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Photos: 98 Rockfest throws down at Amalie Arena with Disturbed, Shinedown, more

Disturbed performed at 98 Rockfest on April 29, 2016 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Brian Mahar

Disturbed performed at 98 Rockfest on April 29, 2016 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

How crazy a music day was it Friday in Tampa? The hugely anticipated 98 Rockfest at Amalie Arena, featuring Disturbed, Shinedown, Chevelle, Ghost and more, was only third on some people's concert lists, behind Beyonce at Raymond James Stadium and Alabama Shakes at the Cuban Club. Still, a lineup like that won't go quietly into the night.

Brian Mahar was there snapping photos. Click the headline of this post for a slideshow.

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Concert review: Alabama Shakes dazzles a sold-out Ybor crowd in Tampa

Alabama Shakes performs at the historic Cuban Club in Ybor City in Tampa on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Brittany Volk, Times

Alabama Shakes performs at the historic Cuban Club in Ybor City in Tampa on Friday, April 29, 2016.

While one of the biggest popstars ever took to the stage at Raymond James Stadium, 5 miles away another powerhouse performance shook a sold-out Ybor City crowd Friday night. Alabama Shakes, led by beautifully bespectacled Brittany Howard, proved that sometimes a show doesn't need fireworks and leotards to entertain us.

"It's been a long time, hasn't it? I've missed the s--- outta y'all!" yelled Howard.

Alabama Shakes was last in Tampa Bay more than two years ago when they rocked Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. This time, they came ready to perform the Grammy-winning album Sound & Color, and it's also one of our favorite albums of 2015.

And even though we were so close to Beyonce, the atmosphere couldn't have felt more different. Grandpa, your hipster babysitter and lots of man-buns were all counted for, all thumping to the retro beats. You know it's good music when you've got a diverse crowd. …

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Review: Beyoncé overwhelms the senses at Formation Tour spectacle at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium

Beyoncé brought her Formation World Tour to Raymond James Stadium on April 29, 2016.

Frank Micelotta/Parkwood Entertainment

Beyoncé brought her Formation World Tour to Raymond James Stadium on April 29, 2016.

If more Beyoncé is what the world wants — and judging by the rapturous response to her surprise new album Lemonade, it absolutely is — rest assured, not a ticket-bearing soul will be disappointed by her Formation World Tour.

There is so, so much Beyoncé packed into every facet of this roadshow. An astonishing amount of Beyoncé. A revealing amount of Beyoncé. An overwhelming amount of Beyoncé.

Yes, that’s it: Overwhelming. That’s the right word to describe the impossible spectacle of her concert Friday at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. From her outrageously monolithic stage to a display of flames, fireworks, acrobats and water dancers that would give Cirque du Soleil a run for its money, it was a show designed to overwhelm the senses in service of the 34-year-old singer’s singular talent and vision. …

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Beyoncé Week: Today's the day! Beyoncé is in Tampa!

Beyonce during her Formation World Tour kickoff in Miami.

Frank Micelotta | Parkwood Entertainment via Getty Images

Beyonce during her Formation World Tour kickoff in Miami.

Today's the day! More than 40,000 members of the BeyHive will descend on Raymond James Stadium tonight for a hotly anticipated concert by Lemonade queen Beyoncé.

The show's at 7:30 p.m., with an opening set by DJ Khaled (and who knows who else). Click here for all the details on parking, what you can and can't bring into the stadium, and all other relevant knowledge.

We've been a little Bey-cray lately here on Soundcheck, but hey, so has the whole dang Internet ever since Lemonade dropped last Saturday. (Or maybe since the Super Bowl, now that we think of it.) We've spent the past five days celebrating Beyoncé Week on Soundcheck. Here's a roundup:

• In case you missed it, Beyoncé staged her Formation World Tour rehearsals at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. While they were here, they reportedly lived on Davis Islands. …

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SoundBytes: Meghan Trainor, Oliver Heldens, Rick Ross, Jesus Culture and more

-- In case you missed it: Chart-topper Meghan Trainor, the Grammy winner for Best New Artist, has announced a show in Orlando. She'll perform at the CFE Arena on Sept. 18, with opening act Hailee Steinfeld. Tickets are $27.95 and up. Click here.

-- Rick Ross is slated to make a club appearance at Whiskey North in Tampa on May 7. You know how these appearances can go, of course, but tickets are $25 if you want to take a chance. Click here.

-- One of the weirdest bookings you're going to see in Tampa in some time: '80s pop outfit Modern English (I Melt With You) at the American Legion Seminole Post 111, 6918 N Florida Ave. in Tampa. Yes, this is the same bar where Parquet Courts and Merchandise played last year. Tickets are $12. Click here.

-- She Wants Revenge is going out on tour in celebration of the 10th anniversary of its self-titled debut album, and they're coming to the Ritz Ybor on June 4. Tickets are $22.50 and up. Click here.

