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For the past two years, Blue Shift has been gradually building a name for itself as one of the finer progressive-leaning independent bands in town. The group – singer Robb Hunt, keyboardist Jon Rizzo, drummer Dan Caruso, bassist Nick Brokaw and guitarist Sean Quigley – claims as its main influences the stylistically diverse likes of Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Tool, Genesis and Yes, but the resulting hybrid comes across as a compelling prog-funk stew that should appeal to fans of jam bands and prog-rockers alike.

Part of Blue Shift’s appeal can be pinpointed to vocalist Hunt, who sings in a clear, unaffected tone that forms a nice counterpoint to the band’s busy, complex rhythms and the gritty guitar tones favored by Quigley. This compelling fusion can be heard during tunes such as “Rampant Reign” and “In a Decade Passed …,” both of which revel in ambitious arrangements and sophisticated interplay between the musicians.

Blue Shift performs at 9 p.m. Saturday in Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.).

You can sample the band’s songs through its Reverb Nation page, at www.reverbnation.com/blueshiftwny.

Falgiano’s new disc

For his eighth release, singer/songwriter Rob Falgiano moves further from the elegant folk-pop he’s long been associated with toward a decidedly more R&B-informed approach. “Nice Mouth” finds Falgiano joined by his full-time live band – guitarist Mike Criscione, bassist Jonathan Hughes and drummer Roy Hangen, all long-serving Buffalo music scene luminaries – as well as guest contributors including singer Dee Adams, keyboardists Ronnie Davis and Joe Rozler and drummer Eric Starr. In his self-penned news release accompanying the new disc, Falgiano states that the “main influences on the new record include James Brown, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, the Robert Glasper Experiment, Q-Tip and Esperanza Spalding.” This immersion in soul-jazz and funk stylings has clearly loosened Falgiano’s approach and encouraged him to emphasize the groove in his music. The result is the most immediately embraceable release of Falgiano’s career.

A CD release show celebrating the arrival of “Nice Mouth” takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.). The Rob Falgiano Band will be joined by guests Will Holton and Walter Kemp. Tickets are $10 advance, $13.50 day of show (box office).

Pearl Jam weekend

The newly opened Iron Works (49 Illinois St.) celebrates its second week in business by paying tribute to Pearl Jam, just as that legendary band arrives for a show at First Niagara Center. On Friday, Iron Works welcomes Western New York Pearl Jam tribute band Mookie Blaylock for a full set in anticipation of Saturday’s First Niagara Center show. On Saturday, Mookie Blaylock returns for a pre-Pearl Jam acoustic gig, beginning at 6 p.m., and a post-gig, full electric show, beginning as soon as the Pearl Jam show lets out.

Jam-band bottleneck

Considering the popularity of jam bands in our city, this had to happen eventually. Fans of improvisation-heavy sounds will have to make a choice tonight. Progressive funk/rock/dance/jam outfit Dopapod and Buffalo’s Space Junk will be playing the Waiting Room (334 Delaware Ave.) beginning at 8 tonight. (Tickets are $15 at the door, or through MNMpresents.com or ECEpresents.com.) Note: Although patrons were evacuated from the club during last Thursday’s Streetlight Manifesto show due a buckling floor beam that compromised safety, owners say they have fixed the problem, and all shows will indeed be taking place.

Over in the Theater District, Rochester’s Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad will be taking over the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.), beginning at 9 p.m. Admission is $15 (box office, Ticketmaster). Whether you choose to party with Dopapod or GPGDS, there’s only one official after-party for the two shows, and it takes place at 10 p.m. in the Tudor Lounge (335 Franklin St.). Buffalo’s “carnivorous space funk” ensemble Universe Shark will be hosting, and admission is free.

Alt-rock redux

A celebration of classic power-pop and alt-rock takes place at 8 p.m. Monday in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.) when Fountains of Wayne, Soul Asylum and Evan Dando of the Lemonheads share a bill. Tickets are $29 advance, $34 day of show (box office, Ticketmaster).

email: jmiers@buffnews.com