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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's picks for the week: Three Silver Mt. Zion, who will perform at Soundlab on Friday the 17th.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out our full events calendar on-line for complete event listings, a location guide to find your way about the city, restaurant reviews, and more.

Three Silver Mt. Zion

Friday, February 17

You might know them as Thee Silver Mt. Zion, or Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, or A Silver Mt. Zion, or even the Tra-La-La Band, but their name doesn’t really matter. What matters are the feelings that their music evokes. There is an emotional heaviness that is built into Thee Silver Mt. Zion’s music, not unlike the music of God Speed You! Black Emperor and Explosions In The Sky, but the difference is in the way SMZ approaches their brand of post-rock. Though their music tends to be softer dynamically, especially on albums like Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward, there is an unusual punk rock ethos that hovers around this (currently) five-piece band from Montreal. They even called their 2003 four-track record This is Our Punk-Rock. Though the actual sound of the music is much closer to Do Make Say Think than it is to the Dead Kennedys, their passive aggressive form of punk peaks out through themes of decay and politically critical motifs, but also through their almost angrily passionate poems and lyrics, which weave in and out of their swelling songs. It has been a little while since Soundlab has hosted such an emotional and intimate show, so take that as a sign not to miss Thee Silver Mt. Zion when they play the venue on Pearl Street this Friday (Feb 17). Poverty Hymns open the show. —cory perla

9pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (440-5907 / $12 advance, $15 day of show.

Thursday, February 16

It Gets Better

On Thursday (Feb 16), the Justice Committee of the Undergraduate Student Association at Canisius College will host Dan Savage, a man who is known for co-creating the “It Gets Better” project. First launched in September of 2010, the project was formed in response to the large number of teenagers and young adults who were driven to suicide due to the constant bullying they experienced because of their sexual orientation. The main goal of “It Gets Better” is to help prevent suicides among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) youth by asking people to create and share short, positive videos of their experiences within the LGTB community. With a combination of videos made by both celebrities and the every day person, the project has had more than 30,000 entries and over 40 million views. The “It Gets Better” project was named one of the top social media campaigns of 2010 by Advertising Age. Dan Savage has also published a book under the title of It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living, which contains more than 100 essays based on the same themes as the “It Gets Better” website. The book was also appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list. The event will be held in the Montante Cultural Center, located on Main Street at the corner of Eastwood Place, at 7pm. It is free and open to anyone who wishes to attend.—dan whitney

7pm. Canisius College Montante Cultural Center, 2001 Main Street (883-7000). Free.

Friday, February 17 through Sunday, February 19

Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles

Considering how timeless the Beatles’ music is, it’s hard to believe that they formed almost five decades ago, but that’s where we are. 48 years after the band’s legendary performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, the Beatles are as popular as ever. The continued relevance of the Beatles is evident in the success of the Broadway musical Rain: A Tribute To The Beatles, which is making its way to Shea’s Performing Arts Center this Friday through Sunday (Feb 17-19). The show has received loads of acclaim from critics and has been called the next best thing to actually seeing the Beatles. While the Beatles were together for less than a decade, they went through countless phases during that time. Luckily, this show is able to cover them all. From their humble beginnings as a Liverpool nightclub act performing catchy pop tunes like “Love Me Do,” to the psychedelia of Sgt. Pepper’s and Magical Mystery Tour, straight through to Let It Be, not one era of The Beatles music is missed here. Of course, it’s not just the music that brings the Beatles alive in this show, but the costumes and set pieces as well. As one would expect from a big Broadway production, there is no expense spared in getting the exact look and feel of each Beatles epoch, from the identical suits and haircuts of the early years, to the long hair, long beards, and more colorful shirts of the later years. Simply put, this show gives Beatles fans everything they could possibly want, and reminds us why the Beatles were so important to begin with. —john hugar

8pm Friday, 2pm and 8pm Saturday and Sunday. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (847-1410 / $27.50 to $47.50.

