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WP's picks for the week's best shows

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THURSDAY, NOV. 17

THE BACON BROTHERS As for movie stars slumming as rockers, we've had a handful drop by Tampa Bay over the years. Keanu Reeves played a couple of gigs with his band Dogstar and the late River Phoenix came by with Alleca's Attic (sorry, couldn't confirm the proper spelling). Dermot Mulroney was a member of the Low & Sweet Orchestra, but when the band played a date at The Rubb, he didn't show. So we're due. The Bacon Brothers, Kevin and Michael, are a welcome addition to the list (well, Kevin is). They play sturdy country-rock. For more, check out this week's Music Column. The band also plays Van Wezel Hall in Sarasota on Nov. 18. (Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa) ERIC SNIDER

TED LEO/PHARMACISTS W/BRANDON L. BUTLER & THE VAQUEROS/ZILLIONAIRE Pop-rock songwriter, hipster hero, social activist and unabashed Thin Lizzy superfan Ted Leo put together one of his best and most straightforward albums to date about this time last year; it's called Shake The Sheets, and holy crap it's good. Come, enjoy the passion. Support comes courtesy of Brandon L. Butler, a former emo pioneer (Boys Life, Farewell Bend) turned Americana songsmith (Canyon, his solo stuff), and Zillionare, a meandering, slightly experimental and wholly worthwhile local post-pop outfit. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

PIEBALD/HOT ROD CIRCUIT/HIT THE LIGHTS Piebald is an enduring posthardcore/heavy-pop outfit from the Boston area. The band used to be great, with engaging songs full of interesting time-signature shifts and strange and humorous lyrics, but last year it released an inexplicably horrible record called All Ears, All Eyes, All the Time. No matter, the live show will be full of old favorites, and the group has a chance to redeem itself via the new DVD/CD combination Killa Bros and Killa Bees. Hot Rod Circuit was once positioned to follow in the footsteps of The Get Up Kids; unlike the Kids, however, Hot Rod matured before it got big, relegating itself, however unjustly, to cult-band status. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

JACKDAW/BAD HAGGIS FEAT. ERIC DIGLER This show's a warm-up for Saturday's Dunedin Celtic Festival and Highland Games (see below), where both bands will make another appearance alongside the infinitely inferior Seven Nations. (Proving that quality and commercial returns aren't necessarily related, Seven Nations will play a sold-out show Fri. Nov. 18 at the Brewery.) Run yer eyes down to the Celtic Festival entry for info on the bands. (Dunedin Brewey, Dunedin)

FRIDAY, NOV. 18

METAL MANIA STRIPPED FEAT. DON DOKKEN/JANI LANE/FIREHOUSE/STEPHEN PEARCY/KIP WINGER The frontmen for some of the hair-rock era's most beloved bands — and Firehouse — get all intimate and unplugged for whoever's interested. Which is weird, because didn't Dokken, Warrant, Ratt and Winger all only have one song per record — you know the one I mean — that could possibly sound good when played on an acoustic guitar? (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

RATDOG Any Grateful Dead spin-off act could fart in a bag for two hours, bill it the Farting in a Bag Tour, and fill up Jannus Landing pretty much any night of the week. Fortunately, Bob Weir's unit Ratdog will be playing some music tonight. Protest though they might, Ratdog is a jam band. (Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg) ES

THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA w/CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE You wanna talk longevity? How's this? The Blind Boys of Alabama formed at the Talladega Institute for the Deaf and Blind in NINETEEN and THIRTY-SEVEN. These old dudes still bring the Southern gospel, and they bring it with fervor. Man, you've never heard harmonies like this. The Blind Boys don't water down the religious themes in their songs, but it still works for a secular crowd, believe me. Get sanctified, y'all. Charlie Musselwhite is one of the blues world's preeminent harmonica players, and an estimable singer to boot. (Tampa Theatre, Tampa) ES

THE PORK DUKES w/F/THE PULLOUT METHOD Culty British snotty-punk anachronisms The Pork Dukes celebrate their 29th year of playing songs like 1977's "Telephone Masturbator" by coming to one of the few cities with a punk scene that's probably full of people who remember them. (They'll be playing Brandon's Sound Idea Records tomorrow, as well.) (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

AN EVENING WITH BONERAMA If only we could've gotten The Pork Dukes and Bonerama together, yes? Now, you gotta choose. This incredibly unprofessionally named act is actually one of New Orleans' most highly regarded funk acts; the group features five, count 'em, five trombones — where did you think they got the name? — and a rollicking sound the injects some crazy rock influences into groovy Crescent City R&B. (Bourbon Street, New Port Richey)

A BENEFIT FOR THE FAMLY OF KENNY YOHO Kenny Yoho, one of the highest-profile members of the East Coast Xtreme Freestyle Motocross Team, recently lost his wife when she and their young daughter were struck by a car in Pinellas Park. Their daughter survived the accident, but is in a coma, and Kenny needs all the support, moral and financial, that we can give him. The relatively new punk act 34 put together tonight's benefit, which also features the perennially underappreciated Sophomore Effort, Trace of Day, Spot Lucy, Skylab Hoax, and The Redliners, among others. (Java Junction, Clearwater)

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