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Twenty One Pilots in Tampa Bay: From next big things to THE big things

Twenty One Pilots sold out at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg in 2013.

Brian Mahar

Twenty One Pilots sold out at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg in 2013.

Seems like only yesterday Twenty One Pilots were a barely-signed Ohio duo playing early in the afternoon at USF Bullstock and 97X Next Big Thing. Now they're the hottest alternative band in America, a Grammy-winning duo with a horde of rabid fans coast to coast.

How did it happen? More importantly, did it happen overnight?

Not in Tampa Bay it didn't. Here, we've had a front-row seat to the rise of Twenty One Pilots over the past five years, from their early days opening festivals and packing clubs to their sold-out concert Tuesday at Amalie Arena (click here for details). By several measures, this is one of the group's best markets in America.

Over the past five years, 97X has played hits like Stressed Out, Heathens and Ride some 15,000 times, said director of branding and programming Dan Connelly, making 97X "the No. 1 spinner of the band in the country." In one recent seven-day span, 97X played Twenty One Pilots 169 times — a pace of once an hour.

"Nobody ever gets tired of it," said 97X host Danielle McBroom. "I've never picked up the phone to someone who's said, 'You're playing too much Twenty One Pilots.' It's never happened." …

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Rae Sremmurd to open for the Weeknd at Amalie Arena in Tampa

Brian Mahar

The last time Rae Sremmurd came through Tampa Bay, they couldn't come close to filling Jannus Live. Here's guessing they'll do a little better on their next swing through town.

The Black Beatles upstarts will open for the Weeknd on the spring North American leg of his upcoming Starboy: Legend of the Fall 2017 Tour, which hits Tampa's Amalie Arena on May 12. Belly and 6lack will also join the show, according to the Weeknd's Instagram.

Since Rae Sremmurd and played Jannus Live with Lil Yachty last fall, the Mississippi duo's single Black Beatles went viral as the de facto soundtrack for the mannequin challenge, from the cast of Saturday Night Live to Paul McCartney himself. The song's streaming success took it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's a bona fide cultural phenomenon. That'll take them from playing for a few hundred people last October to likely more than 10,000 this spring. Not a bad leap, huh?

Tickets to the Weeknd at Amalie Arena are $35.75 and up. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Wild Splash 2017 schedule, set times, after-parties: When to see Migos, Trey Songz and more

Trey Songz

Getty Images

Trey Songz

The biggest hip-hop party of the year is coming to Clearwater next week. And now you know when to arrive.

Wild 94.1 has unveiled the schedule and set times for the 2017 Wild Splash concert, March 4 at Coachman Park downtown. Bad and Boujee hitmakers Migos will headline the show, followed by R&B star Trey Songz (above), Florida phenom Kodak Black and others.

Here's the schedule:

7 p.m.: Migos

6 p.m.: Trey Songz

5 p.m.: Kodak Black

4:15 p.m.: Fat Joe

3:35 p.m.: Russ

3:05 p.m.: Amine

2:45 p.m.: MadeinTYO

In addition, some of this year's Wild Splash after parties are now taking shape. Migos is lending their name to an official after party at AJA Channelside starting at 10 p.m.; tickets are $30 and up. Click here for details.

Club Skye in Ybor City will host a pre-party hosted by Russ on Friday night, and an after-party hosted by MadeinTYO on Saturday. Click here for details on both of those shows.

And Trey Songz will appear at a party at Whiskey North in Tampa; doors open at 10 p.m. and tickets start at $40. Click here for details.

Click here for all the details on Wild Splash 2017.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Modern Baseball cancel tour, including March concert at the State Theatre, due to 'anxiety'

Modern Baseball

Jessica Flynn

Modern Baseball

At least part of the new American emo wave is going on hiatus.

Philadelphia indie rockers Modern Baseball have cancelled their spring tour, including a March 29 concert at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg, due to the band becoming "an immense source of anxiety" and "something that was slowly eating away at our mental health and our friendships," singer-guitarist Jake Ewald wrote on Facebook.

The cancellation comes weeks after the band's Brendan Lukens announced he wouldn't be joining the band on tour, as he needed "to focus on my mental and physical health." The band's Facebook post on Tuesday came with a list of links and phone numbers for depression, crisis and suicide resource outlets.

"We have been championing the importance of mental health for a while now, and we recently realized that it would be wrong for us to ignore our own health any longer," Ewald wrote. "Please know that we don't take a tour cancellation lightly, and under any other circumstances we would not even consider it an option, but in this instance we have to put our health and friendships first." …

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SoundBytes: J. Cole, Wavves, George Thorogood and more

Universal Music

-- Superstar rapper J. Cole is bringing his new 4 Your Eyez Only World Tour to Orlando's Amway Center on Aug. 16. Tickets are $26.50 and up. Click here.

-- George Thorogood and the Destroyers are returning to Ruth Eckerd Hall on May 18. Tickets are $30 and up. Click here.

-- Electronic rock trio Breathe Carolina are playing a free show at the Ritz Ybor on May 6. Click here.

