Them heavy people

Rochester's Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, in addition to boasting one of the most delightfully surreal band names on the jam band scene, has become a major force to be reckoned with. The group blends roots, rock, reggae, dub and a seriously (and delightfully) skewed take on inter-band improvisation with considerable vim and vigor.

The band's secret, if I might be so bold to assume I'm interpreting the Dub Squad's art in a reasonable manner, seems to be its ability to surprise both itself and its audience on a continuous basis. This is, of course, harder than it looks, and shouldn't necessarily be tried at home by anyone with a strictly regulated sense of the acceptable. Seriously. Don't go "way out there" until you're ready.

The Dub Squad has been ready for a good while now, obviously, and can by this point claim a loyal underground audience all across the country. But the band's Western New York shows remain special, gigs swathed in the warm sense of homecoming that a traveling band grows to crave over time. Saturday's show in Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.) promises to be such an event. Giant Panda will take the stage following an opening set from one of my favorite newer Buffalo bands, Universe Shark, which you would be absolutely foolish to miss. Plan on making a night of it. Admission will be $12 at the door.


Gig picks

Speaking of serious musicianship, an instrumental powerhouse comprised of some of the area's finest players gathers tonight in the Wagon Wheel (7201 Niagara Falls Blvd.). WHKT -- that's bassist Jim Wynne, guitarist Jamie Holka, singer Dave Thurman and drummer Corey Kertzie -- take over the venue between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Admission is free!

Beginning at 8 tonight over at the Tudor Lounge (335 Franklin St.), the Willie Haddath Band will be joined by guest Doug Yeomans for some high-octane blues.

Widow Maker brings the metal to Finnians Bar & Grill (1191 Lincoln Ave., Lockport) at 10 tonight.

Skiffle Minstrels play the Armor Inn Tap Room (5381 Abbott Road, Hamburg) at 10 tonight.

Beginning at 6 tonight in Nietzsche's, prior to the fifth annual "Garbaz presents the Dark Side of Allen St." Pink Floyd tribute, the Outlyers will perform a no-cover happy hour show. Later in the week, the same club will host the Thrillblains (8 p.m. Wednesday) and then the BuffaloBlog Holiday Party, which will find Roger Bryan and the Orphans, Wooden Waves, the Wakos, Bryan Johnson and Family and DJ Mario Bee gathering at 10 p.m. next Friday.

See you at a show!