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3 can't-miss shows: Rock for the Cure, Trampled by Turtles, Indie Nights with Nick & Ben

Rock for the Cure, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25, the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.), $20-$25.

Canadian music icon Ron Hawkins (Lowest of the Low, the Do-Good Assassins) has been tabbed to headline this year's Rock for the Cure benefit concert.

A longtime favorite of local music fans, Hawkins has been making a habit of selling out the Town Ballroom on Thanksgiving Eve with the rest of Lowest of the Low over the last few years. In 2019, the band released "AgitPop," its sixth record since bursting onto the Toronto music landscape with its 1991 classic "Shakespeare My Butt ... ."

Fans of the beloved Canadian group may want to bring their checkbooks along for the ride as two guitars signed by Hawkins and members of Lowest of the Low will be auctioned off during the event.

Additional performances will be delivered by local acts Grace Stumberg Band and the Kensingtons. The latter was named as the Band of the Year by the Sportsmen's Americana Music Foundation in 2018.

Proceeds collected at the fifth annual event will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society via the Against the Storm Foundation. Since the event's inaugural run in 2015, the benefit concert has helped to raise nearly $40,000 for the LLS.

Trampled by Turtles, 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.), $30.

Frenetic bluegrass outfit Trampled by Turtles will be returning to downtown Buffalo with a performance at the Tralf Music Hall.

The Minnesota-bred roots band returned to the road at the start of the year as it continues to tour in support of its well-received 2018 effort "Life is Good on the Open Road." The re-energized album was the group's first batch of new music in four years, a comeback record of sorts as frontman Dave Simonett put TbT on hold in 2016 to focus on his indie-rock side project Dead Man Winter.

Before the decade wrapped up, Trampled by Turtles shared a six-track collection of covers, the first in a hopeful series, titled "Sigourney Fever." The EP features string-laced, acoustic takes on tracks by acts like the Faces, Neil Young and Radiohead.

“We are getting back into the readiness of making a full record,” Simonett said in a previously released interview with American Songwriter. “Right now, I’m starting to write, but it’s kind of a limbo time. This is sort of like an appetizer for us.”

Opening the evening will be tour mates Them Coulee Boys. The Wisconsin-based alt-folk outfit's most recent record, "Die Happy," dropped last summer.

Indie Nights with Nick & Ben: a 2000s Dance Party, 10 p.m. Jan. 23 at Mr. Goodbar (1110 Elmwood Ave.), free.

Mr. Goodbar's resident dance series will be presenting a 20-year musical retrospect.

After moving on from former party crew Dance Yrself Clean, the DJ duo of Nick Muldoon and Ben Parsons have since assumed control of the bar's Thursday night programming, paving a unique identity while giving a respectful nod to its veteran local influences.

"I spent most of my early 20s going to events like Transmission and Communist dance parties which had an eclectic mix, but catered to an audience that wanted to hear more niche artists, and we see ourselves in that tradition," Muldoon said. "I’d say we separate ourselves, though, with a willingness to go off books and fully commit to a theme or concept, not just in the music but in decor, costumes and video projections to try and make it a really special, unique night."

If you have yet to attend an Indie Nights dance party, Muldoon tends to keep the spirit of the series' namesake for his well-curated playlists with mainstream hits usually taking a back seat.

"Independent music is what traditionally tends to go over best with our audience with a mix of electronic and hip-hop," he said.

The last 20 years have given the pair plenty of options to play around with for this latest event.

"It’s gonna be a pretty diverse mix and of course I’m excited to play artists like the Strokes or Outkast," he said, "but honestly, at events like this, it’s often most fun just playing some more random one-hit wonders like ‘Move Your Feet’ by Junior Senior or ‘Days Go By’ by Dirty Vegas."

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