As human beings we need to constantly evolve. Exposing yourself to new and different things is healthy and a great way to expand your intelligence, philosophy and overall well-being. You might not like Merlot the first time you try it, but you can’t drink Boones Farm the rest of your life. Eventually it gets embarrassing. Here are some musical acts that are rocking local concert halls this Fall/Winter. Any one of these experiences will break the monotony of your predictable life and more importantly…these acts will expand your musical palette:

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    Saturday, November 26th @Town Ballroom

    Mastadon is the type of band that makes you feel like you need to take a shower after you listen to them. If you asked any of their millions of faithful fans to use one word to describe their sound, the majority response would be “sludgy”. This 4 piece Atlanta based metal extravaganza makes Korn and Slipnot look like Hall and Oates. If you had a bad day/week/life this is the supersonic, ear drum-rupturing therapy that your troubled soul needs to reset itself. Don’t fear the crowd at this show, after mastodon pulls the thorn out of their collective paws they will be like little sleepy kittens..and so will you. []

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    An Evening w/ Guitar Masters

    Thursday, October 27th @The Tralf Music Hall

    Watching guitarists like Andy McKee, Stephen Bennett, and Antoine Dufour showcase their fret board wizardry is quite humbling. I consider myself to be a pretty competent guitar player and watching these guys noodle is simultaneously inspirational and degrading. Andy McKee’s effortless style and impeccable groove is jaw dropping while watching through my computer screen, seeing it live will be quite a spectacle. Do yourself a favor and Youtube his work, if you aren’t immediately impressed there is something wrong with your ears. Go see a doctor. []

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    Russian Circles

    Sunday, November 13th @ Soundlab

    Normally any group that uses heavy sampling and effects to mask their ineptness to play a real instrument infuriates me and lumps them in with DJ’s as my least favorite “artists”. Russian Circles is NOT that kind of band. This band will make you feel emotions you didn’t know you possess, and will tell you things no one has ever come close to telling you; and without a singer. This instrumental three piece from the windy city have mastered the art of the crescendo and to date are still one of the best live acts I have had the opportunity to experience. It IS an experience. Look around at the people in the crowd while Russian Circles are emitting frequencies humans should not be capable of creating; the crowd is in a trance that cannot be broken. []

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    Handsome Jack

    Friday, November 4th @ Mohawk Place

    I admit that Buffalo’s Handsome Jack sticks out like a compound fracture on this list, but it is on it for good reason. This band seamlessly blends classic blues/rock of old with fresh indie swagger. Their raw talent and originality is quite uncommon for bands of their genre. Lead guitar player Jamison Passuite puts on a guitar slaying seminar every time he hits the stage, he is worth the price of admission alone. There is something magical about being able to stand 5 feet away from dudes jamming this hard and not have to fight a crowd. []

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    The Trews

    Friday, November 25th @ Town Ballroom

    Straight outta Toronto The Trews are a real feel good story after landing their big break by winning a local radio contest. While opening up for the poop sandwich Kid Rock this summer they have undoubtedly gained a gigantic fan base, but these are just no frills straight forward rockers that know how to write catchy tunes. Just like Oasis this two headed monster of brother/brother rock does not even comprehend disappointing their live crowd. Colin MacDonald’s swagger as a frontman is the anchor of the band, but they are well rounded and very competent entertainers. Get as close as you possibly can and soak in the melodic waves of sound. []