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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's picks for the week: Against Me!, playing Sunday at the Town Ballroom.

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.



Against Me!

Sunday, January 5

Punk band Against Me! is quite familiar with change. Change is a motivator, a reason for moving forward for the group from Gainesville, Florida. The first incarnation of Against Me! was not a punk band at all, but a solo acoustic act by a 17-year-old Tom Gabel. The music was inspired by protest and anarchism, but it wasn’t until 2001, when he recruited the help of a full band, that Against Me!, this decade’s most successful radical punk band, would begin. The band’s first record, Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose was an anthemic punk rock record with a sense of irony that boasted song titles like “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong,” Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysyerious,” and “Baby, I’m an Anarchist,” and a sound that upon first impression was reminiscent of the Clash. The band took a turn toward country-folk-punk on their follow-up record, Against Me! as the Eternal Cowboy, and another sharp turn toward an angrier oi-punk sound on 2005’s Searching for a Former Clarity. The title of that album would be one of the first hints that Gabel was seeking a deeper understanding of himself. The singer’s biggest change was beginning to take focus on the horizon. Across the band’s next two albums, Gabel would drop hints that he was struggling with making a decision about his sexuality. “And if I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura / I’d grow up to be strong and beautiful like her,” Gabel sang on “The Ocean,” from the band’s 2007 record New Wave. This was essentially the musician’s first acknowledgement that he was transgendered, but it wouldn’t be until 2012 that Gabel would come out in an interview with Rolling Stone. In that interview Gabel became the first major rock star to come out as transgender, announcing that he would begin life as a woman and take the name Laura Jane Grace. Now, two year’s later, the band is preparing to release their first album with newly transitioned Grace at the helm. The record, Transgender Dysphoria Blues will be released on January 21, 2014, but not before Against Me! has the chance to rock out in Buffalo. Fans of the punk rock band will get a taste of the highly anticipated album when Against Me! comes to the Town Ballroom on Sunday (Jan 5) with support from the Sidekicks and the Shondes.

- cory perla

7pm Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / townballroom.com) $17 advance, $19 day of

Thursday, January 2 - Saturday, January 4

Dan Naturman

Dan Naturman’s breed of comedy is like a medicated cream: topical. From the emergence of the Internet, to modern dating, and the ever-constant threat of terrorism, Naturman mocks it all. His comic career started during his attendance at Fordham University School of Law where he began performing stand-up. He must have received his biggest laugh when he informed his parents that he’d be pursuing comedy after graduation....followed by tears of anger. Despite his parent’s certain disapproval, Naturman has made quite a name for himself since 2004. He’s a two-time Last Comic Standing contestant, having made it to the semi-finals the second time around. He’s also performed several times on both Conan and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, been featured on Late Show with David Letterman, and performed his own Comedy Central Presents special. I’m telling you all this because it’ll provide some good background information during Naturman’s three-night stint at Helium Comedy Club this Thursday through Saturday (Jan 2-4).

- brett perla

8pm Thursday, January 2; 7:30pm and 10pm, Friday, January 3 and Saturday January 4 Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St. (853-1211 / heliumcomedy.com) $15-$22

Friday, January 3

Badklaat

Any deficiencies in the local underground electronic music scene will be remedied this weekend when up-and-coming UK dubstep producer BadKlaat makes his way across the pond to Buffalo. Laser guided beats and hard-hitting rhythms make up the 26-year-old’s distinct, grime-based and drum and bass influenced sound. Visit the producer’s Soundcloud page and you’ll notice that 2013 was a rather prolific year for him with bits, clips, and previews of a dozen tracks posted over the last 12 months; impressive for a producer who has only been on the scene for the last three years. The Glouscester, Britain based producer, real name Adam James, has released tracks on labels like Dubstar, Bassclash, and Sub Concentrate Recordings, including his latest EP, Tuff Knuckles. Dark Waves Entertainment presents BadKlaat on Friday (Jan 3) at The Wastelands with special guests Dabz and Distinct, and regional support from Neckbrack, Bace:Face, LURK3R, Big Basha, Eyes Everywhere, Snapback, and more. BYOB. Tickets are available at badklaatliveinbuffalo.splashthat.com. Electronic music fans: don’t sleep on this one.

