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See You There!

See you There?

Infringement Festival 2015

July 23rd - August 2nd (

For the next 11 days, our Water Belt City can expect to experience some strange and unexpected performances and other expressions of the arts. The annual Infringement Festival steadily reaches its roots farther and deeper each year. This year there are 92 venues supporting the Festival with 34 in Allentown, the epicenter of the Infringement Festival. In addition, there are dozens of street buskers performing everything from music to playing with fire. Infringement was born as a response to “oppressive neoliberal worldview & all its billboard trucks, televisions, flyers, advertisements, jingles, made-for-TV wars & the de-politicization of people through this diversionary spectacle.” In short, all the things that crush creativity and keep the population stupid and malleable. Open to all, there is no idea too out of the ordinary for Buffalo’s “under the radar” Infringement Festival. Everybody has their moment to shine, leaving room for pure expression that ranges from the wildest street performers to the most professional folk bands. Organizers describe it as an “arts democracy” that is “the antitheses of the status-quo,” which is just the sort of artistic self-determination, vacant of censorship and overflowing with unconventional creativity that makes this event so appropriate for the city of Buffalo. Most of the showcases at the Infringement Festival are completely free so there is good reason to venture out to the unknown–it won’t cost you. From experimental theater performances to 100 drums along Hoyt Lake, Infringement has something for everyone. Set up by a committee of volunteers, the festival brings together local musicians, poets, digital and media artists, comics, dance companies and more on the streets and in the bars to create art that examines the meaning of art. What’s particularly nice is that unlike all the arts festivals we’re familiar with, i.e., Allentown Festival, Elmwood Festival of the Arts, etc., Infringement artists pay nothing to participate and they keep 100% of anything they earn. We like that! For more information visit

> Jeffrey Czum

Sklar Brothers

Thursday 7/23: 8pm / Friday 7/24: 7:30pm & 10pm / Saturday 7/25: 7:30 & 10pm Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St. (853-1211 / $17-$31

If it’s true comedians are narcissists, imagine what it’s like to be narcissistic identical twins. Twins Randy and Jason Sklar will be headlining at Helium this weekend. The brothers, who work, travel, perform, and hang out together, have a stage banter so innate in their live performances that it spills over into their post-show conversations, as well. They seem to relish having a stage buddy readily at hand to pick up the joke in case the other may have been about to fall off a very unfunny cliff. The Sklars’ act is so rapid-fire; it’s literally like watching twin brothers finishing each other’s sentences, often stepping on each other’s toes trying to do so. In that way, it’s similar to experiencing a couple of old friends recounting their favorite stories from their shared past; each one wants to get in the funny details they find most important to the tale. You can catch these two brothers in action this weekend at Helium Comedy Club.

> Jeffrey Czum

Viet Cong / Metz

8pm Mohawk Place 47 E Mohawk St. ( / (716)312-9279) $13-$15

Viet Cong is an industrial post-punk band from the really cold part of Canada (Alberta). They write songs called things like “Pointless Existence” that go, “If we’re lucky we’ll get old and die.” Their debut album ends with an 11-minute jam simply called “Death”. These facts may lead you to make certain assumptions about Viet Cong as people: namely that an afternoon down at a bar in their company will be gloomier than Morrissey on a coach tour of mass-market abattoirs. The suspicion that a morbid thundercloud hangs over the band gets stronger still once you know their history. Frontman and bassist Matt Flegel and drummer Mike Wallace were both in the celebrated Calgary art-rock band Women until Matt got into a fistfight with his guitarist brother Patrick. Soon after, Women’s other guitarist, Christopher Reimer, died in his sleep from a heart condition at the age of 26. With that in mind, you’d forgive the band for dressing head-to-toe in black and speaking only in Sartre quotes. Yet, when you see them on stage, you’ll notice the most charming buoyant group of musicians having a great time. They’ll be heading to Mohawk Place on Thursday night (7/23 @8pm) in support of their latest self-titled album, which came out earlier this year. Catch these guys in action as they’ll be putting on a great energetic show with METZ.

