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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's pick for the week: Gangstagrass, this Friday at the Tralf Music Hall.

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.



Gangstagrass

Friday, April 25

It’s difficult to find another group that combines Americana, roots rock, and rap, at least as well as Gangstagrass does. The conflicting tones are almost overwhelming when listening to tracks like “Quickdraw” from the band’s 2014 record Broken Glass and Stolen Money, but, as Gangstagrass producer Rench would argue, those tones aren’t as heavy as they might seem at first. Hip hop is as American as Americana, of course, so the combination of what might seem like polar opposites actually comes quite naturally for the group from Brooklyn. You might recognize their song “Long Hard Times to Come,” a lazy banjo diddy complete with resonator guitars and a hip hop beat, as the theme song of the hit FX television show Justified. Lyricist and rapper T.O.N.E.-Z delivers a gangster flow over the band’s country melodies and bluegrass rhythms on the song that was nominated for an Emmy for “Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.” The group is not afraid to collaborate either, working with rappers like Kool Keith and MC Nitty Scott, as well guest fiddlers, bassists, guitarists, and turntablists. Don’t miss Gangastagrass when they come to the Tralf Music Hall on Friday (April 25) with local support from the Ellen Pieroni Quartet.

- cory perla

8pm The Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / tralfmusichall.com) $12 advance, $14 day of show

Thursday - Saturday, April 24 - May 3

Buffalo Niagara Film Festival & More

This weekend brings the opening of this year’s Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, to Toronto. Imagine TIFF with only documentaries, and bear in mind that this is a banner era for non-fiction filmmakers. With more than 180 films to be shown over 11 days, it’s way too big to synopsize, so check out www.hotdocs.ca. If you’re staying in Buffalo, there’s the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, running from Thursday through May 3 at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center. Among this year’s offerings are The Natural: The Best There Ever Was, a documentary about the 1984 baseball drama that was filmed in Buffalo; My Dream Beside Me, a locally made comedy-drama about an elderly widow and widower who find a new life together; and Hit & Stay, chronicling the Catonsville Nine, the group of Catholic activists whose action of seizing and burning Draft Board records sparked similar actions in the late 1960s, including some in Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara Falls. You can find a complete schedule at thebnff.com. Friday also brings the annual disABILITIES Film and Speaker Series. This year’s presentation is Raising Matty Christian, a profile of a boy born without full limbs or a tongue whose parents raised him to face his challenges head on. The film will be screened at 3pm and 7pm Friday (April 25) at the Amherst Theater. At 5pm producer-director Christian de Rezendes and associate producer Paul Plotkin will discuss their film during a reception at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main Street (a half mile north of the theater).

- m. faust

Various showtimes, Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre, 639 Main St. (marketarcade.dipsontheatres.com) $10 per show, $25 day pass, $100 week pass

Friday, April 25

Rita Auerbach: Chronical of 40 Year Career in Watercolor

A painter of bright and zestful watercolors, Rita Argen Auerbach’s work is in comprehensive display at two influential venues in Western New York, at the Kenan Center, Lockport, May 4, and at Meibohm Fine Arts in East Aurora open on Friday (April 25) in conjunction with the East Aurora Art Walk. Both exhibitions, “Rita Argen Auerbach, Chronicle of 40 Year Career in Watercolor,” celebrate the artist’s over 40 years of work examining her portrayals of Buffalo’s historic architecture, the Victoriana of Chautauqua, and particular sites of her many travels in North America and abroad. Auerbach’s clarity of light, gem-like color, and dramatic composition often make even the most ordinary urban scene distinctive.

- j. tim raymond

5pm-9pm Meibohm Fine Arts, 478 Main St, East Aurora (652-0940 / meibohmfinearts.com)

Saturday, April 26

David Blaine

“Would you look at that!” is a proclamation commonly shouted by spectators of magician David Blaine while he performs not only world record shattering but also never-before-done magic tricks. Blaine started as a magician performing what appeared to be unmanageable tricks with a simple deck of cards, eventually mesmerizing the entire world by performing physically impossible stunts. These stunts include being buried alive for over a week, standing atop a pillar in Bryant Park for 36 hours with no safety net, being encased in a block of ice for three days, and successfully holding his breath for 17 minutes and four seconds, breaking the world record. At the age of four, Blaine knew he would dedicate the rest of his life to magic, illusion and deception. By the age of 13, he was professionally performing magic as a magician-for-hire at private events, galas, and parties. By 23 he had already created, directed and produced an original television program, Street Magic, which was hailed as one of the best TV magic specials ever by multiple critics. Since then he has performed around the globe, as well as for world powers and celebrity likes of Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Michael Jackson and Mark Zuckerberg. Blaine is now the face of modern magic and will be the final installment of UB’s Distinguished Speaker’s Series at Alumni Arena on Saturday (April 26). The speech engagement will feature a test of endurance, magic performance, audience interaction, and a Q&A.

