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Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Cleese, Ana Gasteyer, more coming to the Straz Center in Tampa

Get ready to mix some science, comedy and music in with your diet of Broadway musicals in Tampa.

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts has announced the bulk of its 2017-18 season, and it includes such figures as astrophycisist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Monty Python's John Cleese, Saturday Night Live's Ana Gasteyer and Chris Thile of Nickel Creek and A Prairie Home Companion.

Among the highlights:

-- Film and Broadway stars Laura Benanti (Feb. 11), Gasteyer (March 18) and Megan Hilty (April 22) will perform cabaret shows. Thile (Oct. 11), classical tenor Fernando Varela (Nov. 3) and Ben (son of Merle) Haggard (Dec. 15) will headline concerts, as will London beatboxing phenomenon Gobsmacked! (Jan. 24) and America's Got Talent finalists Sons of Serendip (April 12). Simply Three (Nov. 13), Straight No Chaser (Nov. 18) and Black Violin (Feb. 1) have already announced return performances at the Straz.

-- This year's Club Jaeb lineup of singer-songwriters and Americana acts: Michael McDermott (Oct. 16), Tony Furtado (Nov. 20), the Grahams (Dec. 18), John Gorka (Jan. 22), Dana Louise (Feb. 26), Anna and Elizabeth (March 26), Dead Horses (April 23) and Shannon McNally (May 21). …

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Who will headline the 2021 Super Bowl halftime show in Tampa?

Taylor Swift performed at Raymond James Stadium in 2015. Could she return for Super Bowl LV in 2021?

Times files (2015)

Taylor Swift performed at Raymond James Stadium in 2015. Could she return for Super Bowl LV in 2021?

The NFL announced Tuesday that Tampa will host Super Bowl LV in 2021, a result of stadium construction delays in Los Angeles.

Among the leading questions on our mind: Who will headline the halftime show?

A ridiculous question, we'll admit. The NFL hasn't even announced the halftime performers for its 2018 (Minneapolis), 2019 (Atlanta) and 2020 (Miami) Super Bowls, much less its just-shifted 2021 game in Tampa.

But Tampa's got huge history when it comes to Super Bowl music. This was the site of Whitney Houston's Star-Spangled Banner in 1991, the Aerosmith/Britney Spears/'N Sync halftime extravaganza in 2001 and Bruce Springsteen's crotch-thrust into America in 2009.

Four years out, it's impossible to figure out who will headline Tampa's next Super Bowl halftime show, right?

Maybe. Maybe not.

There are two things the NFL loves in a halftime headliner: Legacy rock bands and (especially lately) transcendant pop stars, almost all of whom were stars at least four years before their halftime gig. Which means that short of the next Nirvana arriving in 2019, we probably already have a good idea of who's on the NFL's shortlist. …

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Above and Beyond's Tony McGuinness talks festivals, acoustic shows, obsessive fandom and more

Tony McGuinness, left, with Above and Beyond.

Tony McGuinness, left, with Above and Beyond.

Hanging on a wall of Tony McGuinness’ London home is a portrait of actor Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner, a film with which McGuinness admits he’s “mildly obsessed.”

“That was kind of the first inspiration for me dying my hair blond,” McGuinness said during a recent FaceTime call, Hauer’s imposing mug hovering behind him.

That sort of intense fandom has served McGuinness well in his long and varied career in music, first in rock bands, then as a major-label marketing executive, and, for the last decade and a half, as a member of the blockbuster English trance trio Above and Beyond.

“What the Internet and message boards and Twitter has made obvious is that with some of these things, whatever it might be – Breaking Bad, Blade Runner, U2 — there is an enormous amount of energy that comes from the audience,” he said. “We’ve always tried to be open to what’s coming back from our audience, and incorporate that into what we do.” …

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After Manchester bombing, will security change at Tampa Bay concert venues?

Fans were scanned at security outside the College Football Playoff National Championship's Playoff Playlist Live at Curtis Hixon Park in January.

Charlie Kaijo

Fans were scanned at security outside the College Football Playoff National Championship's Playoff Playlist Live at Curtis Hixon Park in January.

Concert and venue security was a big topic last summer after two high-profile incidents in Orlando: The murder of The Voice singer Christina Grimmie and the shooting massacre at Pulse nightclub.

After Monday's suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, local concert venues, promoters and law enforcement festivals are re-evaluating their own security measures.

