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'Alpha' males

One doesn't often feel the temptation to place the descriptives "soul" and "heavy metal" in the same sentence. Soul music seems to be the very antithesis of metal, its subtleties, inflections and emotional nuances not the stuff of metal's bombastic dreams.

Metal is about as subtle as a Mack truck driving through your living room; soul is sexy, sensual and more refined. Rarely have the twain met.

Soulfulness has crept into the dark catacombs of heavy rock on occasion, however, and he results have been inspired. The American South seems to have been a breeding ground for this unholy alliance. Texas trio King's X has made a brilliant career of bringing R&B, gospel and soul to bear on heavy progressive rock. Atlanta's Sevendust has done a similar thing, although its music is heavier than the multi-idiomatic meanderings of King's X.

Much of this comes down to Sevendust vocalist Lajon Witherspoon, who comes from the R&B tradition but is fully capable of screaming with the best of them. This combination has made Sevendust a bit of an anomaly on the modern hard-rock landscape, and has also elevated the industrial-strength shredding of the band's studio albums to a point somewhere to the left of, and above, the majority of its peers.

Marking its 10th anniversary, and touring on the strength of a fine new album, "Alpha," Sevendust arrives in the Town Ballroom, 681 Main St., at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Advance tickets are $23, and can be found at the Town Ballroom box office, or through Admission at the door on Saturday will be $25.


'Broke,' but not busted

Reading band bios can be incredibly frustrating. The things simply reek of self-importance and are dripping with the secretions of overly healthy egos. Sometimes a band bio is a revelation, however. Buffalo's Johnny Nobody's recent screed offers a case in point.

"From a city that never quite lived up to its expectations emerges a three-piece rock 'n' roll band that has found a way to create a sound that represents themselves and the city they hail from," the bio begins, a tad ambitiously.

The piece describes the group's brand new album, "What It Feels Like Broke," rather aptly as a "nine-song flash of thickly distorted guitar riffs, deep . . . bass lines, gossamerlike vocals and pounding drums" which give "the listener an intimate look into the frustrations and desperation of living life in a bad luck town, all the while reminding you of the lure and luster that brought you there in the first place."

I like that. Happily, it isn't mere hyperbole, either. "What It Feels Like Broke" reveals Johnny Nobody to be something like Buffalo's own Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, which is to suggest that the group blends psychedelia, a wall of warmly overdriven guitars and folk-based melodies into a whole that begs to be called haunting, despite the fact that calling a record "haunting" seems like a cheesy thing to do these days. "Haunted" might be better, particularly when you've immersed yourself in the billowing majesty of tunes like "Lies Float" and "High on It."

Tonight, Johnny Nobody celebrates the release of "What It Feels Like Broke" in Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St., beginning at 10 p.m.

Warm up for the show by visiting or Call the club at 855-3931 for additional information.


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