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3 can't-miss shows: Slocan Ramblers, Mallwalkers, Johnny Dowd

Slocan Ramblers, 7 p.m. Dec. 5, Sportsmens Tavern (326 Amherst St.), $10.

Canadian bluegrass outfit Slocan Ramblers will be paying a visit to the Black Rock venue.

The Juno-recognized roots act will be passing through town as it continues to tour in support of its celebrated 2019 effort "Queen City Jubilee." The record, which landed a nominee for Traditional Roots Album of the Year at the Canadian awards show, is a frenzied collection of throwback Americana originals and traditional genre cuts that should appeal to fans of Caamp, Old Crow Medicine Show, early Avett Brothers and even Buffalo's Folkfaces.

Already a festival staple throughout Canada, the group's short upstate New York string of dates aims to introduce new audiences to the band's intense and raucous live performances.

Mallwalkers, 8 p.m. Dec. 6, Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.), $10.

After nine years, Buffalo punk-funk powerhouse Mallwalkers will be playing its final show this weekend at Mohawk Place with La Never and DJ Reazon on as support.

Influenced by the likes of Sly & the Family Stone and the B-52's, the nine-member, horn-heavy band has morphed from an idea into collaborative unit during its nearly decadelong run.

"I think everyone in the band has a different idea of what the band is and how the band functions and I think that malleability has given everyone sort of a creative stake in the band," said founding member and bass player Stephen Floyd. "But the openness of the band has always given me something to daydream about while I'm bored at work. The potential of the band was always something to look forward to."

Fans hoping for new Mallwalkers material won't be left disappointed. "Do Something Drastic," the follow-up to 2013's excellent "Dial M for Mallwalkers," is set to drop this spring, while the album's first cut "Me Without You" is already streaming.

"We recorded what will be our final record at Mammoth Studio and I think we're all happy with the final result," Floyd said. "We really set out to make a more sonically diverse recording than the sort of 'live-in-the-studio' records we previously had made. I think the band has always been an excellent live band but capturing that on record has been a tough nut to crack."

From its early days as a "musical oddity in Buffalo's punk and hardcore scene" to opening for the likes of Screaming Females and Downtown Boys, Mallwalkers did right by its genre while leaving a lasting legacy on the local DIY scene.

"I hope we've made good on the promise of punk is whatever you want it to be and that there is power in confounding expectations on what a band looks or sounds like," Floyd said. "I think my 'rose-colored glasses' version of the band is playing bass and watching people who were maybe initially puzzled by the band and are now dancing or embracing it by the end of the set."

Johnny Dowd, 7 p.m. Dec. 7, Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.), $7.

Experimental alt-country artist Johnny Dowd will be posting up at Mohawk Place for a set Saturday night.

The influential Ithaca musician is back on the road to perform songs from his well-received March effort "Family Picnic." The record once again finds the seasoned Dowd delivering a dark and avant-garde take on Americana, full of noise, black humor and twisted tales of love and murder.

Those unfamiliar with Dowd's brand of roots music of should look to fellow left-of-the-dial genre acts like Palace Music, Songs: Ohia and Lambchop for comparison.

Ithaca-based glam-rocker Kurt Riley also will be featured on the bill with local support provided by dreamy post-rock outfit Which Witch and minimal guitar rock group Rabbit Jaw.

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