Though rap-rock is one of the most widely denigrated musical novelties to emerge in the late ’90s, there’s no doubting that, for a brief moment at least, it offered something strikingly innovative and a true alternative to the standard stuff heard on the radio. While bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers were early innovators, rap-rock didn’t really become a viable format until bands started approaching the style with a simple layering of freestyle rap over heavy guitars. But there were a few artists who took an additional gamble and merged the already fusion-heavy style with even more layers — like 311, whose sound tied together the tough immediacy of rap-metal with a lighter foil of reggae soul and melodic vocals. The band even incorporated elements of dub, with tight drums and some spacious, echo-heavy moments coupled with pulsing bass-lines. 311’s new album, Uplifter, finds the guys treading familiar water. Then again, this kind of high-energy blend has always fares better onstage. Ziggy Marley and the Expendables get the conscious party started at 6:30 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Amphitheater (351 Canal Rd., 216.522.4822). Tickets: $39.50. — Nicholas Hall
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