It's a busy weekend for mass gatherings around town, including the Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium, 97X BBQ at Vinoy Park and Tampa Bay Margarita Festival with Barenaked Ladies at Curtis Hixon Park; along with big shows by Train at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre and Alabama at Amalie Arena.

Will fans feel safe at each one?

"Law enforcement officers are trained to observe individuals for any type of suspicious activity (or) suspicious packages," said former Tampa police chief Jane Castor, "but what law enforcement needs is public assistance."

Click here for more on concert security in the wake of the Manchester bombing.

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SoundBytes: Washed Out, Yellow Claw, Ace Frehley and more

Washed Out

Shae DeTar

Washed Out

-- Chillwave producer Washed Out is returning to Tampa, this time at the Orpheum on July 15. Tickets are $23. Click here.

-- The Sunset Music Festival has announced after-party info for this weekend. Tritonal and 4B will headline on Saturday; tickets are $20 and up. Yellow Claw will headline on Sunday; tickets are $25 and up. Both events take place at the Ritz Ybor. Click here for info.

-- Dave Matthews Band isn't touring this summer, but at least you can see Crystal Garden, featuring violinist Boyd Tinsley, at the Attic in Ybor City on July 28. Tickets are $25 and up. Click here.

-- Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley is returning to the Capitol Theatre on July 20. Tickets are $35 and up. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Idina Menzel talks Taylor Swift, Joni Mitchell, balancing pop and Broadway and more

Idina Menzel will perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.

Warner Bros.

Idina Menzel will perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.

No matter how great a show Idina Menzel puts on Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, it’ll forever pale to the one she gave Tampa on Halloween in 2015.

That’s the night Menzel dressed as Frozen’s Queen Elsa and joined Taylor Swift at Raymond James Stadium to sing Let It Go.

“It was perfect,” the Broadway legend said in a recent phone interview. “She sent a plane for me and my family and that was an unbelievable experience. When we showed up, I realized she was there for soundcheck and rehearsal. She thought up the whole thing about how I’d come up the (stage) elevator, and I was really taken by her directness and her confidence, her certainty in herself. It was inspiring.”

Coming from Menzel, whose roles in Rent, Wicked and, yes, Frozen made her a stage and screen icon, that means a lot. She’ll soar through her career’s greatest hits, albeit without the Elsa dress, Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets are $73.75 and up. Click here for details.

For more of Piper Castillo's interview with Idina Menzel, click here.

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Review: Muse, Thirty Seconds to Mars bring monster rock might to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Muse performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on May 21, 2017.

Jay Cridlin

Muse performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on May 21, 2017.

In one corner was Matt Bellamy of Muse, stepping from the shadows in glowing blue shades and glowing blue sneakers, a glowing blue guitar strapped across his red satin jacket, moaning and wailing like Bono reborn.

In the other was Jared Leto of Thirty Seconds to Mars in a sparkling gold jacket and nighttime shades, flannel cinching his beltline, striking messianic poses and twirling his arms like rotor blades to stir the crowd into hysterics.

Over here you had Bellamy wiggling his whammy and twisting his knobs, his fingers screaming up and down the fretboard in a barrage of riffs and solos that would melt the walls of your local Guitar Center.

Over there you had Leto venturing up to the crowd, sweat steaming up that ageless teen-idol face, strumming an acoustic guitar as fans scrambled atop one another to grab the perfect pic for Instagram.

Do rock stars like these exist anymore? Inveterate showoffs who treat to-the-brink rocksmanship as though it's not only their right, but their obligation? Singers who embody every over-the-top cliche in the frontman playbook, while at the same time justifying the playbook's existence in the first place?

Alternative stadium rock may not be the titanic cultural force it once was – if you don’t play synth-driven dance-rock, good luck cracking heavy radio rotation – but in front of 16,000 full-throated fans at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Sunday night, Muse and Thirty Seconds to Mars performed like it’s the only music that matters.Full Story

Could 2018 NHL All-Star Game bring major concert festival to Tampa?

If the NHL All-Star Game returns to Tampa in 2018, it might give Drake a chance to dust off the Steven Stamkos jersey he wore in concert in 2016.

Luis Santana

If the NHL All-Star Game returns to Tampa in 2018, it might give Drake a chance to dust off the Steven Stamkos jersey he wore in concert in 2016.