Friday, February 17

Nat Baldwin (of The Dirty Projectors) with Sonny Baker and Heart Parts

“Improvisational” can be a tricky word to dance around when trying to describe an artist. All too often it can be a mask for meaningless meanderings but that’s certainly not the case with the music of Nat Baldwin. The experimental upright bassist and Dirty Projectors member has a more than special relationship with his instrument, much like Arthur Russell had with his cello. A seamless marriage between voice and instrument that captivates on the cerebral level. Full of melody and enough free jazz leanings to keep things unpredictable, the songs of his latest album, People Changes are of a variety best experienced live. Luckily, you’ll have that chance this Friday (Feb 17) at The Vault, one of Buffalo’s newest and most exciting performance and gallery spaces. Heart Parts open the show along with local jack of all trades, Sonny Baker (also of A Hotel Nourishing, Wooden Waves, and Lazlo Hollyfeld fame) with his technical folk musings that put most other guitar players in this city to shame. Doors are at 8:30pm, $10 gets you in. Your ears and mind will thank you. —eric kendall

8:30pm. The Vault 702 Main St. (884-7172) $10.

Friday, February 17

5th Annual Music is Art Mardis Gras Jam

How much does New Orleans and Buffalo have in common? For starters, both of our cities inhabitants know how to take to the streets for a great party. Most importantly, however, is our mutual affinity for live music, something that both The Big Easy and The Queen’s City take pride in showcasing on a regular basis. This Friday (Feb. 17), NoLa and B-lo converge on the legendary Tralf Music Hall for the 5th Annual Music is Art Mardis Gras Jam, an event that imports some of Louisiana’s most prestigious musicians to share the stage with Buffalo’s own local acts. The event is part of the Music is Art: Big Easy in Buffalo Music Education and Concert Series, which brings in Louisiana and New Orleans musicians to host public concerts and cultural programs in local Buffalo schools. Returning to headline the show is Grammy nominee and Louisiana Music Hall of Fame inductee Tab Benoit and his Bayou-bred electric guitar and Cajun-infused blues. Performing alongside Benoit are three giants of Louisiana-roots music, with Cyril Neville of the world-famous Neville Brothers, Mardis Gras Indian Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, and renown Cajun fiddler Waylon Thibodeaux. Together they make up Tab Benoit’s Swampland Jam, an all-star quartet bringing some serious blues firepower to the forefront. Also holding it down for New Orleans are washboard-sousaphone-guitar trio The Tin Men, covering everything from swing jazz and Louisiana R&B to Motown and beyond. Buffalo’s own honky-tonk rockers The Steam Donkey’s open the show with the winner of the Music is Art Big Easy in Buffalo student battle of the bands, the Brass Monkeez. There’s no need to wait until Fat Tuesday to get a true taste of the Mardis Gras spirit, and with some of Lousiana’s best acts in our own backyard, it’s a good enough reason to start the festivities early.

pictured: Tab Benoit, photo credit: Nelson Onofre /

7pm. Tralf Music Hall. (852-2860 / $25 adv/$28 door.

Saturday, February 18


The “about me” section of Arkells’ Twitter reads “Making music for the kids.” But anyone who follows the Canadian alternative/pop/rock band from Hamilton, Ontario, knows that these five guys don’t make music for just any kids. Since their first album Jackson Square (2008), they’ve preached lyrics that relate to their fellow working man forced into the blue collar fields—serving, bussing, landscaping, factory work, and anything in between. You can hear this common ground on popular tracks like “Oh the Boss is Coming” and “Book Club.” The five musicians, seemed to have reached the age of becoming “practical dreamers,” mentioning the word no dreamer ever wants to think about “REALITY.” Luckily, Arkells’ music career in the past two years has been becoming more than a reality—performing in front of 12,000 at the Burlington Sound of Music, unexpectedly being joined by rapper Shad and Ke$ha as they sang their cover of OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson,” releasing their second album Michigan Left (2011) and taking the stage with Metric, Pearl Jam, Girl Talk, Tokyo Police Club, Them Crooked Vultures, Wintersleep, and the Starland Vocal Band. Even with all their new accomplishments, what they’re most happy about is that they’ve been able to hit up tons of new eateries on tour, mentioning Uno, In-and-Out Burger, Noodle Box, and a Cajun place called Hot Belly Mama’s as some of their favorites. They’ll be at the Town Ballroom on Saturday (Feb 18), to play music off of Michigan Left. If you catch them after the show, do them a favor and take them to Jim’s. —emilie hagen

7pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $15 advance, $18 day of show.

Saturday, February 18

Dark Disco II: Heartbroken

An arts and music venue tucked downtown, three local DJs with their headphones on the pulse of the local electronic music scene, and a crowd of party-goers thirsty for an event that is macabre, mysterious, and a touch menacing. On their own these aspects are regular occurrences in Buffalo nightlife. Yet combined, they create a dance party that is theatrically composed and darkly thematic. This Saturday (Feb 18) Toats Orig entertainment presents Dark Disco II: Heartbroken. While the first Dark Disco, which took place last October, encouraged the spirit of All Hallows Eve, this event will be a post-Valentine’s Day eulogy for love. DJs Mario Bee, Bones, and Swaggle Rock will fill The Vault art house with enough thumping bass and noir tinged melodies to soothe your heartache and simultaneously stoke your passion for darkness. Black and red attire is preferred to enhance the ambiance where attendees can “spend the evening forgetting and forgiving the tragedies of love.”—jill greenberg

10pm. The Vault, 702 Main St. (884-7172) $2. 18+.

Tuesday, February 21


It is 8,000 miles from South Africa to New York. That’s a mighty long distance to travel for the sake of dance music, but that is just what dubstep-hip-hop bass banger MartyParty did. A native of South Africa, but currently residing in Brooklyn, the producer, real name Martin Folb, never stops producing. Constantly writing music on tour, on the plane, in his hotel room, the man behind the “purple opera” began writing his bassy dubstep-hip-hop crossover tunes in 2006 and has since pumped out over 50 tracks. He’s shared the stage with some of the biggest acts in the scene right now like the Glitch Mob, Bassnectar and even (brace yourself) three-time Grammy Award winner, Skrillex. This Tuesday (Feb 21) MartyParty will take the stage at Soundlab with local support from Perceptor and Papi Chulo. “How much dub could a dubstep dub if a dubstep could step dub?” MartyParty asks on his website. I think the answer is “a lot.” —cory perla

photo credit: Ash Wright

8pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (440-5907 / $12.

Wednesday, February 22

Less Than Jake

When the third wave ska movement made its mark on the music scene, it managed to take a familiar sound and add to it considerably. The energetic ska of late 1970s bands such as The Specials and The English Beat, was combined with edgy, hard-hitting punk guitars, and managed to placed the genre in a new light. There were many successful acts in this movement, with some finding considerable mainstream success (the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and of course, No Doubt), while others stayed on the indie periphery, while still forming a considerable fan base. One such act in the latter category is Less Than Jake, who has been around for almost 20 years, and have become one of third wave ska’s most enduring acts, as well as one of its most diverse. While their early efforts were strictly based in ska, their most recent albums have seen a considerable pop-punk influence, as the horn section has appeared less, and the guitars have shown up in the mix a bit more. While this move has been divisive among fans, they still have a devoted following, and continue to receive loads of acclaim from critics. This Wednesday (Feb 22), Less Than Jake will be appearing at the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls. They will be appearing with punk veterans Samiam, and Celtic punks Flatfoot 56. While all three bands on this bill have punk as a considerable part of the sound, they all approach it in a different manner, meaning punk-rockers of all varieties will have something to go wild about at this gig. —john hugar

7pm. Rapids Theatre, 1711 Main St., Niagara Falls. (205-8925 / $17.50 advance, $20 day of show.