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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's picks for the week: THE Christmas Party, at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery on December 25th.

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.

THE Christmas Party

Sunday, December 25

It’s not just A Christmas Party, it’s THE Christmas Party. After the holiday ham is gone and the gifts are torn open, one present still remains, and it is a big one. Held on Christmas Day for the past seven years, The Christmas Party has become one of the most anticipated parties of the year. Sprawled across three massive rooms at the Pearl Street Grill, each will have it’s own unique vibe and brand of music pumping. The main room will be full of veteran Buffalo DJs like Jesse Aaron, Ryan Liddell & 3PO, Steve Kream, Twist & Bacon, and Tweeknasty; while a second room will be designated for bass music only with DJs Medison, Hoogs, Big Basha, and more. A third upstairs house lounge will have Brandon Chase, Paul Kuenzi, BVllets, and Joe Jubei spinning all night. “Last year’s Christmas Party was like nothing I’ve ever seen in Buffalo or anywhere for that matter,” said DJ Jake “Brotherbear” Broffman, a new comer to this year’s party who will be spinning in the bass room. “I remember saying to several people at the party last year that it was my New Year’s resolution to be on the bill for this year. When Mike (Marshall of MNM Presents) called me to ask me to play I had to pinch myself, as silly as that sounds.” The excitement is high and the drinks will be flowing with an open bar from 10pm to 11pm. Happy holidays and see you at the Christmas Party this Sunday (Dec 25). —cory perla

10pm. Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, 76 Pearl St. (856-2337 / $10.

Friday, December 23

10th Annual Joe Strummer Tribute

Behind that iconic Fender Telecaster, thrown around like a toy in a sweaty fit of chords and riffs was one of punk’s most enduring figureheads and rock n’ roll’s greatest luminaries, Joe Strummer. As the frontman of 1970s punk band the Clash, Strummer was the chilling and infectious voice of a punk movement that broadened their scope to show the inadequacies of politics and government, something we’re all well aware of now, with Strummer leading the revolutionary charge against issues like racism and police brutality.They were one of the few bands to combine radical politics with their music, with songs like “I Fought the Law,” “London Calling,” and “Guns of Brixton” becoming anthems of injustice and social displacement. Musically, Strummer was deeply inspired by his West London locale and it’s fledgling reggae scene, and the Clash incoporated everything from ska, dub, funk, soul, and rap into a mix that already included hard-driving punk rock. The fire that burned inside the Clash was never more apparent than in Strummer himself, the poet and lyricist of the band, who continued to devote himself to humanitarian causes for the entirety of his career before passing away in 2002. This Friday (Dec 23), Town Ballroom hosts the 10th Annual Joe Strummer Tribute, paying homage to the legend that is Joe Strummer with performances by the Rebel Waltz, the Prisoners, Ghetto Defendants and Outer Circle Orchestra, as well as tunes in between sets from DJ Dr.Wisz. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Strummerville Foundation for New Music. —jon wheelock

7pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $10.00 advance, $12 day of show.

Friday, December 23

Dubstep Demolition Night

Disco verses funk, rap verses rock, dubstep verses punk? When it comes to music, everyone chooses at least one side. Yeah, there were some notable exceptions who tried to ride the line (the whole rap-rock thing worked for Limp Bizkit, right?) but there are just some irreconcilable differences between certain genres of music. You know there will never be a NoFX dubstep remix album and I can’t picture Minor Threat ever getting down with the candy ravers. That being said, Malik Saint of Shaken Stylus wants to demolish dubstep. In the vein of the classic Disco Demolition Night comes Dubstep Demolition Night, a barrage of raw, local punk and pop-punk bands like Simon & Garfuckyourself, K.D.C., the NARCS, the Chosen Ones, Beardage, and Rochester’s the Emersons, who will be taking over Soundlab for one night on Friday (Dec 23). According to the show’s promoters “Buffalo is oversaturated with DJs and silly Dub music; people can’t have a good time with that blaring waba waba waba for eight hours.” They may not be blowing up any crates of dubstep records (it might be easier to just blow up a computer full of MP3s anyways), but the lines have been drawn. Which side will you choose? —cory perla

10pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (440-5907 / $8, $10 under 21.

