Sugar so sweet

When Gordie Johnson walked away from Big Sugar almost a decade back, abandoning his native Toronto for sessions as a performer and producer in Texas, the world became a less funky place. After all, Johnson and Big Sugar's high-decibel blend of heavy blues, hard rock, reggae, soul and pop was a breath of fresh air from the first moment it emerged in the midst of the grunge era, and had remained as much, as time and trend went by the wayside.

External forces had their way however. "When committee decision-making started to encroach upon our creativity, I could see it was time to split," writes our man in the band bio accompanying Big Sugar's "reunion" album, "Revolution Per Minute," an effort that can only be received as a more-than-welcome return to form and fury for the band.

So Big Sugar is back, and perhaps better than ever. That means the group has returned to doing what it does best -- tearing up concert stages with ferociously funky guitar workouts and deep, dub-friendly grooves.

Big Sugar, with guests blues-rock trio Wide Mouth Mason (Johnson performs double-duty, as frontman with Big Sugar and bassist with Wide Mouth) performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls). Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of show. Find them through


Locating the Source

Continuing their slow-burn buildup, the members of "Sci-Fi Middle Eastern Funk" trio Consider the Source will return to Buffalo for, what, their seventh gig in the four years they've been playing in town? During that time, the group has caught the attention of many an instrumental music aficionado, based on the jaw-dropping intensity of its live performance interplay and the face-melting virtuosity of its collective skill.

Fans in Germany and Israel are the latest world citizens to feel the CTS force -- the band is fresh back from stints in both of those countries, which leads one to believe that the three-piece will be in fighting form when it convenes at 10 p.m. Saturday in Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.).

Buffalo's modern progressive powerhouses Aqueous and the Left Hand of Darkness will open. Tickets are $8 advance, $10 day of show, and can be found through


Local honors

The annual Buffalo Night-Life Music and Club Awards take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Page's Paradise Island (4701 Transit Road, Depew). In addition to the more than 60 awards and various Special Achievement inductions, look for live music from the Blues Hounds, Black Widow, Passion Works, Supercharger, Vincent James Explosion, and a special reunion of Highwire.


Gig picks

A "Rock the Vote for Liberty" concert takes place at Club W (199 Delaware Ave.) beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday and carrying on through 1 a.m. Organizers claim that the show is being presented in celebration of political and ideological common ground, noting that "Liberty is the solution where prosperity, employment, stable prices and security are answered." There will be 14 bands performing throughout the event. A full schedule is available through

Hit the Lights plays at 9:30 tonight in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.).

Easton Corbin is at the Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls) at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $26.80 (box office, Ticketmaster).

"We are the 99%," a fundraiser/concert in support of the Occupy Buffalo protesters -- aimed at "raising funds to keep them warm and fed through the winter" -- takes place downstairs at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery starting at 6 p.m. Sunday. A donation of $9.90 -- or 99 cents for unemployed or low-income attendees -- will grant admission for music from the Fibs, the 1 2/8 Path Band and Five to One, as well as refreshments and a holiday auction.