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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 Grand Finale, this Friday, June 14th at the Sportsmen's Tavern.

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, June 14

The Artvoice Battle of Original Music Grand Finale is the culmination of six months of competition among the best original music acts our area has to offer. In all, 32 bands were featured in the pages of Artvoice since December—each week producing one winner that collected the most online votes. Those winners faced off in a series of four live, preliminary rounds where each audience member was given one ballot to cast for his or her favorite act. The four winners at those four live preliminaries make up the bill for this, the Big Kahuna of local original music contests. The contestants are: Randle and the Late Night Scandals, Den of Lions, Well Worn Boot, and Essential Vitamins Crew. At stake are eternal bragging rights as Artvoice BOOM Grand Champions for 2013, and $5,000. This is the first time the event is taking place at the Sportsmen’s Tavern—a venue that, due to its recent expansion, is now big enough to contain the enthusiastic supporters of local original music who routinely come out to cheer on their favorite acts. With so much on the line, you can expect all the performers to be bringing their best performances. This is your chance to check them out in one of the very best live music venues the region has to offer. May the best band win!

- buck quigley

8:30pm Sportsmen’s Tavern Music Hall, 326 Amherst Street (874-7734 / / $7, 21+

Saturday, June 15

Marianas Trench

Hailing from Vancouver, fast-rising pop punk band Marianas Trench is firmly entrenched in Canada’s mainstream music scene. Their 2009 album Masterpiece Theatre went platinum in Canada, as did their next album, Ever After (2012). Last November, Marinas Trench played at halftime of the 100th Grey Cup (Canada’s Super Bowl) and won Group of the Year at the 2013 JUNO Awards (Canada’s Grammys). After playing on Artpark’s Mainstage on Saturday (June 15), Marianas Trench will head up to Toronto to perform at the MuchMusic Video Awards, where for the second year in a row they’re at the head of the pack with six nominations, tied with rapper Drake for the lead. As it turns out, Americans are probably more familiar with Marianas Trench than they think. Lead singer and songwriter Josh Ramsay produced and co-wrote Carly Rae Jepsen’s super-chart-topping-smash single “Call Me Maybe,” nominated for 2013 Song of the Year at the Grammys. Ramsay, 28, adds versatility (he plays nine instruments) and contributes a wide vocal range to Marianas Trench, which he formed in 2001 after overcoming a heroin addiction.

- leif reigstad

6pm Artpark Mainstage, 450 South 4th St., Lewiston (754-4375 / Indoor reserved seating $26

Saturday, May 15


Old school hip-hop sits in a new light after light is shed on Blowfly. It’s a mystery why this legendary artist is so unsung. 74-year-old Blowfly, also born and known as Clarence Reid in Cochran, Georgia, is an X-rated rap artist that got his nasty start in 1965 with “Dirty Rap.” His grandmother, after hearing Reid as a child singing a naughty version of “Do the Twist” said “you is nastier than a blow fly,” a blow fly being an insect that specializes in laying eggs on a carrion. Before Reid made a career out of Blowfly, the nutball act clad in a shiny super-villian costume, he wrote songs for artists like KC and the Sunshine Band and Betty Wright, as well as writing and recording R&B songs of his own. The filthy songs of his alter-ego were performed among friends at parties in the 1960s, and in 1971 he released his first album The Weird World of Blowfly on his own label, Weird World, because no other record label would release the profane stylings of this wild artist. Luckily, as the times kept rolling, he wiggled his way into the attention of Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea and teamed up to create “Shake Your Ass,” the dirty remake of “Shake Your Thang.” He was also signed to Jello Biafra’s (Dead Kennedys’ vocalist and lunatic) Alternative Tentacles Records in 2005 and released the two albums Fahrenheit 69 and Blowfly’s Punk Rock Party. The latter album is a parody of many punk rock covers including Dead Kennedys’ “Holiday in Cambodia” refreshed as “R. Kelly in Cambodia.” This fun and grimy rapper has put out more than 40 albums and though he spent much of his early days in disguise, he is coming out loud and proud to Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar this Saturday (June 15).

- jaz frazier

9pm Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar, 253 Allen St. (240-9359 / $10 advance

Sunday, June 16

Agnostic Front

The early 1980s spawned Agnostic Front in New York City, a band that became frontrunners of their hardcore scene throughout the decade, though thrash was later incorporated into their music. As young adults, their songs questioned the conformity pressed on youth and misfits of society. Later, through the course of their recording history, societal unrest of greater proportions gave rise in their lyrics. Agnostic Front’s songs as “grown ups,” specifically on 1999’s hardcore revival album Riot, Riot, Upstart shout the injustices laid upon citizens of a police state and the hidden agenda of the government. The lyrics call recognition to the pressures of responsibility and futility as a result of corrupt law enforcement. The group held veteran status at famed New York City venue, CBGB, but felt a slighted when CBGB’s last hoorah in 2006 was aimed at more marketable acts like Blondie and Television. While all have made an impression on what people remember as being NYC rock music of the 1970s, hardcore bands like Agnostic Front were the club’s bread and butter. According to the muses of front man Roger Miret, the band has played more shows at CBGB than any other band, including more benefit shows. Their album Victim in Pain is widely known as the first hardcore album to come out of New York and even after 30 years, Agnostic Front has stayed true to their beliefs. They are welcomed to the Waiting Room this Sunday (June 16) with Madball (another well-established 1980s hardcore band with Freddy Cricien, Miret’s kid brother, on vocals) Brick By Brick, Wreckage, and Source of Relapse.

