Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Film Now Playing
Next story: 'Station Wagon' is a Four-Letter Word

See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's picks for the week: the Yonder Mountain String Band at the Town Ballroom on Tuesday, July 12.

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.

Yonder Mountain String Band

Tuesday, July 12

The Yonder Mountain String Band has been keeping bluegrass alive for 11 years, and will keep it going on Tuesday (July 12) at the Town Ballroom. No strangers to Buffalo, the Colorado-based jamgrass quartet created a memorable presence a few years ago at Buffalo’s Thursday at the Square—revving up the crowd with the fast-finger plucking of a variety of string instruments. Since then, they’ve effortlessly connected to their crowds with their modest showmanship at music festivals and sold-out amphitheater shows across the country, and were honored to open for Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. Their progressive blend of twangy bluegrass and modern rock never fails to keep the crowd dancing and has attracted plenty of “kinfolk” along the way. Set to release their next album in September, YMSB will present music from their album The Show, released in 2009 on Tuesday. —emilie hagen

7pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $20 advance, $25 day of show. 16+.

Thursday, July 7

Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band

Experience the holistically American folk sounds of Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band this Thursday (July 7) at Babeville’s Asbury Hall. Ritter, the Idaho-born singer-songwriter, has been critiqued in the past as a “smart” musician—that is, his melodies and words are so meticulously arranged that his songs easily reference his scientific upbringing. Born to two neuroscientists, Ritter quickly abandoned studying science at Oberlin College for a self-created degree in “American History through Narrative Folk Music.” Though his music was initially critiqued for lacking “emotional heft,” Ritter has let his captivating creativity loose and totally revamped his style, apparent in the more daring, spontaneous approach of his recent releases. Prior to the show, Ritter’s unique storytelling faculties will be exhibited at a book reading and signing of his debut full-length fiction novel, Bright’s Passage, at Hallwalls’ Cinema at 5pm. Bright’s Passage is the vexing yet gorgeous story of Henry Bright, a grief-stricken soldier returning from the combat of World War I to his infant son following the death of his young wife. Admission to the reading is free, however Talking Leaves is offering a package deal that includes admission to both the reading and concert, as well as a copy of the novel for only $40. Tickets are available at the Babeville box office, Rust Belt Books, and all locations. —rachelle toarmino (photo credit: Steve Mayles)

7pm. Babeville’s Asbury Hall, 341 Delaware Ave. (852-3835 / $20 advance, $25 day of show.

Friday, July 8

Burton Cummings

Arguments about who needs to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tend to be as fierce and protracted as they are pointless, but it’s hard to figure out why Canada’s Guess Who isn’t there yet. Their string of hits from 1969 through 1975, from “No Time” and “American Woman” through “Star Baby” and “Clap for the Wolfman,” all stand the test of time. And singer/piano pounder Burton Cummings has one of rock’s great voices, capable of everything from soul rattling screams to jazzy scatting and the creamiest melismas. If you’ve been burned by seeing the touring ensemble that owns the Guess Who name recently (they were at Artpark last summer), see the real deal this Friday (July 8). Since a successful reunion tour with Randy Bachman and the other original members of the Guess Who, Cummings has kept busy; his recent album, Above the Ground, is one of the best of his solo career. He will be backed by Toronto’s Carpet Frogs, who also served when Cummings toured with Bachman a few years ago. Opening acts are Perpetual Road, the Exit, and Amanda Nagurne, and it’s a free show. —m. faust

5:30-11pm. Molson Canal Concert Series, Ulrich City Courtyard, 80 Main St., Lockport ( Free.

Saturday, July 9

Culture in Cinema: Children of Paradise

On Saturday (July 9) the Culture in Cinema series presents its final ballet simulcast of the season, Children of Paradise, a major new production by Paris Opera Ballet company dancer José Martinez, inspired by French director Marcel Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis. The costumes were created by the ballet dancer Agnès Letestu, while in a further homage to the film, scenic designer Ezio Toffolutti’s stage sets are suggestive of a movie set. Conductor Jean-François Verdier will lead the Paris Opera Orchestra in performing an original score by Marc-Olivier Dupin. The choreography alternates large ensembles with the intimacy of the lovers’ pas de deux, bringing to life a long vanished Paris, that of the “Boulevard du Crime” in the first half of the 19th century. Baptiste, a mime, unreels the thread of his memories: his meeting with the beautiful actress Garance and his ill-fated love for that enchanting, but elusive woman-about-town set in the magical world of the theatre, including both onstage and in the wings, blurring the tenuous borders between reality and illusion. The two previous simulcasts from the Paris Opera Ballet earlier this year, of Caligula and Coppelia, were among the highlights of the entire Culture in Cinema series - reason enough to make attendance at Children of Paradise mandatory for any true balletomane. —jan jezioro

1:30pm. Amherst Dipson Theater, 3500 Main Street. (834-7655 / $20.

