WP's picks for the week's best shows

Keith Anderson, Kamelot, Jo Dee Messina

THURSDAY, sept. 14

FLOGGING MOLLY w/AS FAST AS Rollicking, beloved Los Angeles Celt-punk act Flogging Molly hardly needs an introduction — the band has built a huge, rabidly loyal following in the Bay area, and always, always, always brings the goods live. The group is out touring on its new release, a combination odds-and-sods CD and compelling documentary DVD titled Whiskey on a Sunday. Support comes courtesy of As Fast As, a quickly rising band from Portland, Maine, that mixes snide, punky attitude with infectious power-pop and a reverence for rock's soulful '50s origins to varying degrees of success. (Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg)

KEITH ANDERSON Former professional baseball player and Mr. Oklahoma runner-up Anderson really caught the contemporary country scene's attention in '01, when his tune "Beer Run" was covered as a duet by Garth Brooks and George Jones. His postured, saccharine '05 full-length debut Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll was critically savaged, but Anderson remains a favorite among women who don't care what he sounds like because he's hot. (Dallas Bull, Tampa)

CIRCUS OF LIFE: A FUNDRAISER BENEFITING THE MAC AIDS FUND Ybor club Czar and upscale cosmetics company MAC host what's sure to be a fashionably hip evening of music, fun and exotica. Don't wear your cargo shorts, dick. In addition to stuff like belly dancers and models being airbrushed before your very eyes, you'll also get live tuneage from Northern Pinellas 97X pop-punk fave Suburban Tragedy and The Butch Ryan Band, which features its titular scene veteran, uber-drummer Jeff Wood and a cool, gritty power-pop sound. (Czar, Ybor City)

FRIDAY, SEPT. 15

HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH/BETTER THAN EZRA Largely forgotten mid-'90s strum-pop superstars Hootie & The Blowfish were and are, if nothing else, nice guys. This tour builds on the ideas behind the group's eponymous nonprofit foundation for improved education; all attendees are encouraged to bring school supplies and/or make a donation, all of which will be distributed to Hillsborough County public schools. Co-headlining is the similarly charity-minded — and infinitely more rocking — Better Than Ezra, a group whose efforts to raise money for its hometown of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have been well documented. (Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa)

BULLETBOYS w/THE EDEN PROJECT/THE M-80S Look, I bought obvious Van Halen-wannabe party-metal act Bulletboys' debut album back in '88, too. As a quiet, socially awkward teen, I totally lived vicariously through the singer's ability to get "smooth up in" chicks. But, seriously, that was nearly 20 years ago, and part of growing up is being able to look back and admit that, wow, I listened to some incredibly shitty music as a quiet, socially awkward teen. (Bourbon Street, New Port Richey)

ZIPPO HOT TOUR SEMI-FINALS All right, I'm setting aside my opinion that corporate battles of the bands are bullshit and benefit the corporate sponsors far more than the acts that enter them. (Also, offering shows with Papa Roach as a prize is a little like giving syphilis to the winner of a Best Lay contest.) This second round of showcases by Tampa semi-finalists in Zippo's nationwide "talent search" is a decent local rock show in any case. Tenspoke Indies (aka Harry Dash), Knowing Stu, Someday Souvenir, and Critical enter the ring. Clap loudly for your favorite. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

SONGWRITER SHOWCASE Human Condition frontman Dean Johanesen continues his quest to bring you quality singer-songwriter bills that put local talent alongside obscure artists from out of town. In addition to the Human Condition itself, this ensemble-oriented showcase also features performances by poetic vagabond post-folk outfit Dim Lit Daylight, Gainesville's Berg, and Mike Sanchez of West Palm Beach modern-rock unit Dirty University. (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin)

BOB ON BLONDE This Orlando band returns to Sarasota with its own show after opening up for other bands a couple of times. While "indie rock" today seems to mean manicured and slaved-over power-pop, Bob on Blonde plays the sloppy old-school variety. Guitars aren't tuned properly; the singer's voice ain't too hot; the songs are all over the map. In short, if you think indie rock should be more Pavement and less Shins, you'll love it. (The Tavern on Main, Sarasota) —Cooper Levey-Baker

SATURDAY, SEPT. 16

WOLFMOTHER w/THE MESS HALL Heavily hyped Australian three-piece Wolfmother plays stoney, proto-metallic rock that strongly recalls Black Sabbath's early Ozzy days — and plays it exceedingly well. There's no "modern take" on an old style here; the group is all about that hippies-get-heavy vibe. The group's first, self-titled American release came out just a little while back. Joining Wolfmother on its inaugural full U.S. tour is fellow Aussie outfit The Mess Hall, which has more of a bluesy, garage-y Nuggets feel. (Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg)

KAMELOT/BEN JACKSON GROUP/CRYPTIC VISION Orchestral metal act Kamelot has been drawing fans of everything from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to the heavy, death-y stuff for more than a decade now and is huge in several countries that aren't America; the group's latest album is last year's The Black Halo. Longtime area metal fans will remember Ben Jackson as a guitarist for masked, overwrought '80s and '90s hometown-band-gone-national Crimson Glory. Rumor has it that several other Crimson Glory alumni — whose material is on the cusp of being re-released — will join Jackson on stage tonight for a mini-reunion set. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

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