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THE BOXING DAY REBELLION FEAT. UNREQUITED LOVES/SPOOKY GREENHILL The Unrequited Loves' Mike, Ed and Keith present another installment of their semi-annual Arcane British Custom Appreciation concerts. This one is extra-special, however, because it also celebrates the release of UL's excellent disc of loud and smart garage pop, These Are the Unrequited Loves. It also provides another chance to see up-and-comers Spooky Greenhill, whose Steve Seachrist has tracked innumerable great local bands at his Camp Hiawatha Studios. (Dec. 26, New World Brewery)

MEAT LOAF & FRIENDS Storytellers favorite Marvin Lee Aday brings the hits, along with some stuff that wasn't on Bat out of Hell. Mr. Loaf's "friends" have yet to be named particularly, but who cares? Stand up and belt along to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" until some usher tells you to sit yer ass down. (Dec. 27, Ruth Eckerd Hall)

ROY ROGERS & NORTON BUFFALO W/RICHARD GILEWITZ This pair of rockin' blues artists earned a Grammy nomination for their first collaboration, 1991's "Song for Jessica." Rogers is an acclaimed slide guitar player with multiple accolades for both performance and production under his belt, while harmonica player Buffalo spent 27 years with the Steve Miller Band, and has contributed to more than 100 albums by artists from Johnny Cash to the Doobie Brothers. Opener Richard Gilewitz, a Bay area native, is a singer/songwriter with an inimitable fingerpicking stylee. (Dec. 27, Skipper's Smokehouse)

THE VODKANAUTS Did you ever see the Cribs episode where Lit's guitarist shows off his Rat Pack-intensive tiki bar? I think of it every time I drop The Vodkanauts' 3-track sampler into the player. The group, featuring Barely Pink's Mark Warren and former Catherine Wheel/Welcome vocalist Jonathan Harrison, among other notables, plies an infectious blend of surf and lounge that's equal parts laid-back cool and party energy. (Dec. 27, Yeoman's Road Pub)

MODERN/THE SEPTEMBER ENGAGEMENT/ AGNUS DEI Them Modern boys are headed big places with that there ambient yet anthemic indie rock, I tells ya. It's good stuff. The September Engagement have evolved from rookies to vets over the last year, but you already knew that they rocked in an earnest and dynamic way, didn't you? We can't tell you much about Agnus Dei — other than the fact that it's the name for various wax impressions blessed by the Pope — but we're pretty darned sure they get their rock on in a similar vein. (Dec. 27, Orpheum)

CHEAP TRICK W/HARMONY RILEY/BARELY PINK Duuuuude, they're ooooooold. Yeah, but as anybody who's witnessed a gig in the last couple of years can attest, they will still rock your ass harder than 90 percent of the venting young shoegazers out there. Expect a few new tunes gaining live experience along with the hits, as well as some Southern-tinged hookage courtesy of Harmony Riley, the band featuring CT guitarist Rick Nielsen's kids. Local power-pop powerhouse Barely Pink, still surfing a wave of renewed enthusiasm, opens. (Dec. 28, Jannus Landing)

RETARD-O-BOT/DEADSTAR ASSEMBLY/SIMPLEKILL/ELYSIUM The members of Retard-O-Bot may look all hard and shit on their new poster, but judging from the tracks posted on their website, the trio's first hometown show in six months will provide more of their trademarked snotty, love-it-or-hate-it semi-musical spectacle. Fort Lauderdale's Deadstar Assembly and Simplekill provide dark synth-pop and metal-tinged hardcore, respectively, while Tampa's Elysium "have a punk kind of feel, but not the kind that makes you want to go out and wait in the lobby," according to RoB's Peter Pepper. (Dec. 28, State Theatre)

THE WARP BROTHERS Over the last two years, German production/DJ conglomerate The Warp Brothers have built European chart success and a worldwide fanbase on the foundation of their "harder house" dance sound. Oliver Goedicke and Jurgen Dohr have remixed the likes of Norman Bass, Airheadz and Black Spider, and their sound has been compared to that of Prodigy and Chemical Brothers. (Dec. 28, Twilight)

