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Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor lineup: Against Me!, Beach Slang, Smoking Popes, more

What says Florida punk like a double dose of Against Me!?

The alt-punk heroes led by Laura Jane Grace will headline both nights of the fifth annual Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor, an annual precursor to the giant punk gathering known as Fest in their hometown of Gainesville.

This year's Pre-Fest will return Oct. 25-26 to venues around Ybor City. Bands announced on the initial lineup include Against Me! both nights, as well as Beach Slang, Rainer Maria, Smoking Popes, the Lillingtons, Teenage Bottlerocket, Mustard Plug, A Wilhelm Scream, Mikey Erg and more. Click here for the full Ybor lineup so far.

Tickets to this year's Pre-Fest go on sale April 28 for $60; the price increases July 1. Package tickets including passes to both Pre-Fest and Fest start at $165. Click here for details on tickets.

If you're just going to Fest, the lineup also includes Against Me! (playing their debut Reinventing Axl Rose in its entirety; perhaps a preview of what's to come in Ybor?), Hot Water Music, Hum, Snapcase, Screaming Females, Tim Barry, Iron Reagan, 88 Fingers Louie, Atom and his Package and at least one more mystery headliner, as well many of the bands that are also playing Pre-Fest. …

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Mojo Books and Records owners talk Record Store Day, their 10th anniversary and more

Melanie Cade, co-owner of Mojo Books and Music in Tampa.

Charlie Kaijo

Melanie Cade, co-owner of Mojo Books and Music in Tampa.

A decade ago, opening a brick-and-mortar book and record store was as dicey an investment as it still sounds today. That didn't stop Dan Drummond and Melanie Cade from opening such a shop near the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Today, Mojo Books and Records is coasting right along, thanks in part to another institution marking its 10th edition in 2017: Record Store Day. The annual celebration of independent record store culture returns Saturday, the same day Mojo marks its 10th anniversary with a day of music and giveaways at their store.

For Mojo, Record Store Day is "Christmas in one weekend, I would say," Drummond said in a recent interview.

"When we first started, a lot of our customers were more the collector types. Then maybe three years down the road, we started seeing more and more younger people who were getting into vinyl. Now it's a mix. And a lot of the people that are younger customers are growing older, and a lot of them are staying with it."

For more with Mojo's owners, click here for our interview.

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Kenny G talks practice, collaborations, comedy, the perfect sax solo and more

Kenny G

Chapman Baehler

Kenny G

Even with some 75 million records sold, Kenny G isn't about to ditch practice.

The smooth jazz saxophonist, who performs Friday at Coachman Park in Clearwater (click here), still practices three hours a day, running his scales and perfecting his technique, just so he can stay as sharp at 60 as he was at 17, when he first joined Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra.

"I'm always trying to learn how to play my scales better and jazz licks faster, higher, cleaner, stronger, longer, everything," he said in a phone interview. "It's like (being) an athlete. You may be very great at what you do, but you've still got to keep training so you can maintain. I suppose if I only practiced about a half hour a day, I'd probably maintain where I am. But I'm trying to get better and better. There's no end to how good you can be."

For more with Kenny G, click here for our interview.

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Photos: Big Sean drops into Tampa's Ritz Ybor for intimate, sold-out gig

Big Sean performed at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa on April 19, 2017.

Kasamba Kokayi

Big Sean performed at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa on April 19, 2017.

In one of the most hotly anticipated hip-hop shows of this spring, Big Sean dropped into the Ritz Ybor Wednesday night, bringing such hits as Bounce Back to a relatively intimate space.

MadeinTYO opened the show. Kasamba Kokayi was there snapping photos; click the headline of this post for a slideshow.

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SoundBytes: Austin Mahone, Warpaint, Gabriel Iglesias and more

-- Tween-pop star Austin Mahone is growing up, and heading back out on tour. He'll stop at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on June 1. Tickets are $25 and up. Click here.

-- Indie outfit Warpaint will open for Depeche Mode at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sept. 13. Click here.

-- Deathcore band Fit For an Autopsy will perform at the Orpheum on June 21, alongside Tombs. Tickets are $15 and up. Click here.

-- Video game/live rock act Bit Brigade will return to New World Brewery on May 19, alongside Spar and Boy Without Batteries. Tickets are $7 and up. Click here.

-- Is Gabriel Iglesias ready to get back on the road? Ticketmaster has him performing at the USF Sun Dome on Dec. 22, with tickets going on sale May 5. The "Fluffy" comic recently canceled a handful of dates due to an unspecified health issue, including one in March at the Sun Dome. But in a recent Instagram post, he said he's losing weight and his physical health "is well on its way to being where I want it to be as long as I stay the course." Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Record Store Day in Tampa Bay: Giveaways, deals, free concerts and more

Record Store Day 2016 at Daddy Kool Records in St. Petersburg.

Luis Santana

Record Store Day 2016 at Daddy Kool Records in St. Petersburg.

