Buffalo Stance And Loudon Wainwright Iii Lead This Week's Concert Previews 

Buffalo Stance

Donna the Buffalo at 8 p.m. Thursday, September 25, at the Kent Stage

For the past 20 years, singer-multi-instrumentalist Tara Nevins and singer-guitarist Jeb Puryear have guided Donna the Buffalo through a sonic travelogue of American music, serving up a hybridized gumbo of bluegrass, rootsy rock, folk and country, spiced with exotic bits of Cajun and reggae. Considering the diverse genres that DTB draws upon and the freewheeling manner in which it interprets them - particularly with Nevins' Emmylou Harris/Dolly Parton/Natalie Merchant warble and Puryear's laconic Buddy Miller/Pat MacDonald delivery - the band has become a rootsy fave within the jam community. On Silverlined, Donna the Buffalo's latest album, the quintet does what it's always done exceedingly well, which is incorporate a broad range of styles into its soulful American blend. The beauty of DTB's presentation and the secret of its success and longevity is the purely organic way it weaves genres together without diluting them - from the Memphis soul reggae of "Temporary Misery" and the winsome 10,000 Maniacs/alt-country sway of "Locket and Key" (featuring banjo sensai Bela Fleck) to the roots-pop jangle of "Broken Record." All DTB's gifts are brought to bear on the Grateful Deadgrass lope of the title track and the kitchen sink joy of the album's high-spirited finale, "Forty Days and Forty Nights." Many bands can't generate this kind of enthusiasm and energy in half as much time and with half as many albums as Donna the Buffalo managed to sustain over the past two decades and seven studio albums. Check them out at 8 p.m. at the Kent Stage (175 E. Main St., 330.677.5005). Tickets: $20 advance, $23 day of show. - Brian Baker

Miss Kittin & the Hacker

It would be too easy to dismiss Miss Kittin & the Hacker as remnants of the abortive electroclash fad from earlier this decade. The shortsighted could also view the French duo as yet another mindless techno outfit. Thankfully, Caroline Herve (Miss Kittin) and Michel Amato (the Hacker) defy genre conventions. MKTH's take on electro replaces the mindless, put-your-hands-in-the-air club vibe with minimal rhythms and melodies. Amato's electronic wizardry, coupled with Herve's haunting vocals, creates a sound leaning more toward New Order and Cabaret Voltaire than Daft Punk. Does it sound like something Dieter from the classic Saturday Night Live sketch "Sprockets" would enjoy? Possibly. However, the duo balances its dead-serious musical delivery with a borderline-caustic sense of humor to fine effect. MKTH's live performances combine its sound with a stark take on the diva/studio genius fetish, with Amato looking ominous behind a stack of musical gear while the well-dressed Herve blurs the lines between diva and dominatrix. It's a combination that's earned them high-profile fans such as fashionista Karl Lagerfeld and Marilyn Manson. Since this is their only Ohio date, we recommend checking them out. "Sprockets" dance moves and outfits are optional. The show starts at 10 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., 216.321.5588). Tickets: $15. - Norm Narvaja

Emily Pinkerton

It's hard not to be enchanted with Emily Pinkerton's music when it takes you from the North American Midwest to the South American Andes. The ubiquitous guitar makes it accessible, but the Latin rhythms and language turn it into an exotic, luscious thing. Pinkerton went from Valparaiso, Indiana to Valparaiso, Chile as an exchange student, taking with her a love of old-time fiddle and banjo. She became a critically acclaimed performer, singing both American old-time music and tunes in the Andean singer-songwriter style of Violetta Parra. On her new CD Valparaiso, Pinkerton's singing (in both English and Spanish) straddles the cultures but could "pass" in either one: It's simple and clean, and lets the melody shine through. Pinkerton performs at 8 p.m. at the Phoenix Café (15108 Detroit Ave., 216.226.4401). - Michael Gill


Like early fan M.I.A.,ÊSantogoldÊfuses worldly rhythms to familiar pop structures. Her self-titled debut doesn't settle in one place long enough to be labeled, but that hasn't stopped folks from sticking her into one genre or another. Santi White - who's worked as a record-company A&R rep and written songs for Ashlee Simpson before her turn as Santogold - has grumbled about being called a hip-hop artist just because she's black. Yes, she raps, but she also yelps like a new-wave outcast, shakes it loose like a disco diva and makes a lot of rock-guitar noise like an avant-pop freak over the course of her album's dozen songs. It's a dizzy listen, jumping from one style to the next, but it's also one of the year's most vividly restless CDs. Be sure to get to her headlining show early for openers Low vs. Diamond, a Los Angeles band that likes its proclamations big and its riffs even bigger. Its self-titled debut rolls arena-shaking anthems into a hook-stuffed record that's equal parts classic-rock pomp and '90s-era alt-rock. Get ready to flash your cells in solidarity. Santogold and Low vs. Diamond play House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583) at 7 p.m. Tickets: $19.50-$22. - Michael Gallucci