In case you missed the news this week, Tampa is reportedly the top choice to host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game, which would bring one of hockey's premiere events to town for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Anytime a big-time sporting event comes to town -- the Super Bowl, the College Football Playoff's National Championship, even a PGA tournament -- that means big-time music is probably coming, too. And the NHL All-Star Game would be no different.

For this year's NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles, performers included John Legend, Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony, Robin Thicke, Carly Rae Jepsen, Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik teamed up for performances at various galas and during the game itself. Jon Hamm also made an appearance.

Last year in Nashville, the festivities had, as you might expect, a strong country feel. Performers included Vince Gill, Jennifer Nettles, Lee Brice, Lennon & Maisy and more. There was a free four-day outdoor concert series with Big and Rich, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Kelsea Ballerini, Aaron Lewis, Eli Young, John Hiatt and more, with an indoor series featuring Tracy Lawrence, Lonestar, MercyMe, Charles Esten, Clare Bown and many more. …

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R.I.P. Chris Cornell: Looking back at his and Soundgarden's concerts in Tampa Bay

Chris Cornell and Soundgarden performed at 98 Rockfest at Amalie Arena in Tampa on April 28, 2017, just three weeks before his death.

Jay Cridlin

Chris Cornell and Soundgarden performed at 98 Rockfest at Amalie Arena in Tampa on April 28, 2017, just three weeks before his death.

I've written about Chris Cornell dozens of times over the years. Among the phrases I've used to describe his voice: "golden," "preserved in amber," "a work of art," a "jet-engine wail," "always the Seattle scene's best."

I could keep going, but you get the picture: I truly loved Soundgarden and Cornell, probably the best singer-songwriter of the grunge generation, and one of the best in all of rock over the past 30 years. Here's my tribute to a personal musical hero, found dead early Thursday in what a medical examiner ruled suicide by hanging.

Perhaps surprisingly for a singer with such strong Seattle ties, Cornell gave Tampa Bay fans plenty of memories over the past three decades, performing here many times in different incarnations.

In 1989, Soundgarden played the old Masquerade in Ybor City, and returned a year later to headline the Cuban Club, months before releasing Badmotorfinger. …

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Review: Bishop Briggs lives up to next big thing hype at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg

Bishop Briggs performed at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on May 17, 2017.

Jay Cridlin

Bishop Briggs performed at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on May 17, 2017.

Bishop Briggs paced the State Theatre stage like a penned-up puma, pouncing and snarling and singing with a fire belying her 24 years.

And then between almost every song during her sold-out concert on Wednesday, she would grin ear to ear and hunch shyly into her mic.

“The thought of headlining our own tour was such a far-off dream,” she said with a laugh. “We’re happy to say, with you guys, we did it.”

The State Theatre is where the up-and-comers come to play in Tampa Bay, and at this stage in 2017, the much-hyped Briggs fits that bill. Fresh off winning raves for her performances at Coachella and Shaky Knees, the Los Angeles-based singer drew a packed, all-ages mix of the curious and the diehard, some of whom styled their hair in her signature mouse-ears buns, and some of whom lined up outside by mid-afternoon for a shot at a space by the stage.

And what a thrilling view they must’ve gotten. Dressed like a Goth en route to tennis practice, practically swallowed by her bright white Lacoste track jacket, Briggs delivered an appropriately athletic set, rarely resting as she locked eyes with the crowd and gave them a taste of her Next Big Thing buzz. …

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SoundBytes: Band of Horses, Grizzly Bear, Rick Ross and more

-- Jannus Live is continuing their excellent hot streak of indie rock shows by booking Band of Horses on Oct. 6. Tickets are $29.50 and up and go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- One indie rock show Jannus Live didn't get: Grizzly Bear. They're embarking on a huge tour, but the closest it'll come is Orlando's House of Blues on Nov. 15. Click here.

-- Tread carefully here, because you know how these late-night club shows sometimes don't go off quite as advertised. But Rick Ross is slated to perform at Green Gators Bar and Grill in Tampa on June 30. Tickets are $25-$45. Click here.

-- Prog-metal group Between the Buried and Me is bringing their 10th anniversary tour of their album Colors to the State Theatre on Oct. 18. The Contortionist, Polyphia and Toothgrinder will open. Click here.

-- Oliver Heldens will headline the official Sunset Music Festival pre-party on May 26 at the Ritz Ybor, performing alongside Brohug. Tickets are $20 and up. Click here.

