Cat Power, Robert Cray, Maroon 5...

... and, believe it or not, Hanson

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THE ACADEMY IS...w/ARMOR FOR SLEEP/THE ROCKET SUMMER/SHERWOOD An emo band that cleverly incorporates U2-indebted atmospherics and danceable New Wave bass lines, Academy Is... came to national attention a few years back thanks to help from fellow Chicagoan Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy). Academy inked a deal with Tampa's own Fueled By Ramen, which has released both the band's '05 debut, Almost Here, and its follow-up, Santi, which came out in April. (Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg)

RICK DERRINGER While living in Bradenton, I got to meet and watch the Manatee County resident responsible for the classic-rock staple "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" perform on several occasions. A nice guy who went from drug-fueled rock star to sober Christian — he goes around Bradenton singing carols with churchgoers during Christmas time — Derringer still boasts serious guitar chops, making "Hoochie Koo" a solo-filled riot in concert. He also does justice to his other self-penned nugget "Hang on Sloopy," which he scored a No. 1 hit with back in 1965 while a member of The McCoys. (Largo Cultural Center, Largo)


NICK MOSS & THE FLIP TOPS w/STEVE ARVERY BAND A Windy City guitar slinger with a gift for Chicago blues, Nick Moss delivers exactly what one might expect from a pupil of Jimmy Rogers (his mentor and bandmate): simmering, intricate solos that will leave guitar geeks mesmerized, and shuffles that should inspire a bit of dancing under the sprawling oaks. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

ELIZA GILKYSON WMNF brings one of its favorite folk singers back to town for a pair of back-to-back dates on both sides of the Bay. This one at the Beach Theatre in St. Pete will be followed by an appearance Saturday at Friday Morning Musicale in Tampa. The Austin-based artist is touring in support of her new studio album, Your Town Tonight, which features the poignant, paid-my-dues blues song "Tennessee Road." (Beach Theatre, St. Petersburg)

CREAM ABDUL BABAR w/LIGHT YOURSELF ON FIRE/KHANN/100 CAR PILEUP Tallahassee's Cream Abdul Babar interestingly incorporates elements of industrial noise and ambient synths into its metal mix, but it's hard for me to get past the menacing, indecipherable growls of the lead singer. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

MOJO GURUS w/STAND BACK/BLIND BUDDY MOODY St. Pete's Mojo Gurus, one of the most crowd-pleasing bands in Tampa Bay, recorded their swaggering, roots-rock album Shakin' in the Barn with semi-legendary producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon, Aerosmith), which helped lead to the disc coming out on the Universal imprint Empire Musicwerks in the fall of '05. For its follow-up, Kevin Steele and the gang opted to record locally on their own; this is their first show since emerging from the studio with what the band leader told me is a completed new album. (Dave's Aqua Lounge, St. Petersburg)

WORLDWIDE ZOO w/SKULL AND BONE BAND Highly recommended local organ trio WWZ brings its sophisticated, jam-intensive brand of funk/jazz to the St. Pete dive bar known mostly for embracing punk bands. Good luck, fellas. (The Emerald, St. Petersburg)

DAYLIGHT DISTRICT/THE FIGHT FOR THE CROWN Bradenton's double Ds play their first local show in fo-evah, still tricking out their mellow rock musings with subtle quasi-rap flair. See Spins for a review of DD frontman Frank Friend's new solo album. (Rasher Tierney's, Bradenton) —Cooper Levey-Baker


HANSON Credit frontman Isaac Hanson for returning to the road after being hospitalized earlier this month for multiple blood clots. The sibling trio forever known for "MMMBop" — which came out a decade ago — has matured into a talented pop-rock band that's touring in support of its new album, The Walk, which features the catchy, blue-eyed soul single "Running Man." (Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg)

ROBERT CRAY Two decades ago, rock stations loosened their apartheid tendencies and gave black artists some airplay. Biggest of these was Living Colour, but Robert Cray enjoyed a little love as well. The smooth-voiced rhythm-and-blues artist reached No. 22 on the singles chart with "Smoking Gun," and "Strong Persuader" earned regular rotation on Album Oriented Rock stations. Cray's brush with mainstream stardom was short-lived, but he's maintained a solid career on the blues circuit since. While he possesses an appealing and soulful tenor, Cray has never been able to bring much fire to his shows. (Tampa Theatre, Tampa) —Eric Snider

THE RED ELVISES w/THE VODKANAUTS The Red Elvises' quirky rockabilly and surf sound has made the California band (featuring former Soviets) one of Skipper's most beloved national acts, with their shows viewed as major events by hundreds of Bay area residents. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

