Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

Next story: Mardi Gras Scavenger Hunt

18th Annual Artvoice Mardi Gras

Fat Tuesday is upon us and it’s time to get your ya-yas out

We are all getting pretty good at this. Each and every year the Artvoice Mardi Gras Party grows bigger, gaudier, and more debauched. Which is exactly what a Mardi Gras celebration is supposed to be—one last libertine howl before the numbing deprivation of the Lenten season, which ends with the reawakening of spring, which leads to glorious summer.

At this rate, we’ll soon stop talking about bringing the Big Easy to Buffalo. Who needs New Orleans? We’ve got our own thing going on.

Most of you know how it works, but for those who are joining the party for the first time: At more than two dozen participating venues, our volunteers will sell you a $5 bracelet, which grants you admission to every other venue. Just flash the bracelet wherever you go and our volunteers will reward you with beads and more beads, until your head hangs low under their weight. There is live music and dance, Cajun buffets, drink specials galore (courtesy of the venues themselves and our co-sponsors, Southern Comfort and Labatt), costumes, a traveling cadre of drag queens (led by our mistress of ceremonies forever and ever, the one and only Chevon Davis), and of course the parade.

Oh the parade! No matter the Buffalo weather, it kicks off at 5pm sharp and wends its way through Allentown and Chippewa, with floats and dancers, music and marchers. Follow along, join in, or watch from sidewalk in front of your favorite gin joint with a go cup in hand. But don’t miss it. (Click to see a map of the parade route on the official Mardi Gras website.)

This year we’re adding a twist: a scavenger hunt with fabulous prize packages for the winners. (See the rules on this page.)

Every penny of your $5 benefits Give For Greatness, our campaign to raise money for cultural and arts education institutions in Western New York—theaters, dance troupes, galleries, etc. It’s a great cause: These institutions survive on a shoestring that gets thinner and shorter every year, while making outsized contributions to our economy and our quality of life. (Learn more about Give For Greatness here.)

Just as important, the Artvoice Mardi Gras is a great party, a turning out of this fun-loving town that keeps getting greater every year. Join us, and let the good times roll.

Visit the Official Mardi Gras Website to view a map of the parade route, an interactive map of participating locations, and more information. Keep on reading below to learn about all the live entertainment we have in store!

Click here to download a PDF of the 8-page Mardi Gras spread as it appeared in this week's print paper.

The Blues Hounds

6-10pm • Noir Ultra Lounge

88 West Chippewa

Did you know that one of the best blues acts around got its start on the Cattaraugus reservation? The Blues Hounds will be bringing their own distinctive take on roadhouse music this Fat Tuesday, featuring wailing harmonica, blistering guitar, and skin-tight rhythm section—everything you need to get your gut-bucket boogie on. No frills, just straight-up house-rocking at Noir Ultra Lounge. This, plus drink specials including genuine Hurricanes—the fruity but potent New Orleans cocktails made popular by the world famous Pat O’Brien’s bar in the French Quarter. (- Buck Quigley)

Type Relevant

7-10pm • Fat Bob’s Smokehouse

41 Virginia Place

2009 Artvoice BOOM winning hip-hop group Type Relevant will take the stage at Fat Bob’s Smokehouse in Allentown on Mardi Gras. With a combination of funk, jazz, hip-hop, and blues, Type Relevant throw it down old-school. Formed over a decade ago, the hip-hop group has continued to stay relevant, collaborating with some of the city’s leading hip-hop acts like DJ Cutler, and Mad Dukes, as well as headlining events like Music Is Art in the past. (- Cory Perla)

Chevon Davis’s Drag Revue

10pm • Nietzsche’s

248 Allen Street

The true queens of the Queen City return as Chevon Davis and her troupe of beaded, tiara-topped lady friends strut their stuff on the runway for their annual Mardi Gras drag show at Nietzsche’s. As mistress of ceremonies for all 17 of Artvoice’s Mardi Gras celebrations, Chevon Davis is sure to deliver one of the wildest and most well-attended shows of the evening. (- Jon Wheelock)

The Zygotes

7pm • Frizzy’s

140 Allen Street

Bluegrass players call it the drive; jam band players call it the groove. You play to keep the groove alive, and when the drive moves, you’ve got to move with it. On their Facebook page, the Zygotes describe themselves as gypsy jazz; they also talk about bluegrass influences, and dub. I assume they’re joking. The fiddle is old-timey and, true, sometimes jazz-inflected, but the underlying beat feels like rock music alternately stretched or compacted, yet methodical to the point of hypnotic. There’s nothing like it in this town. The Zygotes open the Mardi Gras lineup at Frizzy’s. (- Geoff Kelly)