Record Store Day is Saturday, which means the Tampa Bay area's dozen or so indie record shops will be buzzing with lines of people queued up to snag limited releases, catch a concert, even cop a free beer or two.

Since 2008, Record Store Day has become a day of celebration across the Tampa Bay music scene. This year, you'll find full days of music at Mojo Books and Records, Microgroove, Planet Retro and elsewhere, and discounts and giveaways almost everywhere else. 

"It's like a big great party, a special thing that you can do with your customers and the local music community," said Melanie Cade, co-owner of Mojo, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Record Store Day. "It's a celebration of record store culture."

For our complete guide to Record Store Day in Tampa Bay, click here.

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SoundBytes: Gorillaz, Benny Benassi, John Prine and more

-- Killer booking for Miami's III Points Festival on Oct. 13-15: The first and only live Florida concert by Gorillaz. Tickets to the fest start at a pre-sale price of $111 and will be available April 21. Click here.

-- Iconic singer-songwriter John Prine is coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Dec. 16. Tickets are $67 and up. Click here.

-- One of the original members of the Byrds, Chris Hillman, is performing at St. Petersburg's Craftsman House Gallery on April 29. Joining him are Herb Pederson and John Jorgensen. Tickets are $43 and up. Click here.

-- Remember when weather canceled an outdoor concert in January that was to be part of the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival? Now it's back on, rebranded as a Mother's Day event. "Jazz in the Park with David Sanborn" will take place from 1 to 7 p.m. May 14 with the jazz saxophonist performing alongside Ben Tankard. General admission is free; reserved seating is $20 and up. Click here.

-- Coming to the Capitol Theatre on June 8: Shaggy soulman Allen Stone. Tickets are $15 and up. Click here.

-- Also coming to the Capitol Theatre: Guitar great Yngwie Malmsteen on June 17. Tickets are $29 and up. Click here. …

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Eric Benet, Marsha Ambrosius cancel Thursday's concert at Tampa's Straz Center

Eric Benet

Michael Adams Jr. (Primary Wave Digital)

Eric Benet

This week just got a little less soulful.

A performance by R&B singers Eric Benet and Marsha Ambrosius on Thursday at the Straz Center in Tampa has been canceled, the venue announced Monday. A "schedule conflict" was cited as the reason. Ticketholders will automatically be refunded at point of purchase.

For now, it seems the singers' "M.E. Tour" stop on Sunday at Orlando's House of Blues is still on. Click here for details on that.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Review: Chris Brown puts his talents, faults on display at Amalie Arena in Tampa

Chris Brown performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on April 16, 2017.

Luis Santana

Chris Brown performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on April 16, 2017.

(UPDATE: In news that should surprise nobody, Chris Brown punched a photographer in the face while in the DJ booth at Aja Channelside in Tampa early Monday after his concert, the photographer told Tampa police.)

Chris Brown didn't die Sunday in Tampa.

He wasn't arrested, didn't melt down, didn't fight fans, didn't sprout horns and a pointed tail, wasn't spontaneously sucked into hell by a pack of cackling demons.

None of those things happened Easter Sunday -- and for the perpetually embattled R&B singer, that has to count as a win.

"I'm having fun as hell up here," Brown told the crowd early on.

And it's obvious why. Concerts like his "Party Tour" stop at Amalie Arena might be the last places on Earth where Brown, arguably the most disliked pop star in America, gets a pass on his endless resume of awful, violent and self-defeating behavior. Here, 8,000 fans who don't dislike him, who actually adore and revere him -- and there are way more than you think, including so, so many women -- are all he sees from the stage. In this bubble, you don't need to squint to see the star Breezy could have been. He's already there.

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Review: The Chainsmokers mix DJ chops, pop smashes at Amalie Arena in Tampa

The Chainsmokers, with Drew Taggart, performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on April 14, 2017.

Luis Santana

The Chainsmokers, with Drew Taggart, performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on April 14, 2017.

So the Chainsmokers played Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Friday night. I’m sure you all have questions. Yes, you in the chunky black glasses.

The Chainsmokers? Those overplayed, bro-tastic New York DJs? Doesn’t everyone hate those guys?

Judging by the reviews of their new album Memories…Do Not Open, yeah, pretty much. They’ve been called populists, opportunists, the Nickelback of EDM and a whole lot worse. To a lot of folks, the Chainsmokers are uncooler than vaping in church.

So no one came, right?

Oh, far from it – more than 11,500 people turned out, and they were all super into it, dancing and screaming from the chilly floor up to the very back row of the nosebleeds. As the woman next to me screamed about a third of the way in: “I GIVE THIS SHOW A 10 OUT OF 10!” Joint was legitimately lit.

What? How?

The Chainsmokers are the past year’s breakout pop act, that’s how. This was the second date on the biggest tour of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall’s career, and it happened thanks to the seemingly bottomless reservoir of smash singles at their disposal – Roses, Don’t Let Me Down, Something Just Like This, Paris and, smash-‘n’-grabbiest of all, Closer. …

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97X BBQ lineup: Grouplove, Milky Chance, K. Flay and more

Grouplove

Grouplove

Alt-rock station 97X is about to show its fans a whole lot of love. Grouplove, that is.

