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Hard Rock results

The Niagara Falls band Whiskey Reverb has taken top honors in the local round of the annual Hard Rock rising contest. The band is now facing 85 contest winners from other regions and the winner of that round will be flown to London, England, to perform at the 2012 Hard Rock Calling show, which will be headlined this year by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Kudos, guys!

Get involved and let your opinion be heard by visiting the Hard Rock Niagara Falls Facebook page ( where you'll find free tracks for download from the competing bands. Listen, ruminate, then cast your vote. Online voting ends April 24. Once the voting has narrowed the field down to 10 combatants, a panel of judges including Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band will select the top three winners.


Strong 'End'

Montreal's Plants and Animals arrives for a show at 9 p.m. Thursday in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.) hot on the heels of the release of an epic new platter, "The End of That." It's an album that seems to ignore the fact that it will be heard largely in the digital domain, crammed onto an iPhone for space-saving, on-the-go listening, or blasting from computer speakers incapable of capturing and presenting its majesty. I love that.

"The End Of That" wants to believe that we still receive a "new record" from a great band with a certain amount of reverence, ceremony and ritual.

The disc blends indie-rock intimacy with a sort of dimly lit grandiosity. It's clearly a record that was fretted over, worried about, lovingly coddled into existence by a trio of dudes -- Warren Spicer on guitar and vocals; Matthew Woodley, drums and vocals; and Nicolas Basque on guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals -- hellbent on turning their talents toward something worthy of those talents.

If you like newer Wilco, My Morning Jacket, indie-rock long on melody and often bathed in lambent reverb, songs that build slowly toward a chorus that inevitably achieves some sort of lift-off -- well, this one's for you. Tickets are $8 advance (


Fameus beats

Disco Biscuits drummer Allen Aucoin earned the dubious sobriquet Dr. Fameus while attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. Seems Aucoin had a bit of trouble making it to class on time and was awarded a mock-doctorate by his fellow musos for his efforts. Aucoin went on to teach percussion, and gigs in and around Boston eventually led to a show with techno-jam collective the Disco Biscuits. Within the framework of that revered band, Aucoin perfected his skills as a human drum machine, nailing relentless techno beats and grooves, gliding effortlessly into dub-reggae motifs, and always, always, always improvising.

All of this activity put him in good stead to fill downtime away from the Disco Biscuits, for which activities Aucoin resurrected his old college nickname. Dr. Fameus brings his side project to Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar (253 Allen St.) at 10 tonight. Tickets are $7.


Gig pics

Popa Chubby plays blues-rock with a New York City attitude. Which means that, when you head to the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.) at 8 tonight, you should prepare to be confronted, not coddled. This guy can bring it. Tickets are $22 (box office, Walmart).

Aqueous arranged a weekend of gig swapping with its Rochester pals, Twiddle. Tonight, Twiddle hosts Aqueous at Rochester's Dubland Underground. At 10 p.m. Saturday in Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.), Aqueous returns the favor, presiding over a bill with Twiddle and Slip Madigan.

A benefit for area musician and music educator Dick Griffo, who is facing excessive medical bills due to a considerable health challenge, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Iris Restaurant (4224 Maple Road, Amherst). Music is by Phil DeRe' & Buffalo Bop featuring drummer Dan Hull, saxophonists Bobby Militello and DeRe', trumpeter Richie Merlo, bassist Sabu Adeyola and pianist George Caldwell.