See You There!
Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's picks for the week: the 9th Annual Buffalo Oktoberfest on Saturday, September 24.
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.
Saturday, October 8
French-American singer/songwriter and guitarist Madeleine Peyroux has been recording and touring since the mid-1990s and she even performed at the first Lilith Fair tour. Throughout her career she has seen the roles for female musicians expand both behind the scenes and on the stage. “I have been following the same trends of feminist culture from an artistic standpoint because pioneers such as Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday have inspired me,” the 37 year-old songwriter said. “I believe I have seen a lot of changes for the better and that there are a lot more female voices that are being heard.” In addition to drawing motivation from Billie Holiday’s trailblazing as a female vocalist, Peyroux’s own vocal style has drawn comparisons to Holiday’s. Peyroux brings this sound to her versions of songs by artists such as Édith Piaf, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Joni Mitchell, and her repertoire also blends acoustic blues, country ballads, and pop. Her warm and ethereal voice is enough to transport you to another time and place. On her new album, Standing on The Rooftop, Peyroux pushes this quality even further with original songs that cultivate a cinematic experience. “I’ve been a singer of other great songwriter’s songs for quite a while and because of that, the art of understanding what song as a medium is that inspired me to look into not just writing songs for this record but also exploring different types of song form,” Peyroux said. On tracks like “The Kind You Can’t Afford” Peyroux marries her distinctly smooth vocals with syncopated funk grooves to create a rollicking retro sound that compliments the softer, narrative-driven songs such as the title track and “The Things I’ve Seen Today.” Enjoy Madeleine Peyroux’s otherworldly music at Rockwell Hall this Saturday (Oct 8). —jill greenberg
Artvoice: What is the direction of your most recent album, “Standing on the Rooftop?
Madeleine Peyroux: I’ve been a singer of other great songwriter’s songs for quite a while and because of that, the art of understanding what song as a medium is that inspired me to look into not just writing songs for this records but also exploring different types of song form. And I think on this records what was interesting to me was looking at the form of songs in terms of how to extend a story into a cinematic experience. So “Standing on the Rooftop” was the first song that I wrote for this record and the idea behind that drove me to put the rest of the songs together. That said there is a lot of variety that goes in different directions. I’m not sure that it’s meant to be a single statement as much as it is an exploration.
AV: What inspired you to do more song writing?
MP: I have been writing on my own for a long time and I made a record before this one, “Bare Bones,” which was also a group of original songs. With that record I forged a relationship with some co-writers who inspired me to continue [to write] and to work on this record. So it’s definitely a different hat to wear but it’s part of the same exploration, it’s what a song can do in terms of talking about things you can’t normally talking about or saying something that there is no other place to say.
AV: What is your writing process?
MP: Poetry without music is a good starting place and being able to hear the human voice sort of inside my head before the music accompanies it. I think of the human voice as the place where all of this begins and where the inflections add meaning to things. I’ll write a poem before it becomes a song and it’s happened several times now where those turn out to be quite natural in the musical context because that’s the way that I already think. On this last record, the song “The Things I’ve Seen Today” was originally a poem but as I was writing it I was hearing things that are behind the human voice and behind speech that are musical. Especially the form of things, how a conversation can twist and turn and how a theme can be developed musically is part of the whole process.
AV: Have you seen the music industry change for women musicians since the late 90s and the creation of Lilith Fair, where you performed?
MP: I believe I have seen a lot of changes for the better and that there are a lot more female voices that are being heard. It’s hard to be specific because everything seems to be in flux because we’re living in another communication era. But even before that happened there was this movement in the 90s where women were more and more industrious and capable because of that same attitude that Sarah McLachlan had when she started Lilith Fair, to say that we could have a group of women running a show and that would not be difficult to sell tickets for. It was a very exciting thing that she accomplished because of the statement that she made by doing that as well as because it was a great festival. I think that this has been ongoing, people have been thinking of the female voice as stuck in a certain character, which is a very second fiddle type of character. Now women have more depth and power in their voice at least in the backstage realm. I’m looking forward to it being more about what you see in the front, what do women’s roles represent in society as leaders rather than a pretty singer. Does it carry the weight that it should? I had a wonderful tour in January of last year with Diana Krall and Melody Gardot as a triple bill in Australia and New Zealand, which is another example of something that couldn’t have happened twenty years ago.
I would like to see more women as producers and in leading roles in the industry, musically speaking, and as composers and conductors. There are a lot of people forging new territory even though it’s not the norm and that’s exciting to see.