-- Drake's tour with Future, which comes to Amalie Arena on Aug. 27, promises appearnaces by "special guests." Looks like those guests will include Roy Woods and DVSN, the latter of whom appears on Drake's new album Views. Click here. …

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New Orleans Jazz Fest: Prince tributes abound from Janelle Monae, Trombone Shorty, more

A skywriter composed this tribute to Prince during the first weekend of the 2016 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Peter Couture

A skywriter composed this tribute to Prince during the first weekend of the 2016 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Now that the second weekend of the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is here, it’s worth mentioning the artist who seemed to eclipse last weekend's opening three days: Prince.

From its stages and tents to even skywriters overhead, the Purple One’s death weighed heavily on those at the festival as well as its eclectic mix of artists.

Perhaps none carried a heavier burden than Prince protege Janelle Monae, who turned in a short but incendiary Friday set on the Congo Square Stage dedicated to her mentor.

From a song co-written with him (Givin’ Em What They Love) to Prince’s own Take Me With U and Let’s Go Crazy, it was clear that Monae was working through her grief — Prince’s death having been announced just the day before. Monae spoke of her first encounter with Prince — a phone call that reduced her to a fangirl — and how he’d gone to bat for her with the BET network.

Monae told the crowd that Prince was fearless in breaking boundaries — in both his music and his persona. “I am because he was,” she said. How fitting.

Elsewhere, such stories probably were common on opening weekend — Soundcheck was at just a fraction of the performances, but a few moments stood out. …

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Beyonce Week: Upon review, Beyonce's 'Lemonade' an ambitious, game-changing album

(Welcome to Beyoncé Week, our countdown to Beyoncé's concert on Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. For all our Beyoncé Week coverage, click here.)

It might be too early to call Beyoncé’s Lemonade an entirely new art form. For now, let’s agree that in the world of pop music, nothing like it has been attempted on this scale.

Since its debut Saturday as a “visual album” on HBO, and a proper musical album in the hours that followed, the singer’s sixth LP has dominated the world’s pop cultural discourse, and not unjustifiably — it will go down as one of 2016’s defining albums, a singular statement on the pain and power of womanhood from an artist who could’ve gotten away with far less.

Separating Lemonade the album from Lemonade the film, Lemonade the spectacle, Lemonade the talking point, isn’t easy. In all likelihood, we weren’t meant to try. In the vacuum of any meaningful interviews or promotion by the artist, the HBO special — a gorgeous and innovative piece of filmmaking in its own right — is our only source of context for Lemonade; it laid out for us all how to hear and comprehend it, filling its emotional and lyrical gaps with lush images and intangible moods that aren’t easily forgotten.

But even without the film, Lemonade would still be an achievement, rebelliously alternative in sound and spirit, that utilizes and twists her mega-celebrity in brilliant ways. Full Story

Beyoncé Week: 'All the Single Ladies' author talks Beyoncé and feminist empowerment

Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister

(Welcome to Beyoncé Week, our countdown to Beyoncé's concert on Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. For all our Beyoncé Week coverage, click here.)

In March, cultural critic Rebecca Traister published All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, borrowing its title from one of Beyoncé's biggest hits. Traister writes about politics, media and entertainment from a feminist perspective for New York magazine and other publications. Her new book is both a history of single women in the United States and a wide-ranging, thoughtful, often surprising look at what it means to be a single woman today.

In a recent interview, Traister said she chose to use Beyoncé's song as her book title in part because "at that point the song was so big. And my first book had a song title" (Big Girls Don't Cry, about women in the 2008 election).

But there was more to it. The inclusive title, she said, "summed up exactly what I wanted to do in the book," looking at the many different kinds of singlehood across race, class, educational levels and many other factors, not just the single lives of, say, the privileged white women in Sex and the City. …

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This week in Tampa: Beyoncé, 98 Rockfest, Alabama Shakes, Tropical Heatwave and more

To many, there’s only one concert taking place this weekend in Tampa Bay: Beyoncé on Friday at Raymond James Stadium. We’ve certainly been all over that one.

But take Bey out of the equation, and this is still one of the most amazing weeks of live music we’ve seen in some time, from 98 Rockfest (with Disturbed, Shinedown, Chevelle and Ghost) at Amalie Arena to Alabama Shakes at the Cuban Club to Tropical Heatwave all over Ybor City.

Click here for all our Beyoncé coverage. For everything else — including Chris Isaak, Evanescence, Tokyo Police Club, Denzel Curry, Ruby Rose, the Gipsy Kings, Tampa Riverfest, Celtic Woman, Boston, Steel Panther, Coleman Hell, Cypress Hill, Amy Grant, Blue October, Prong and Clearwater’s Fun 'N Sun, featuring Craig Morgan, Brothers Osborne, Cassadee Pope and others — here are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...Full Story

Beyoncé Week: Miami reviews are in as Formation Tour kicks off in Florida (w/video)

Beyonce performs during the opening night of the Formation World Tour at Marlins Park on Wednesday night in Miami.

Frank Micelotta | Parkwood Entertainment via Getty Images

Beyonce performs during the opening night of the Formation World Tour at Marlins Park on Wednesday night in Miami.

