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Your Favorite Music

From blues to rock, jazz to hip-hop and even country, Buffalo does it all, and though it can be hard to filter out the gold from the garbage, the people of the Queen City have narrowed it down to their top fives. With a wide variety of sounds and styles, you’ve probably caught some of these acts performing everywhere from the suburbs to Chippewa or the Sportsmen’s Tavern to Soundlab. The output is huge here, and this year is no different, with veterans like gypsy jazz group Babik and hard-edged blues-rockers like the Mick Hayes Band making the cut, and newcomers like hip-hop mixer DJ DStar and indie rockers Colors in the Air sticking out, too.

This is the soundtrack to our city. Peruse the list, check them out, and decide for yourself, but remember, these are local artists and they have souls, so please pay for their music!

­—cory perla

Nominees listed in no particular order. Winners will be announced at the Artvoice Best of Buffalo Party, Monday, May 9, 6-9pm, at Town Ballroom.

Best Acoustic Act Tom Stahl
No Excuses
Dee Adams
The Leftovers
Erin Sydney Welsh
Best Blues Act Mark Winsick
Mick Hayes Band
Junkyard Dogs
Todd Eberwine Band
Jony James Band
Best Classical Musician Roman Mekinulov
Mir Ali
Doreen Rao
JoAnn Falletta
Michael Ludwig
Best DJ DJ Cutler
Scott Down
DJ Lil’ Joe
DJ DStar
Angelo Petrucci
Best Country Act 90 West
Stone Country
Bareback Jack
Skiffle Minstrels
West of the Mark
Best Hip Hop Act DJ Heat
BloodThirsty Vegans
Billy Drease Williams
A. J. Jordan
Supreme General
Best Jazz Act Bobby Militello
Custode & Parisi
Taylor Made Jazz
Best Original Music Act BloodThirsty Vegans
Whiskey Reverb
Colors in the Air
Christina Custode and Rerun
The Albrights
Best Rock Act Colors in the Air
Hit ’n’ Run
Free Henry
Best Male Vocalist Jason Urbaniak
Mark Valentino
Joe Donohue
Jim Candytree
Lew Custode
Best Female Vocalist Christina Custode
Lana Herget, Black Widow
Erin Sydney Welsh
Kelly Wahl
Katie Panfill, Stone Row
Best Vocal Ensemble Vocalis
Buffalo Choral Arts Society
Buffalo Gay Men’s Choir
Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus
Harmonia Chamber Choir
Best Open Mic Monday at Sportsmen’s Tavern
Thursday at Merge
Wednesday at Broadway Joe’s
Monday at Nietzsche’s
Monday at Allen Street Hardware
Best Soundman Jesse Redjewski
Joe Tall
John Shatwell
Kenny Maggs
Scott Nichols

AV Editor's Picks

Best One Man Band

Shapes Of States

Performing as a one-man band is not an easy task, especially if your main instrument is a drum kit and your genre of choice is IDM (Intelligent Dance Music). Just ask Geoffrey Peters, a.k.a. Shapes of States. When this guy takes the stage he simultaneously rocks complex break beats on his drum kit while syncing up a loop station and swelling synthesizer chords from his MicroKorg. One handed drumming? No problem for Peters, but I dare you to try it.


Black Umbrella

One part the Smiths, one part Smashing Pumpkins, Black Umbrella take twee pop melodies and crush them together with whispery, harsh vocals to create a sound with roots in 1980s and 1990s rock. Check out their track “Peach Fuzz” and hit the repeat button.

Best Indie Rock Band


Even if your Best of Buffalo ballot didn’t reflect it, Buffalo has a thriving indie rock scene. One of the hidden gems of this scene is Lemuria, a band that has been working hard for the better part of the last decade, recently releasing a full-length record, Pebble, on Bridge Nine Records. Look for it at local record stores like Spiral Scratch.

Most Missed

Mark Freeland

This award will always go to Mark Freeland and Electroman. Freeland passed away in 2007 but we were graced with his brand of electro-rock for over 25 years beginning with his first band Pegasus. Now, every year around his birthday the music scene celebrates his life with Electrorespect, a tribute to Mark Freeland. Check it out at Nietzsche’s on April 30.

Best Alternative Rock Act

Free Henry

Mixing rock ’n’ roll with jazz rhythms and a jam band vibe, Free Henry are the epitome of alt-rock in Buffalo. Their sound is straight-forward and guitar-driven, matched with poetic lyrics, which makes them a natural pick for one of Buffalo’s best. Now all they need is more cowbell.

Band Most Likely To Drink You Under The Table

The Fucking Hotlights

They’re loud and you can barely understand them while they’re tearing their shirts off on stage, but the Fucking Hotlights know rock-’n’-f-n’-roll. Naturally, with a deep knowledge of that comes a lot of booze. I would not like to be on the other end of a game of Liquid Hell against these guys.

Best of Buffalo 2011 Nominees

Our City, Our People
The Fine Arts
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The 2011 Winners List

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