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THURSDAY, DEC. 01

HOT HOT HEAT w/THE RED WALLS/DIAMOND NIGHTS Canadian hipster fave Hot Hot Heat moved from semi-experimental synth-punk to (comparatively) more straightforward indie-pop fare, and rode this year's Elevator to MTV2 buzzdom. Those interested in being the first to hear the newest should come early and check out NYC's Diamond Nights, a rising act with a killer, throwback sound that recalls the best of quality classic rock — think Thin Lizzy meets the Nuggets compilations. (Masquerade, Ybor City)

FRIDAY, DEC. 02

JASON MRAZ w/JAMES BLUNT/TRISTAN PRETTYMAN Semi-jammy pop singer-songwriter Mraz wormed his way into collegiate America's hearts via a slightly cocked baseball cap and some funny, rhythmic pop, then, ironically, outgrew the hat for the new, infinitely less mature album Mr. A-Z. James Blunt plies a more lush, old-school "AM Gold" sort of strumminess, while Mraz associate/surfer/former model Tristan Prettyman comes across as more straightforward and contemporary. (Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg)

FRONT 242 w/GRAYMATTER Long-running Belgian act Front 242 has always been associated with industrial music, though the group was always more electronic and danceable than, say, Ministry or Nine Inch Nails. F242 arguably helped launch the IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) trend of recent years. It's perhaps best known among non-fans for being one of the first truly alternative (i.e., not guitar-based) units to grace the stage during Lollapalooza's heyday. (Masquerade, Ybor City)

OTEIL AND THE PEACEMAKERS w/THE LEE BOYS Oteil Burbridge — a founding member of Aquarium Rescue Unit, current member of The Allman Brothers Band and Vida Blue, and arguably one of the best six-string bassists on the jam-band circuit — leads his crew of talented groovers through music that blends elements of jazz, funk and gospel, interspersed with solos aplenty. Florida natives The Lee Boys kick off the evening of danceable jams with an electrifying set of sacred steel music, a rousing form of Southern gospel that spotlights the pedal steel guitar (Robert Randolph is the genre's most popular figure). (Java Junction, Clearwater) LEILANI POLK

JIM LAUDERDALE w/RANDY KOHRS One of the largely unsung heroes and architects of Americana/roots music's current vogue, Lauderdale is not only an award-winning solo performer and Donna the Buffalo co-conspirator; he's also an award-winning songwriter whose material has been interpreted by everyone from Patty Loveless to Vince Gill, and an in-demand collaborator who's recorded with the likes of Dwight Yoakam and Lucinda Williams. Yup, you guessed it — WMNF loooooves him, and this show's at the Skipperdome. Opener Randy Kohrs was a session man on the bluegrass scene before founding his own band, which will back up Lauderdale tonight as well. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

THE FIRST ANNUAL BOCA BALL: REBIRTH OF THE BLUES Diehard raw-blues fans may remember the unlikely duo Satan & Adam, who recorded a few albums in the late '80s and appeared briefly in the U2 film Rattle & Hum; the pair consisted of veteran '60s sideman Sterling Magee and young harmonica player Adam Gussow. Though the group's notoriety was short-lived, Magee was already something of an underground figure in the blues world. Well, some fans found Magee living in a Pinellas nursing home; he reunited with Gussow last year, and has been playing regular Thursday-night gigs with notable locals T.C. Carr and Tracy Purcell. And he'll once again play with Satan & Adam tonight, as part of a benefit for the his nursing home, the Boca Ciega Center, which needs a new wheelchair-accessible van. Along with Satan & Adam, Carr, Purcell and Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues will also perform at this very special celebration of Magee's life and return to the stage. For more information, call the Boca Ciega Center at 727-344-4608. (Gulfport Casino, Gulfport)

JAKE ARMERDING He grew up under the tutelage of a mandolin-playing father — of New England bluegrass circuit band Northern Lights — so it's no surprise that Armerding mixes his mellow folk-rock with Americana, despite his upbringing in Massachusetts. This saves him from being just the latest blue boy with an acoustic guitar, particularly since his lyrics are often maudlin break-up sobs. Armerding's got a new album coming out in early 2006, and is going to focus on new material at this gig, so maybe he's moved on to less monotonous subject matter. We'll see. (Fogartyville Café, Bradenton) COOPER LANE BAKER

SATURDAY, DEC. 03

ALAN JACKSON w/LEE ANN WOMACK Country superstar Jackson makes good on a previous date that got cancelled a little while back. With him is the lovely Lee Ann Womack, who worked behind the scenes as a songwriter for several years before establishing herself as a performer in her own right during the late '90s. (Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa)

NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS Headed by singer/guitarist Luther Dickinson and his drumming brother Cody, the NMAS started out a few years ago by bringing the hill-country blues sound of their home state into a modern, plugged-in context. Over time, the band has moved into a more refined, song-oriented sound, which, to these ears, has not been as satisfying. On stage, though, the Allstars rip it up. (Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg) ES

BLUE OYSTER CULT Both of this funny, literate, sci-fi-obsessed classic-rock underdog's biggest tunes — "Don't Fear The Reaper" and "Burnin' for You" — have somehow joined the ranks of tunes most covered by hip younger acts; sometimes it's ironic and sometimes it's sincere, but it seems like everybody over the age of 18 knows how they go. When is "Godzilla" gonna get its comeuppance? Oh, and by all means, more cowbell. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

