WP's picks for the week's best shows

Sick of it all, Gasoline Heart, Electric Six

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RICK SPRINGFIELD/LOVERBOY/EDDIE MONEY/SCANDAL This slate of once incredibly high-profile blasts from the past comes courtesy of — who else? — VH-1. While every single one of these artists appears at least quasi-groan-worthy in today's light, every single one of them also produced at least a couple of tunes catchy enough that you still crank 'em up when they come on the radio. "Jessie's Girl?" "Workin' for the Weekend?" "Two Tickets to Paradise?" "Goodbye to You?" Don't even argue. But where the hell are my beloved Motels? (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

STYX/FOREIGNER/FOGHAT If your yen for the '80s is the kind that actually stretches back into the '70s, forget Ruth Eckerd; Ford Amp is the place for you to be. While Foghat peaked in '75 with "Slow Ride," the two headliners rode quite a ways into the next decade on the strength of over-the-top concepts and theatrics and moody faux-soul, respectively. (Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa)

JIMMY LAFAVE What? A concert by Austin roots singer-songwriter LaFave, at the Skipperdome, that isn't a benefit for WMNF? Laura, honey, get me some smelling salts, please — I think I'm gonna swoon. No, seriously, let Skipper's have its own damn fun; this is the 'dome's own 26th birthday bash, and the bar/restaurant deserves some barn-burning action in its honor. Support comes courtesy of longtime Skipper's faves Ronny Elliott and Sawgrass Flats. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

CHRIS NORMAN ENSEMBLE Norman is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from Nova Scotia who, in addition to his efforts as an educator, sings and plays flute and bagpipes in this Celtic-grounded yet eclectic quartet. The ensemble's performances draw lines between traditional Emerald Isle sounds and their mainland-European precursors and relations, as well as those taken back and forth to Canada's northeastern maritime cultures. (Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, Tarpon Springs)

PAUL J. WATKINS CD RELEASE PARTY Local songwriter Watkins celebrates the birth of his fourth disc, Drive. If his previous three releases are any indication, Drive will be an extremely eclectic affair — he's been known to dabble in everything from rap-metal to folk to techno. The Venue Theater & Actors Studio is located in Mainlands Plaza at 9125 U.S. 19 N., just north of Pinellas Park. (Venue Theater & Actors Studio, Pinellas Park)


MASON JENNINGS w/JENNIFER O'CONNOR Visceral, poetic and political singer-songwriter Jennings started out playing coffeehouses in Minneapolis, and over the course of four albums built a committed underground fan base through touring and word-of-mouth. He was the first artist signed to Modest Mouse principal Isaac Brock's Glacial Pace imprint, and released Boneclouds, his first CD for that label and fifth overall, last May. He's joined by former Tampa Bay resident Jennifer O'Connor, who for some reason preferred running off to New York and becoming a talented artist and recording for cred-heavy Matador Records to staying around here and working at Vinyl Fever. Go figure. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

FOURPLAY The smooth-jazz supergroup includes keyboardist Bob James (who scored a hit in the '70s with "Theme From Taxi"), guitarist Larry Carlton (who played several of those great Steely Dan solos and made some hard-hitting jazz-rock fusion albums in the late '70s/early '80s), ubiquitous bassist Nathan East and tasty drummer Harvey Mason. Despite having quite a bit of potential firepower in the group, Fourplay, in its recordings at least, keeps it pretty neat and manicured. (Tampa Theatre) —ES


DEPECHE MODE FILM SCREENING If you've ever suffered through those dreadful 20 minutes before the flick you came to see hits the screen, you'll know that Sarasota's Hollywood 20 occasionally hosts one-night-only concert documentary screenings. Suncoasters can thereby catch a show by artists who would never in their lives deign to actually visit the area while on a tour. The latest in this film series is Depeche Mode: Touring the Angel, which is two-plus hours of the Mode live in Milan. It's kind of a cool idea, blowing up your average rock DVD to stadium-seating size, but I'm not exactly geeked about a Mode show, all sultry synthesizers and such. (Regal Hollywood Stadium 20, Sarasota) —CLB


CURTIS & LORETTA w/JENNY JAMES & RON GILBERT Like the aforementioned Mason Jennings, husband-and-wife folk duo Curtis & Loretta cut their teeth on the Twin Cities original-music scene. They're also multiple Minnesota Music Award nominees who hold very true to folk's stylistic (and sartorial) traditions. Locals Jenny James & Ron Gilbert are both multi-instrumentalists who switch up often to keep the music behind their lovely harmony vocals interesting. (Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa, Tampa)

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