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Torche at One Eyed Jacks 

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Steve Brooks lives in Miami, sings and plays guitar in two rock bands, and is openly gay. None of these things is particularly newsworthy until you take note of exactly which bands: Torche, whose last two hard-rock portmanteaus, 2008's mazelike Meanderthal and April's sky-soaring, earth-boring Harmonicraft (Volcom), have cemented Brooks as a one-of-a-kind pop/metal conduit; and Floor, the fire-breathing 1990s behemoth, recently reawakened (its thirdish reunion) and set loose on occasion for impulsive midnight snacking. This scorched landscape wouldn't seem the most hospitable venue for a sexual revolution, but heavy metal's underlying principles — acceptance of outcasts, the power of shared catharsis — scream the opposite. It's a brave and inspiring story for metal musicians still in the closet, yet as Brooks told Seattle newspaper The Stranger after Meanderthal's release, it has little to do with his music. ("About the gayest I'll get is the Smiths," he said.) Harmonicraft pushes change in another direction: "Letting Go" and "Kicking" launch with air-show vocals and a double-helix, twin-guitar attack, while soloing showboaters "Reverse Inverted" and "Snakes are Charmed" are master classes in how to craft hooks without sacrificing impact. As for "Kiss Me Dudely," well, it's only the most headbanging paean to homosexuality since Faith No More's "Be Aggressive." "Hand in Glove," meet out and loud. Solid Giant, Ponykiller and The Dropout open. Tickets $12. — Noah Bonaparte Pais


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