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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's picks for the week: Face to Face & Strung Out, performing at the Town Ballroom on Wednesday, May 11.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out our new and improved events calendar on-line for complete event listings, a location guide to find your way about the city, restaurant reviews, and more.

Face to Face with Strung Out

Wednesday, May 11

When I was in high school I had a Face to Face sticker stuck right in the middle of my bass guitar. To me they were a band that bridged the gap between punk and pop-punk—melodic, but fast, aggressive yet still relatable. Their formula is simple; fast punk-rock drums, three chord guitar riffs, and the gruffy vocals of tattooed frontman Trever Keith. That tried and true simplicity has always been a perfect canvas for their angsty lyrics and physical sound. Albums like their 1996 self-titled, with songs like “Resignation” and “Blind,” helped define skate punk in the 1990s along with bands like Pennywise and Greenday. But Face to Face has always taken their music seriously, never getting too goofy like peers in the Offspring or the Vandals. Instead the four piece has kept it personal with tracks like their radio hit “Disconnected” from 1994’s Big Choice. The band went on hiatus in 2004 after releasing How to Ruin Everything, an ode to early 1990s punk band Propagandhi, and the first album since their debut recorded without guitarist Chad Yaro. In 2008 the band reunited with members from their Ignorance is Bliss era and will release their first album in nine years, Laugh Now, Laugh Later, on May 17. On Wednesday (May 11) Face to Face will team up with another popular 1990s skate punk band, Strung Out, to perform live at the Town Ballroom. Formed in 1992, Strung Out was born in Simi Valley, California, a mere two hour drive from Face to Face’s birthplace of Victorville California. Their closeness in proximity is reflected in their very similar punk rock style, though Strung Out often takes on a slightly grittier sound. If you’re looking for some California skate punk, this is a two for one sale. —cory perla

7pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $20 advance, $24 day of show.

Friday, May 6

The Ruby Spirit

It’s all about how you put it together and Toronto’s the Ruby Spirit seem to have the pieces in place. Their stylish yet substantial blend of arty punk, cabaret pop, guitar rock verve, and electronic slaps proves a potent combination. At the center is singer Paige Boy: a theatrical frontwoman spectacle, part Deborah Harry, part Siouxsie Sioux. Boy and guitarist Alex Pulec wrote all of the material for the band’s 2010 debut EP, Born Under A Veil, that’s a sexy, stylized five-track release that bursts with smart, dancey rock hooks. The band has been garnering a strong following at home in Toronto with packed club shows and choice supporting slots, including one with Crystal Castles. The Ruby Spirit will finally make their Buffalo debut while in the midst of commuting between Toronto and Manhattan, where the band has been doing residencies to take their next step on their seemingly unstoppable path to stardom. Speaking of unstoppable: there is a force from Columbus, Ohio called Branden Barnett. While Barnett’s day job is singing and playing guitar in front of pop savant quartet Ghost Shirt he’s been hard at work on material for his solo record Verse Chorus Curse, which he is slated to record locally this spring with Matt Smith at Hi Lo studio. Barnett can also be credited with aiding singer/songwriter Max Sollisch a.k.a. Dolfish—who has been gaining wide acclaim in the blogosphere for his EP Your Love Is Bumming Me Out­­—with his forth-coming full-length. Barnett and Dolfish join the Ruby Spirit with local trio On Beta rounding out the bill this Friday (May 6). —donny kutzbach

8pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (465-2368 / $5.

Friday, May 6

Stephen Lynch

A self-proclaimed “musician trapped in the body of a comedian,” Stephen Lynch has forged his own path with his own brand of musical comedy. Along the way he has appeared in two Comedy Central Presents specials, starred in the Broadway adaption of the Wedding Singer (for which he received a Tony Award nomination), released two studio albums, two live albums, and a live DVD. By crafting catchy melodies with a sincere tone Lynch performs his songs like “Ugly Baby” and “If I Were Gay” with a wink and a nod. This Friday (May 6) Lynch will perform at the UB Center for the Arts. AV spoke with the comedian about his influences, future projects, and what makes him laugh.

AV: What made you choose music as a channel for your comedy?

SL: It’s actually the other way around. I chose comedy as a channel for my music.

AV: How does performing in comedy clubs compare to performing at music venues?

SL: It’s a whole different animal. In comedy clubs you have to contend with drunken bachelorette parties, waitresses serving chicken fingers, uncomfortable seating, two drink minimums, stuff like that. At rock clubs you just have sticky floors and the faint smell of urine. I’ll take the rock clubs.

AV: Which musical comedians, musicians, or comedians inspire you?

SL: I have always endeavored to do my own thing. That said, I love me some Spinal Tap.

AV: How did you get into performing on Broadway?

SL: I grew up doing musicals, so I figured maybe one day I’d do it professionally. Now that it’s over, I’m glad I had the experience. Except losing the Tony, of course. Bastards.

AV: Quick, what are five things you think are funny?

SL: 1. People falling. 2. “The Foot Fist Way.” 3. Outtakes or any instance when people laugh when they aren’t supposed to. 4. Eddie Murphy in Raw. 5. Corky St. Clair

—jill greenberg

8pm. UB Center for the Arts, Mainstage Theatre, 103 Center for the Arts, University at Buffalo. $29.50.

