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John Mellencamp, one of the most notoriously cranky and curmudgeonly men in all of rock ’n’ roll, is really a romantic at heart. Which may be why he has been able to pen tales of the doomed aspirations of world-weary travelers with such devastating incisiveness for so long. Seriously. Mellencamp’s best songs make the Book of Ecclesiastes seem like light summer reading. There is no hope, fellow humans. Now let’s rock.

Mellencamp is taking a break from recording a new studio album to hit the road for a few weeks this summer, and we’re lucky enough to be getting a tour stop in Western New York for the first time in many years. Mellencamp and his band perform at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Events Center in the Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls.

Tickets range from $95 to $195 (Ticketmaster). If those prices seem high, well, that’s because they are. But if you’re a Mellencamp-head, take heart from the fact that, when the tour started last week, Mellencamp’s set lists were very impressive, ranging from deep-cut gems like “Human Wheels” to the classic ’80s radio hits that everyone knows, and most everyone loves.

– Jeff Miers