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Tonight: Bear Hands at Mohawk Place

Tonight. 7pm. Mohawk Place, 47 East Mohawk Street. (465-2368/ $10 advance, $13 day of show

One of the latest of a long line of post-punk indie bands to come out of Brooklyn, Bear Hands is everything fans of the genre have come to expect and love. Dylan Rau’s vocals evoke the likes of MGMT and Vampire Weekend, Val Loper’s bass lines are infectious and contain just a hint of funk influence, and the band as a whole expertly walks the line between indie rock whimsy and punk rock edge expertly (plus, needless to say, the band’s name ranks among the very wittiest echelons of the indie-punk pantheon). Though they’ve only been signed for two years, Bear Hands already have an EP and a full-length release to their credit, and, in the spirit of the genre, show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Currently in the midst of a North American tour, Bear Hands will be gracing the stage at Mohawk Place tonight (July 24). Playing support will be another staple of Brooklyn’s burgeoning indie-punk scene, Fort Lean, among others. -edward a. benoit

Yes at Artpark

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Yes is a band that needs no introduction. Four decades. Twenty-one studio albums. The bass part of “Roundabout.”  These are the guys who managed to make 20-minute progressive rock epics radio friendly and invented the fine art of the trippy album cover (well, okay, Roger Dean did that, but still). Yes, the lineup’s changed, again—the current iteration consists of Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, and Jon Davison—but don’t let the lack of Jon Anderson dissuade you. Get up, get down, and see these titans of prog rock when they play close by a river, not in but around a lake at Artpark on Tuesday night (July 17). Accompanying the venerated quintet will be another set of the prog pioneers, Procol Harum, an Essex sextet whose 45 years of reputation precede them. Fans of unusual time signatures and the Hammond organ may never witness an opportunity like this again, and all for what it might’ve cost you to see it in 1969. -edward a. benoit

Tues. 17. Yes w/ Special Guests Procol Harum. 6:30pm Artpark. (754-4375/ $5 before 7/15, $10 afterward.

Sons of an Illustrious Father at The Vault

It’s hard to believe that Sons of an Illustrious Father hails from New York’s Hudson Valley, because the band packs a certain hard-hitting southern twang into their music. The four-piece folk band will be making its way to Buffalo on July 15 as part of an extensive summer tour; Sons is performing 19 shows in 19 cities in just three weeks. The band is on a mission: spread their conglomeration of punk-inspired folk, blues, and country sounds throughout the Midwest and Northeast. Their songs are rich with harmonies, and underscored with a brilliant combination of an assortment of instruments. Together the ensemble is able to wield acoustic and electric guitars, accordion, bass, viola, banjo, organ, and drums – turning what sounds likes a laundry list of instruments into memorable tunes. Their self-titled debut album came out in 2009, and the ensemble cranked out an EP and their second full-length album, One Body, in 2011. Hopefully we’ll catch Ezra Miller’s sultry rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Moonshiner” at The Vault this Sunday. While it’s clear in the band is still working to pick up a following – Sons of an Illustrious Father are definitely worth looking out for. -sara dinatale

8pm. The Vault, 700 Main St. (884-7172).

Halestorm at Town Ballroom

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Halestorm. 7pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900/ $16 advance/$19 day of show.

Pretty much every little kid in the Western world wants to be a rock star at some point between the ages of eight and 12. What set Arejay and Elizabeth “Lzzy” Hale apart was that they actually followed through with it. The brother-sister duo has been writing and performing original music since they were 10 and 13, respectively. In 2000, when they were 13 and 16, Arejay and Lzzy released an EP under the name HalestormHHaHHahfa;jsfsk; they landed a major record deal in 2005. Now the biggest male-female rock duo this side of The White Stripes (a major difference being that Arejay actually knows how to play the drums), the siblings have brought in a supporting guitarist and bassist, and the group currently boasts two stupid LPs and one big radio hit, 2009’s “I Get Off.” You can witness this up-and-coming rock act and all their young promise Sunday (July 1) at the Town Ballroom. Playing support will be burgeoning post-grunge outfit New Medicine and Omaha-based group Emphatic. -edward a. benoit

Next Wednesday: Puscifer at the Riviera Theatre

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Maynard James Keenan is a bit of a Renaissance man–and, understandably, the singer / songwriter / producer / actor / businessman / philanthropist / wine maker / recluse has quite a bit on his plate at any given time.  Since 2003, though, Keenan has made a point to occasionally step away from his biggest time commitment–touring and (sometimes) recording with Tool–to, well, tour and record with his side project, Puscifer.  Like everything Keenan puts his finger on, Puscifer is extremely edgy, intensely personal, and at times more than a little bit sardonic; Keenan himself has described the group as “simply a playground for the various voices in my head,” which should tell you a thing or two.  Puscifer’s stage show pushes all sorts of envelopes: songs from albums titled “V” Is for Vagina and Conditions of My Parole are accompanied by pre-recorded skits and a bizarre stage show.  The twisted musical subconscious of Maynard James Keenan, along with a supporting act, will be playing the Riviera Theater on Wednesday (June 20). -edward a. benoit.