- jaz frazier

5pm The Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (852-3900 / $15, 16+

Wednesday, June 19


MGMT have always managed to merge the psychedelic with the electronic, and synthpop with indie rock, a feat that has eluded many wannabes. With only a handful of records, the duo of Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden have become icons of the new millennium with super hits like “Electric Feel” and “Kids” from their 2007 record Oracular Spectacular—their major label debut—and “Congratulations” from 2010’s album of the same name. Their meteoric rise was impressive, but seemed to fizzle after the release of Congratulations, which featured a more guitar driven, surf rock sound. Many fans who were used to their synthpop stylings felt alienated by the band’s quick turn toward soft rock, despite hit singles like the more familiarly synthpoppy track “It’s Working.” It was an ambitious move that impressed critics more than fans. Now, three years out from the release of Congratulations, the band is prepping the release of their next album, tentatively titled MGMT, produced by long-time Flaming Lips producer and occasional SUNY Fredonia faculty member Dave Fridmann. The album is slated for a late summer release, but expect a good taste of their upcoming self-titled record when MGMT comes to Artpark for an irresistible fee of only $10 on Wednesday (June 19).

- cory perla

6:30pm Artpark Amphitheater, 450 South 4th St., Lewiston (754-4375 / $10 general admission

Wednesday, June 19

Live at Larkin: John and Mary and The Valkyries

Summer time means shows galore that cost...nothing? Oh how sweet free feels. But quality is not sacrificed, only given as a gift, when local veterans of 1990s alternative rock, John and Mary and The Valkyries, are plopped on a stage in front of fellow Western New Yorkers. John and Mary, also members of the acclaimed Jamestown-based 10,000 Maniacs, play with the Valkyries regularly about our Nickel City. There’s nothing quite like a lady wailing on a fiddle with a twangy, foot-tappin’ troupe to back up her folky vocals. The Ragbirds, another female fronted band, is on the same line-up that night, complimenting J&M&V. The Ragbirds propose eclectic traditional African sounds and employ a wide range of instruments. Their tone is worldly, yet homely. Their dirty folk/zydeco feel lends a twist to the many rhythmic sections of the group, which must explain their cultural versatility, as they are widely traveled, both nationwide and internationally. John and Mary and The Valkyries along with The Ragbirds will perform live in Larkin Square on Wednesday (June 19) as part of the Live at Larkin free concert series. The series runs each Wednesday through September and will include perfromances by the Boyd Lee Dunlop trio on June 26, Aqueous on July 17, the Steam Donkeys on August 7, Son of the Sun on September 4, and Peter Case on September 18, as well as many more

- jaz frazier

5pm-8pm Larkin Square, 745 Seneca Street near Swan ( free

Wednesday, June 19


Combining Sonic Youth-like dissonance with a cold experimental aesthetic, Copenhagen, Denmark based four-piece Lower, though still underground, are beginning to rise on a worldwide scale. Screeching guitars, gangly basslines, and brooding drums characterize this quartet’s music, which toils in immediacy, refusing to let the listener to escape the here-and-now. So much music today is about escapism, but for Lower, it’s the opposite. “We’re not aiming for joyous or sunny tunes,” said drummer Anton Rothstein in an interview with Pitchfork last year. “Someone labeled it ‘downer punk’ and ‘depression rock.’ I don’t know if I would say ‘aggressive,’ I would rather use ‘afraid.’” he said of their EP Walk on Heads. Fear and boredom are common themes for Lower, and though these are uncomfortable ideas, they force the listener to confront them. For Lower, fear and boredom in sound are depicted by harsh, droning guitar-work and vocalist Adrian Toubro’s subversive lyrics. As far as their live show goes, the singer says “All of our shows have been static as fuck: no movement, no blood, nothing. It should be that way. There is no reason to dance or fuck around in a pit.” The Danish band have managed to make their way to North America for a tour that will land them at the Tralf on Wednesday (June 19).

- cory perla

7pm The Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / $10

Thursday, June 20

Cute is What We Aim For

After a six year falling out, most of the original members of native Buffalonian band Cute Is What We Aim For are back on the circuit—dismissive of whether pop punk demands to still exist or not—and have returned with new singles fresh off of Youtube. The band that may have been your guilty pleasure a couple years back, a less-mainstream complement to your Fall Out Boy habit, or another disc in your collection of mid-2000s pseudo-punk boy bands, regrouped for the first time in late 2012. Luckily for Cute fans, their new material is refreshing yet doesn’t stray far from the original stuff. Lead singer Shaant Hacikyan returns delivering the same Bubblegum-flavoured snark and tales of deceptive females, which sparked popularity in prior albums The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch (2006) and Rotation (2008). Where the band’s hit song “The Curse of Curves” professes: “The inside lingo had me at hello, and we go where the money goes” but laments that the girl at hand is “shallow as a shower.” Their new single “Next to Me” chants arrogantly “no matter how perfect your body may be, I can find another one next to me.” Other singles off the EP set to release this summer—titled Real Eyes—include “Songs For the Summer” and “Titanic” which the band posted on Youtube earlier in the year. To conclude their comeback tour, Cute Is What We Aim For will return home for their last stop at the Waiting Room with the Dangerous Summer on Thursday (June 20).

- meghan sauer

6pm The Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (852-3900 / $13 advance, $15 day of show 16+ admitted w/ ID, under w/ an adult