KNOWING STU w/SOULFOUND/RANCID POLECATS Nice to see the Tina Louise-fronted Knowing Stu back hitting the local circuit in earnest following the release of its new album, Reflector, one of the top modern rock releases to come out of Tampa Bay in 2007. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

BURY YOUR DEAD w/BRING ME THE HORIZON/ION DISSONANCE/NIGHTS LIKE THESE A night of metalcore headlined by Bury Your Dead, a Massachusetts band that, according to Wikipedia, had to replace its lead singer this year after he quit to do "more important things like going back to school to become a teacher." (Orpheum, Ybor City)

PARIS IS BURNING/MORTALITUS/END UNSEEN Another Saturday night at Sarasota's Gallery Billiards, another metal assault on your precious ears, this time with headliners Paris Is Burning, from Miami. You know what to expect: bone-saw guitars, jackboot drum rolls and a whole lot o' screaming. Come on, guys, why so angry? Let's talk it out. (Gallery Billiards, Sarasota) —CLB

WIL SEABROOK This Clearwater dude makes the long drive south to Sarasota for a date at Metro, packing his adult-contempo singer/songwriter fare for the trip. Seabrook may not start a riot with his chilled piano rock, but it's a notch above the normal AC pabulum. (Metro Coffee & Wine, Sarasota) —CLB


CAT POWER/DEX ROMWEBER DUO Chan Marshall — aka Cat Power — clawed her way out of the underground with the release of her 2006 disc The Greatest, my favorite of that year. Long renowned for her raw, simple drone-folk, Marshall traveled to Memphis to record Greatest and worked with some of the legends of the city's soul scene. What emerged was a masterpiece, as Marshall fused her stark suicide songs with the life-giving force of the funky bottom end. And while she was once notoriously unreliable as a live performer, Marshall has reportedly turned into quite the show-woman. She brings her act to St. Pete tonight. I can't wait to see if she gives us a hint of some of the tunes from her recently announced cover album, Jukebox, out Jan. 22. (For more on Marshall, see the music feature.) (The State Theatre, St. Petersburg) —CLB

MAROON 5 w/THE HIVES Maroon 5's brand of poppy, falsetto soul and slick funk was all the rage in '04 thanks to the single "She Will Be loved," one of those ballads that even the haters end up knowing word for word. The Hives arrived from Sweden a couple years ago poised to conquer North America with their grabby garage rock. A good band that suffered from way too much hype, their latest release, The Black and White Album, came out last week. (St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa)

FIRE IN THE YOUTH TOUR: B-SIDE PLAYERS/CIPES AND THE PEOPLE/SALVADOR SANTANA Sociopolitical Latin funk with plenty of classic reggae thrown in for good measure, San Diego's B-Side Players should have no problem keeping the dance floor jammed late into the night. Cipes and the People is neo-soul/reggae singer Greg Cipes; keyboardist/composer Salvador Santana is the son of guitar legend Carlos Santana. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

CELTIC WOMAN Dublin singers with the angelic pipes return to do the Enya, New Age thing. (Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa)

SHAWN KELLERMAN A week after Bradenton's Aces welcomed a whole weekend's worth of N'awlins artists to town, the venue goes back to the blues well, recruiting ferocious ax slinger Shawn Kellerman for an early evening gig. (Aces Lounge, Bradenton) —CLB


REO SPEEDWAGON w/.38 SPECIAL In the late '70s and well into the '80s, REO Speedwagon scored a series of hits with inoffensive Midwestern pop-rock — tunes like "Keep on Loving You," "Can't Fight This Feeling" and "Keep the Fire Burnin'." In the '80s, .38 Special did pretty much the same thing, but with a Southern twist. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater) —ES

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE W/TED WRAY Saddled with a name that recalls two of the greatest singer/songwriters of the last half century — father Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt — Justin's debut EP, Yuma, came out earlier this year and shows that the offspring of alt-country royalty has a distinct voice of his own and a gift for bleak narratives (the title track) and uptempo country-blues with names like "I Don't Care." (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)


CIRCA SURVIVE w/OURS/FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES/DEAR AND THE HEADLIGHST Philly indie rockers Circa Survive offer a proggy take on emo, with shifting rhythms, echo-y drums and plenty of cascading guitars that surround the intense vocals of former Saosin singer Anthony Green. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

COREY SMITH The Athens, Ga.-based singer/songwriter became something of a MySpace sensation when his song "I'm Not Gonna Cry" became the graduation song of choice for seniors nationwide. (Tamiami Bar, St. Petersburg)

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