SUNCOAST BLUES SOCIETY'S EIGHTH ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTY You know the drill: great food, lots and lots and lots of cold beer, and smokin' blues. This year's entertainment comes courtesy of Louisiana's Bryan "Braille Blues Daddy" Lee and his Blues Power Band, along with Biloxi, Miss.'s Pat Ramsey & The Blues Disciples. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

XIU XIU/THE DEAD SCIENCE/YIP YIP/ISOBELLA Love-'em-or-hate-'em maverick post-punks Xiu Xiu return to town for another Aestheticized engagement, this time out at the Skatepark of Tampa's Transitions Art Gallery. Along for the ride are hip label Absolutely Kosher's wonderfully distorted-but-ambient The Dead Science, experienced and experimental Central Florida electro act Yip Yip, and our own, beloved Isobella. (Skatepark of Tampa, Tampa)

THIRD ANNUAL SAGITTARIAN SOIREE This cool-sounding shindig's theme is "Music & Art with Heart," and benefits All Children's Hospital. In addition to displayed works by God only knows how many talented local visual artists, some of which will be raffled off during the party, live and pre-recorded musical entertainment will also ensue in both The Bank's main room and super-chill back bar. Wayne "The Train" Hancock, a cult-fave old-school rockabilly veteran, is the featured performer, along with Natural Blend, Diviners frontman Will Quinlan, The Human Condition, Badwithnames, and DJs Paul Mallett and The Knowmatictribe Soundsystem. Highly recommended. (The Bank, St. Petersburg)

SUNDAY, DEC. 04

97X PRESENTS THE NEXT BIG THING My, it certainly is a week for annual events, ain't it though? This is the Bay area modern-rock station's biggest regular concert/one-day festival; each year, the station succeeds in landing bigger and/or buzzier acts, and this one's no exception, which means there's some good stuff, some mediocre stuff and some abhorrent stuff. The good stuff: Alkaline Trio; Rise Against. The mediocre stuff: Staind; Story of the Year; Motion City Soundtrack; Anberlin; and an acoustic performance from Our Lady Peace. The abhorrent stuff: My Chemical Romance; Trapt; 30 Seconds to Mars. Oh, and we forgot the local stuff. It's Suburban Tragedy. Go figure. (Coachman Park, Clearwater)

ROCK & BOWL Former Crippled Masters bassist Roger Peterson, the man who brought you the annual Rock 'N' Roll Swap Meet, sees another personal vision become reality: Rock 'N' Bowl. It's pretty self-explanatory, really. The rock comes via Pinellas supergroup The Lake Audition, ska pranksters Can't Do It, and DJs Kalani (I hear he's got a sweet new thrift-store jacket) and Miss Delish. The bowling comes via Ten Pin Lanes, located at 1453 Pasadena Ave. Come early, this daytime to-do runs from 3 until 6 p.m. (Ten Pin Lanes, St. Petersburg)

OTTMAR LIEBERT Temper the hot-blooded passion of flamenco guitar, dose it liberally with new age accoutrements, and you get a sense of what Liebert is all about. He may be the biggest crossover star associated with flamenco, and he'll play two area dates. (Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota; and Dec. 6, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater) ES

MONDAY, DEC. 05

DAVE KOZ & FRIENDS The smooth-jazz saxophonist always stops by Ruth Eckerd with a bill of "friends" this time of year. Tonight's visit brings some frequent Koz companions: pianist David Benoit, renowned vocalist Patti Austin, and guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Butler. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; and Dec. 7, Van Wezel, Sarasota)

CHILDREN OF BODOM/TRIVIUM/AMON AMARTH Finnish black-metal export Children of Bodom headlines a typically brutal bill that includes rising Orlando-based thrash act Trivium and relatively elder Swedish death-metal combo Amon Amarth. (Masquerade, Ybor City)

DAVID JACOBS-STRAIN It's the third installment of TBPAC's new Club Jaeb Series, wherein live-music fans get to enjoy renowned singer-songwriters in a quiet, intimate setting that puts the emphasis on the performer. Tonight's guest is David Jacobs-Strain; he's a bluesman rather than a folkie or soft-pop strummer, and imbues his material with a rich vocal style and guitar chops gleaned from an impressive knowledge of the genre's long traditions. (Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa)

TUESDAY, DEC. 06

TWO HIGH STRING BAND Texan old-school bluegrass trio Two High String Band can certainly toss out its share of familiar classics, but it's the way the group applies those traditions to writing its own new material that sets the band apart. The group's album Insofarasmuch is an impressive piece of work indeed. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 07

PHOSPHORESCENT/CASTANETS Both of these bands do what could nominally be covered by the alt-country umbrella, though both do some distinctly original and interesting things with the usual building blocks of that genre. Athens' Phosphorescent lends an exciting psychedelic aura to its foundation of acoustic guitar and ambitious pop songwriting, while Castanets evince a more contemporary, experimental feel that matches the usual instrumentation to eclectic arrangements and the occasional electronic or downright unrecognizable flourish. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

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