Bruce Wojick and Jamie Holka Duo

7-11pm • SoHo

64 West Chippewa Street

Two genuine Buffalo guitar heroes will be strumming the night away at SoHo. Step inside and enjoy some jazzy picking with rock edge. These cats boast an entertaining repertoire of choice instrumental covers served up in their own unique style—everything from Elton John, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles to Steely Dan. A perfect joint to enjoy a mellow break from all the festive revelry, and soak up some impressive musicianship while you’re at it. (BQ)

Steel Keys and Brass

7pm • Nietzsche’s

248 Allen Street

It didn’t take long for Steel Keys and Brass to break into the Buffalo music scene and get down to business, going from talked-about newcomers to becoming one of Buffalo’s most eclectic live acts. Using trumpet and tuba as the “brass,” SKB delivers a healthy dose of Americana as bluegrass, jazz and heavy blues combines with classic rock and funk grooves. The band has been busy playing over 180 shows across the Northeast in the past two years, and released their debut album, Vaudevillains, last April. Hear Steel Keys and Brass get back to their roots on Fat Tuesday at Nietzsche’s. (JW)

The Poor Boys

Essex Street Pub

6 Essex Street (at Rhode Island)

Despite their name, don’t feel too sorry for this hard-swinging duo, whose energetic celebrations of rockabilly, ska, whiskey, and women have been building a following in recent years. Lately they’re popping up on all the city’s finest stages. (You may have caught them a couple weeks ago, for example, at Allentown Music’s anniversary party at Nietzsche’s.) They’ll be whipping the up the crowd at the Essex Street Pub (6 Essex Street, at Rhode Island) on Mardi Gras, which alone justifies a jaunt off of Allen Street. (GK)

Caitlin Koch and the Jamie Moses Band

8pm-11pm • The Bend

256 Allen Street

Don’t miss one of the area’s hardest working bands when they serve up a mix of New Orleans-styled music along with their long list of select covers in the intimate atmosphere of the Bend. Ron Locurto, John Larson, Kyle Brock, and Artvoice publisher Jamie Moses back up Koch’s powerhouse vocals. You may have seen Koch on TV’s X-Factor, but it doesn’t compare with checking her out live. Enjoy $5 Hurricanes, $4 Southern Comfort and Cherry Cokes, $3 Labatt’s beer and $2 rotating specials all night long. Remember, Lent is a long time to behave yourself. Better get your ya-ya’s out while you can. (BQ)

The Stripteasers

11pm • Nietzsche’s

248 Allen Street

It wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without some Bourbon Street-style debauchery, and Buffalo burlesque troupe the Stripteasers have that covered—or, rather, uncovered. The ladies are suggestive with their body language in more ways than one, using sketch comedy and dance to make pokes at politics, social stigmas, and gender roles. It’s more than just a striptease, but, of course, there’s that too. (JW)

DJ Bearskin Rug


253 Allen Street

Hip-hop, house, electro, or disco, Bear Skin Rug has got you covered. The 25-year-old DJ, real name Miles Dipaola, a regular DJ at Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar in Allentown, will be back at his usual haunt this Mardi Gras, putting together a mix that should keep the dance floor moving and the beer flowing. (CP)

Fleuron Rouge Belly Dance

8:30pm • Frizzy’s

140 Allen Street

9:30pm • Hardware Cafe

245 Allen Street

New Orleans is one of those cities in which disparate cultures collide, are changed by the collision, and so give rise to something new. Perfect, then, to take in the performers of Fleuron Rouge, a troupe whose dancers draw on many styles and schools of belly-dancing and make it new. It is also, of course, louche and drop-dead sexy. Catch them twice on Mardi Gras, at Frizzy’s and Hardware. (GK)

Michael Bly

7pm • Purple Monkey

236 Delaware Avenue

Michael Bly, born in Buffalo, worked for years at a huge law firm in Manhattan after passing the bar exam. He had what many only dream of but remained unfulfilled. Bly moved back to Buffalo to start performing as a singer-songwriter because it felt natural. “You always know the right thing to do,” he says. “The tough part is doing it.” Michael has been awarded best solo artist and best male vocalist, and his band, Michael Bly Band, was voted best alternative band, on On Tuesday he will be performing solo at the Purple Monkey Tropical Pub. (- Sarah Barry)