-- We missed this last week, but Wavves will be opening for the Naked and Famous on May 5 at the State Theatre. Click here.

-- If you bought scalped tickets to Eric Church's May 4 concert at Amalie Arena, be advised: The country star has identified, canceled and re-released more than 300 secondary-market tickets back to the public. Click here for details.

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Spoon coming to the Ritz Ybor in Tampa


Zackery Michael


Never underestimate the appeal of The Underdog.

One of the most popular and acclaimed bands of the mid-2000s blog-rock boom, Spoon, are finally making a long-awaited trip to Tampa, with a concert at the Ritz Ybor on May 1. Tickets are $29.50 and up, and they go on sale Friday. Click here for details.

To some, it may seem like Spoon is hitting Tampa Bay about a decade (or two) too late -- they founded in Austin, Texas in the mid-'90s, but didn't really break into the mainstream until 2005's Gimme Fiction and 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, which spawned indie rock earworms like I Turn My Camera On, The Underdog and You Got Yr Cherry Bomb. That led to widespread blog love, major festival appearances, a guest spot on Saturday Night Live and plenty of airplay in movies, TV and commercials. The band will release its ninth album, Hot Thoughts, on March 17. …

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Chris Brown, 50 Cent, more coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Prepare to party down while wrestling with your moral and ethical self.

Perpetually embattled R&B superstar Chris Brown is coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa on April 16, the venue announced Tuesday. He's billing it "The Party Tour," and as a result he's bringing a boatload of hitmakers along for the ride: 50 Cent, Fabolous, O.T. Genasis and Kap G. Tickets to the show start at $26.20 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. Click here for details.

Of course, that's assuming you actually want to buy them. Plenty of folks don't, considering Brown's history of aggressive, violent and all-around jerklike behavior. Pick any example you like; the most recent is a recent beef with Soulja Boy that was supposed to end in a boxing match. None of that really matters to the Chris Brown truthers out there; to them, he's simply a stellar singer, dancer and hitmaker who's been victimized by the media.

If you're still on the fence, or at least have no problem separating the art from the artist, click here for details on the show.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Kurt Cobain would have been 50 today, so here's Nirvana's only Tampa concert (w/audio)

From left, Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic before the release of "Nevermind" on Sept. 24, 1991.

Publicity photo

From left, Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic before the release of "Nevermind" on Sept. 24, 1991.

Kurt Cobain would have turned 50 today. 

There have been remembrances of the late Nirvana front-man all over the internet, including this Instagram post by his daughter, Francis Bean Cobain

Cobain died in 1994 aged 27, at the peak of his fame, creativity and cultural influence, and Nirvana only played one concert in Tampa during its brief existence: a 1990 show at the Masquerade nightclub in Ybor City in the building that is now the Ritz Ybor.

The band was far from its soon-to-be status as the biggest rock band in the world, a Tampa Bay Times story from that year, previewing upcoming concerts, had only this to say: "The Seattle grunge band's bio says its 'a little bit weird, a little bit gross and a little bit awesome.' Forgotten Apostles open at Masquerade in Ybor City, 9:30 p.m."

Someone recorded the audio from that show, and now that bootleg lives on via YouTube. You can listen to the whole thing below, including Cobain complaining about the warm beer, and performing Breed, which would show up on the classic album Nevermind the following year.

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Styx, REO Speedwagon, Don Felder coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

REO Speedwagon

Randee St. Nicholas

REO Speedwagon

Get ready for another classic rockapalooza at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.

FM mainstays Styx, REO Speedwagon and the Eagles' Don Felder are teaming up for a summer "United We Rock" tour that'll hit Tampa's amp on July 18. Tickets start at $27.50 and go on sale Feb. 24.

Since it's technically a co-headlining tour, Styx and REO Speedwagon are swapping the closing slot throughout the year. The Tampa show will be headlined by REO Speedwagon.

If classics like Mr. Roboto, Come Sail Away, Keep On Loving You and Can't Fight This Feeling aren't enough classic rock to keep you going through the summer, you can also check out Chicago and the Doobie Brothers on June 29; and Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience on Aug. 2. All we need is a show by Journey and Bad Company, and we'll be set!

-- Jay Cridlin

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Incubus, Jimmy Eat World coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Come summer, it'll be a turn-of-the-century rockfest at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.

Incubus will kick off a huge summer tour at Tampa's major shed on July 7, in support of forthcoming album 8. Joining the Drive and Pardon Me rockers will be emo forebears Jimmy Eat World (The Middle) and, for a touch of new-school flavor, folk-hop rockers Judah and the Lion (Take It All Back). Tickets start at $25 and go on sale  Feb. 24. Click here for details.

The tour also marks the 20th anniversary of Incubus's major label debut S.C.I.E.N.C.E., though they won't be playing that album in full, as happens on so many anniversary tours. But fans will get a standard assortment of the band's driving alt-rock hits, including Wish You Were Here, Stellar, Nice to Know You and Anna-Molly. And they'll also get a taste of pummeling new single Nimble Bastard, which just premiered today. Click here to hear it.

