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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's picks for the week: Independence Day - head inside to see a rundown of events and fireworks displays this holiday weekend.

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.

Independence Day

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday July 2-4

Picnic blanket? Check. Bug spray? Check. Camera on night settings? Check. The perfect spot to enjoy the summer breeze and Independence Day fireworks? That’s a bit trickier. We can’t make up your mind for you, but we can offer our staff picks for the coziest, prettiest, and most ooh and ah-worthy firework displays. —jill greenberg

Acqua Restaurant (2192 Niagara Street, 874-5400). Great view of a number of town’s fireworks along the river.

Amherst, University at Buffalo North Campus (Baird Point). Fireworks at 10pm.

Cheektowaga Town Park (Harlem Road, Cheektowaga, 741-9518). July 2-3, Hammerl Amusement Park Rides, music by Hit-N-Run in the Lion’s Pavilion. July 4, Hammerl Amusement Park Rides, 4th of July Parade, music by the Bedrock Boys & the Strangers in the Lion’s Pavilion, food and beer, and a giant fireworks display at dusk.

Coca-Cola Field (One James D. Griffin Plaza, 885-5000). July 3, BPO/Bisons Independence Eve Celebration. Bisons baseball, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performance conducted by Paul Ferington, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus performance, fireworks.

Darien Lake (9993 Allegheny Road, 585-599-4641, July 4, Fourth of July Laser Blast Spectacular. Combines fireworks, laser animation, lights, and music.

Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf (Waterfront). July 4, Welcome the Pride of Baltimore II, music by Tom Stahl & the Dangerfields and the Lance Diamond Show, fireworks at dusk.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fontana Boathouse (Black Rock Canal, 202-0502, July 1, Cash bar provided by Coulter Bay, food from Wardynski’s and Louie’s Hot Dogs, view of the Friendship Festival Fireworks.

Friendship Festival at Riverside Park (Tonawanda and Mather Arch, Fort Erie, Ontario. July 2, Rides, fishing contest, petting farm, music by Humphrey and Stealin’, fireworks at dusk. July 3, Kid’s day, rides, music by Whiskey River. July 4, grand parade, music by Silver Extreme, fireworks at dusk.

Hosmer Field (Rumford) July 4, Children’s activities, live music, walk of danger by Scot Grasette, magic show, national anthem, fireworks display at 9pm.

Niawanda Park (300 Niagara Street). July 4, Music by Sugar-N-Jazz Band at 7pm, fireworks at dusk.

Orchard Park High School (Baker Road,, 662-3366). July 4, 4th of July Celebration. Parade, award presentation, fireworks at 9:45pm.

Seneca Allegany Casino ( July 1, Fireworks at 9:40pm (rain date July 3).

Town of Lancaster (N. Aurora Street to Pleasant Avenue, Party in the Save-a-Lot- Parking Lot. July 2, Carnival Kids Steel Drum Band, beer tent, music by Patti Parks Blues Band and High Horse. July 3, Caribbean Extravaganza steel Drum Band, the Strangers. July 4, Flag raising, music by the Lancaster Town Band, Lancaster/Depew Teen Idol Winners, Just Got Paid, and Hit-N-Run, parade, fireworks at 10pm.

Wanakah Country Club (5161 Lakeshore Road, Hamburg). Fireworks at 10pm.

Friday - Sunday, July 1-3

Ellicottville Summer Music Festival featuring Rusted Root and KC & The Sunshine Band

