Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Film Now Playing
Next story: Russell Weaver: Demographer / Politico

See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's picks for the week: Cake, who performs at Artpark on Friday the 20th.

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.


Friday, May 20

Just as sweet, succulent, and heavenly like their distant, yet edible cousins, Cake, active since 1991, comes to Buffalo to perform at Artpark on Friday (May 20) to promote their latest album, Showroom of Compassion. The album is said to have been recorded in a solar-powered studio in sunny Sacramento, Calif. for over two years. Cake, known for their unconventionality, combines multiple genres of music, ranging from ska to jazz to country to rap. Their lyrics are oft rife with wordplay, and their sound is distinct via their use of the vibraslap. When asked about developing their music, McCray responded, “We go in usually with some overarching idea or theme, maybe a couple of different themes and usually we end up with something quite different. It’s an instinctual process. I think it’s a lot of people’s opinions that the subconscious mind makes these kinds of decisions a lot better than the conscious mind. So we just sort of feel our way through the room, as it were.” They headlined the Unlimited Sunshine Tour in 2002, playing with Modest Mouse, De La Soul, the Flaming Lips, and brought the tour back the following year with Cheap Trick. Their lineup has since been slightly altered. Cake is now one part John McCrea on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, one part, Vince DiFiore on trumpet and keyboard, one part Xan McCurdy on lead guitar, Gabe Nelson on bass, and Paulo Baldi on drums. Mix ‘em all up and you get an eclectic band, eccentric in taste, and downright delicious to your earbuds. Guess what folks, you can have this Cake and eat it too. —michael koh

7pm. Artpark, 450 South 4th St., Lewiston (754-4375 / $40.

Friday, May 20

The Crystal Method

1990’s rave duo the Crystal Method will appear at Pure Nightclub on Chippewa for a special DJ set on Friday (May 20). The Crystal Method broke out of the L.A. rave scene in the early 1990’s and have since emerged as one of the few well-known names in American electronica. Since their formation in Las Vegas almost two decades ago, the duo of Scott Kirkland and Ken B. Jordan have released four chart topping albums, including their debut, Vegas, which went platinum in 2007 after the release of a deluxe edition featuring remixes by artists like MSTRKRFT, Paul Oakenfold, and Deadmau5. Though the group has in the past denied the obvious drug reference in their name, they have an assortment of tracks alluding to the drug lifestyle that often goes hand in hand with their brand of electronic rave music, such as “High Roller” and “Trip Like I Do,” from Vegas, “Roll It Up” from their 2001 album Tweekend, and “Blunts & Robots” from their latest release Divided by the Night, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Electronic/Dance Album” in 2010. Drugs aren’t a necessity at this show though, because the Crystal Method’s high energy, transcendent electronica sounds are enough to take any veteran raver to another level. —cory perla

9:30pm Pure Nightclub, 75 W. Chippewa (853-5555 / $15.

Friday & Saturday, May 20 & 21

Free Henry & Aqueous vs. All

Last year’s Heart of the City Neighborhoods Kickball Tourney saw a ragtag team from the Good Neighborhood whoop their opponents up and down LaSalle Park until they were the last team standing. With the tournament set for June 4th, now is the time to sign your team up and take your shot at ousting the defending champs once and for all. Two jam-heavy Buffalo bands, Free Henry and Aqueous, look to do just that, by starting their respective title runs this Friday and Saturday (May 20 and 21) with concerts at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery. What is being billed as “Free Henry & Aqueous vs All” features two consecutive nights of jam-rock in an effort to inspire folks to join in on the fun on June 4th, all in the name of Heart of the City Neighborhoods, a not-for-profit corporation that sponsors housing and neighborhood development projects on the Lower West Side. “Free Henry has come to dethrone the champs—we hope the Good Neighborhood enjoyed its one year at the top,” said drummer Pat Mannella. “We can’t wait to share the bill again with our friends from Aqueous at Pearl Street, but it’s all business once we get on the field—they’re goin’ down, too.” There’s bound to be some lighthearted smack talking and shit stirring involved, as Free Henry and Aqueous introduce their own teams, and as newcomers enter an already expanded field for this year’s tournament. The rally starts on Friday as Free Henry takes the stage, with Aqueous following on Saturday. If you want a taste of what’s in store come June 4th, an open practice/scrimmage will be held at LaSalle Park at noon on Saturday (May 21). Get some friends together and sign up, and maybe you’ll be the team that takes down the undisputed champs. Don’t forget to bring your game face—the tournament might not be until June 4th, but the battle starts now. —jon wheelock

9:30pm. Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. 76 Pearl St. $4..

Friday & Saturday, May 20 & 21

Judah Friedlander: World Champion Stand-Up Comedy

You would be hard pressed to name a comedian who has been more involved in pop culture than Judah Friedlander. In addition to 18 years of stand-up experience, Friedlander has been in over 20 movies including Meet the Parents, Zoolander, Date Movie, Wet Hot American Summer, Feast, and Showtime. He also gained critical acclaim for his role as “Toby Radloff” in American Splendor. Friedlander’s many TV appearances includeVH1’s Best Week Ever, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, MTV’s Wonder Showzen, the Tonight Show, and many more. He also starred as the Hug Guy in the classic Dave Matthews Band music video for “Everyday.” Besides appearing as a series regular on a little TV show you may have heard of, 30 Rock, Friedlander is currently working on a stand-up comedy CD and concert movie. You have two chances to enjoy Friedlander’s stand-up at Nietzsche’s on Friday (May 20) or Saturday (May 21) —jill greenberg

8pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen Street.(886-8539 /, $20 advance, $25 day of show.

