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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's pick for the week: Burnt Sugar, performing on Friday, March 1st and Saturday March 2nd at The Ninth Ward.

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.

Burnt Sugar

Friday & Saturday, March 1 & 2

In physics, conduction is the transfer of heat energy by the diffusion and collision of particles. In music, it’s quite the same, though the system through which the transfer of musical energy occurs is not as tangible. In music, conduction, short for “conducted improvisation,” is the method of guiding an orchestra through a free improvisation piece. Created and mastered by the late great Lawrence “Butch” Morris, conduction involves the use of hand and baton gestures to signal or lead each part of an orchestra through a piece of music created on the fly. If you asked Morris though—which nobody will ever be able to do again since his passing in January at the age of 65 from cancer—he’d tell you that conduction is almost telekinetic, as he would seemingly beam philharmonic frequencies from the tips of his fingers into the brains of his musicians. Morris’ work has certainly left a mark on the world of music, most relevantly as a collaborator with and influencer of Greg “Ironman” Tate, cofounder of the genre-bending funk orchestra Burnt Sugar who will present a series of performances at Babeville this weekend. Tate, who is well known as a music journalist for the Village Voice, formed Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber in 1999 with bassist Jared Michael Nicerkson. The band—which ranges in size from nine to 25 members depending on the gig—has fully adopted Morris’ conduction techniques as Tate, who also plays electric guitar, leads his group through transformative free improvisational pieces while also mixing in pieces by the likes of James Brown, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and more. The group will present a workshop/performance for the students at Buffalo Academy for Visual & Performing Arts, an open rehearsal/performance on Friday (March 1) in Babeville’s Ninth Ward, and a full concert in Asbury Hall on Saturday (March 2).

- cory perla

Fri, Mar 1, 8pm The Ninth Ward, 341 Delaware Ave. (852-3835 / $10 general, $8 students/seniors, $6 members

Sat, Mar 2, 8pm Asbury Hall, 341 Delaware Ave. (852-3835 / $18 general admission, $15 students/seniors, $12 members

Special pricing for both nights: $25 general, $20 students/seniors, $15 members

Thursday, February 28 - Saturday, March 2

Joe DeRosa

As far as comedians go, Joe DeRosa is as blunt and honest as they come. The comedic angst and cynicism that he spews forth is as human as breathing. Known for being associated with the show “Opie and Anthony,” he jokes about (not) quitting drinking, being out of shape, and lacking in self esteem. While the comic portrayal of his own character is one of a pathetic never-do-well, his confidence is apparent in the energy of his live performance. Comedy makes us laugh, but it’s a dark craft. We find other people’s pain amusing. It’s the reason slapstick exists. DeRosa makes himself the whipping boy, displays his faults and imperfections and allows the audience to laugh at him. We laugh because we can relate. We laugh because it’s just damn funny. Allow Joe DeRosa the chance to entertain you at Helium Comedy Club this Thursday (TONIGHT) through Saturday, and discover that laughing at yourself is actually good for you.

- tom etu

8pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and 10:30pm Friday and Saturday Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St. (853-1211 / $12 general admission, $17 reserved

Thursday, February 28

Revolution Before It's Too Late: Josh Harper & The Shac Campaign

The “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act” was constructed by the US government to strike fear into the hearts of organizations like the Animal Liberation Front and SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty). The reason: In the early 2000’s SHAC—which began as an international animal rights campaign to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences, a research organization based in England infamously known for testing harmful medical and non-medial substances on tens of thousands of animals each year—used what the government considered to be terrorist tactics to accomplish their goals. As a result of the behavior of organizations like SHAC, the government enacted The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which was put in place in essence to protect organizations, like Huntingdon, from activist organizations who wished to interfere with what they perceived as cruelty to animals, labeling said activists as terrorists. One of the first people convicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act was Josh Harper an organizer and spokesman of SHAC USA and member of various other animal rights groups. Harper spent three years in a federal prison for his role in SHAC, an organization that for years has taken on and often defeated some of the world’s most powerful corporations. Now Harper is making his way across the country from his home in Oregon to tell his story, which he will do this Thursday (TONIGHT) at Burning Books on Connecticut Street. Harper’s speech, as he puts it, will “examine how people of conscience can resist the power of the state and its corporate sponsors and the urgency to do so, while we still can.”

- cory perla

7pm. Burning Books, 420 Connecticut St. (881-0791 /

Thursday, February 28 & Friday, March 1

Foundry Launch featuring Container, and Quicksails

“It’s really about creating an atmosphere, a setting for introductions and explorations,” says Frank Napolski, who is throwing a launch party for his production company Foundry this weekend at Soundlab with partner Adrian Bertolone. “It’s as much about well curated events with performers whose work shares similar qualities, as it is about pushing into other forms of time-based art,” Napolski said. As far as pushing into other forms of time-based art, Friday’s experimental techno headliner Container is a perfect example. As far-out as this Nashville-based producer’s sometimes abrasive, but always interesting sounds are, he manages to simultaneously push the boundaries of music and defines it in its purest form; as moving sound structured only by a pulsing beat. Whether Container’s occasionally disorienting, yet driving rhythms move you to get up and dance or contemplate sound itself is up to you. Rounding out Friday’s show will be Providence, Rhode Island based female techno producer Valerie Martino aka Unicorn Hard-On, fellow Providence based sound artist Timeghost, Bertolone’s alter ego Ay Fast, and Buffalo dance music producers UVB-76 (pictured). But before that, on Thursday (TONIGHT), Foundry will kick off with Chicago based psychedelic drone music producer Quicksails, the moniker for synthesist Ben Billington’s densely layered electronic music. Joining Quicksails will be Buffalo math-rock band All Them Witches, Cleveland elecronic hybird group Tropical Me, and an improvised electronic set from Patrick Cain and Napolski. Keep an eye out for more events from Foundry in the coming weeks.

