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Hardcore heaven

One of the most surprising bookings of our summer concert season finds Tool/A Perfect Circle braintrust Maynard James Keenan leading his side project Puscifer at the Riviera Theatre (67 Webster St., North Tonawanda) at 8 p.m. Wednesday. We haven't had the pleasure of seeing the mercurial Keenan leading his various ensembles in our neck of the woods for quite some time, and the current Puscifer tour is not a particularly lengthy one. So, to be blunt, we're pretty lucky to be getting this show!

If you are not familiar with Puscifer, I'd recommend you check out the group's latest effort, "Conditions of My Parole." It's at once humorous, irreverent, poignant and deeply musical. Don't expect the wall of progressive metal that Tool so ably crafts from this project. Elements of electronic and ambient music share space with fat grooves and meaty rock riffs in the Puscifer melting pot, and the vocal melodies are invariably compelling.

See and hear for yourself, at www.Puscifer.com, where you can sample some streaming tracks, scope out some blog items, and get a general feel for the slightly surreal world the band inhabits. Tickets are $35.50 to $42.50 (www.rivieratheatre.org). British singer and songwriter Carina Round -- who doubles as a member of the touring version of Puscifer -- will open the show.

-- Jeff Miers