m Sister Hazel
Details: 10:30 p.m. Friday, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. $50. Toll-free 1-866-502-7529.
Gainesville alternative act Sister Hazel plays the inaugural rock concert at Tampa's new Hard Rock Cafe (formerly Floyd's). Before the official grand opening party Jan. 12, get a glimpse of the newly renovated space and some of its world-class memorabilia (i.e. a powder-blue suit worn by Justin Timberlake during the 'N Sync takeover — eek!). Sister Hazel will play songs off eclectic eighth studio album Heartland Highway, which bridges bluegrass, Southern rock and alternative. We'd guess the Blues Traveler-esque hit All for You will be on the set list.
, Vertical Horizon
Details: 11 p.m. Friday, the Rooftop Eve, 1610 W Swann Ave., Tampa. $100. therooftopeve.com.
Don't you love how your iPod can act like a time machine? When I hear songs by Vertical Horizon I am transported to a simpler time — when wearing tearaway track pants and watching Dawson's Creek were perfectly acceptable activities. The college rock act from Georgetown wrote some of the most-played singles in FM radio history, including Everything You Want, You're a God and Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning), which in 2005 also became a Top 20 country hit for Gary Allen. Singer Matt Scannell says latest album Burning the Days boasts faster tempos, new moods and unique sonic landscapes, thanks to contributions from Rush drum god Neil Peart.
With Corey Taylor
Details: 9 p.m. Friday, David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $35-$150. (813) 229-7827.
From Darius Rucker to Kid Rock, Jessica Simpson to Jewel, we've seen our fair share of pop and rock artists hop in a vintage Chevy and wave the "gone country" flag. But top metal singer and endearing mope man Aaron Lewis' arrival in Nashville might come as one of the decade's more unexpected moves. The Staind singer's debut single Country Boy, which features Charlie Daniels and George Jones, has already cracked the Billboard Country Top 10 and hit No. 1 on the CMT.com chart. Corey Taylor of Stone Sour opens the show.
m KC and the Sunshine Band
Details: 10:30 p.m. Friday, the Club Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway. $175 (reservations required). May be sold out. Toll-free 1-888-695-0888.
In the words of The Simpsons' Disco Stu: "The South will boogie again!" Harry "KC" Casey leads Miami Sound stars KC and the Sunshine Band on a rhinestone-studded voyage into 2011. Expect sanguine '70s and '80s cuts Get Down Tonight, That's The Way (I Like It) and Give It Up. The latter track received attention recently after Casey accused the Black Eyed Peas' fall release Love You Long Time of sounding unacceptably like his 1983 original.
With the Spears
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $25. (727) 895-3045.
Whether they were fantasizing about gassing the country club elite (Chemical Warfare) or condemning Americans' ignorance of overseas atrocities (Holiday in Cambodia), the Dead Kennedys shocked and mocked their way into the hearts of young punks . . . and eventually into a California courthouse. In 1986, after an exhausting legal battle against obscenity charges, frontman Jello Biafra quit. Today's Kennedys continue with co-founder East Bay Ray, who has been able to maintain the group's '70s Brit-punk snarl.
WMNF tribute to 1980
Featuring the Reality Band as Bob Marley and the Wailers; Ted Lukas and the Misled as Bruce Springsteen; Rebekah Pulley and the Reluctant Prophets as Tom Waits; Talk to Mark as Squeeze; Sons of Hippies as Joy Division; Doll Parts as the Ramones; Bride of Chaotica as Gary Numan; Robert Wegman as XTC; Friends of Giants as the Cure; Alexander and the Grapes as Men at Work; Radio Free Carmela and the Transmitters as the Pretenders; Christee Lenée as Peter Gabriel; and Kore playing essential 1980 singles.
Details: 7 p.m. Friday, Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $25-$35. (813) 971-0666.
I wasn't around in 1980, but I've heard good things: Pac-Man, the "Who shot J.R." cliff-hanger, The Empire Strikes Back and so on. In music, the Bee Gees' departure made way for a diverse crop of artists: from the Pretenders and Joy Division to Bob Marley and the Wailers. Admission includes party favors, a champagne toast and breakfast buffet.
The Guess Who
Details: 10 p.m. Friday, Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. Free with park admission. Toll-free 1-888-800-5447.
Busch Gardens offers a NYE date with Gwazi and the Guess Who. You probably know the Winnipeg band's hit American Woman because of Lenny Kravitz, but probably not much else. So check out Albert Flasher or Hang On to Your Life for some of the "hookiest heavy music of the late '60s and early '70s," according to Spin. (Unfortunately, the group will be short former frontmen Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings.)
Crowbar NYE bash
Featuring Marksmen, Her Name Is Victory, Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. Free. (813) 241-8600.
For a grand NYE on the cheap, check out this free event at Crowbar. The Marksmen cut some of the best singles of 2010. The local act's driving rock songs come topped with singer Matt Segallos' exhilarating warble and a dash of Southern hospitality. Good for fans of My Morning Jacket, the Drive-By Truckers or Pearl Jam.
Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.