- cory perla

Thursday, Feb 28, 8pm Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (440-5907 / $8 or $14 for both nights

Friday, March 1, 9pm Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (440-5907 / $8

Friday, March 1 & Saturday, March 2

Johnny Cash Birthday Bash / Beautiful Maladies: A Tribute to the Music of Tom Waits

As two of America’s most iconic songwriters, the music of Johnny Cash and Tom Waits could be bound into an anthology of rock’s greatest musical narratives. Both men displayed a remarkable penchant for storytelling over their careers, undoubtedly shaped by their own personal experiences. Their ability to render life’s successes and failures with such passion and detail is what ultimately makes their music so timeless and worthy of tribute. This weekend, Nietzsche’s hosts back-to-back tributes of Johnny Cash and Tom Waits, putting some of Buffalo’s best local acts on stage to pay homage to the true poets of rock and roll. The tribute-filled weekend kicks off on Friday (March 1) with Johnny Cash’s Birthday Bash, celebrating what would have been the 81st birthday for the Man in Black. An outlaw, an icon, a legend—whatever you want to call Johnny Cash would probably hold true, as a musician who infused his personality into every note he played and every word he sang. Set to cover Cash’s repertoire are the Steam Donkeys, Million Dollar Trio, Shaky Stage, Ten Cent Howl, and Andrew J Reimers’ Country-Punk Extravaganza. On Saturday (March 2), it’s Tom Waits’ turn to be idolized by regional and local musicians for the 12th edition of Beautiful Maladies: A Tribute to the Music of Tom Waits. It’s almost impossible to provide an apt description of the musical genius that is Tom Waits. Years of drinking and smoking have helped shape his trademark voice, marked by a harshness and soulfulness that remains inimitable. He’s kicked his drinking habit, but those booze-riddled days of yore still influence Waits’ subject matter, as his story-songs profile all sorts of seedy, degenerate characters that make up the underbelly of American life. With a career that has spanned over 40 years, he continues to push the musical envelope well into this decade. Like every great storyteller, he still has something to say.

- jon wheelock

8pm Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 / $5

Saturday, March 2

The Merchants EP Release Show

If you’ve ever mourned the death of the grunge scene or muttered a desire for the genre’s comeback, you should probably check out the Merchants EP release party on Saturday night. This is not to say that the band is a nostalgia trip clad in flannel and ripped jeans—they keep the music screaming in the direction it should have progressed in. The Merchants began recording last year upon recognition from local record label Admirable Traits. Fuzzy distorted guitars and pain-ridden wails abound in their single “Moth” off of The Red Room. It’s grimy, dirty and heartfelt, the way grunge music was meant to be. Soul and grit is poured into this musical concoction that doesn’t peel the paint off the walls, but burns them to a crisp instead. It’s self deprecating and passionate all at once, and this is only based on one song. If you’re as curious as I am to find out what else they have in their bag of tricks, pay at the door and receive the four song EP with the price of admission. Supporting acts include Sleepy Hahas and JOHNS. BYOB.

- tom etu

8pm The Vault, 702 Main St. (884-7172) $8

Saturday, March 2

Aretha Franklin

The Seneca Niagara Events Center will come alive when Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul” performs live this Saturday (March 2nd). We all are guilty of belting out “Respect” from time to time. Aretha Franklin knows how to make music and make music well. Her 50-year-long reign as “Queen of Soul” has captivated our ears with her voice and lyrics that can make even the grumpiest day feel a little bit better. It is only fitting that she comes to Western New York and coincidentally, back to her roots. Two years after her birth, she and her family moved to our very own Buffalo, New York. For two years, her father built an audience for the growing Gospel church choir here in Buffalo. At 10 years of age, Franklin began singing solo numbers in her Father’s church. After years of visits from Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward, James Cleveland—who influenced her music career —and after a chance to demo with Columbia A&R producer John Hammond, her success was inevitable. Hits like “Respect,” “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” it’s no surprise that she has 18 Grammy awards.

- kendra sornberger

8pm Seneca Niagara Casino, 310 3th St Niagara Falls (299-1100 / $65

Thursday, March 7

Babel: Alexandra Fuller

Most of the authors that Just Buffalo Literary Center have brought here to speak in its celebrated Babel series have been primarily novelists and poets. Next Thursday’s speaker, Alexandra Fuller, is an exception: Fuller is a a memoirist and journalist who has published four well received books. Her first, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, is a memoir of her childhood in Africa; her latest, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, is about her mother. (“We don’t really have cocktail hour—we have cocktail days,” says her mother.) In between, she wote Scribbling the Cat: Travels With an African Soldier, about the long and brutal Rhodesian War, and The Legend of Colton H. Bryant, about a young Wyoming oil fields worker who fell to his death while working a rig. Fuller has written for the New Yorker, Granta, National Geographic, Vogue, the New York Times Book Review, the Financial Times, and the Toronto Globe and Mail. For tickets and more information, visit

- geoff kelly

8pm Kleinhans Music Hall, 1 Symphony Circle ( $35 general admission, $100 VIP with reserved seating and pre-event reception