The alt-rock group leads the lineup for the 2017 97X BBQ, May 27 at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. Joining them on the bill are German folk-pop duo Milky Chance (Stolen Dance); singer-rapper K. Flay; alt-rock bands the Unlikely Candidates, Magic Giant, the Heydayze, and more.

As always, a premuim selling point of the BBQ is its price of entry: Free. Come to any 97X ticket drop and be one of the first 100 people in line, and you're in.

Click here for all the details on the 2017 97X BBQ

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Billy Mays III: Pitching his experimental sounds all around St. Petersburg

Billy Mays III performing at the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg.

Eve Edelheit

Billy Mays III performing at the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg.

This spring, experimental St. Petersburg musician Billy Mays III launched a spate of performances in unconventional venues — bookstores, galleries, yoga studios — designed to integrate his music into the fabric of a bustling and creative city. Instead of a tour, he dubbed it an "ambient installation series" — savvy marketing that, so far, seems to be working.

And if Mays' name rings a bell, that might come as no surprise.

His father was the late, legendary TV pitchman Billy Mays, the OxiClean king with the Brillo beard and bright blue button-up. "HI, BILLY MAYS HERE," he'd roar in infomercials hawking Mighty Putty, Orange Glo, the Awesome Auger and a zillion other gotta-get-it widgets. Mays' memelike appeal made him a cult figure and reality TV star before he died at his Tampa home in 2009.

Today, Mays III is pitching something, too, though it's not as easy a sell as the Hercules Hook or Vidalia Slice Wizard. …

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Deal at Tampa's Hard Rock Cafe: Sing a song, win a free burger

The Legendary Burger at the Hard Rock Cafe inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Hard Rock Cafe

The Legendary Burger at the Hard Rock Cafe inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Low on dough but got a heart full of soul? Need to eat but just can't quit the beat?

Tampa's Hard Rock Cafe has a deal for you.

The restaurant inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will bring back its popular "Sing For Your Supper" deal from 7 to 9 p.m. on April 18. Show up, sign up to perform a song karaoke-style with the Orlando band Lovestruck Robot, and the restaurant will serve you one free Legendary Burger with fries.

Last year, the Hard Rock had about 50 people turn out for the deal. It's first come, first served; the band calls you up to the stage when it's your turn. You can choose from 25 songs, including Bruno Mars' 24K Magic and Uptown Funk, the Backstreet Boys' I Want It That Way, Adele's Rolling in the Deep, Bon Jovi's Livin' On a Prayer and Journey's Don't Stop Believin'.

Not on the list, sadly: Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Click here for details on the deal.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Longtime 97X host Danielle McBroom switching stations to Magic 94.9

After 10 years, 97X’s most visible on-air personality is moving on.

Danielle McBroom is switching stations within the Cox Media Group family, going from afternoons on alt-rock station WSUN-FM 97.1 to mornings at Magic 94.9 (WWRM-FM 94.9). Magic Mornings with Danielle began airing this week.

The move allows the 31-year-old DJ — known to most listeners simply as Danielle — to focus more on one job instead of several. At 97X, she was a frequent host of 97X Next Big Thing, the 97X BBQ and 97X Green Room performances, alongside her normal on-air and social media personalities. She also recently had her second child, and new gig’s 5 to 10 a.m. shift should free up her days a little more.

For 97X, this marks the second high-profile departure in the past eight months. Music Director Joel Weiss was let go in September and now works in New York. That leaves 97X without a primary on-air personality with the 97X BBQ coming next month. But Cox officials said her job opening has been posted, and the station hopes to fill it soon.

“We will be replacing Danielle,” said Dan Connelly, 97X’s director of branding and programming, “although those will be big shoes to fill.”

— Jay Cridlin

 

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The Chainsmokers talk summer hits, singing their own songs, working with Coldplay and more

The Chainsmokers

Sam Kolder

The Chainsmokers

When we interviewed the Chainsmokers' Alex Pall about a year ago, we couldn't help but ask about an unreleased song the band had just debuted at Coachella, and was considering playing at Tampa's Sunset Music Festival.

"This is one of our more interesting songs, firstly because Drew (Taggart)’s singing on it, and secondly because this one feels a little bit more personal in nature," Pall said. "I think that’s kind of the direction our music’s going."

Boy, was he right. That song was Closer, a gigantic smash hit that hinted that the New York DJ duo was heading into a softer, more emotional pop direction. That's what happened on the band's new album Memories...Do Not Open, and it's a side of themselves they hope to show on their new tour, which hits Tampa's Amalie Arena on Friday (click here for details).

"We want to make this upcoming tour a show that no one expects but everyone wanted," Taggart says today. "There will be live band moments, theatrical moments and DJ moments all alongside a really well-thought-out and incredible production. We would never give up the energy we bring from our DJ side, but we think we have a lot more to offer now. …

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