> Jeffrey Czum


5:30PM Pausa Art House, 19 Wadsworth Street ((716) 697-9069 / $10-$12

With a name that sounds like a city in Afghanistan, TriBeCaStan is actually a band that offers genre-bending jazz/world music. Much like their home, New York City, the poly-stylistic group melds the world’s music and culture and strives to into uncharted territory. Radically multicultural and poly-stylistic to the marrow, TriBeCaStan are one of contemporary’s music’s most eclectic bands. A collective of ebullient instrumentalists from varied musical backgrounds; they utilize wildly diverse instruments from around the globe to express a wide palette of sonic colors. The Washington Post hailed them as “an international jazz and folk festival unto themselves, fusing Balkan, Middle Eastern, Indian, Latin American, and African musical elements to bold and dazzling effect.” The band are a flexible collective based around a core group of players, including co-founders John Kruth and Jeff Greene, baritone saxophonist Claire Daly, and multi-reedist Matt Darriau. Green contributes a wide array of instruments – yayli tambor, tarhu, morsing, dutar flutes, rubab, aqua drum, and halo- while Kruth, who has collaborated with such diverse artists as Ornette Coleman, Patti Smith, Violent Femmes and Alan Ginsburg, shines on mandolin, mandocello, banjo, sitar, flutes and harmonica. Darriau plays kaval, clarinet, alto sax and gaidi. You won’t want to miss out on this experience at Pausa Art House this Friday night (7/24 @ 6pm).

> Jeffrey Czum

Strand of Oaks

7pm The Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / $11-$13

When Timothy Showalter decided to title his latest Strand of Oaks album HEAL, he didn’t type it in all caps as a gimmick. That title is a mission statement, a command to strip away all artificiality from one’s life and to reveal one’s true self. Whereas Strand of Oaks’ previous releases offered more folk-leaning tunes with lyrics that often were more abstract than personal, HEAL features a fiercer rock sound and more personal lyrics that capture Showalter at his most honest and vulnerable self. The solo artist looked back at his life growing up in Goshen, Indiana, while listening to bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, and realized he needed to hit the reset button to get back to music he was supposed to make. “I love folk music and love the sounds and feeling you get when you play it,” he says. “But I was just done with it. I needed to embrace the inner head-bang kid that I was and just make that kind of record.” Fittingly, then, the album starts with “Goshen 97,” which has a shredding guitar solo from Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis. HEAL is not a command to ask politely but rather to yell at the top of your lungs with urgency. Come out to the Tralf Music Hall this Saturday night (7/25 @7pm) to catch Strand of Oaks give a powerful performance..

> Jeffrey Czum

Old Crow Medicine Show

7pm Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $34-$38

Tracing their humble beginnings back to busking the streets of Upstate New York, Old Crow Medicine Show has been one of the most influential bands in Americana music. They started off performing songs from the pre-war jug band and string band repertoire, but eventually distinguished themselves from the crowded pack of modern string bands with original music that often contain socially conscious themes. Their unique blend of old-time, bluegrass and punk flavors came to full maturity with the 2004 release of their signature song, Wagon Wheel which was actually a re-write of the Bob Dylan song, Rock Me, Mama. It wouldn’t be until 2011, however, that Wagon Wheel went gold, and then platinum in 2013. Now, having toured the world and played at major music festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella, they continue to be contributors to the direction of the progressive bluegrass genre. There really is no other band quite like them. If you’re a fan of old-time music, fiddling, and banjo pickin’, don’t miss this chance to see them this Sunday night at the Town Ballroom with special guest Sleepy Man.

> Greg Mach

Reggie and the Full Effect

6:30PM Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (853-5483 / $15-$17

Reggie and the Full Effect have always been a mystery. Who are they? Where did they come from? There have, of course, been many theories. Studio fires, faked deaths, cryptic bios and tall tales of many sorts were countered by rumors that front man James Dewees (also the keyboardist for emo/rock heroes The Get Up Kids) was somehow behind all the crazy characters taking credit for Reggie and the Full Effect’s synth-rock goodness. First there was the enigmatic Reggie, the band’s apparent namesake and protagonist in a strange musical tale that began with the release of their debut album, Greatest Hits 1984-1987, followed closely by Promotional Copy. Then there was the mustachioed front man Paco, who came to light on the 2003 release Under the Tray, along with an ever-growing cast of characters from the band: Finnish metal head Common Denominator, English synth-pop god Fluxuation, death growler Hungary Bear and the ubiquitous Drunk Guy at the Get Up Kids Show. You may be surprised to learn that all these characters only increased the band’s popularity and perplexing mystique. However, on Reggie’s latest record, Songs Not To Get Married To, James Dewees is ready to come clean about his role as a songwriter. The album is a look at the man behind the curtain and the songs finally prove that Dewees is and always will be Reggie and the Full Effect. Catch him live this Wednesday night (7/29 @6:30pm) at the Waiting Room with Pentimento, The Weaks, and Well Kept Things.

> Jeffrey Czum