THE CODETALKERS FEAT. COL. BRUCE HAMPTON, RET. Aquarium Rescue Unit founder Hampton has been referred to as "the Godfather of Southern alternative music". Every project, album and show is an idiosyncratic treat for those who find the wildest jam bands just a bit too, you know, square. (Dec. 28, Skipper's Smokehouse)

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Is it metal? Is it classical? Is it seasonal? Yes, yes and yes! What began as a Savatage offshoot has become one of the most oddly successful contemporary Christmas-themed concepts since Coke's creepy animated polar bears. Anyone's mixed feelings about the inherent pretense of marrying rock instrumentation to classical arrangements aside, the execution is always amazing and evocative. Recommended. (Dec. 28 & 29, Mahaffey Theater)

MICHAEL ROSS QUARTET It was August when the MRQ released its last album, Dog Eat Dog, and played the requisite CD release show at the Gorilla. Less than a half-year later, the group is back, this time with a whole set of new material. Good jazz musicians'll do that, y'know. Bassist Ross, drummer Walt Hubbard, guitarist LaRue Nickelson and saxophonist David Pate will again throw down some hard-hitting post-bop in the Gorilla's acoustically friendly, highly intimate environs. The theater is at 4419 Hubert Ave., near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Call 813-879-2914. (Dec. 29, Gorilla Theater)

—ERIC SNIDER

FOLK MUSIC MINI-FEST FEAT. BOB RAFKIN/CYD WARD/JOEY ERRIGO/JAMES HAWKINS/GRANT LIVINGSTON/MINDY SIMMONS/MICHELLE MORRISETTE The non-profit Friends of Florida Folk turns 20 this year (Gloria, you rock, er, strum ... whatever). In conjunction with this notable anniversary comes the organization's first CD, the aptly named FoFF Songwriter Sampler 2002. These seven talented songwriters are on it, and gather tonight for a bit of a belated release party. It begins at 3 p.m., so hit the Skipperdome early. (Dec. 29, Skipper's Smokehouse)

DONNA THE BUFFALO Socially conscious roots/jam troubadours Donna The Buffalo return to host WMNF's New Year's Eve party for the second year in a row. Last year's soiree sold out well in advance, so we suggest you hop into your VW bus and head to the Coliseum's box office or WMNF office (screw Ticketmaster — if anybody ever deserved to be called The Man and have it stuck to them, it's them. And Clear Channel.) and hook thyself up posthaste. Oh, and it's BYOB. (Dec. 31, Coliseum, St. Petersburg)

BUFFALO STRANGE Across the bay from Donna the Buffalo, Buffalo Strange, Tampa's answer to Donna the Buffalo, will be channeling their own rock/roots/reggae fusion at Viva La Frida. This celebration of music, art, community and really rad food also features a candlelight vigil, post-midnight acoustic jam circle, and fire dancing performance by Krystalfire. (Dec. 31, Viva La Frida Cafe Y Galeria, Tampa)

B.B. KING The master of the single-note line. Lucille's master. The big man. World-renowned blues icon B.B. King is so tasteful, we can forgive him for pimping Burger King. Spend New Year's Eve with an honest-to-God legend. (Dec. 31, Mahaffey Theater)

SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS W/JUPITER COYOTE Hooooo, doggies! You can't figure out if SCOTS are completely ironic or completely sincere, but it doesn't matter, because their particular stripe of Southern-fried twang-rock fun simply rules in a live context. Get your tickets, get a hotel room nearby, and get off your head. Jupiter Coyote, a decade-old North Carolina jam-rock institution, has moved over 150,000 discs in their time, largely on the strength of heavy touring and word of mouth. (Dec. 31, Skipper's Smokehouse)

—All entries by Scott Harrell, except where otherwise noted.

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