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The trance dance

New York City's U-Melt launches its winter tour in Syracuse tonight and arrives in Buffalo on Saturday for a gig inside Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.). No word yet on whether or not the band's much-ballyhooed Halloween performances -- where the unexpected is wholly expected -- will carry over from tonight's Syracuse show. Either way, this is not a gig to miss. U-Melt is one of the more interesting, dynamic and inspired "jam"-based bands going.

Why? To these ears, it's the manner in which the four-piece outfit moves without apparent effort between variegated styles -- funk, say, or jazz-informed rock, or plain old psychedelia -- all the while maintaining a consistency of groove that suggests an affinity with trance music of both the organic and the "techno" variety.

Like Sound Tribe Sector 9, Ozric Tentacles and even the Disco Biscuits, the U-Melt men employ the chord sequences familiar to jam-band fans, add a flair for well-orchestrated melodic inventions and run it all through the "dance-ability" filter. This, then, is jam music for people who don't necessarily like jam music -- the sort who complain about the lengthy solos and the fact that the music "never goes anywhere." If they're dancing, they never seem to mind!

U-Melt has posted a few MP3s for you to check out at Do so, then head down to Nietzsche's on Saturday for the 10 p.m. show.


Gig picks

There are way too may shows this week, to be honest. No chance to cover them all in any sort of in-depth manner. Matter of fact, there's no chance any one person could actually attend all of these shows, either!

Not that such a feast of musical friends is anything to complain about, or sneeze at. The Buffalo club life is absolutely on fire at present. Happily, no two shows really cover the same ground. Stylistically, the lineup is all over the place. That's cool. Enjoy!

Roy Ayers -- an absolute god in the world of acid-jazz and a man revered by the underground hip-hop cognoscente -- comes to the Tralf (622 Main St.) on Saturday for two shows. Billed "Roy Ayers and Friends," the program -- one show at 6 p.m., a second one at 9:30 p.m. -- will really be more a celebration of hard-bop than it will be a nod to anything more fleeting and trend-oriented. No offense to anyone intended, but Ayers is the genuine article. Ticketmaster has your $30 tickets.

Erstwhile Indigo Girl Amy Ray is on the road in support of her third solo effort, the just-released "Didn't It Feel Kinder," and she'll stop by the Tralf on Sunday for an 8 p.m. show. Expect an expansion on the stripped-down folk of the Indigo Girls -- on her own, Ray is much more experimental. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Tonight, the annual Irving Klaws Halloween Party inside Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.) will be even more wild and wacky than usual. That's because a sort of Buffalo rock supergroup -- comprising members of Girlpope and Doombuggy -- will assemble as the QC5. For what, you ask? Why, to kick out the jams, brothers and sisters! That's right, the QC5 will be performing a program of maniacal Motor City proto-punk and meaty metal, a la the MC5. Too cool. The evening will commence at 10 p.m., with a set from Queen City Station.

Wednesday, the folks behind the stellar lineup at the Town Ballroom will present an off-site show, as the much buzzed-about O'Death arrives at Mohawk Place for an 8 p.m. concert. Elliott Brood and Hoots & Hellmouth will open; $10 advance tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Finally, Soundlab (110 Pearl St.) has booked My Brightest Diamond and Clare & the Reasons for an 8 p.m. show on Sunday. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.


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