Maria Muldaur & The Free Radicals

Age has definitely not softened this legendary Greenwich Village-born folksinger and fiddle player, who at 63 continues to fight for her beliefs - just as she did back in the '60s alongside Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and others protesting the Vietnam war and marching for women's rights. Muldaur recently borrowed Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" slogan (which the Democratic nominee in turn appropriated from the Spanish-language si, se puede created by late UFW labor activist Cezar Chavez) for the title of her latest CD, which is a collection of tunes that reflect on the need for peace and the horrors of war. Highlights include Dylan-penned gems like "Masters of War" and "License to Kill" alongside Norman Whitfield's "War" and Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues." For this project, Muldaur recruited longtime friends like Baez, Bonnie Raitt (who duets with her on the title track) and Jane Fonda in an effort she hopes "will inspire minds and hearts … and will become part of the soundtrack of change we must all become part of," as she states in the liner notes. Muldaur (born Maria D' Amato) began her musical career in the late '60s with the Jim Kweskin jug band in Boston alongside her husband Geoff Muldaur (their daughter, Jenni also contributes). After the couple split in 1972, she pursued a solo career - her 1974 pop hit "Midnight at the Oasis" is still a concert favorite, even though she goes into a jazzier direction in her live sets these days. On her current tour, she'll play material from Yes We Can while encouraging fans to get out and vote - the primary mission of her endeavor. Shows are at 7 and 9 p.m. at Nighttown (12387 Cedar Rd., 216.795.0550). Tickets: $20. - Ernest Barteldes

Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright III could easily be in the New Dylan dustbin by now, along with such '60s singer-songwriter wunderkinds as Eric Andersen and David Blue. His biggest hit - the left-field novelty smash "Dead Skunk" - charted back in 1972 and his son Rufus grabbed the family's spotlight from him a decade ago. But Wainwright's career has been on an upswing lately - a pleasantly surprising, although not undeserving, turn of events. Some of this higher visibility can be attributed to the "Apatow Effect." Wainwright co-starred in Judd Apatow's cult TV series Undeclared and the blockbuster film Knocked Up, which exposed him to new generations of audiences. And he has responded with some of his strongest work in years. Last year, he paired up with acclaimed musician/producer Joe Henry for Strange Weirdos. Part Knocked Up soundtrack, part solo album, it boasted such clear-eyed originals as "Grey In L.A." and "Valley Morning" plus a particularly heartfelt rendition of Peter Blegvad's "Daughter". They re-teamed on the recently released Recovery, which finds Wainwright "recovering" songs he originally recorded between 1969-74. Set against Henry's subtly textured arrangements, Wainwright wrings new poignancy from his youthful ditties like "The Drinking Song," "Motel Blues" and "Say That You Love Me," leavening his wicked wit with a fresh sense of mortality. This old folkie is no old fogy. Jim Bianco opens at 8 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $20 advance, $22 day of show. - Michael Berick


What will happen to the Jonas Brothers when they get old? If the steps the Hanson brothers have taken are any indication, they'll mature, get married and start their own independent record label. In other words, they'll be smart about fading from the limelight without giving up their passion. Isaac, Taylor and Zac are best known for 1997's Middle of Nowhere, an album of poppy, boy-band gems that includes the chart-topping "MMMBop." The boys are still around 11 years later with an impressively large fan base and a few tykes of their own. Hanson's latest release, The Walk, reflects the brothers' diversified style and matured taste. A children's choir they assembled on a visit to a Mozambique orphanage repeatedly sings "ngi ne themba," which translates to "I have hope," on the opening track. Songs like "Go" and "Georgia" are a little sweet, a little gritty and a lot unexpected from a trio of post-tween child stars. Hanson's set will include some of its newer tunes, late '90s Hanson classics, and covers of anything from U2 to Christina Aguilera. Hanson comes to Cleveland on its Walk Around the World Tour with the Veronicas and Everyone Else. The show starts at 8 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583). Tickets: $28.50-$39.50. - Danielle Sills

Helios Creed

Following an extended absence from touring, psychedelic guitar god Helios Creed returns for his first Cleveland appearance since the mid-1990s. Highly regarded as the axe-wielding acid guru of seminal '70s scuzz band Chrome, Creed's echoplexed fuzz riffs and brain-melting space effects spread like radiation sickness through the band's murkiest bomb shelter boogies. Dystopian shredders like "Nova Feedback" from 1978's Alien Soundtracks and "March of the Chrome Police (A Cold Clammy Bombing)" from 1979's Half Machine Lip Moves showcased Creed's knack for flanging Sabbath gruel licks in robot-slugging electro-synth squalls, emitting a thoroughly inhuman sound that remains distinct 30 years later. Though the original Chrome lineup split in 1983, resulting in singer-drummer Damon Edge plundering the name and releasing a bunch of mediocre Creed-less records until his death in 1995, this current incarnation (based on recent YouTube footage) will deliver all the old classics we crave, along with a tripped-out light show. Novices should check out the aforementioned Alien Soundtracks and Half Machine Lip Moves albums for some of the greatest apocalyptic dirge-rock ever recorded. Everything else (sans Creed's funkified acid-damaged solo records) is just bad industrial Goth music. Black Wolf and Guild Navigators open at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of show. - Steve Newton