-- Jay Cridlin


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Jimmy Buffett coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Dirk Shadd

How about another round of Jimmy Buffett?

Days after announcing a May 13 concert at Orlando's Amway Center, Mr. Margaritaville has announced he's bringing his shaker of salt back to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on June 3. Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 24 via Live Nation; prices have not yet been announced.

The gap between weekend concerts in Central Florida means local Parrotheads have double the opportunity to see their hero live this summer. And what good Parrothead would turn down a second night of margaritas?

-- Jay Cridlin

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SoundBytes: The Naked and Famous, Boston, Marsha Ambrosius and more

The Naked and Famous

Samantha West

The Naked and Famous

-- A few months after playing 97X Next Big Thing, blissfully melodic indie-pop outfit the Naked and Famous, above, will make their way from New Zealand back to St. Petersburg for a gig at the State Theatre. Tickets are $27.50 and up. Click here.

-- Another indie pop outfit coming to the State Theatre: Coin on May 12. Tickets are $12 and up. Click here.

-- The Gasparilla Music Festival, March 11-12 in Tampa, has unveiled a handful of additions to its lineup: Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Michal Menert and the Pretty Fantastics, Twin Peaks, Phoebe Bridgers, the Freecoasters and Inkblot. The fest has also unveiled its day-by-day lineups -- as expected, Cage the Elephant and Ghostface Killah will headline on Saturday, and Ryan Adams and Chronixx will headline on Sunday. Click here.

-- Speaking of festivals, SunFest in West Palm Beach has unveiled its slate of concerts from May 3-7, and it's a doozy: Blink-182, Weezer, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Widespread Panic, Marshmello, Snoop Dogg, Steve Winwood, Tori Kelly, Flo Rida, Ziggy Marley, Dirty Heads, Breaking Benjamin and many, many more. Click here. …

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311, Rebelution playing private craft beer parties at the Ritz Ybor; here's how to win tickets


Marcello Ambriz


Last year it was Hootie and the Blowfish in St. Petersburg. Now a Tampa brewery's music industry connections are once again paying off in the form of some high-profile concerts in an intimate venue.

And once again, you can only get in by winning tickets.

Rock Brothers Brewing is hosting private concerts by 311 and Rebelution on Feb. 28 and March 1, respectively, at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa. The two bands will be in town for the annual 311 Cruise, sailing from Tampa to Cozumel and back March 2-6.

The brewery -- which recently opened a new bar and small concert venue in Ybor City -- has long produced beers for both bands, 311 Amber Ale and Rebelution Feeling Alright IPA. The concerts are meant as a celebration of both products being available in cans. And just like that Hootie show, tickets aren't for sale -- you can only win entry. …

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Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba talks about finding love, coming up in Florida and more

Chris Carrabba didn't want to move to Florida.

The Dashboard Confessional frontman was 16, in those formative years when your friends and your home are the only things that feel permanent.

But when the move from Connecticut to Boca Raton came, "I ended up finding everything," Carrabba, 41, said last month during an interview from a rehearsal space in Nashville. "I really found out who I was supposed to be when I got there."

Carrabba is making a visit back to the Sunshine State on Thursday when Dashboard, known for angsty anthems such as Screaming Infidelities and Vindicated, makes a stop at the Ritz Ybor as part of a nationwide tour. Click here for details.

For more of Kathryn Varn's interview with Carrabba, click here.

Kathryn also talked to Chris about finding love in your 20s, and he had some good advice there, too. Click here to read her story.

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Review: Bon Jovi, older and wiser, shows Tampa's Amalie Arena lots of Valentine's Day love

Bon Jovi performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Feb. 14, 2017.

Jay Cridlin

Bon Jovi performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Feb. 14, 2017.

Jon Bon Jovi was pacing the stage, racking his brain, trying to remember the name of the Tampa rock station that first played their debut single Runaway back in 1984. He could remember the DJ, Ron Diaz, but he couldn’t remember the call letters. So he grabbed a mic and quizzed the audience.

"Bonus points on Valentine's Day for the first girl who can tell me the name," he challenged the crowd of 18,000 during Bon Jovi’s concert Tuesday at Amalie Arena. "I'm going to come down to give you kisses."

Finally, he got the answer he was looking for: 95YNF.

"YNF," he said. "Come on down, girl."

Into the breach he hopped, about to give to give some screaming Jersey girl the Valentine's gift of her life.

Yeah, love was in the air Tuesday in Tampa, albeit not quite the ripped-denim, lion-maned variety that made John Francis Bongiovi such a sex symbol in the ‘80s. And ‘90s. And 2000s. And okay, fine, the dude still looks pretty dreamy at 54.

But this was, no doubt, an older and earthier Bon Jovi on display, a group of 50- and 60-something rock vets who still ride hard for Tommy on the docks and Gina from the diner, but who’ve been through the wringer since their last Tampa visit. Full Story