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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's picks for the week: Sugar City's Soul Night, this Friday the 7th at Milkie's..

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.

Sugar City's Soul Night

Friday, February 7

Soul music and Buffalo share a special connection. Not only is Buffalo just around the corner from the Soul Capital of the world, Detroit, Michigan, but for a brief time this city was home to soul legend and pop singer Aretha Franklin, who lived here as a young child before moving to Detroit. Perhaps Franklin realized her propensity for rhythm and blues after being inspired by the beauty and pain of late 1940’s Buffalo. Later, legendary musician Rick James—influenced by soul and R&B—would become a worldwide funk sensation. It’s no wonder then that this generation wants to keep Buffalo’s soul alive. Friendly neighborhood art collective Sugar City is pumping some life into our city’s soul music scene with their annual Soul Night at Milkie’s on Elmwood. DJs Handsome Dan, Fab Frankie Rainbows, Lil Nicky, the Good Reverend Johnny Drama and DJango will spin non-stop soul and funk tunes from the Ohio Players to Stevie Wonder, Rick James to Sam Cooke, and everything in between while MC Lawrence Luster keeps it real. So tie up your dancing shoes and get to Milkie’s this Friday (Feb 7) to “shake your hips and meet some lips.”

- cory perla

10pm Milkie’s, 522 Elmwood Ave. ( $5 ($4 if you bring a mix tape/cd) 18+

Friday, February 7

The Manhattan Project

Imagine this: Your eyes are closed and you’re standing in a field, a bar or a club. All you can feel is the friction and heat of bodies surrounding you. The music begins. In your mind, you imagine a DJ on stage that is transitioning from song to song. The LED lights flash on your eye lids; this is a familiar feeling. Then you open your eyes, and on stage you see two men with instruments. The Manhattan Project is a Rochester born duo that performs electronic music with the grace of an experienced DJ. With Shawn Drogan on drums and electronics and Charlie Linder on keyboard and snyths, The Manhattan Project has grown exponentially since its creation in 2010. With original productions, live covers, and remixes, The Manhattan Project has played local bars, major festivals and played alongside names such as Lotus, Big Gigantic, Paper Diamond, and Conspirator. The electronic world is by no means just for the masters of the turntables. MNM Presents The Manhattan Project on Friday (Feb 7) at the Waiting Room. Opening the show will be a mesmerizing set from Buffalo’s own Armaggedon Party. In addition, there will be a DJ set from 222 Oceans and CLOUD11, the dreamy soundscape side of SwaggleRock. Tonight, it’s time to dance.

- alicia greco

9pm The Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (852-3900 / $12 advance, $15 day of show, 18+

Friday, February 7

Johnny Cash Birthday Bash

It’s that time of year again folks, Johnny Cash’s birthday, when fans across Buffalo gather at Nietzsche’s to commemorate the birth of one of the most influential musicians of the 21st century. The Good Neighborhood’s 3rd annual Johnny Cash Birthday Bash is an evening of Johnny Cash’s somber, prison blues tracks played by an eclectic group of Western New York’s most talented musical acts. The diversity of the musicians is entirely fitting to Cash’s unique sound that spanned genres like folk, rockabilly, blues, and gospel. When it comes to tribute events in The Good Hood, there’s just one directive: no repeats! This year’s Cash set list includes over 40 “rockabluesy” tracks, distributed amongst 5 acts: The Steam Donkeys, The CPX, Ten Cent Howl, Pamela Ryder & John Brady, and David Michael Miller. Johnny Cash’s Birthday Bash starts at 10pm at Nietzsche’s this Friday (Feb 7).