Ellicottville’s weekend long Summer Music Festival returns again this year, beginning Friday (July 1) and running through Sunday (July 3). The line up is as strong as ever with bluegrass jam band Rusted Root kicking off the festivities on Friday, at Holiday Valley’s slope-side main stage. Rusted Root formed Pittsburgh in the early 1990s with a sound that mixes everything from acoustic rock to world rhythms. Opening the show are Steel Keys & Brass, a Buffalo based bluegrass/jazz band who recently released their debut full length record, Vaudevillians. On Saturday the Buffalo Philharmonic will perform the Sounds of Disney at 8pm followed by a spectacular fireworks display, accompanied by a performance of the “1812 Overture” and “Stars and Stripes Forever” by the BPO. The festivities will conclude on Sunday with a performance by KC & the Sunshine Band at 7:30pm. Tickets for Rusted Root will be $25 at the gate, tickets for the BPO and KC & the Sunshine Band can be purchased for $35 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free. See you for some fun in the sun at Holiday Valley this weekend. —cory perla

Friday through Sunday, July 1-3. 9 W Washington St., Ellicottville. (885-0331 / $25-$35.

Friday, July 1


If you have a big living room, cool neighbors and are Bohemian enough to allow 30 plus strangers into your home on a weekday night, you may qualify to host a set of Will Johnson’s Living Room Tour. For those of us without the means, no worries, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and his three band mates from indie-rock band Centro-Matic, will be coming to Mohawk Place this Friday (July 1) to play a more conventional set, introducing tracks off their new album, Candidate Waltz. The cult-followed, Texas-based quartet has been showering positive vibes around the world for 15 years while Johnson runs his Living Room Tour on the side. Often described as folk-Americana, the slightly more produced tracks on Candidate Waltz are still earthy and introspective, making the sound universally relatable while maintaining the band’s Americana roots. On their most uplifting track “Only in My Double Mind,” Johnson’s tasteful, reverberated vocals move to the steady beat of a snare drum, creating quite the contrast to some of the album’s other tracks, like the staccato “Iso Residue,” one of their poppiest songs yet. Come listen to Centro-Matic deliver perfect summer wind-down music, and enjoy the angelic vocals of Sarah Jaffe and the folk-punk of Roger Bryan and the Orphans as opening acts. —emilie hagen

8pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (465-2368 / $10.

Friday, July 1

Joe Bob Briggs: Drive-In Movie Critic

“The drive-in will never die!” If you believe that—and in Western New York, all the evidence supports it—you’ll want to be at the Transit Drive-In this Friday (July 1) to recite the Drive-In Oath, led by the world’s number one alfresco cinema critic Joe Bob Briggs. Long before the internet brought trash aficionados out of their mom’s basements and into the public discourse, Joe Bob (the creation of the otherwise well-mannered film critic John Bloom) was infuriating his editors at the “Dallas Slimes Herald” with his gleeful reviews of trashy movies playing the local drive-ins. Ever the consumer advocate, he typically ended his reviews with a count of dead bodies, exposed breasts, volume of blood spilled, and varieties of “fu” and aardvarking (his euphemism for—well, how hard is it to figure out?) Since the 1980s he’s expanded his beat with DVD commentaries, an advice column in Penthouse, and religious satire (including appearances on the Daily Show). You’re going to want to get there early, as this time of year the Transit tends to sell out on weekends. Fortunately it’s an easy place to kill time before the show starts, with a playground for the kids, miniature golf course, and free wi-fi. There will also be a Chiavetta’s Chicken Barbeque on Friday beginning at 6 pm. —m. faust

6pm. Transit Drive-In, 6655 S. Transit Road (Route 78), Lockport. (625-8535 /

Friday, July 1

M&T First Fridays: The Genkin Philharmonic

The Genkin Philharmonic, a genre-bending 10-piece orchestra, native to Buffalo, is performing at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery this Friday (July 1), as part of the museum’s monthly M&T First Fridays. The band was originally formed as a class that developed through the University at Buffalo Music Department in 2000 with the direction of Jon Nelson. Over a decade later, they remain significantly comprised of UB Faculty and alumni, and have drawn from more locally conceived talent, with musicians from the Buffalo Philharmonic, Fisher-Price, and the Hallwalls Arts Collective. The Genkin is not only recognized for their inventive recreation of hits by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, and Radiohead, and for their Classical covers of Ives and Prokofiev that remain faithful to the original versions, but is also renowned for the unique creation of their own tunes, and for adapting pieces written for the group by living composers such as Didkovsky, Harnas and Nelson himself. In 2007, the Genkin released its self-titled debut album, an exciting blend of progressive rock and 20th century modernist music from Radiohead to Nick Didkovsky. The Genkin Philharmonic plays at 8:30pm in the Auditorium at the Albright-Knox. Tickets are on sale for $5 or free for members. —rachelle toarmino

8:30pm. Albright Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave. (882-8700 / $5.

