival

Reel Big Fish

Jonathan Thorpe

Reel Big Fish

Reel Big Fish want to help you drink like a real big fish.

The Southern California ska punk group, known for their 1997 hit Sell Out and many stints on the Vans Warped Tour, will headline Tampa's fourth annual Summer of Rum Festival, set for noon to 11 p.m. Sept. 3 in Channelside.

Also on the bill: Tef London, the Freecoasters, the Landsharks, Impulse, Unmotivated and DJ Cardinal.

Organized by local festival-planning machine Big City Events (see also: Spring Beer Fling, Tampa Bay Margarita Festival, etc.), this will be the festival's first in Channelside, following two in Ybor City and one in Tampa Heights. It'll take place in an empty lot beween Channelside Bay Plaza and Amalie Arena.

General admission tickets start at $17 in advance. Rum tasting passes, which are additional, start at $20. VIP tickets start at $90. Click here for all the details on the 2016 Summer of Rum Festival.

-- Jay Cridlin


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This week in Tampa: Dave Matthews Band, Gwen Stefani, Counting Crows, Lil Dicky and more

This week, we bid a fond farewell and hearty congratulations to Ray Roa, who has been a crucial part of Soundcheck's music coverage over the last few years, and who is leaving to become the music editor at Creative Loafing. Anyone who follows Tampa Bay music knows how much Ray loves and appreciates the scene, and his writing will be sorely missed here. Wish him well, everyone.

This week's concert picks from Ray and Jay Cridlin include Dave Matthews Band, Gwen Stefani, Counting Crows, Rob Thomas, Lil Dicky, Ted Nugent, Awolnation, Eve, Butch Trucks, Cannibal Corpse, Biz Markie, Nile, Doctor P, Ken Stringfellow, Nile, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Harry and the Potters and more. One last time, take it away, guys...Full Story

Oddball Comedy Festival lineup: Gabriel Iglesias, Hannibal Buress, more coming to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

This year's Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival is returning to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre -- but this year, it'll feel a little different.

After two years of lineups featuring critically acclaimeed artists who hew closer to the alt-comedy world (Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer, Reggie Watts), Oddball is going all-in on club comics with broader appeal, including Dane Cook, Brian Regan, Tracy Morgan and Jim Jefferies.

The lineup for the Tampa date on Aug. 26: Gabriel Iglesias (above), Hannibal Buress, Sebastian Maniscalco, Iliza Shlesinger, Joey Diaz, Tom Segura, Big Jay Oakerson, Sarah Tiana, Martin Moreno and Tampa's own Bert Kreischer.

There are some big alt-leaning names on this year's Oddball lineup (John Mulaney, John Oliver, Kumail Nanjiani, Cameron Esposito), but none of them are coming to Tampa. That shouldn't matter, though -- many of the comics on the local stop have strong Florida followings anyway.

Tickets to Oddball 2016 are $29 and up, and they go on sale Monday. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin


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Van Morrison coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

He hasn't played Ruth Eckerd Hall in 20 years. All the more reason to snap up tickets to see Van Morrison immediately.

The legendary Irish singer-songwriter is coming back to Clearwater after a long, long, absence, playing two shows there on Jan. 17 and 18 -- his only upcoming Florida appearances. Tickets are $95.75 and up, and they go on sale July 30.

Morrison is a historically dynamic live performer, though his touring has waned in recent years. But songs like Moondance, Brown Eyed Girl, Have I Told You Lately and Domino have remained revered classics, as has his landmark 1968 album Astral Weeks.

This fall, Morrison will release his latet studio album, Keep Me Singing, but the past few months have seen a resurgence in re-releases from his old band Them, as well as some solo live performances collected under the title ...It's Too Late to Stop Now. He also played this year's New Orleans Jazz Fest, meaning we're fully in the swing of a Van Morrison revival.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Third Eye Blind's protest set at Republican National Convention, explained by a Third Eye Blind fan

In Tuesday in Cleveland, late-'90s alt-rock outfit Third Eye Blind played what many are calling a protest concert designed to troll attendees of the Republican National Convention. During the show, they reportedly taunted attendees by promoting LGBT rights, asking fans if they believed in science, and played virtually no hits.

To that I would say: "No hits?" What are you talking about? Jumper, Losing A Whole Year, Crystal Baller and Never Let You Go are all awesome songs!

See, I happen to be a huge Third Eye Blind fan. Read all about it here. And here and here and here. They were the first concert I ever saw, and I've seen them like six more times since. While their first, self-titled album is probably the only one most of you own, I can assure you there are songs on nearly every other album that are just as good as Semi-Charmed Life or Graduate. You haven't lived until you've screamed along to Bonfire, off 2009's Ursa Major. …

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As Coconuts Comedy Club turns 30, comics who started there look back and laugh

Walls at Coconuts Comedy Club in St. Pete Beach are lined with photographs of successful comedians who worked there: Billy Gardell, Larry the Cable Guy, Saturday Night Live's Jim Breuer.

Many were just starting out when owner Bob Shoemaker boosted them to headliner status, what he then called a "K-mart of comedy" approach.

"As long as you were funny, (Shoemaker) didn't give you any grief," said Danny Bevins, a Coconuts favorite since 1996. "Bob was just like, 'Get up there, do what you do, and you're not going to be beaten up for it if it doesn't go well every time.' Because of that, it became a place the guys loved."

"I've got a real soft spot for Coconuts," Mike & Molly star Billy Gardell said by telephone from Los Angeles. "Starting out in Florida, that place was vital, man."

Coconuts celebrates its 30th anniversary with Chris Barnes, Bevins and Helen Keaney at 9:30 p.m. Friday and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the club, 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Tickets are $25. Click here.

Click here for Steve Persall's full story about Coconuts' 30th anniversary.

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Steve Hofstetter talks hecklers, Reddit, dealing with drunks and more

Comedian Steve Hofstetter saw his recognition get a massive boost recently when a video of him epically dismantling a heckler went viral by landing on the top spot of Reddit's front page.

After that, his life is "forever changed," he said in a recent interview. "Not just Reddit, but the total virality of that clip and a few subsequent ones. I went from hoping to get gigs to deciding which ones I take. It was a tipping point, for sure."

You can catch Hofstetter (and hopefully not heckle him) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, at the Pegasus Lounge in Tampa. Tickets are $15. Click here for details.

For Christopher Spata's full interview with Steve Hofstetter, click here.

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Wayne Brady, Arturo Sandoval lead Busch Gardens' new 'Red Carpet' concert series

In the theme park industry, you've gotta keep up with the Joneses. In Florida, that often means packing your schedule with as many concerts as possible.

Busch Gardens has done exactly that in recent years, adding new concert series like Bands, Brew & BBQ to keep fans coming to the park, in much the same way Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras series or Epcot's Eat to the Beat series keep fans flocking to Orlando.

The latest addition at Busch Gardens: The "Red Carpet Series," a more theatrical-style evening event at the park's 1,100-seat Moroccan Palace Theatre.

Comic, singer and TV host Wayne Brady will kick off the series on Aug. 26, followed by Cuban jazz icon Arturo Sandoval on Sept. 17. Both shows are separate-ticketed events -- Brady tickets start at $35 (click here), Sandoval tickets at $30 (click here). Each show will feature cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres for purchase. More acts will be announced soon.

Both events will take place after the park's normal hours, meaning you won't be able to enter until 6:30 p.m. If you have park tickets for those days, the park will let you wait in a special area so you don't have to leave and come back inside. …

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