- kellie powell

10pm Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 / $5, 21+

Saturday, February 8

Gift of Gab

Funk-hip-hop act Gift of Gab aka Tim Parker has earned his name. The complex flow of this L.A. based musician’s delivery has been an ever-present aspect of his repertoire of lyrical acrobatics since his start in the early 1990s. The way he lays down a verse on tracks like “Deception” would be enough to twist the tongue of most veteran MCs. The spark to Gab’s lyrical pyrotechnics has traditionally been the golden era hip hop beats of producer and collaborator Chief Xcel, with whom Gift of Gab formed the duo Blackaliciuos in the early 1990s. After a string of records like 1999’s Nia, featuring the duo’s aforementioned hit “Deception,” their major label debut, 2002’s Blazing Arrow—which featured cameos by Zack de la Rocha and Gil Scott Heron—and 2005’s The Craft, the duo took a break to explore their respective solo sides. Now that Gab is flying solo his work has taken a turn toward sci-fi funk but his spark still comes from his collaborations with the likes of legends like George Clinton and sample master DJ Shadow. The underappreciated, yet elite MC will make his way to Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar this Saturday (Feb 8) for a special performance presented by Buffalo hip hop label Deep Thinka Records.

- cory perla

10pm Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar, 253 Allen St. (240-9359 / $8 advance

Saturday, February 8

Donna The Buffalo

Though time marches on, at least we can take comfort in the fact that throughout their 25-year career, Donna the Buffalo has not only maintained a level of consistency, but also continued to evolve. Since 1988 the Buffalo has been touring the bluegrass-folk-jam band circuit, corralling a growing “herd” of followers with their captivating fusion of reggae, rock, country, zydeco, Cajun, and folk. Their ability to seamlessly switch between music genres is a true testament of the band’s overall tightness. Tara Nevins (vocal, guitar, fiddle accordion, scrub board) and Jeb Puryear (vocals, guitar) are at the core of the band, playing together since the beginning, yet never loosing their chemistry or musical style. Nevins sings from the heart without ever getting too lethargic; Puryear combines the wisdom and patience of a guru with the familiar modesty of the guy at the corner store. His clean guitar riffs combine lead and rhythm in a perfect jangle. Their thought-provoking lyrics are backboned by cool, funky beats and a cohesive, mellow sound. If there’s one band that we can celebrate for standing the test of time it’s Donna the Buffalo. Donna the Buffalo will play at the Tralf Music Hall on Saturday (Feb 8).

- kellie powell

8pm The Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / $18 advance, $20 day of show

Sunday, February 9

G. Love & Special Sauce

It takes a lot to speak the truth, and that’s what Philadelphia based group G. Love & Special Sauce do best. They aren’t too bad at creating funky, twanging, anthem-like harmonies either. But what’s most impressive about this band is that they do it all in a fresh and clever way, which is really saying something for a group that formed back in 1993. Their sound has shifted and transformed over the years, but their unabashed raw lyrics have not. It’s as if each lyric is part of an emotional equation with the answer being harmonic convergence. Paired with the eclectic mix of blues, funk, hip-hop, soul and rock, G. Love & Special Sauce’s sound has a way of breaking down barriers and bringing people together. Their infectious simplicity is authentic and profound, something best experienced live. G. Love & Special Sauce will get saucy at the Town Ballroom this Sunday (Feb 9).

- samantha wulff

7:30pm Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $20 advance, $25 day of show, 16+

Thursday, February 13

The Bunny The Bear

Buffalo band The Bunny The Bear have had their sound labeled as everything from post-hardcore to electropop, and somehow they all apply. Perhaps a compilation of seemingly unlike genres is the best way to come close to describing their unique sound, though. Either way, The Bunny The Bear delivers more than new-wave screamo pop—they provide theatrics. Their name isn’t just a clever use of woodland creature names, it is reflected in the stage attire of the two main band members, Matthew “The Bunny” Tybor and Chris Hutka, “The Bear.” From the moment they grace the stage in their masks, the show takes on another dimension. As far as their music is concerned, Tybor provides the screaming vocals, serving up screams aplenty. His abrasive explosiveness is balanced by Hutka’s soulful wailing. The Bunny The Bear defies expectations, all the while hypnotizing with synthesizers. The band will play the last show of their current tour at The Waiting Room on Thursday (Feb 13).

- samantha wulff

6pm The Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (852-3900 / $10 advance, $13 day of show