Saturday, July 9

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

The soul dynamo Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings comes to the Queen City and sets out to play against the beautiful backdrop of Niagara Falls at Hard Rock Cafe this Saturday (July 9) as part of the Music is Art charity founded by Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac to explore musical and cultural reshaping and education impact on the local community. Considered the flagship of the funk and soul revivalist movement, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings aim to capture the simplicity and beauty of funk and soul music of the 1960s and 1970s. They do not use digital recordings but instead use methods from the 1960s and 1970s to achieve part of their sound. Their instruments are also limited to those up until the 1970s. The band is currently on tour and has since opened up for Prince and played with Charles Bradley. Vocalist Sharon Jones belts out soulful, powerful, authentic lyrics with her dynamic, fiery voice as drummer Homer Steinweiss (drums), Binky Griptite (guitar), Bugaloo Velez (congas), Dave Guy (trumpet), Tommy Brenneck (guitar), Neal Sugarman (tenor), and Ian Hendrickson-Smith (baritone) dish out raw soul and energy to complement Jones’ heart stopping vocals. So go ahead; just drop in. —michael koh

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

Saturday, July 9

The Vacant Lots

In their first year, Burlington, Vermont’s the Vacant Lots did what most indie rock bands strive to do over the span of an entire career. That is, self release three full-length albums. Tapping into the dark side of the pop spectrum, the duo of Jared Artaud and Frank Zammiello recently signed to New York City’s Mexican Summer record label to release their singles “Confusion” and “Cadillac,” two psychedelic, yet black and white garage rock burners. Its not out of the ordinary to find the Vacant Lots compared to bands like the Black Angels, Spacemen 3, the Stooges or Bo Diddley, but their sound still remains their own, combining retro-rock with grunge and indie. The Vacant Lots will bring their retro-psychedelic rock to Soundlab on Saturday (July 9). Local garage rock band the Auras and indie-pop band the Bird Day open the show. —cory perla

8pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (440-5907 /

Tuesday, July 9

The Vans Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour has been a summer staple for punk rock fans since 1995. This is where next wave punk bands from Rancid to Nofx and Bad Religion to Pennywise made their names and built their fan bases. Last year Buffalo’s Every Time I Die stole the show with the “Crawl of Death,” proving that every Warped Tour is a brand new experience. The traveling festival returns once again to Darien Lake Theme Park on Tuesday (July 12) with a wide variety of fresh and familiar punk acts. From veteran punks like Less Than Jake and Unwritten Law to huge pop punk bands like Simple Plan and Relient K, to metalcore acts like the Devil Wears Prada and glam rock from Foxy Shazam, the Warped Tour delivers the festival experience in a new city every day. Keep an eye out for Buffalo based indie rock band River City Extension, who are performing on a string of Warped Tour dates this year. Bring plenty of extra cash for bottled water and bust out your SPF 5000 for the 16th year of this classic punk fest. —cory perla (photo credit: Ben Gardner)

12pm. Darien Lake, 9993 Allegheny Road, Darien Center. (585-599-4641 / $31.50.

Wednesday, July 12

"Weird Al" Yankovic

Unless you’ve spent most of your life living in an Amish paradise, you probably know who “Weird Al” Yankovic is. He’s probably taken a couple of your favorite songs, like Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” and decimated them, but he’s also taken some of the most annoying hits of all time and turned them around on their writers. With accordion in tow, the whacky haired comedian will perform his anti-hits like “Fat,” “Smells Like Nirvana,” and “Amish Paradise” at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts on Wednesday (July 13). As a long time Star Wars fan, Yankovic invited along the North Ridge, the local Star Wars Fan Club of Buffalo. “Weird Al” has parodied the film franchise in songs such as “Yoda” and “The Saga Begins.” On June 21st, Yankovic released his latest album Alpocalypse featuring his first single, the Lady Gaga parody “Perform This Way” as well as parodies of Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, T.I. and more. Don’t miss “Weird Al” at UB this week. —cory perla

7:30pm. UB Center for the Arts, Mainstage Theatre, 103 Center for the Arts, University at Buffalo. $29 or $39.

Thursday, July 14

Comedian Todd Barry

Not many can say that funny man Ricky Gervais considers them their favorite comedian, but Todd Barry can. This comedian’s comedian may not be a household name but he has performed in some of the most successful television comedies of the last five years, including Flight of the Conchords, Chappelle’s Show, the Sarah Silverman Program, and Bored to Death. Barry appeared alongside Mickey Rourke in Darren Aronofsky’s the Wrestler and is also a veteran of the late night talk show circuit, often performing his stand-up for David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. As an observational humorist, the 47 year-old has made good use of Twitter to comment on those everyday situations that we all notice, but that only the witty and astute like himself can translate into 140 characters of hilarity. Follow him at @toddbarry on Twitter and catch him when he makes his first ever appearence in Buffalo to perform his stand-up routine at Nietzsche’s on Thursday (July 14). —herbie timpson

8pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 / $15 to $20. 21+.