Friday, May 6

"Friday Nite" Dave Olka Memorial Benefit

On Tuesday April 5, 2011, Western New York native David Olka passed away at the age of 52 following a five month battle with pancreatic cancer. Olka was known to his friends as “Friday Nite” Dave, a name given to him by the employees of Elmwood Avenue’s Play It Again Sam record store (later Home of the Hits) in 1979 as he would arrive like clockwork every Friday evening to spend his paycheck on 1960s rock, British Invasion, and garage band LPs. Dave would go on to be a key figure in the local music scene working with the Good, Mike Brydalski, Brutus and the Senators, and the Pinheads. He also worked closely with local musician/producer Tommy Calandra and BCMK Records, hosting a radio show for the label, and lending his expertise on a variety of projects. As time went on, Olka’s serious record collecting “hobby” turned into a business. In 1983, he opened the Record Mine on Delaware in the heart of Kenmore. For the next 12 years he sold used records and the latest local releases. His store became a touchstone for the then emerging Kenmore scene including Mark Freeland, the Ramrods, and Green Jello to name a few. In the mid 1980s he became a friend, fan, and “one man booster” of a then-unknown band called the Goo Goo Dolls. This Friday (May 6) Dave Olka’s many friends will gather at the Eldridge Club in Tonawanda to remember a guy whose passion for music here in Buffalo was so infectious that it almost always inspired others to listen. —dave sitarski

7pm. The Eldridge Club, 17 Broad St., Tonawanda. $15 minimum donation.

Saturday, May 7

Shawn Phillips

His music, described to be a cross between folk, rock, jazz, progressive, pop, and classical, Shawn Phillips, a fascinating and oft-overlooked musician comes to the Tralf this Saturday (May 7). A native of Texas, Phillips has worked with Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, lived with Paul Simon, provided additional vocals on the Beatles’ “Lovely Rita” on their album4 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and had been cast to play the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar. Phillips was labeled “the best-kept secret in the music business” by the late Bill Graham and has released 20 albums to date, going as far back as 1964. When asked about his music, Phillips responded, “there’s some people who make music that kind of washes over you and just serves as background of your life. I try to make music that gets your attention.” Although he has not achieved worldwide recognition, Phillips has a cult following who recognize his musicianship and ambition. —michael koh

7pm. Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / $20 advance, $25 day of show.

Saturday, May 7

Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market

Always fresh, seasonal, and local, the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market will open for the season this Saturday (May 7) to offer fruit, vegetables, baked goods, organics, meat, cut flowers, wine, eggs, dairy, honey, cheese, and more. The producer-only market, meaning that all vendors grow or produce the products they sell, will be operating every Saturday from 8am to 1pm, rain or shine until mid-December. With the inclusion of several new product offerings, the vendor list hits 30 this year. What’s better than supporting your regional economy, shopping outdoors, and getting to know your community and your area’s seasonal fare? Doing so with live entertainment, of course. This year, the market is introducing live entertainment every week to enhance the shopping experience and showcase local talented musicians, musical groups, and demonstrations. There will also be tours by Christa Glennie Seychew and other employees. Another new feature of the Farmer’s Market for 2011: the Electric Benefit Transfer System. This system will allow individuals and families receiving public assistance to purchase products from eligible market vendors. Information will be available each week at the market. Grab your reusable shopping bags and sunglasses, and we’ll see you there! —krysta zagorski

8am-1pm. Bidwell Parkway at the corner of Elmwood Avenue. (

Saturday, May 7

The Ragbirds

A modern day troupe of well-traveled musicians, the Ragbirds have a repertoire that reads like a map of the world, taking audiences off to faraway lands without ever leaving the stage. The Ragbirds swoop down to Nietzsche’s this Saturday (May 7) with their “infectious global groove” and cache of folk instruments from around the world. What is typically described as “world music” is given a fresh and accessible makeover as touches of reggae, Celtic folk, African, Latin, Gypsy jazz, and Americana are woven seamlessly into contemporary rock and pop hooks. Lead singer, multi-instrumentalist, and Buffalo native Erin Zindle adds an exotic, poetic vocal quality while floating from instrument to instrument—banjo, accordion, fiddle, mandolin, and percussion—in a dizzying spell of musicianship and skill. Guitarist T.J. Zindle and bassist Brian Crist lay down beautifully phrased melodies over the world-beat rhythms of drummer Loren Kranz and percussionist Randall Moore. You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of musicians that care as much about the environment they live in as the music they play, and the Ragbirds make sure that their carbon footprint is kept minimal by “eco-touring” on a converted diesel bus that runs on recycled vegetable oil. With over 150 shows in over 40 states a year, they’re certainly doing their part to stay true to the positive, homegrown vibe their music gives off. The Ragbirds are sure to take you on a musical journey around the world, one where you’re not quite sure where you’re going next, but you just know you like what you hear. —jon wheelock

9pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 / $7.

Sunday, May 8

Sam Bradley with Holly Conlan

This Sunday (May 8), two up-and-coming singer-songwriters will massage the walls of the Mohawk Place with their soothing and soulful music. Born in London and currently a resident of Canada, Sam Bradley is most recognized for co-writing the Twilight soundtrack song “Never Think” with actor Robert Pattinson. Citing Ray Charles and Amos Lee as two of his favorite musicians, Bradley has written both gentle acoustic songs evoking Glen Hansard and more upbeat rhythm and blues tracks that would make his idols proud. Bradley released his first self-titled EP in 2009, a quiet and reflective collection of peaceful melodies perfect for afternoon drives in the countryside or summer evenings by the lake. You can currently download his new single, “Woman You Crazy,” for free from his website. Bradley is accompanied by Californian Holly Conlan, whose light piano-pop is reminiscent of Sara Bareilles, Fiona Apple, and Regina Spektor. Her song “You Are Goodbye” is featured in the Natalie Portman film the Other Woman. Come wind down from a long and stressful winter by cuddling up to Bradley and Conlan’s tranquil and assured songwriting. —ryan wolf

7pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (465-2368 / $10.