- sean t. heidinger

Alumni Arena, 108 Alumni Arena, University at Buffalo North Campus (student-affairs.buffalo.edu/special/speakers) $30-$56, Free for eligable UB undergrads

Sunday, April 27

The Whigs

Just what is a true rock band nowadays? With all of the different branching offs of the term and its musical hybrids, it’s hard to really tell, but when you know, you know—and you know with the Whigs. With their latest album, Modern Creation, still fresh on their lips, the Whigs didn’t bother wasting any time in hitting the road, and will be at the Waiting Room this Sunday (April 27). They’re bringing their garage-brand of good old rock and roll back with all the raw, raspy southern-ness they can muster. The Whigs’ inception took place at the University of Georgia in 2002. They never looked back. Their passion to play landed them on stages shared with the likes of Franz Ferdinand and the Killers. In addition to also making their way to the stage of every late night show, the guys have scored themselves a tour with Kings Of Leon. For being a more mature band, you may be surprised by the spunk the Whigs bring to every show. Pick up a copy of Modern Creation, which was recorded live, to get a sample, and attend the real experience this weekend.

- samantha wulff

7pm The Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (852-3900 / waitingroombuffalo.com) $13 advance, $15 day of show

Thursday, May 1

David Wax Museum

David Wax Museum’s campy brand of Mexo-Americana indie rock is making a global splash. Transitioning from a grass roots outfit to Newport Folk main stage players and Americana darlings off the strength of two self-released albums within 12 months. David Wax and Suz Slezak make up the artistic core of David Wax Museum. The duo is as harmonious as they are distinct—their voices uniquely blend together so perfectly when they want them to, but stand out when they don’t. Their songs contain an expanded musical palate of autoharps, organs, mariachi trumpet loops, violin, cajón, accordion, synths, knitting needle fiddlesticks, and samples of field recordings from Veracruz thrown in for Lomaxian measure. Not to mention Slezak’s wildly percussive quijada (a donkey’s jawbone). Classic Mexican strumming patterns are translated into electric guitars sporting halos of fuzz. Their music is rich, yet every single instrument and note has its perfect place and it rarely overwhelms. Every sound is there to add something. With songs like, “Colas,” “Born With A Broken Heart” and “Vivian” it’s impossible to stand still, eventually the music is going to get you. Even their more intimate acoustic numbers like “Beatrice” only bring the audience closer to the stage in a snug cluster, forming an amoeba-like group of Museum lovers. David Wax Museum comes to Babeville’s Ninth Ward this Thursday (May 1) with Rusty Belle.

- kellie powell

7pm Babeville’s Ninth Ward, 341 Delaware Ave. (852-3835 / babevillebuffalo.com) $12

Thursday, May 1

Gurf Morlix

Western New York native and Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter/instrumentalist/producer Gurf Morlix has made quite a name for himself over the years. He’s perhaps best known for his 11-year creative partnership with Americana darling Lucinda Williams, but that’s just a small slice of his musical influence. He’s also collaborated with Ray Wylie Hubbard, Warren Zevon, Ian McLagan, Patty Griffin, Robert Earl Keen, Michael Penn, Buddy Miller, Mary Gauthier, Tom Russell, Jim Lauderdale and Slaid Cleaves, to name several more. In the 1970s he worked with eccentric Texas songwriter Blaze Foley, whose beautiful ballad “If I Could Only Fly” was recorded by Merle Haggard in 2000. Morlix released an entire record of his musical cohort’s songs in 2011 entitled Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream, and followed that up with a fresh batch of originals on Gurf Morlix Finds the Present Tense in 2013. In addition to his production and songwriting work, the Americana Music Foundation named Morlix Instrumentalist of the Year in 2009 for his precise and soulful guitar playing, among other things. His live performances are at once hypnotic and joyful thanks to his unique mix of dark moods and wry humor—a combination that should be all the more immediately on display inside the intimate confines of Pausa Art House on Thursday (May 1). With limited seating available, it’s advisable to get your tickets early, online.

- buck quigley

8pm Pausa Art House, 19 Wadsworth St. (697-9069 / pausaarthouse.com) $15 door / $16 online