Puscifer. June 20, 6:30pm. Riviera Theater (67 Webster Street) $42.50 orchestra/$35.50 balcony. 692-2413,

Authority Zero at Mohawk Place

On Wednesday Feb 8, After Dark Entertainment presents Authority Zero with special guests Voodoo Glow Skulls and Skyfox. The event will be held at Mohawk Place, located on 47 E. Mohawk Street in Buffalo, where patrons 16 and older with proper id will be admitted while anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.  The doors will open at 6:00 PM and the show will start at 6:30 PM.  Tickets cost $16.00 pre-sale with the price jumping to $20.00 if they are bought the day of the show.  Please visit to order pre-sale tickets.  Tickets are also available at The After Dark Office located on 630 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo or can be ordered over the phone at 1-866-468-7619. -dan whitney

Album Review: High Society Torture Party by The Fucking Hotlights

The Fucking Hotlights

High Society Torture Party

(Self released)

It would be a crime to ring out 2011 without mentioning one of the strongest releases birthed by this city in quite some time, by one of it’s hardest working bands, no less. The Fucking Hotlights have crafted something special here, so I’m going to let the accolades fly. These gents have earned it.

When a band comes out with something, it’s usually easy to imagine what scene they run with. Whether it be punk, hardcore, indie, twee, folk, klezmer, zouk, whatever. Which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, it’s just the natural way of things. In a rock and roll timeline it’s all too easy to be caught up with tracing our steps back to much loved musical pioneers and staples of the past so much that no one really tries to branch out enough to keep the tree growing. However, with High Society Torture Party you get the sound of five guys marching to their own theme, and that theme is altogether crazy and enthralling. Sure, you can catch flashes of Stooges, Jesus Lizard, Melvins, Converge and MC5 out of the corner of your eye but for the most part you find yourself wondering what other worldly demon came to earth to conjure these sounds because they clearly weren’t born of man and woman.

These songs are filled with odd time signatures galore and an unabashed heaviness while still boasting a looseness that every hardened garage band needs in order to tug at a listeners inner ear. This ensures that they’re feeling the music just as much as they’re hearing it. There’s something very mechanical yet organic about the Hotlights. You can almost visualize gears grinding like clockwork controlled by pulleys and levers like some kind of rock & roll Rube Goldberg machine.

Things start off with “Revival,” a serious gate crasher of a tune. This is chopped and screwed punk, which spills over into a paranoid dirge at the halfway point complete with dissonant guitar noise, terrifying yelps and guttural moans all driven crazy by a rhythm section displaying all the ominous fury of a villainous monster closing in on its victim. “Awful Ends” is a beautifully broken math-rock tune from hell with an off kilter raked guitar line that will make your skin crawl, while “Lip Service” roars with an intensity that could best be compared to an  imaginary Stones and Motorhead collaboration. “Hammering of the Goldbeaters” is a closing song of epic proportions. Incredibly technical, full of swagger, and at times downright theatrical. A great example of how tastefully psychedelic heavy music can be.

There it is. Willfully abrasive, punk in spirit, and pure rock & roll in delivery. Most importantly High Society Torture Party could set as a new high water mark and serve as a reminder that while it’s fun to ape your influences it’s always more important to build something new. That said, The Fucking Hotlights have one hell of a foundation started. —eric kendall

Next up: The Fucking Hotlights live w/ School Shootings (Rochester), Everything Falls Apart and Ida Sessions. Wednesday (Dec 14). Mohawk Place (front stage, like way back when!) 7pm/$5

Tonight: Honeytribe brings Space Age Blues to DBGB

For the musically inclined progeny of established rock legends, living up to their parents’ legacy and simultaneously pursuing their own unique styles is a burdensome task. Not to say, however, that it hasn’t been done before; Sean Lennon pulled it off in 1998 with his debut album Into the Sun, managing to both embrace his musical heritage and break into the music industry in his own right.

So did Devon Allman, son of southern blues rock household name Gregg Allman. Contrary to what Gregg Allman’s superstar status might lead you to believe, Devon Allman grew up in the suburbs as a regular teen, discovering his father’s vast musical presence much later after he had already picked up the guitar of his own accord. Much like Sean Lennon, Devon Allman makes music that isn’t overly conscious of his father’s fame. While remaining true to his roots in southern blues rock, Devon Allman draws inspiration from his own broad range of influences and fuses them to create an unexpected but irresistible spin-off.

Devon Allman’s Honeytribe’s latest 2010 album, Space Age Blues, is a groovy blend of blues, jazz, rock n’ roll with a sci-fi inspired cosmic flavor that Allman describes as “Darth Vader meets B.B. King.” The familiar soulful melodies are still there as well as the electrifying rock ‘n roll grit, but the umbrella term “blues rock” seems a little deficient. Allman himself calls it “science-fiction blues,” and though it may not yet be a “real” genre, Honeytribe is well on its way to changing that. See them perform at DBGB (253 Allen St) tonight (Nov 11) at 9 pm. -max soeun kim

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