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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's pick for the week: The Artvoice Battle of Original Music Round 4 Live show, this Friday, May 31st at Nietzsche's.

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.

Artvoice B.O.O.M! Live Show

Friday, May 31

This Friday, four more bands will step into the ring in an effort to win the final spot in our upcoming Battle of Original Music (BOOM) Grand Finale. Our competitors for this semifinal are MayDay!, the Screaming Jeans, Essential Vitamins Crew, and Michael King. These four acts won a spot on this bill by collecting the most votes in our weekly online BOOM competition. At Nietzsche’s, each audience member will receive one ballot to cast for his or her favorite act. There’s a lot on the line here, because the act that collects the most votes by the end of the night will win the coveted final spot in the Artvoice BOOM Grand Finale, scheduled for June 14 at the Sportsmen’s Tavern Music Hall. At that show, this Friday night’s winner will face off against Randle and the Late Night Scandals, Den of Lions, and Well Worn Boot—bands that have already prevailed in the fiery crucible of previous BOOM live shows. There, our finalists will pour it on again in an all out battle to win the hearts and minds of local original music fans, bragging rights as Artvoice BOOM Grand Champions, and the tidy sum of $5,000. Past winners include the Tins, Photos of Wagons, The Etchings, Type Relevant, and many more. Come be amazed at the depth of original talent percolating in our hip, creative, rust belt city, and cheer on these homegrown artists as they take the stage, plug in, and rock the house.

- buck quigley

10pm Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 / / $5, 21+

Friday, May 31


Brace yourselves, Buffalo, for the inaugural BuffaLoveFest! This Friday (May 31) the Buffalo Zoo will open its gates up to celebrate everything Buffalo. Erase all preconceptions of a zoo visit and prepare for the city’s choice food trucks, breweries, artisans, and musicians to inhabit the zoo. Observe Buffalonians up close and in their natural Buffalo habitat having a good ol’ time with a celebrity dunk tank, duck races (I’m attending to find out what those are), Buffalo trivia, craft brew tastings, and more. Local vendors will be selling everything from sweet treats to handcrafted art; zoo souvenirs have never sounded so good. Best of all, over half a dozen artists will be performing, including the BuffaLoveBirds. For the first time ever, a dream team of Buffalo’s music legends—Lance Diamond, Ali Critelli, Eric Crittenden, Vinnie DeRosa, Mike Wagner, and Rob Lynch—will come together for an exclusive, hair-raising performance. So come on down and enjoy delicacies from your favorite restaurants on wheels washed down with the finest local brews (your first two drinks are included in admission). You must be 21 or older to attend. The event should be a wild time and will hopefully become a new Buffalo tradition.

- maddy tiede

5:30pm The Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave (837-3900 / $20 advance, $30 at the door, 21+

Friday, May 31

North Park Farewell: Queen City

One of the first things you see in Peter McGennis’s Queen City is the exterior of the Hotel Lafayette, filmed before its recent restoration. Audiences who see the film as the closing offering at the North Park under the operation of Dipson Theaters may hope that, like the hotel, the much-loved Hertel Avenue moviehouse will rise from the ashes, as its new owners promise. Set in 1980, McGennis’s film is an irresistible labor of love, filling out an action movie plot (dedicated cop battles his corrupt superiors) with an eye for this city and its sights that could only come from a native. It’s never campy but occasionally tongue in cheek, especially in the production design. (If you’re old enough to remember the 1970s you’ll have a ball). And it’s filled with terrific music delivered by jazz and R&B legends like Sharon Jones, Allen Toussaint, Maria Muldaur, Magic Slim, James Cotton and the Average White Band; if the songs occasionally bring the story to a halt, you can hardly blame McGennis’s indulgence. Friday night’s screening will include a live performance by the Toni Lynn Washington Blues Band (pictured) and will be filmed for Queen City’s DVD release. McGennis will have to talk fast on the commentary track to point out all the references as they speed by, like an appearance by Lance Diamond making use of his trademark outfit or a “Man of the Year” plaque from the Courier Express. Queen City will play though June 6.

- m. faust

7:30pm North Park Theater 428 Hertel Avenue ( $12

Sunday, June 2

Bloc Party

In the world of indie rock, British band, Bloc Party, have risen to influential levels. After the release of their 2005 debut record, Silent Alarm, their popularity soared onto the Billboard200 chart, as well as number seven on Billboard Top Independent Albums chart, and in 2006, went platinum in Britain. The hype did not go unfounded, as their fast-paced universal message spoke to those young, troubled indie kids of the early 2000s. Bloc Party lost no steam in the creation of their next couple of albums. In 2007, for Weekend in the City, the band knocked it down a few notches, and fell into a realm of soft tinkering and thoughtfulness. Intimacy, released in 2008, took on a Greek mythology theme with songs like “Ares,” “Mercury,” and “Trojan Horse.” The band’s boppy, poppy, noisy, synthetic, and dark feel (reminiscent of Silent Alarm) returned. After a few years hiatus in which band members focused on projects independent of Bloc Party, their efforts fruited their latest album Four, last August. Feedback for the newest release was heavily in the group’s favor. Jaime Gill, reviewer for the BBC Music website, dubbed Four as “2012’s most exciting guitar album.” Gill hit it on the head. There isn’t just one guitar style in this record. They dabble in post-punk, grunge, indie, alt-rock—you name it, it’s there. The interest point varies song to song, which makes Four so universal. The Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls will host Bloc Party on Sunday (June 2) with indie electronic band Bear Mountain.