Monday, December 26

Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan, one of the most eclectic collectives in hip-hop history, spits, spatters and spats their way through Town Ballroom on Monday (Dec 26) to share their gangsta-infused holiday wine and spirits. Skyrocketing the careers of artists like Method Man, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah, the Wu Tang Clan is a collaboration of individuals that rarely move in a line, but perform as an army. Touting “backronyms” like “Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game,” and “We Usually Take All N**gas Garments,” Wu Tang’s name actually derives from the 1981 kick-em-like-you-mean-it martial arts film Shaolin and Wu Tang, which recounts the story of two rival kung-fu schools vying for supremacy in a despotic Chinese city. Replace sword swinging and kung-fu-fighting with pistol-whipping and philly rolling and the film’s link to the clan becomes slightly more visible. In this case, 50-Cents’ G-Unit was the Shaolin to Ghostface’s WuTang judging by their run-of-the-mill hip-hop beef during the early 2000s. After a few jabs back and forth on various tracks the feud noticeably subsided once 50-Cent’s career became virtually obsolete (I’m in to havin’ sex I ain’t in to makin’ hits). Thus, the battle for hip-hop collective supremacy is momentarily silenced: to Wu-Tang goes the victory. —brett perla

8pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $45.

Tuesday, December 27

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

In the 15 years since they released their debut album, Trans-Siberian Orchestra have amassed a huge fan base and become one of the most popular Christmas music acts in the world. Their blending of traditional Christmas music with genres like symphonic rock and progressive metal has changed how people view Christmas music, and freed us from the usual Christmas clichés that contaminate adult contemporary radio for the last two months of every year. Their best-known works are probably their cover of “Christmas Is Here,” a radio staple itself, and “Christmas Canon,” their take on Pachelbel’s Canon In D. While the band is best known for their Christmas-themed albums, they certainly have other tricks up their sleeves. Their last album, 2009’s Night Castle featured no Christmas themes, and instead focused on medieval mythology. In addition, their 2000 album Beethoven’s Last Night was a prog-metal tribute to Beethoven, which re-imagined some of his best-known compositions. This Tuesday (Dec 27), the band will be taking the stage at the First Niagara Center for two performances. With countless musicians on stage, playing extremely complex numbers at top volume, it’s truly a feast for the ears. Considering how close to Christmas the show is falling, it’s likely that the band’s Christmas album, such as 2004’s The Lost Christmas Eve, and 1998’s The Christmas Attic will compose a large portion of the set. Whatever the band decides to play, however, it’s a guarantee that they will put on an amazing show, and as they have done so many times before, bring some much needed rock and roll thunder to the holiday season. —john hugar

3pm and 8pm. First Niagara Center, One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza (855-4100 / $29 to $57.

Friday, December 30

Jeff Dunham

To call Jeff Dunham the most popular ventriloquist in America would be a spectacular understatement. There’s no one who comes even close. That became all-to-evident earlier this year, when his most recent standup special Controlled Chaos debuted to an audience of over eight million viewers on Comedy Central By comparison, an average episode of Tosh.0, the network’s most popular series, usually debuts to about half that audience. Dunham has no bones about his position as a mainstream comic, as he gleefully mocked that role on an episode of 30 Rock, playing a variation on himself as a comedian who appealed to a backwoods Southern audience, but only confounded the likes of Liz Lemon. For Dunham, it was a clever means of saying he knows who his audience is, and he’s cool with it. Those familiar with his act will be familiar with such characters as Peanut, a hyper-active monkey who frequently accuses Dunham of drug-abuse, and Walter, a quintessential grumpy old man who complains about his bad marriage, and would probably rather stay in the box and sleep, than entertain the crowd. Dunham’s act is decidedly un-PC as evidenced by his most controversial characters, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, and Jose, the Jalapeno on a Stick. He’s found an enormous fan base with these characters though, which will surely be out in droves as he comes to First Niagara Center next Friday (Dec 30). For those looking for skilled ventriloquism, and a wide of array of wacky, characters, this show promises to be a laugh riot. —john hugar

8pm. First Niagara Center, One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza (855-4100 / $46.50.

