The Dark Romantics, Ruthie Foster

Plus Neil Sedaka and Bowfire

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THURSDAY, JANUARY 10

THE DRESDEN DOLLS w/TWO TON BOA/WIN WIN WINTER Boston duo The Dresden Dolls stylishly update the Brecht/Weill tradition with their self-described "punk cabaret." Singer/keyboardist Amanda Palmer (interviewed in last week's CL) enthralls audiences with dramatically delivered, graphic songs like "Coin-Operated Boy," "My Alcoholic Friends" and "First Orgasm." Brian Viglione accompanies Palmer, brilliantly bashing away on the drums as if auditioning for Mastodon. Adding to the explosiveness of a Dolls concert are the performance artists who often do skits and interpretive dance numbers with the band on stage, in the aisles, or outside before the show. (Tampa Theatre, Tampa)

THE DARK ROMANTICS w/THE WINTER SOUNDS/PSEUDO HEROES The Lakeland-based Dark Romantics, who last year released the full-length Some Midnight Kissin' on the Louisiana indie label Lujo Records, have become a Tampa favorite thanks to their earnest, synth-driven rock and consistently well-received gigs here. This show will find them performing at midnight as an "electrocoustic" duo, peppering their set with new songs from an upcoming EP. Athens, Ga., indie-rockers The Winter Sounds will make their Tampa debut, and local punks-turned-power-poppers Pseudo Heroes are scheduled to kick things off at 10 p.m. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

FRIDAY, JANUARY 11

TAB BENOIT w/DAMON FOWLER GROUP Baton Rouge-born singer/guitarist Tab Benoit has distinguished himself on the modern blues scene with well-executed excursions into classic soul and honky tonk, and by serving generous helpings of Cajun flavor. He performs self-penned songs about life on his beloved bayou that blend hotshot guitar licks with swampland squeezebox. Benoit's latest release, Power of the Pontchartrain, reached No. 2 last year on Billboard's Top Blues Album chart. Tampa's ace blues act, the Damon Fowler Group, which regularly headlines Skipper's in front of throngs of devoted fans, joins Benoit on this potent double bill. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

A GENTLEMEN ARMY w/KILLROY/MUPHIN CHUCKRS With last fall's release of ...Is Comin' Out Swingin'!, Bradenton four-piece A Gentlemen Army crafted a solid disc of driving rock and clever wordplay — "The Alcoholics Synonymous," anyone? — for the PBR and AFI set. Catch 'em alongside Tampa Bay's harder-edged Killroy and Palmetto pop-punkers Muphin Chuckrs. (Rasher Tierney's, Bradenton) —Amanda Schurr

SATURDAY, JANUARY 12

GALACTIC FEAT. MR. LIF/BOOTS RILEY w/GRACE POTTER AND THE NOCTURNALS The New Orleans funky jamsters bring a new wrinkle this time around — underground rappers Boots Riley (of The Coup) and Mr. Lif will do some spittin'. Their appearance dovetails with Galactic's terrific current album From the Corner to the Block. Diehards don't worry, though: Drummer Stanton Moore promises plenty of instrumental stretch-outs. For more on Galactic's new direction, see the music feature on p. 53. Come early. Opening the festivities will be sultry Vermont-based rhythm & blues (with a touch of twang) singer/keyboardist Grace Potter and her band, the Nocturnals. (Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg) —Eric Snider

RUTHIE FOSTER w/LAUREN DRAGON WMNF brings in Ruthie Foster, an Austin-based songwriter with an impressive set of pipes who skillfully incorporates blues, gospel, folk and funk. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

REMARC w/SCREWFACE/ILLICIT/J-RYDER/TRUSPIN/REDCOAT/SICC:16/COLLABORATOR British DJ/producer Remarc headlines this progressive dance party that should register pretty high on the hipster meter. A luminary in the electronic world, he's known as a '90s pioneer of Ragga jungle. Pitchfork gave Remarc's 2003 compilation Sound Murderer an 8.8 (out of 10) on the website's hyper precise rating scale. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

DUMBWAITERS w/WYE OAK/KING OF PRUSSIA The must-see band on this solid lineup is opener King of Prussia, which will perform at 10 p.m. The Athens, Ga., quintet offers a gorgeous brand of organic, cleverly layered indie-pop with captivatingly intimate, highly literate lyrics sung with expressive charm by singer/songwriter Brandon Hanick, a 1997 graduate of Dunedin High School. King of Prussia's "debut mini-LP" Save the Scene drops Jan. 29 and will be the first official release on the recently resurrected Kindercore Records (of Montreal, I Am the World Trade Center). Baltimore's Wye Oak, formerly Monarch, performs a similar — albeit more stripped-down and mellow — brand of indie-pop. The gig is being promoted as the first show at New World in nearly a year for Tampa post-punk vets the Dumbwaiters. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

RADIO-FREE CARMELA AND THE TRANSMITTERS w/KRISTEN FORD/ASHLAND MILLER CL's 2006 Best of the Suncoast critics' pick for Best Americana Band, Sarasota-based singer/songwriter Carmela Pedicini and her five-piece backing ensemble The Transmitters recently released their debut CD Americana Tourister. The album earned a glowing review in last week's CL for its emotive story songs. (Pro Star Recording, St. Petersburg)

SUNDAY, JANUARY 13

JET LAG GEMINI w/LADY RADIATOR/RED LIGHT GREEN LIGHT New Jersey foursome Jet Lag Gemini brings a refreshing classic rock component to the pop-punk formula, spicing the verse-chorus monotony with gritty, old-school guitar solos. Their debut album, Fire the Cannons, came out last summer on Doghouse. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

NEIL SEDAKA A Brill Building songwriter and teen pop star who transformed himself into a world-famous crooner, Sedaka is responsible for No. 1 hits like 1962's "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" and 1975's "Bad Blood." (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

MONDAY, JANUARY 14

BOWFIRE This company of fiddle and violin virtuosos made their debut in Hanover, Germany, in 2000, and have been bringing their fiery concerts of modern string music to international audiences ever since. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater) —Leilani Polk

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15

AGAINST ME! w/FAKE PROBLEMS/YOUNG LIVERS Tuesdays aren't the best nights for road trips, but this one should prove worthwhile. Gainesville folk-informed punk (with a dash of power-pop) quartet Against Me! had a banner year in 2007, their major label debut New Wave proving a critical and commercial success, spawning one of the year's best commercial radio hits, "Thrash Unreal." On hiatus before resuming a major North American tour, the band is playing what should be a wild and memorable gig at this intimate venue in their hometown. (Common Grounds, Gainesville)

HASTE THE DAY w/SCARY KIDS SCARING KIDS/DROP DEAD, GORGEOUS/GWEN STACY Nothing like a little guttural growling and down-tuned rumblings in the name of Jesus. Indianapolis-based metalcore band Haste the Day's album Pressure the Hinges peaked at No. 3 last year on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart, crossing over to No. 89 on the Billboard 200. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

BATTLE OF THE BANDS w/ SCENE OF THE CRASH/EVENTIDE/NOUS RAPPORT/RIVER BOTTOM NIGHTMARE Gallery Billiards and Roadkill Promotions have partnered for a genre-shmushing rock-off that culminates with April's finals. The second in this month's preliminary rounds features an impressive lineup pitting emo Scene-sters against prog-esque Eventide, Ft. Myers' metal act River Bottom Nightmare and the female-led garage stylings of Nous Rapport. (Gallery Billiards, Sarasota) —AS

ENTER THE HAGGIS Toronto five-piece offers bagpipe-and-fiddle-laced Celtic rock with a jam band bent. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

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