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SUMMER MEANS BEACHES AND BANDS -- AND BASHES FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY.

ONE OF THE best things about summer is hanging out at the beach and listening to bands. And one of the better places to do just that is Mickey Rats at Angola, where you can always get in for just two bucks.

The weekend starts off right with Rockcandy this evening and Clevelend on Saturday. Sunday, Mickey Rats hosts A & M recording artists Seduction. There is no cover charge to see the band serve up dance tunes, thanks to sponsor WKSE-FM. Seduction takes the stage at 6 p.m. and Only Humen takes over at 7. On Tuesday, Fat Brat warms up for a major Fourth of July celebration.

The big bash, called the "Fun in the Sun Show," starts at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Eight bands will perform, including Silent Scream, Only Humen, Lazarus, Wile E. Rokks, Nasty Habits, New Rage, Wonderland and Cracked Alley.

Wednesday, the Peer Pressure Project entertains at the "Southern Fried Fourth of July" party at the Zoar Valley Inn on Hammond Hill Road near the Blue Bridge. The event starts at noon with a pig roast. The band starts playing around 8 p.m. For this performance, the lineup includes two studio musicians from New York City, Jim Morabito on bass and Willie Haddath on lead and slide guitar.

At the Sunset Bay Beach Club, Krystal Kitty makes its debut Sunday. The six-piece group, featuring three men and three women, is fronted by Jean Deegan, formerly with Ladyfire and Mirror Mirror.

Deegan splits lead vocals with Mary Ellen McLaughlin from Syracuse. Rick Allen, Mirror Mirror's former keyboard player, will play bass. The rest of the band is Chris McMahon on drums, Greg Meckes on guitar and Sharon Weigand on keyboard.

"Our individual goals are diverse," Deegan says, "but we have one thing in common. We like to play music for the public as a straightforward, good-time party band performing a variety of popular rock material."

If you can't make it to the Sunset Bay Beach Club on Sunday, Krystal Kitty will perform Tuesday, Wednesday -- July Fourth -- and next Friday and Saturday at Manikins, 1620 Niagara Falls Blvd. And as part of A Taste of Buffalo, the band will be on the M & T stage at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

The Pine Dogs host a "Farewell for Summer Party" at 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Gulliver's, 727 Elmwood Ave. The group has played regularly for the past 2 1/2 years, but with lead singer Gretchen Schulz and drummer Jim Celeste scheduled for leaves of absence, the Pine Dogs are planning to take a break. Sort of.

The truth is, during the break they're planning to concentrate on writing and recording new material. In September, the group plans to be back in the clubs again.

One of the newer bands on the local scene is a group called Small World. Guitarists Pete Gerace and Frank Tedesco have played together in the groups Argyle Park, the Skeptics and Blue Whale. Drummer Mark Crimi joined them to form Small World. The band plays blues music they say "stretches pop to its outer limits." They will be at the Cafe Casablanca, 511 Rhode Island, on Saturday.

Saturday, Elk will play its all-original, experimental "new-age metal" at the Cabaret, 255 Franklin St. The band is guitarist/vocalist Robert Scarfia, bassist Kent Weber, drummer Joe Fincel and Otis P. Driftwood on keyboards.

On Monday, the Rock E. Blues Band is back at the Essex Street Pub, 530 Rhode Island, for the club's Blue Monday show. The session will be recorded.

Beat City will offer its new lineup at 5 p.m. Thursday at Lafayette Square downtown. The core of the band is still vocalist Susan Kincaid and songwriter/guitarist Kathy Moriarty, with Rodney Chamberlain behind the drums. New on the bass is John Caruso. George Paleo, one of the area's top guitarists, is also a new member.

Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St., plays host to the Oroboros, rock 'n' rollers from Cleveland, tonight. On Saturday, it's reggae with the Outer City Orchestra -- they'll return Tuesday to initiate Fourth of July celebrations.

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