I have been following the same trends of Feminist culture from an artistic standpoint because Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday and people that pioneered in the early twentieth century and even before that time inspired me. These people are so powerful. It might seem vague to talk about because in the end it’s a cultural issue. It’s all intertwined, in music what people listen to and what they would like to hear probably has more to do with the history of our times.
8pm. Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center at Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (878-3005 / buffalostate.edu/pac). $15-$35.
Friday, October 7
There is a scene in Jacob’s Ladder where Tim Robbins’ character is at a house party, he’s feeling a little bit drunk and quite a bit paranoid, the hallucinations start up, and before you know it his girlfriend is having sex with a giant lizard and he’s passed out on the floor while James Brown’s “My Thang” rattles through his head and the sound system. Clear away the paranoia, swap out the James Brown for something more like Balam Acab, nix all of the hallucinations that aren’t self-induced, and you might get the idea behind Dark Disco. Three versatile Buffalo DJs; Medison, Mario Bee, and Bones will take the stage at the Vault this Friday (Oct 7) to show their sinister sides with some of the darkest witch house, grave wave, and drag selections they can find. Ok, so witch house, grave wave, and drag house are all synonyms for the same, semi-serious genre of dance music that combines slow-motion electro-pop with torpid basslines, but if you’re looking for something new and appropriately creepy to groove to as Halloween approaches, then this is your party. So put on your black eye makeup, prepare for plenty of strobe lights, wear your darkest clothing, and let’s hope the ghost of James Brown stops in for a visit to the Dark Disco this weekend. —cory perla
10pm. The Vault, 702 Main St. (884-7172). $2. 18+.
Saturday, October 8
Creative Conversation: Urban Alchemy
The Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo are no strangers to organizing an arts event. ELAB has participated in local events such as Fourth Fridays at the Tri Main Center and helped coordinate the Echo: Art Fair. ELAB in partnership with the Larkin Development Group is approaching the first Creative Conversation with the same encouraging attitude. This Saturday (Oct 8), at the Exchange Building, participants will attend discussions and workshops intended to engage them in the development of public art as a means of economic development and improving the quality of life in the region. The keynote speaker, Augustina Droze, a California artist who recently completed the Olmstead Legacy Mural at McKinley High School, will provide a fresh perspective. A panel discussion on public art and urban development will feature UB professor and public artist Reinhard Reitzenstein, City Planner Chris Hawley, Artist and Collector Gerald Mead, anti-graffiti-activist Paul Perez, and ELAB’s own Marissa Lehner who served as lead artist on the Grant/Amherst Mural project. Workshops will be lead by Lehner as well as local street artists Matthew Grote (aka Ogre) and Chuck Tingley. AV DJ Projex will present music and video. Art materials will be provided along with light dinner and a cash bar. Don’t miss out on a chance to contribute to this important conversation about our city. —jill greenberg
Sunday, October 9
You’ve never seen anyone shred a vibraphone quite like Jason Adasiewicz of Starlicker. Though you might not know who Adasiewicz is, or what Starlicker does, or even what a vibraphone is, you might recognize virtuosic drummer and multi-instrumentalist John Herndon of Tortoise sitting there next to Adasiewicz and the band’s leader; Chicago underground composer Rob Mazurek. This newly formed three-piece, full of massive talent, combine to create Starlicker, an improvisational, nu-jazz outfit with a taste for chaotic horn blasts, frantic percussion, and mallet-hammered, resonating vibraphone tones. Although they sound something like Norweigan eight-piece band Jaga Jazzist, or Herndon’s full time project, five-piece post-rock band Tortoise, these three musicians manage to make a lot more noise to create much more abstract music. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see three great jazz musicians jam out at Hallwalls on Sunday (Oct 9). —cory perla
8pm. Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, 341 Delaware Ave. (854-1694 / hallwalls.org). $10-$15.