Saturday, May 21

The Albrights CD Release Show

The Albrights have a reason to celebrate, and celebrate they will, when they release their new album, Ask, Tell, to the masses at Nietzsche’s, this Saturday (May 21). The Buffalo-based quartet has been a fixture on the music scene for a while now, playing scores of shows in the city and beyond and building a sizeable following in the process. You’d be hard-pressed to find a venue these guys haven’t played at, which only speaks to their growing popularity and reputation as one of Buffalo’s most sought-after acts. With a pop-tinged blend of rock and blues, the Albrights create a highly accessible sound that everyone can appreciate, especially given the musical prowess of each of their members. Lead singer/pianist Joe Donahue knows a catchy line when he sees one, and drives the band with hard-rocking chords and riffs that wander into the realms of classical, jazz, and soul. Brandon Barry brings the heat with searing guitar solos, while the rhythm section, comprised of bassist Matt Crane and drummer Aaron Odden, provide a solid foundation of grooves and beats to complement the band’s pop-rock vibe. From Madonna to the Beatles, Petty and the Jacksons, the Albright’s leave no musical stone unturned, and their predilection to evolve and bring in new influences is just one indication that this band is destined to go places. They’ve been hard at work the past few months perfecting their new album with indie label Buzz Records and are ready to throw a kickass release party with all of their fans and friends. You’ll definitely be hearing a lot more from these guys in the near future, but if you don’t want to wait that long, get to the release party this Saturday to hear what real home-bred music sounds like. —jon wheelock

11pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 / $5.

Saturday, May 21

Kevin K.

Kevin K., Buffalo-native and former member of the Toys, will be performing at Gateway Gallery this Saturday (May 21) in celebration of the release of his autobiography, How to Become a Successful Loser. It will be his second time here in over 20 years and the first performance of the Toys in over 25 years. The Toys were a pioneering local punk rock band of the 1970s who recorded one of Western New York’s first punk singles “Livin’ Fast/I’m Tellin’ You Now” in 1980 and left Buffalo in 1981 for New York City. Since his move, Kevin Kalicki has recorded over 20 CDs in addition to producing a DVD. His autobiography details his musical experiences all the way from his Buffalo beginnings, to his numerous performances at legendary CBGB, to his current days of international touring. How to Become a Successful Loser was first released in France in French in 2009 and was just recently translated into English for the autobiography’s US release. Opening band Cowboys of Scotland will be kicking off the show at 8pm. —krysta zagorski

8pm. Gateway Gallery, 141 Elmwood Ave. (886-6888). $10.

Monday, May 23

One More Monday with Manny

This Monday (May 23) a tribute to Manny Fried, a novelist, a successful playwright, and a teacher to actors, will be held at Asbury Hall at Babeville. Once known as the “most dangerous man in Western New York” for his political activism and involvement in the Communist Party, Manny Fried was blacklisted during the McCarthy era and was prevented from working in the United States by the FBI. Fried taught English and creative writing at Buffalo State College from 1972 until 2008. He passed away at the age of 97 in late February 2011. Manny’s life will be honored and his daughters, Mindy Fried and Lorrie Rabin, as well as members of his family will be present to pay tribute to his legend as a playwright, author, actor, union organizer, and teacher. Manny’s family has donated a number of Manny’s manuscripts as well as Boilermakers and Martinis (his one-man show), DVDs and numerous other items for a silent auction, with the proceeds going to the Give For Greatness campaign to support art in Buffalo, in memory of Manny Fried. —michael koh

6pm. Asbury Hall, 341 Delaware Ave. (852-3835 /

Thursday, May 26

Early Attic with Black Umbrella

Early Attic is the culmination of post-millennial indie rock. Wispy, spectral vocals, buzzing synthesizers, and overdriven guitar chords create a sound not so far off from bands like Mute Math or Circa Survive on songs like “Modern Dreams” and “Letters.” But this newly formed band has more than one side, using funky synthesizer vamps and rhythmic bass lines to bounce with ease to electro-rock reminiscent of Minus The Bear on tracks like “Walking In Mono.” Though the four piece from Buffalo morphs slightly from song to song, they have an over-arcing cohesiveness created by the soaring tones that weave through all of their tracks. With an already focused vision for their music, it seems surprising then that next Thursday (May 26) will be their debut performance at Mohawk Place. Joining Early Attic are local retro indie-rockers Black Umbrella. Borrowing chiming, jangle-pop guitar melodies from bands like the Field Mice and the Smiths, and Billy Corgan-like vocals from singer Derek James, Black Umbrella pay tribute to 1980s twee pop and 1990s grunge on their latest album, Ephemeral Perennials. Mike Suda opens this must-see night of new, Buffalo-based indie-rock. —cory perla

7pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (465-2368 / $5.