- cory perla

8pm The Wastelands, 700 Main Street (badklaatliveinbuffalo.splashthat.com) $15 advance, $20 day of show, 18+

Friday, January 3

Mikaela Davis

Listening to harpist Mikaela Davis is relatively anachronistic—her music sounds like it could be in Shakespearean classics, like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, yet it takes on a psychedelic mode that keeps it fresh. This Rochester native is a harpist, singer/songwriter and she’s making a splash on the music scene. Her mysteriously captivating harp-sound and sultry vocals earned her the Charlie Cote Music Award in 2010 and her cover of Sufjan Stevens’ “Casimir Pulaski Day” has gained over 120,000 views on YouTube. Grace Wong, principal harpist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, took an eight-year-old Mikaela Davis under her wing. After nine years, Wong had created one of the most proficient and esteemed harpists of the decade. Perhaps one of the most unique qualities of Davis’ harp playing is her ability to gracefully infuse a rich modernity into such a classic instrument. The large harp overpowers her in size, but she coaxes washes of electric, eclectic color from the instrument with adept control. You won’t want to miss her gentle and sweet sound when she comes to the Tralf Music Hall on Friday (Jan 3) with special guest Maybird.

- kellie powell

7pm The Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / tralfmusichall.com) $8 advance, $10 day of show

Saturday, January 4

Anne Heaton

Though listening to albums by singer-songwriter Anne Heaton might lead one into a meditative state, it’s her skill as a live performer that has won her the most praise. Heaton, a classically trained pianist and pop singer who resides in Evanston, Illinois—a city-suburb 12 miles north of Chicago—has lived with music all of her life. She’s been praised by the Washington Post and Seattle Times for her graceful and tender delivery of low-key piano ballads and even her sometimes humorous pop-folk tunes from albums like 2009’s Blazing Red and her 2002 debut Black Notebook. Her influences include Tori Amos and Peter Gabriel, but her devotion is to strict piano music—she wrote her senior thesis at the University of Notre Dame on the work of impressionist pianist Claude Debussy. Heaton has shared the stage with some of her favorite artists including Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, and jazz drummer Max Roach. In 2012 she put out her latest record, Honeycomb, a sometimes euphoric, sometimes pensive listen that has become her most critically acclaimed to date. Presented by Dan Smalls, Anne Heaton comes to Babeville’s Ninth Ward on Saturday (Jan 4).

- cory perla

7pm Babeville’s Ninth Ward 341 Delaware Ave. (852-3835 / babevillebuffalo.com) $8 advance, $10 day of show

Saturday, January 4

Hip Hop Karaoke

Quick, finish these lyrics: “We on Award Tour with ____________/Goin each and every place with the mic in their hand.” The correct answer is “Muhammad, my man,” and the song is called “Award Tour” by A Tribe Called Quest. That was an easy one, if you got that then you might not have to study up on Phife’s verses. Try this one: “Jazz and Awol that’s our team/step inside the party disrupt the whole scene/when it comes to beats well I’m a fiend/__________________.” This is the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” and the answer is “I like my sugar with coffee and cream.” You can test out your skills on these songs and many more at Hip Hop Karaoke night at Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar this Saturday (Jan 4). The event had a great run at Acropolis on Elmwood but now the classic rap-off is moving to Duke’s in Allentown every first Saturday of the month. Buffalo hip hop record label Deep Thinka Records will provide you with a DJ—DJ Rukkus—and a hypeman—Billy Drease Williams—and all you have to do is choose the song and step up to the mic. All participants will receive one free drink. The list of songs is pretty deep—from 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Wu Tang Clan, and Talib Kweli, to Earl Sweatshirt, Souls of Mischief, MF Doom, and Lauryn Hill, so when the beers kick in and your confidence is high, just step right up and let it fly.

- cory perla

10pm Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar, 253 Allen St. (240-9359 / dukesbohemiangrovebar.com)

Thursday, January 9

Kevin Devine

Often times, when a band releases a double album, only about half of it proves to be worth listening to—this is certainly not the case with indie legend, Kevin Devine’s most recent releases, Bulldozer and Bubblegum. Citing bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Elliot Smith, Pavement, Nirvana, and Bob Dylan as some of his main influences, it’s not surprising that Devine’s musical styling’s encompass such an alternative mix of genres. His proficient musicianship and sharp songwriting skills consistently manifest his comparability to rock legends like, Kurt Cobain and Bob Dylan. On his solo album, Bulldozer, Devine’s smashing blend of folk and rock bleeds through the speakers, reminding us why we love this artist so much. As promised, he released the second installment, Bubblegum, earlier this year. This “pedal-to-the-floor” rock album was born via Devine’s collaboration with Jesse Lacey of Brand New. Devine’s notorious political lyricism and indie-rock sound is woven into all 12 rejuvenating tracks. Songs like “Private First Class,” based on the imprisonment and scandal of Bradley Manning who leaked classified documents in Iraq, carries a Nirvana-like tune, with hard-hitting lyrics like: “If it was you/ You might wish you’d been born a liar/ A coward.” Devine is an integral cog to the indie rock machine, and he continues to go above and beyond of what is expected of an indie artist. Kevin Devine comes to the Waiting Room on Thursday (Jan 9).

- kellie powell

7pm The Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (852-3900 / waitingroombuffalo.com) $10 advance, $12 day of show, 16+