Do you remember when Guns N' Roses reformed in 2000 with a new guitar player who sported a KFC bucket on his head? Well, that's Buckethead, a guitar player who started a solo career after his San Francisco-based metal/funk band, the Deli Creeps, broke up. Beginning with 1992's Bucketheadland, Buckethead has released a handful of solo records including 2005's Enter the Chicken, which was produced by System of a Down singer Serj Tankian. With a ridiculous backstory about being raised on a chicken farm, Buckethead has somehow created a mystique about himself that metalheads can't get enough of. While he claims his music is simply a soundtrack for his imaginary theme park, Bucketheadland, Buckethead combines metal and funk with lightning-speed guitar licks that lead into breaks of contrasting and more serene playing. If you're a Korn fan or even have a friend who's a Korn fan, you might enjoy Buckethead's music and maybe make a new friend or two at his upcoming show at the Agora Ballroom (5000 Euclid Ave., 216.881.6700). Tickets: $20 advance, $25 day of show. -Wes Dodd

Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby

Has there ever been a rock 'n' roll couple quite like Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric? These wisecracking, worldly and wise newlyweds are something like a cult-level version of Ray Davies and Chrissie Hynde or a poppier John Doe and Exene. For those needing an introduction, Wreckless Eric was part of the original Stiff Records crew along with Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. He created a number of cockeyed, cockney pop-punk tunes, most prominently the wonderfully ragged love plea "Whole Wide World" (which surfaced in the Will Ferrell comedy Stranger Than Fiction). Amy Rigby, on her distinctive solo albums, essayed life as a mod housewife-turned-single-mom on tart-tongued tunes like "Are We Ever Going to Have Sex Again?" and "Beer and Kisses." Their recently released duo disc (on Eric's old label, Stiff) showcases their strengths. Eric is by turns acerbic ("The Downside of Being a Fuck-up") and nostalgic (the Bowie/Hoople-referencing "Another Drive-In Saturday"). Amy dishes out the sartorial satire "Men in Sandals," while also revealing her maternal instincts on the beautiful Byrds-ian "Please Be Nice to Her". This will be something of a homecoming for Amy, who lived here before moving to France to be with Eric. It'll be interesting to see what they have to say about Cleveland, since neither is the shy, bashful type. The doors open at 8 p.m. at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $10. - Berick

Thee Oh Sees

With their 2008 release The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In, San Francisco rockers Thee Oh Sees have created some wild, weird but brilliant rock 'n' roll. If you've followed San Francisco's underground scene, you'd know that Oh Sees member John Dwyer is no poseur. He's been in other garage acts like Pink and Brown, the Hospitals and Coachwhips. The Oh Sees already have six records under their belts. With a psychedelic feel, the songs are well-written, and the recording captures something strange and different on every track. Whether it's the garage-style guitar riffs that are soaked for days in reverb or the spooky vocals of singer Brigid Dawson, this band accomplishes what so many bands screw up too often: It takes an old sound and makes it into a great record. If you like the Seeds, the Sonics or even the B-52's, you'll love Thee Oh Sees. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. at Pats in the Flats (2233 W. Third St., 216.621.8044). Tickets: $6. - Dodd


How would you feel if you had a last name directly associated with traditional fiddle playing in rural Finland? This is the case of Frigg, whose core members Alina, Esko and Antti J...rvell... hail from the village of J...rvell... (reportedly, as tradition goes over there, one's last name reflects his or her birthplace) - the joke being that children from that area are born with the instrument in their hands. Fortunately, that is pretty much where the buck stops. This 11-piece ensemble borrows from different regional influences, ranging from Norway, the Balkans, Ireland and even Louisiana, a state it visited a few years back when it participated in the Festival International de Lafayette. From the experience it had there, the group composed "Polka International de Louisiane," a tune that incorporates Cajun and bluegrass elements into its own style, which can be heard on Economy Class, its latest CD. The music it makes isn't exactly traditional per se, as it takes in several different influences: For instance, "When the Time Comes I'll Be Ready" seems to bring forth the musicians' classical training, making you wonder how Beethoven's sonatas would have sounded if he had been a folk musician. The title track was inspired by a trip taken by Antti that made him realize his insignificance in the realm of world travel. He's not melancholic about it, though - the uptempo song sounds like an old-time barnyard party in the early days of rock 'n' roll Ð possibly stemming from its writer's reflection of better times in the skies. If the band sounds as good live as it does on disc, it should be a friggin' good time for all who attend. Shows are at 7 and 9 p.m. at Nighttown (12387 Cedar Rd., 216.795.0531). Tickets: $20. - Barteldes

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