Saturday, December 31

Hard Rock Guitar Drop

New Year’s Eve is creeping up on us, and this year, there is a lot planned in Buffalo. Suburbians will be driving in for the annual Ice Ball at the Statler, the mid-twenties-thirties crowd will be hitting up the Masquerade Ball presented by After Dark Entertainment, and of course, families in Buffalo will come out for an hour to watch the ball drop in Niagara Square. But if you’re looking for something different this year, or have kids you can’t drag along to the dressier happenings, watching a 10-foot Gibson guitar lower 120 feet onto Old Falls Street (Niagara Falls meets Times Square) while listening to a free concert, is the perfect New Year’s Eve event for you and your family. It’s the third annual Hard Rock Guitar Drop presented by the City of Niagara Falls, Seneca Niagara Casino, Old Falls Street, and Gibson Family of Brands and it happens this Saturday (Dec 31). The event has many free outdoor festivities including the guitar drop—painted by local artist Rob Lynch and illuminated by Ken-Ton Electronics—free food and beverage concessions, a fireworks display at midnight and a concert featuring a headlining performance by international recording artists and Bob Marley’s band, the Wailers. If you can’t handle the cold, VIP ticket packages are available including access to Hard Rock’s heated VIP tent, a buffet, beverages and front of stage access. The Hardrock Cafe is always a good time, so bring your friends, family, and a blanket and enjoy the show! —emilie hagen

8pm. Old Falls St., adjacent to the Hard Rock Cafe, 333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls (282-0007 / Free or $95 for VIP tickets.

Saturday, December 31

Lowest of the Low

For those who are unfamiliar with the music scene across the border, Toronto alternative rock band Lowest of the Low is a good place to start. Canadian music magazine Chart listed their 1991 album Shakespeare My Butt as one of the best Canadian albums of all time, bestowing the indie rockers with the honor of ranking in the top ten all three times. Fellow Canadian indie rock band the Weakerthans has cited Lowest of the Low as a major influence, and the band already has a history of sold-out shows in Buffalo. This year, concert-goers can expect something extra special: despite tensions among members in the band, Lowest of the Low are bringing their energetic folk punk sound to the Town Ballroom on Saturday (Dec 31) for a New Year’s Eve show. Doors open at 8pm and the Buffalo Sabres game will be broadcasted on the big screen before the band goes on. —max soeun kim

8pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $42.

Wednesday, January 4

George Cole Quintet

It might seem a bit overwhelming to watch a band whose every member is a virtuoso at their instrument. This is the case for San Francisco’s George Cole Quintet, but although vocalist Mary Jenson; violinist, Annie Staninec; rhythm guitarist, Jimmy Grant; upright bassist, Christopher Bastian; and guitarist/vocalist and band leader Cole all excel to virtuoso status at their given instruments, the musical experience of the quintet is both universally appealing and accessible. Though the group’s style draws inspiration from the dynamic string-driven swing created by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in 1930s, Cole is also well versed in the rock world as, even serving as a mentor to Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt of Green Day at one point in his career. Their latest album, 2010’s Riverside Drive, is full of their Eurocana style jazz and swing on songs like the album’s title track, and even moves into more worldly sounds on “Sheila’s Waltz” and “El Baile De Amor.” Swing into the new year with the George Cole Quintet when they stop by the Sportsmen’s Tavern next Wednesday (Jan 4). —h. timpson

7pm. Sportsmen’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St. (874-7734 / $10.