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Spoon's Rob Pope talks fan anticipation, the Get Up Kids, the 'Twin Peaks' revival and more

Spoon

Zackery Michael

Spoon

More than 20 years in, Spoon are out to prove they’re still hungry.

“I really feel like the band is playing better than it ever has; it’s sounding better than it ever has,” bassist Rob Pope said by phone before a recent gig in Mexico City. “We kind of feel like we can take over anything at this point.”

That excitement comes across on the band’s ninth album Hot Thoughts, released in March to the band’s most positive reviews since its mid-2000s blog-rock heyday. And it’s the reason they’re gearing up for an enormous spring, summer and fall tour that’ll bring them to Ritz Ybor on Monday.

For Tampa fans, it’s a long time coming. This might not be Spoon’s first-ever Tampa gig, but it’s their first as headliners, and the first since 2005’s Gimme Fiction and 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga elevated the Austin, Texas group to indie-rock superstar status. Hot Thoughts is full of catchy alterna-power-pop tracks that recall earlier hits I Turn My Camera On, The Underdog and The Way We Get By, earworms that ended up splashed all over TV, movies and commercials. That might be why the band is so eager to get back on the road. …

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Paul McCartney coming to Tampa's Amalie Arena on July 10; how to get tickets

Paul McCartney performs on day 2 of the 2016 Desert Trip music festival at Empire Polo Field on Oct. 8, 2016, in Indio, Calif.

Photo by Chris Pizzello | Invision | AP

Paul McCartney performs on day 2 of the 2016 Desert Trip music festival at Empire Polo Field on Oct. 8, 2016, in Indio, Calif.

UPDATE: The rumors are true: Paul McCartney is indeed coming to Tampa for the first time in 12 years. He'll perform at Amalie Arena on July 10, venue officials announced Tuesday. Tickets are $31.25 and up and go on sale at 10 a.m. May 1. See amaliearena.com or check back here soon for more details. Read the latest here

America is all abuzz about Paul McCartney this morning.

All around the country, word is trickling out about a possible mid-morning tour announcement, with several major cities (Detroit, Newark, Brooklyn) confirming a concert and a few more (Des Moines, Shreveport) looking possible.

Is Tampa on that list?

It sure seems that way. Amalie Arena has called a press conference to announce "some exciting event news" at 11 a.m. Tuesday, during which Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will join media for tea and biscuits. How very British Invasiony.

Given that a host of arenas in cities around the country (including Wichita and Syracuse) also have concert-related press conferences scheduled for this morning, it seems likely we're talking about one major tour, and given the dates and rumors that have already trickled out, McCartney is looking like a solid bet. …

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SoundBytes: Isley Brothers, Donald Fagen, Trombone Shorty, Post Animal and more

Post Animal, featuring Joe "Steve from 'Stranger Things' Keery on the right.

Post Animal

Post Animal, featuring Joe "Steve from 'Stranger Things' Keery on the right.

-- Here's a cool show for all you Stranger Things fans out there: Chicago psych-rock band Post Animal, which features Joe Keery, the actor who plays Nancy's smarmy boyfriend Steve on the smash Netflix series (that's him on the right, above), on guitar. They're coming to New World Brewery on June 30. Tickets are $7. Click here.

-- Shout it from the rooftops: R&B legends the Isley Brothers are coming to the Mahaffey Theater on Aug. 6. Tickets are %59.50 and up. Click here.

-- In lieu of a summer Steely Dan tour, how about a solo show by Donald Fagen and his band the Nightflyers? Fagen will perform solo and Steely Dan hits on August 9 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Tickets are $45 and up. Click here.

-- Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue have played so many festival shows around Tampa Bay over the last few years, it's hard to remember the last time they actually played a headlining gig. But that stretch will end Sept. 28 when they play Jannus Live alongside Dumpstaphunk. Tickets go on sale April 27. Click here. …

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'Harry Potter,' 'La La Land' orchestral concerts coming to Tampa Bay

A scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

A scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Accio concert tickets.

The Florida Orchestra will bring the music of Harry Potter to life with a one-night performance of John Williams' score to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, accompanied by a live screening of the film. The score and screening take place Sept. 30 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.

This is the first Tampa performance for the popular "Harry Potter Film Concert Series, which launched last year and will hit hundreds of performances in 35 countries through 2018. Tickets to the show start at $38.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. May 12. Click here for details.

In other live film score news, the Mahaffey Theater has announced plans for a one-night-only La La Land event, featuring a live performance of the film's score by a symphony orchestra while the movie plays overhead. That'll take place Aug. 18, with tickets on sale now for $45 and up. Click here for details.

Justin Hurwitz, who won an Oscar for La La Land's score, won't be in attendance, nor will John Legend, Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling. Too bad. But at least the musical will feel bigger than ever.

-- Jay Cridlin

 

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Kings of Leon coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Kings of Leon

RCA

Kings of Leon

A month and a half after headlining the Okeechobee Music Festival, Kings of Leon have announced they're coming back to Florida.

The Tennessee rockers will bring their upcoming fall tour to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 28, Live Nation announced Monday. Dawes will open the show. Tickets are $32.50 and up, and they go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Click here for details.

The family Followill has become a reliable arena-sized act over the past decade, since hit singles Sex On Fire and Use Somebody turned them from fiery, acclaimed buzz band to Grammy-winning modern rock superstars. In 2016 they released their seventh album Walls, headlining numerous festivals in the process. This summer alone, they'll headline the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, Jazz Fest in New Orleans and Rock Werchter in Belgium.

And anytime you can catch Dawes, the superb Southern California alt-country-rock group led by songwriting savant Taylor Goldsmith, it's worth the price of admission.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Kenny G performs aboard flight out of Tampa, goes viral after Clearwater concert

You thought Kenny G's concert Friday at Coachman Park in Clearwater was something special? You should've been there for the after-party.

While flying home from Tampa to Los Angeles, TMZ reports, the saxophone superstar was approached by an attendant raising money for Relay For Life. Kenny said that if they could raise $2,000 from everyone on the plane, he'd perform right there on the plane. They did, and he did. The video proof is above.

"Happy to help!" he tweeted when Delta thanked him for the impromptu performance.

Check out more video of the performance below.

 

#KennyG plays impromptu show on a #delta flight from #Tampa. The passengers had to raise 1k for #RelayForLife! @Delta pic.twitter.com/0vSoOxAUhm

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Review: Neil Diamond spins 50 years of hits, memories for fans at Tampa's Amalie Arena

Neil Diamond performed on April 23, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Luis Santana

Neil Diamond performed on April 23, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

It’s a story Neil Diamond has told before, and one he’ll surely tell again. But they never tire of it in Tampa.

“We’re real happy to be here in my premiere city,” Diamond told the crowd of more than 14,500 Sunday at Amalie Arena. “I played here 50 years ago. It was my first professional performance. Some of you may have been there. Oh, I loved every minute of it, and I decided to do it again and again and again. So here we are tonight.”

Here we are indeed, with Diamond a year past his own diamond birthday, celebrating the golden anniversary of a singular lifetime in song. Fifty years after Tampa made him a star – heck yeah, we’re claiming it – Diamond, backed by a band of a baker’s dozen on a four-tiered Vegas-style bandstand, repaid the city with two career-spanning, hanky-tugging hours of his biggest hits.

Well, not all of them – there’s a reason Diamond’s latest greatest hits collection spans 50 songs on three discs. There was no room on Sunday for Red Red Wine, Song Sung Blue, Heartlight, Crunchy Granola Suite, Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon or any number of personal favorites the diehards would’ve died for. Such is life when your songbook spans a half century. …

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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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