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The natural mystic

Lee "Scratch" Perry is one of the most influential record makers of the past 50 years. That he is not necessarily a household name can be attributed mostly to the particularities of his experience in the music industry as a Jamaican man making groundbreaking music through years of oppression, gang warfare, political pressure and a broader world largely unconcerned with the above. But Perry's work as a producer, progenitor of the music we now call reggae, and pioneer of "dub" versions of songs by a list of artists that includes Bob Marley and hundreds of others, has permeated every nook and cranny of the modern music landscape. The recent explosion of the largely electronic dance music known as "dubstep" is only the latest example of Perry's continued influence.

That a man in his middle 70s is still making vibrant music and touring is a minor miracle. That he's included a Buffalo stop on his current tour is a major one. Lee "Scratch" Perry performs at 8 tonight in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Subatomic Sound System and DJ Universal will open. Tickets are $24 (box office, Tickets.com).

-- Jeff Miers