Hardware Cafe

245 Allen Street

Pinja bring the electro-pop and bassline house all night long. The duo, made up of Dominic Bochicchio, a.k.a. DJ Peak, and Leah Horden, better known as Miss Mirror, take 8-bit nerdtronic pop, smash it together with house music, and the result is a dreamy wave of electronic sounds that fans of acts like Tycho and Ulrich Sschnauss would appreciate. Check them out on Mardi Gras at Hardware. (CP)

Lee Ron Zydeco & the Hot Tamales


253 Allen Street

Yeah, Mardi Gras is about the beads and the booze, but what’s a good party without the right music? The priority should always be the tunes. Bad jams can kill the buzz, and no one wants that. So, for real Mardi Gras music, just look to LeeRon Zydeco & the Hot Tamales. LeeRon (Ron Davis) straps his accordion to his chest like a man on a mission, that mission being to bring the world his blend of “spicy, upbeat mix of Zydeco, Cajun, Caribbean, Blues, Tex-Mex and New Orleans party funk.” And what a mix it is! I can see it now—LeeRon leading the stumbling, clamoring, beautiful parade through Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, the horns blowing till the walls of Jericho come down. Aside from leading LeeRon Zydeco & the Hot Tamales and many other musical acts, Davis also acts as an ambassador of New Orleans music, bringing his knowledge and skill of the genre to various school, libraries, and festivals to educate people on the joys of Cajun-style jams. (- Peter Vullo)


6pm • Nietzsche’s

248 Allen Street

Admiral Lof, Captain Coco, and Sheriff Hassler make up the instrumental trio known as ChloroformCoulier, so you know these guys don’t take themselves too seriously. They are serious about playing their instruments, however, and do so with an energy and precision that needs to be seen in the live setting. Remarkably nimble guitar work and basslines are backed by in-your-face drums, taking on everything from all-out heavy metal and punk, to progressive jazz and world music. (JW; photo by Michael Mulley)


9pm • Frizzy’s

140 Allen Street

If you haven’t come across this quartet, the name pretty well gives them away. But this is folk of the rambunctious, rebellious, topical variety. Very little brooding here, very little self-reflection. Lots of stomp. Their adaptation of Martin Luther King’s “We’re on the move” speech into a stirring rag, for example, is a genuinely good time. (GK)

12/8 Path Band

10:45pm • Nietzsche’s

248 Allen Street

Armed with horns and drums, the 12/8 Path Band has been busking their way around Buffalo for more than 30 years, celebrating the music, culture, and the tradition of Louisiana-style walking bands. The 12/8 Path Band embodies what street music is all about through their colorful New Orleans and Afro-Caribbean-inspired beats and grooves. Though the group is largely mobile, they bring the same impromptu spirit to their onstage performances. (JW)

The Steam Donkeys

8:30pm • Nietzsche's

248 Allen Street

First there was the Steam Donkeys. Then there was the Steam Donkeys. When it comes to honky-tonk and alternative country in Buffalo, the conversation begins and ends with this esteemed local act. The band has been rocking venues in Buffalo and beyond for over a decade, and bring their whiskey-soaked roots rock tunes to Nietzsche’s on Fat Tuesday. (jw)

Jeff Repeater

Hardware Cafe

245 Allen Street

You’ve probably seen Jeff Repeater, a.k.a. Geoffrey Peters or Shapes of States, throw down some gnarly electronic beats at one of your favorite local venues like Soundlab, Ohm, or Nietzsche’s. Repeater is a veteran of the local electronic music scene and he consistently brings interesting and experimental electronic sounds. If the words “chaos pad” mean anything to you, then you will enjoy Repeater when he lays down a set at Hardware this Mardi Gras. (CP)

Charlie the Butcher


253 Allen Street

Charlie the Butcher isn’t just the guy who slices up that hot roast beef, he’s also the guy that chops up those sizzling hip-hop beats. Charlie the Butcher is hip-hop DJ Charles Schmidt, a regular DJ at Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar in Allentown. Look for him on stage at Duke’s this Mardi Gras. (CP)

Camaican Sensation


253 Allen Street

It’s always a plus when a DJ’s name rhymes. It’s also a plus when said DJ actually knows what he’s doing behind the turntables. Camaican Sensation is that DJ. Put together one part Canada, one part Jamaica, mix it all up with a bunch of old-school hip-hop vinyl records, and Camaican Sensation is the result. This Buffalo DJ is a sample connoisseur, so prepare to hear a collage of familiar sounds as Camaican Sensation spins at Duke’s this Tuesday. (CP)