Sunday, October 9
“And now a joke: How much blow can Charlie Sheen do? Enough to kill two and a half men,” exclaimed comedian Jon Lovitz at Comedy Central’s roast of Charlie Sheen. Lovitz delivered one of the most memorable lines of the night, with his trademarked oblivious double chinned grin, as the crowd, including Sheen himself, roared with laughter. Although Lovitz hasn’t found much of a home on the small screen or the silver screen since his days as part of the cast of Saturday Night Live in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he has settled into the niche of roasting wasted celebrities on Comedy Central’s periodic show. On Saturday Night Live Lovitz was known for characters like Hanukkah Harry, Santa Claus’ Jewish counterpart who resides on Mount Sinai, and Tommy Flanagan, the Pathalogical Liar, who would exclaim his catchphrase “Yeah, that’s the ticket!” after each successful lie. Following his stint on SNL, the 54 year-old comedian from Los Angeles spent time on a Broadway stage as the lead role in Neil Simmon’s The Dinner Party. Lovitz never left stand-up comedy far behind though, making time to deliver his goofy one liners to live audiences throughout his career. Have a laugh with Lovitz at the Seneca Allegany Events Center this Sunday (Oct 9). —h. timpson
5pm. Seneca Allegany Casino, 777 Seneca Allegany Boulevard, Salamanca. (1-888-913-3377 / senecaalleganycasino.com). $20.
Tuesday, October 11
If you’ve never heard of Signal Path it’s because those electronic signals take a long time to travel from mountainous Missoula, Montana to Buffalo. Born in the backcountry of America, this live electronic trio—guitarist Ryan Burnett, drummer Damon Metzner, and bassist Matt Schumacher—mash together massive low-end sounds, jam band percussion, and vocal samples to create an intense live experience akin to Paper Diamond, Big Gigantic, EOTO, and STS9—the latter two with whom they have toured with in the past. In 2009, after taking two years off, the band reunited to release their fifth studio album, Clash. Clash was the second album released for free from the band and became a viral success for them. Following that success, the trio relocated to Colorado to record its follow-up, Imaginary Lines, also released for free on their website. But all of that musical creation was obviously not enough for Signal Path because this year the band has already released three new EPs, The Prosaic Fades, Minds Make Lights, and their latest; Souls Unswayed, as part of a quadrilogy that should be completed by the end of 2011. The three piece will take a straight shot journey across Interstate 90 to Buffalo this Tuesday (Oct 11) for a live performance at Allentown’s DBGB. Don’t miss it. —cory perla
10pm. Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar, 253 Allen St. (240-9359). $7.
Wednesday, October 13
Young Audiences Goes to Town featuring N'Dias (The Mix)
Young Audiences of Western New York aim to inspire students through non-traditional classroom tactics like music, theater, dance, and visual and literary arts. Featuring a roster of over 70 performers, from photojournalists to poets, the not-for-profit organization’s mission is to provide a new platform for education and discussion to take place in schools across the area. On Wednesday at Town Ballroom, students and the general public will be able to catch the world-beat performers N’Dias play their elastic, highly danceable rhythms as part of a benefit for the local group. Serving as an inspiration to influential post-punk groups like Talking Heads and Gang of Four, the brand of traditional West African music that N’Dias perform focuses on the rhythm section as the backbone of the sound. Led by percussionist Alassane Sarr of Senegal, the group also features singer and dancer Robin Monique, as well as percussionist Ringo Brill, each of whom teach as a part of the Young Audiences of Western New York program. Opening for N’Dias will be Diaspora Drumming, whose performance with the Buffalo State West African Drumming Ensemble earlier this year was equal parts mesmerizing and inviting. Be sure to get there early for appetizers by Kenmore Avenue restaurant Torches, as well as a silent auction and raffle. —nicholas torsell
7:45pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / townballroom.com). $15.
Thursday, October 13
Minus The Bear
It’s hard to believe Minus the Bear is turning 10 years old, like some distant nephew or cousin that you lost track of before realizing that, wow, they’re all grown up. If there’s any indication that an indie band from Seattle has now reached veteran status, with four albums under their belt, it’s in the number of bands out there that look to Minus the Bear as their inspiration. While it’s easy to see MTB’s influence on their contemporaries, it’s quite a bit harder to figure out where to peg them in the indie realm, as they’ve had a knack for tweaking their sound over the years, sounding at times like an entirely different band from album to album. Early albums like Menos el Oso and Planet of Ice exemplify MTB’s experimental nature, with atmospheric tones, percussive melodies and a dazzling technical display helping them gain the reputation as a band that is constantly reinventing itself. Their latest release, Omni, delivers a more refined indie-pop feel that still has all of the unexpected nuances that MTB loves to include, fluctuating time signature, electronic doodads, and winding instrumental solos. But when Minus the Bear comes to the Town Ballroom on Thursday (Oct 13) they’ll do so with a special treat in store: the band will perform their 2002 debut album, Highly Refined Pirates in its entirety. If you’ve missed them grow up, now’s the time to make up for it. —jon wheelock
7pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / townballroom.com). $20 advance, $24 day of show.
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