-- Speaking of EDM shows at the Ritz: Zomboy, Spag Heddy and Ricky Remedy will perform there on Aug. 5; tickets go on sale May 24. Click here.

-- And DJs ETC!ETC! and Meaux Green will perform at the Ritz on June 24. Click here. …

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Paul McCartney delays start of summer tour in Florida

First, the bad news: Paul McCartney is pushing back the start of his upcoming "One On One" tour, which was scheduled to begin July 5 in Miami.

Now the good news: It shouldn't affect his July 10 concert in Tampa.

McCartney announced Wednesday that he was moving his tour-opening concert at Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena from July 5 to July 7 "to accomodate enhancements for the tour's production." It's unclear what difference those two extra days will make, but an official announcement says the enhancements will be "exciting," so we'll see.

If you had tickets to McCartney's Miami show, those will still be honored at the July 7 date. Those unable to attend will be refunded at their original point of purchase. Click here for details.

The real bummer here, especially if you live in South Florida, is that McCartney moving his show to July 7 means he's now going head-to-head with Metallica, who play Hard Rock Stadium that same night. McCartney or Metallica? How do you choose?

And click here for details on McCartney's July 10 date in Tampa.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Phantogram, Tycho coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Phantogram

Justin Bishop for Vanity Fair

Phantogram

Jannus Live is on a roll in 2017.

Already this year, they've hosted mega-hot acts like Run the Jewels, the Shins, Portugal. The Man and Lil Uzi Vert. Now comes another show sure to draw out the tastemakers: Phantogram and Tycho.

The electro-alternative duo and psychedelically trip-hoppy producer are teaming up for a co-headlining tour that'll bring them to St. Petersburg on July 18, they announced today. Tickets go on sale Friday. Click here for details.

Phantogram, who played 97X Next Big Thing in December and are playing festivals like Firefly, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball this summer, snared a radio hit last year with You Don't Get Me High Anymore, while Tycho's live concerts are entrancing shows of of light and sound.

For fans of alternative electronic music that sways from glitchy rock to swirling ambience, this should be a sweet night. Both acts are capable of selling out similarly sized venues on their own, so getting them together is a can't-miss affair.

-- Jay Cridlin

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George Thorogood talks Southern rock, Chuck Berry and other legends and more

Over the past 40 years, George Thorogood has become one of American culture's best-known, hardest-touring bluesmen. But the original Delaware Destroyer could've been a Southern rocker.

"I listened to our sound, I listened to the style I played, and the record label I thought we should have been on was Capricorn," the 67-year-old singer said in a recent phone interview, referring to the Macon, Ga., label that housed the Allman Brothers Band, Marshall Tucker Band and the Outlaws. "I had that Southern slide boogie thing going — which I still do — and I thought that was the label that we could fit right into."

Instead he went with Rounder Records and others, and the rest is history: Singles like One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer; Move It On Over; Bad to the Bone; and Who Do You Love? became inescapable in films, TV and on the radio. Thorogood hit the road, and never looked back.

Forty years after his self-titled debut, Thorogood returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Thursday, eager to prove he still delivers the goods live. …

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SoundBytes: Paramore, 21 Savage, Supersuckers and more

Lindsey Byrnes

-- The good news: Paramore is coming to Florida! The bad news: They're coming everywhere but Tampa Bay. In addition to launching their Parahoy! cruise from Miami next year, they'll play Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami on their just-announced fall tour in support of new album After Laughter. The closest of these dates is Sept. 10 at Orlando's Dr. Phillips Center. Tickets are $38.50 and up. Click here.

-- Atlanta rapper 21 Savage has become a huge up-and-comer in the hip-hop world, so expect a raw, booming show when he performs at Jannus Live on June 24. Tickets are $36 and up. Click here.

-- Also coming to Jannus Live: The Youth Revival Tour, featuring Hillsong Young and Free, an Australian offshoot of Christian superstars Hillsong United. Ticketsa re $19.95 and up. Click here.

-- Supersuckers are coming to Crowbar on July 12. Tickets are $14 and up. Click here.

-- Bluegrassers the Steep Canyon Rangers (without Steve Martin, sadly) are coming to the Capitol Theatre on March 24. Tickets are $25 and up. Click here.

-- Viral string trio Simply Three is coming to the Straz Center on Nov. 13. Click here. …

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