Giving audiences only a few days to process the wonderment of music that is her new album Lemonade, Beyoncé kicked off her Formation World Tour in Miami on Wednesday with a gargantuan, career-spanning setlist that saw the live debuts of many of her new tracks.

Want spoilers for Friday's concert at Raymond James Stadium? Check out some reviews after the jump!Full Story

Blink-182 coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

They’ve got a new singer, a new single, and a new album on the way. And now Blink-182 is gearing up for a power-packed new tour.

The pop-punk trio is headed back on the road this summer for a tour that’ll hit Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Aug. 6, Joining them are Ocala metalcore favorites A Day to Remember and alt-rockers All-American Rejects. (Fellow pop-punks All Time Low will appear on other dates this summer and fall, but not the Tampa show.)

But the Warped-level lineup is only part of the draw. What we’re curious about is how Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker will mesh with new singer Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio, who replaced Tom DeLonge. The trio just released a new single, Bored to Death, from their new album California, due July 1. Of course, plenty of fans will still turn out just to hear songs like What’s My Age Again, All the Small Things and Dammit.

Tickets for the Tampa show start at $25 and go on sale May 6. Get them via Live Nation.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Beyoncé Week: In 2007, the singer shone in Tampa, but too few fans noticed

Beyonce performs at Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum in 2007.

Daniel Wallace

Beyonce performs at Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum in 2007.

(Welcome to Beyoncé Week, our countdown to Beyoncé's concert on Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. For all our Beyoncé Week coverage, click here.)

It's hard to remember, now that Beyoncé is headlining stadiums around the world, but less than a decade ago, she was nowhere near that big a draw.

When she headlined Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum on July 21, 2007, only a few thousand fans bothered to turn out — so few that those who did show up were invited to wander down from the nosebleeds to fill up the seats in the lower level.

"It should have been pandemonium," wrote Times reviewer Sean Daly, "but it wasn't, another sign that plenty of seats were available."

How is it possible so many people were sleeping on Beyoncé back then? Granted, this was before Single Ladies, but it was after Crazy In Love, Ring the Alarm and Irreplaceable. …

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Beyoncé Week: After 'Lemonade,' is Beyoncé critic-proof?

(Welcome to Beyoncé Week, our countdown to Beyoncé's concert on Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. For all our Beyoncé Week coverage, click here.)

The host of positive reviews Beyoncé is enjoying for her new album Lemonade — five stars from Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly calling it "her boldest, most ambitious, best album to date" — we're wondering: Is Beyoncé critic-proof?

The BeyHive is one thing. Her ardent fans are pre-disposed to love anything she releases. But Beyoncé is the most Grammy-nominated woman in history. And while her self-titled 2013 album famously lost the Album of the Year trophy to Beck, Lemonade is looking like a frontrunner in 2017.

"The people who love Beyoncé, really, really love Beyoncé," said J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of last fall's unauthorized biography Becoming Beyoncé. "She's so compelling a personality, and so compelling a performer, that even if you didn't understand Formation when you saw it at the Super Bowl, and you couldn't remember it five minutes later, you still remember the performance of it. That's where she gets you."

For more on Beyoncé's seeming critical invincibility, click here.

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Beyonce Week: Dealing with anxiety about learning the whole 'Lemonade' album in one week

Totally honest thought of which I’m not proud:

I didn’t want Beyoncé to drop her new album. Not yet.

Don’t hurl lemons at me! I’m a huge fan, and I have a ticket to Friday’s show at Raymond James Stadium. My own eight-member BeyHive is busy planning outfits (Bootylicious T-shirt and jorts) and snacks for the pre-show tailgate (“I Don’t Think You’re Ready for These Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars”).

Tampa is the second stop on her Formation World Tour. As our pop music/culture critic Jay Cridlin reported, Bey was hanging out in Tampa for rehearsals, possibly staying on Davis Islands. What a big deal for us.

Still, for weeks I nursed a lingering anxiety. The Kween was going to release a brand new, earth-shattering album right before the concert, wasn’t she? That’s exactly what happened. On Saturday, she dropped Lemonade, her stunning new 12-track visual art piece.

And this is a problem why? Well, it’s a Tracy Flick-style preparedness thing. It’s neurosis. How can one be perfectly studied in Lemonade when one has only just sipped from the glass?

 …

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Beyonce Week: Why I'm picking Alabama Shakes over Beyonce on Friday

Alabama Shakes

Brantley Gutierrez

Alabama Shakes

(Welcome to Beyonce Week, our countdown to Beyonce's concert on Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. For all our Beyonce Week coverage, click here.)

In life, you have to make a lot of hard decisions.

Picking a college major. Whether or not to get married. Pinto or black beans?

This week, I faced a tougher choice: Do I attend Beyonce or Alabama Shakes on Friday in Tampa?

I had to choose between two Queen Bs.

I like to pride myself on being a decisive person. I know what I want, and when I want it. But this conundrum included too many variables for a quick decision. At least that’s what I thought. Here’s how it all went down.Full Story