Saturday, July 2

Sugar City Benefit for Amiee Buyea

On June 3, 2011, Amiee Buyea, a local community art organizer, was struck by a motorist while riding her bicycle. The accident resulted in serious head injuries, including a fractured skull. Amiee has since been released from the hospital and is steadily recovering, but she needs our help. From 4pm to 10pm on Saturday (July 2) a benefit will be held for Aimee at Sugar City in Allentown, an alternative arts and cultural center, which Amiee co-founded. The event will include dinner prepared by a roster of Sugar City’s resident chefs, a Chinese auction featuring contributions from many local artists and businesses, live music by Al Larsen, the Mordaunt Sisters, and the Fucking Hotlights, a reading by Matthew Baker Thompson, and a film screening curated by Liz Flyntz. A minimum donation of $10 is requested. The night will continue at 10pm at Nietzsche’s where there will be live band karaoke, and sets by MJB Corporation, ABCDJ, and Frankie Rainbows. Amiee is also a founding officer of the Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo, and has worked with many Buffalo based organizations such as CEPA Gallery, WNY Book Arts Collaborative, Squeaky Wheel, and the Pride Center of WNY, in addition to her work with Sugar City. Sugar City thrives on a “do-it-together” attitude so it’s time for our community to do this together and give back to Amiee, as she has given to us. To donate online go to —a.v.

4pm. Sugar City, 19 Wadsworth in Allentown. ( $10.

10pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 /

Saturday, July 2

The Legendary Shack Shakers

Making their way from Nashville, Tennessee, the heart of the South and rock & roll music, the Legendary Shack Shakers come to Mohawk Place this Saturday (July 2) to power your body with raucous and manic tunes. Col. J.D. Wilkes (vocals, harmonica, banjo), who has been labeled “Nashville’s Best Frontman” in a Nashville music magazine, along with Mark Robertson (bass), Duane Denison (guitar), and Brett Whitacre (drums) performs fiery live shows with high energy and delivers songs that combine blues, country, rockabilly, and rock & roll all into a unique brand of Southern gothic music. The band has toured Europe and the U.S. for the last two years and has performed at the SXSW Music Festival in 2005, held in Austin, Texas. Robert Plant legendary lead singer of Led Zeppelin invited the Shack Shakers to support him on his European tour. If Robert Plant thinks they’re “fucking great,” then they really must be. —michael koh

8pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (465-2368 / $13 advance, $15 day of show. 16+.

Saturday, July 2

Our Lady Peace

If you’re talking about 1990s alternative rock, a couple of big names come up without exception. Our Lady Peace is one of them. The four-piece band, fronted by guitarist and vocalist Raine Maida, has a catalogue of music 10 albums deep, which includes their platinum selling 1997 album Clumsy, featuring hits like “Superman’s Dead” and the title track, “Clumsy.” The rockers from Toronto, Ontario make their way to Niagara Falls on Saturday (July 2) to perform a free concert at the Hard Rock Café as part of their outdoor concert series. Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of influential 1980s hip-hop group Run DMC opens the show. The Run DMC trio helped push hip-hop into the mainstream in the 1980s with albums like their self title 1984 debut and its follow-up King of Rock. Check out this line up of influential artists, and look out for more free shows every Saturday at the Hard Rock Cafe this summer. —cory perla

6pm. Old Falls St., adjacent to the Hard Rock Cafe, 333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls (282-0007 / Free.