11pm • Q

44 Allen Street

There are some basic rules for any club that offers karaoke: Keep the Spice Girls songs to a minimum, only one rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” per night, and no one is allowed to sing “Sweet Caroline” until the whole bar is drunk enough to belt it out in unison. Okay, so these aren’t exactly “official” rules, and nobody will enforce them, but for the sake of the comfort of everyone’s ears, please try to abide. If you are craving some karaoke this Mardi Gras, then Q, located between Franklin and Main Street in Allentown, is the place to go. (CP)


11:30pm • Nietzsche’s

248 Allen Street

Eastern-European folk trio Shubbaluliuma wins in the best band name category, in addition to having the unlikely instrumentation of two electric violins and a drummer. The results are folky jaunts and jams from faraway lands that you’ve likely never heard from a local band. The Infringement Festival mainstays close out the Mardis Gras festivities at Nietzsche’s. (JW)

Underground Drag Show


274 Delaware Avenue

Checking out a drag show is an experience the attendees are unlikely to ever forget. The theatrics, the glamour, the music, the dancing, the wardrobe—all combine to make a memory, all covered in glitter and fake eyelashes. Drag and drag queens are a bona fide pop culture staple, from cult classic so-bad-it’s-good director Ed Wood indulging in his love for angora sweaters throughout Glen or Glenda, to the filth and glitz of Divine in John Waters’s Pink Flamingos, to RuPaul, who is as close to a household name as a drag queen can get. (RuPaul’s Drag Race recently entered its fifth season on television.) With all the celebrating and colorful masks and costumes, Mardi Gras and drag shows have a lot in common. There is no better time of year to celebrate being yourself, in any shape or form. So pick out your favorite color nail polish, squeeze into your favorite little dress, and strut down the catwalk like you own it—because you do, damn it. (PV)

Slip Madigan

Funky Monkey

20 Allen Street

Slip Madigan will be playing at the new Funkey Monkey Nite Club this Fat Tuesday. As a band they seem to fit a little bit everywhere or not quite anywhere. They’ve been described as psychedelic, experimental, folk-rockin’, mind-expanding, knife-tastic, brainfood. If your mind is exhausted from trying to figure out what that sounds like, maybe you should come see what they’re all about. The band consists of Ryan McDonough (guitars), Brad Robbins (bass), Jay Stewart (percussion), RJ Acanfora (drum set), and Wade Benford on keys. On their live recordings, they like to add, synthesizers, mandolin, banjo, car doors, hand claps, and anything they can find that will make their sound more interesting. You never know what you’re going to get out of these guys, and they don’t know either. (SB)

Space Junk

Funky Monkey

20 Allen Street

Space Junk got their start doing basements parties at SUNY Fredonia in 2009. They later took root in Buffalo, where they won the respect of the local jam and DJ Sscenes. Space Junk is an EDM (electronic dance music) and progressive trance jam band with reggae, indie, bluegrass, and rock influences. This is a band for anyone who wants to move with the music. There is never a shortage of dancers in their fan base, making each show a unique and memorable one. (SB; photo by Lewis J. Tezak Jr.)

The Moves

9:30pm • Frizzy’s

140 Allen Street

If you’ve spent five minutes in the company of Josh Gage, who runs the Monday open mic at Nietzsche’s and fronts the experimental folk act the Genuflektors, you will have wondered how he survives without a punk band. The Moves are that band. The group grew out of the sort of encounter that in places like Allentown seems not chance but a commonplace: a couch surfer, a jam session, some time sitting on the sidewalk outside Taza, and voilá—you’ve got a band. They’ve even got a song about a steak sandwich at the Pink. A rousing, good-time close to Frizzy’s Mardi Gras lineup. (GK)

Marcella Drag Show

Midnight • Club Marcella

622 Main Street

What Mardi Gras would be complete with out drag queens? They are the dancing, singing manifestation of all that is Mardi Gras—flashy colors, sparkly outfits, and heels approximately five to 19 inches tall. Come see some of Buffalo’s finest performers on Tuesday at Marcella’s at the stroke of midnight. See Robotica 2kay, Short Circit Fembot—tallest queen in Buffalo—or Sabrina “Buffalo’s Tiniest Wonder” Willams, who makes all of her own costumes. Get ready to dance for hours with these ladies. As Fy’a Valentino, “The J-Lo of Buffalo,” would say, “Life is short, make the best of it everyday, and you shall prevail.” Making the best of it on Tuesday probably means partying at Marcella’s. Bring some beads. (SB)

By Cory Perla, Sarah Barry, John Wheelock, Peter Vullo, Buck Quigley, Geoff Kelly

blog comments powered by Disqus