- jazmine frazier

7:30pm Rapids Theatre, 1711 Main St., Niagara Falls. (205-8925 / $27.50 advance, $32 day of show

Tuesday, June 4

Swingin' Utters

Since the seven year break of the Swingin’ Utters, street punk just hasn’t been the same. Though, according to the band’s bio page these days, “everyone with a chipped tooth and a bad haircut says they’re street punk.” Swingin’ Utters have been in the game since 1987, bearing an authentic sound absent of pretention and full rights to “street punk” cred. The group started up in Santa Cruz, California, but now claims San Francisco as their home base. Out of San Fran, they recently put out their newest work, Poorly Formed, through Fat Wreck Chords. Not a bad re-introduction to the punk scene, if you ask their fans and music reviewers who couldn’t bear to rate this new offering less than four stars. The raspy and lax voice of Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel dribbles, “I’m a little bit country and a little bit of an asshole” in the song “A Little Bit Country.” If this line isn’t telling enough of Swingin’ Utters’ style, take up the matter of his name with the search engine of your choice. The band found that this newest venture fell together with ease, and playback comes just as easily. A general blue-collar approach appeals to them, which explains why the Clash was a heavy influence on them. The humor strong in their songs is evocative of the Dead Milkmen. Add these aspects together plus the tempo of Sex Pistols and you have a recipe for a mighty fine pie of Swingin’ Utters. See them on Tuesday (June 4) at the Waiting Room. Goddamn Gallows and the Chosen Ones open the show.

- jazmine frazier

The Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (852-3900 / $12 advance, $14 day of show, 16+

Tuesday, June 4

Billy Idol

The English rocker has still got it: Billy Idol is on the road and making a stop at Artpark’s outdoor amphitheater this Tuesday (June 4) as part of their Tuesday In The Park series presented by First Niagara. A product of the early 1980s’ MTV-proclaimed “Second British Invasion,” Idol was found tossed in the mix of new wave, synth-pop, and punk rockers also given face-time on the then brand new television network. With Idol as a focal point, Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls, Culture Club, and Tears for Fears similarly kicked off a generation of visualized music. Idol, who started out as a Sex Pistols wannabe and a member of punk band Generation X, found his stardom when he met halfway with mainstream pop and rock sounds in his solo career. With classics under his belt like “Rebel Yell” and “Dancing With Myself,” the 57 year-old musician attempted a return to his original sound after a 12 year hiatus with Devil’s Playground in 2005. Though he hasn’t released any new material since, aside from a Christmas album in 2006, he has remained active touring and playing at festivals, reunited with guitarist Steve Stevens. Most recently, Idol played an after party for a Google conference of thousands of internet developers, where he reportedly went through six costume changes in his 60 minute show—retaining idolatry after all these years, I suppose, is no simple task. Idol will be joined by special guest Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown.

- meghan sauer

6:30pm Artpark, 450 South 4th St., Lewiston (754-4375 / $10 advance, $15 week of concert

Thursday, June 6

The Rotaries

If you judged them purely by their press release, you’d think the Rotaries have a universally appealing sound, that they’re the quintessential indie-rock band of the second decade of the 2000s. The problem with being the “quintessential indie-rock band” is that indie-rock is defined by differences, imperfections, and experimentation so it’s difficult for me to imagine a perfect version of something that is not meant to be perfect, of something that wanders from perfection on purpose. Nevertheless, you can probably take an educated guess as to what the Rotaries sound like based on the description “quintessential indie-rock”—eclectic guys playing tight, guitar based rock with the occasional emotional acoustic guitar song or slowed-down folky tune thrown in. But as much as they wish to portray their music as universally appealing, it’s not, which is a good thing. The Rotaries are undoubtedly an underground rock band—that is why they’re playing at the Vault, a place that has become Buffalo’s quintessential indie-rock venue—and will continue to be for the foreseeable future because, though their music isn’t overly aggressive or weirdly experimental, they come from a scene and they will always appeal more to the people in that scene than the people outside of it. The Westchester, New York trio will come to the Vault on Thursday (June 6) as part of Steak & Cake Records’ Tour Warriors showcase also featuring retro-piano folk band Pleistocene, indie rockers NYBRKFST, and the Rochambros.

- cory perla

9pm The Vault, 702 Main St. (884-7172) $5

Thursday, June 6

The Hold Steady

When the Hold Steady was born in a Brooklyn apartment in 2002, vocalist and guitarist Craig Finn was 31 years-old. The band never thought they would be anything but a local band, playing bars and releasing demos, but now, over 10 years later, the Hold Steady has become an unlikely representative of American alternative rock. “It was, to be honest, pretty ironic—the band that set out to do nothing became a critics favorite and a touring machine,” says Finn in a written statement about his band. The five-piece band has only increased in popularity record after record. Their most recent album, Heaven is Whenever, released in 2010 on Vagrant Records, was written while the band was on tour in support of their previous record, Stay Positive. Heaven is Whenever seems like a direct follow-up to Stay Positive, both records mixing thick palm-muted guitar riffs with catchy choruses and driving rhythms. Their posi-punk attitude has grown as the band has aged—aging gracefully is a constant theme of their music—now in their 40s, yet just beginning to plateau in popularity. The Hold Steady will kick off this year’s free Thursday at Canalside concert series next Thursday (June 6) at the Harbor with special guests Hollerado and Johnny Nobody.

- cory perla

5pm Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf ( free