WP's picks for the week's best shows

Keith Anderson, Kamelot, Jo Dee Messina

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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)

AUTISM AWARENESS BENEFIT North Tampa hard-rock haven The Pegasus Lounge hosts an autism fundraiser that's equal parts rock and punk. Featured acts include Broken Self, Reason to Burn, Crooked Edge, Daveawesome, Genovese Effect, Lives' Page, Skylab Hoax, Select Start, and Boy Meets Heart. Get there early — things kick off at 7 p.m. (Pegasus Lounge, Tampa)

SARASOTA EARTHDANCE It's the third year of Sarasota's edition of Earthdance, the music and dance festival that goes down simultaneously in 220 cities and 70 countries worldwide. Musically, this year's sticks with the formula, bringing together granola-funk bands like The Drum Studio All-Stars and thumping electronica courtesy of a variety of DJs, including Normen Schindowski, festival organizer and all-around Suge Knight of this shit. And we can't forget the occasional musical oddity as well, like Didg Revolution, whose primary instrument is indeed the didgeridoo. (The Powel Crosley Museum, Sarasota) —CLB

HALFWAY TO ST. PATTY'S DAY PARTY Where else would a halfway-there St. Patty's party be but the Dunedin Brewery? Buffalo, N.Y.,'s rowdy JackDaw brings the full-on Celt-rock, while Keltic Fire provides more traditional, folk-rooted tuneage. (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin)

JOBSITE ROCKS III Marking the end of its seventh season, the Jobsite theater company throws a third annual bash featuring three estimable local bands. The aim: to raise a bit of cash and have a whole lot of fun. This type of event also represents a welcome synergy between Tampa Bay's music and theater scenes. Performing bands include the versatile rock outfit The Vodkanauts, who bring a bit of old rock 'n' roll and a whiff of cheeky lounge to their act; Weapons of Ass Destruction, who play loud, noise-infested power-punk; and Nessie, a kinda rootsy, sorta garage-y band fronted by Planet rock critic and columnist Scott Harrell. All are extremely worthy of your time. (New World Brewery, Ybor City) —Eric Snider

SUNDAY, SEPT. 17

MUSIC FRESCA TOUR (AKWID/ARTURO SANDOVAL/JD NATASHA/JAVIER GARCIA/YERBA BUENA) Looking for something a little off the usual beaten path? Check out this mini-festival of contemporary Latin artists. Rap duo Akwid hails from Mexico by way of South Central Los Angeles and was nominated for a Latin Grammy in '03. Critically hailed Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval has been mixing up jazz and Afro-Cuban styles since the '70s. Singer-songwriter JD Natasha is a true rarity in rock en español — a female alt-rocker. Genre-mashing multicultural songwriter Javier Garcia doses up his eclectic tropical music with everything from rock to funk to salsa to reggae, and Yerba Buena found a diverse American audience through projects like the Fela-Kuti-celebrating Red Hot + Riot and tours with the Dave Matthews Band. (Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg)

FLICKERSTICK W/THE FINALS You gotta give it to 'em — Bands on the Run-winning Dallas rock act Flickerstick refuses to go quietly into the twilight of post-reality show obscurity. The band continues to tour heavily on the D.I.Y. tip, and might just rock you if you'd let your ironic guard down for a song or two. Also on hand for this FREE SHOW at First Avenue's newest Jannus-adjacent watering hole is New Jersey pop-rock act The Finals. (The Bishop Tavern, St. Petersburg)

JO DEE MESSINA Messina really blew up last year with "My Give a Damn's Busted," even though she was already a Nashville hit a decade ago. The album "Busted" was drawn from, Delicious Surprise, is in the mold of fellow tarted-up female pop-country crossovers like Gretchen Wilson and grandmamma of 'em all, Shania Twain. (Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota) —CLB

TUESDAY, SEPT. 19

THE FAMILY VALUES TOUR Groovecore godfather Korn's Family Values Tour has always been about heavy sounds, be they metal, rock or rap. This year, however, the now-institutionalized summer jaunt went back to basics and offers a pretty standard selection of titans (Korn, Deftones), known radio performers (Stone Sour, Deadsy), up-and-comers (Dir En Grey, 10 Years, Bullets & Octane), and underground metalcore cred-lenders (Walls of Jericho, Bury Your Dead). There's pretty much something, or a lot of somethings, for any metalhead or hard-rock-radio aficionado, but for my money, the big draw is the return of Deftones — see the music feature for more on that. (St. Pete Times Forum, St. Petersburg)

NOW IT'S OVERHEAD Yeah, I know this complex, original and generally killer indie-rock band was just here a month or so ago. But in-stores are always a different kind of fun, and it's the group's only gig in the market this time around. Highly recommended. (Vinyl Fever, Tampa)

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 20

VALIENT THORR "Viking cock rock" outfit Valient Thorr is a riddle wrapped in an enigma and slathered with shtick — they're from the inside of Venus, Walt Disney stole their time machine and left them trapped on this plane of existence, etc. The bottom line? Swaggering, long-haired, above-average van-rock with plenty of bluesy guitar solos. That should be enough in and of itself. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

FIRST ANNUAL FLAVOR OF JAZZ It's nice to see one of our larger arts institutions — that being Ruth Eckerd Hall — open up the stage to what is in effect a local smooth-jazz supergroup. Jazz to the Maxx includes keyboard player Allon Sams, guitarist Les Sabler, vocalist Fred Johnson and leader/saxophonist Gene Cannon (who bills himself on his website as a "smooth jazz lovers [sic] saxophonist"). Youth jazz bands will open. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Clearwater Jazz Holiday and Eckerd Hall education programs. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater) —ES

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