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See You There!

See you There?

Niagara Tattoo Expo

Friday 7/31: 4pm-11pm Saturday 8/1: 11am-11pm Sunday 8/2 12pm-6pm The Conference Center of Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls St. ( $10-$35

It is estimated that one in five Americans has a tattoo, and nearly 90 percent of those never regret getting inked up. Of course, it hasn’t always been this way. Tattoos were once taboo in the West, even though body art was an ancient practice dating back thousands of years. Tattoos are seen all throughout history, including England in the 1860s after the Prince of Wales marked himself with a cross, partaking in a Medieval ritual. But around that time, the art of ink was in its fledging stages in America. Martin Hildebrandt, considered one of the country’s first tattoo artists, opened a shop in New York City in 1870, making tattoos accessible for citizens who weren’t able to travel overseas. How times have changed. While the purpose or marking one’s skin varies from culture to culture, the Fifth Annual Niagara Tattoo Expo’s purpose will be strictly for pleasure this weekend. From July 31st to August 2nd, the Conference Center of Niagara Falls will showcase not only tattooing as a beautiful work of art, but the local and international artists that are creating these works of art every day. You’re invited to come down and watch these world-renowned artists in action as they’ll be tattooing and piercing throughout the entire event. This isn’t just your ordinary tattoo expo. There will also be live paintings done by various artists, belly dancing by Relatively Belly Dance, a, illusionist sideshow performed by Inkillusionist, live music, and 9 local vendors on site. Don’t be afraid to show some skin and make your way down to Niagara Falls.

> Jeffrey Czum

Deon Cole

Thursday 7/30: 8pm / Friday 7/31: 7:30pm & 10pm / Saturday 8/1: 7:30 & 10pm Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St. (853-1211 / $15 - $31

Deon Cole doesn’t need the spotlight all of the time, but when he has it he definitely steals the show. You may have seen him in a skit on the Conan O’Brian Show, but his jokes continue to spark laughs even when he’s not there as he is one of Conan’s writers. But if you really want to see him in rare form, check out his character Charlie Telphy on ABC’s newest show “Black-ish.” “The Office” had cringe worthy bosses and co-workers, and the level of inappropriate behavior from Charlie Telphy fits right into that dry brand of humor. Cole does a stellar job of making viewers want to plant their face in their hands from laughter. It makes perfect sense that he would be joining the cast of Steve Carell’s upcoming 2015 show “Angie Tribeca” as the character DJ Tanner. No matter where you might have seen Cole, you’re not going to want to miss him when he performs at Helium Comedy Club this Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

> Brennan Huff

Huey Mack

6pm Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (853-5483 / $14-$35

Huey Mack aka Joey Michaels is no “mean streets” rapper. There’s no nine-bullet story, no AK-47s in the trunk, and no sagas to tell of tour buses getting pulled over in Texas with bales of marijuana confiscated. He’s just an everyday looking suburban white kid who happens to be charged with poetic energy and a passion for hip-hop. First appearing on the Billboard charts in 2013 with his independently released Pretending Perfection, Huey is a proper example of a DIY-style hip-hop artist. While his home state West Virginia has yielded its fair share of successful entertainers (filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, drummer Brian Wolfe, and indie-pop duo TeamMate) it took getting out of town for Mack to start building his name in the hip-hop community. Already having a huge online buzz with his previously released mix-tapes, Huey set out to work with Afrojack for his latest release, Things Change. “When I got to the studio, I found myself in a room with not only Nick [Afrojack], but also rap legends Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Twista,” Mack said. “We started vibing, and Nick ended up inviting me back to write with him every day for a week. It was an honor.” Things Change was released last month and his career continues to rise. It’s going to be interesting to see how things play out for the young rapper this year. He’ll be setting things off at the Waiting Room this Friday night (7/31 @6pm).

> Dale Broback

Life in Color w/ Adventure Club

6pm The Outer Harbor Concert Site (893-2900 / $49

Things might get a little messy this Friday night when Life in Color comes to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. Known as the world’s largest paint party, LIC travels from city to city blasting thousand of fans with gallons and gallons of paint. “There is an outrageous amount of paint that goes out on to the crowd,” said Zack Samson, the national events director of LIC. “There are buckets and buckets of paint used for each show.” This very visceral party experience began about eight years ago on college campuses in Florida and has since become the high-energy meld of music, art, dance, acrobatics and visual effects that has entertained thousands in large arenas and performance spaces around the world. If you aren’t completely sold on being covered from head to toe in bright, neon-colored paint, you’ll have the privilege of being in the presence of one of EDM’s rising acts, Adventure Club in the process. The duo will be providing their extremely danceable electronic music to thousands of Buffalonians for the most colorful party you’ve ever been to. If you’re not afraid to get a little dirty, be sure to come out to the wildest event of the summer.

> Jeffrey Czum

Icona Pop

6pm Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave (853-5483 / FREE

Do you believe in time travel? Well, there is a good chance that the Swedish pop duo Icona Pop comes from the future. Caroline Hjet and Aino Jawo knew they were going to be superstars the moment they met in a bar in 2009. They immediately mastered the use of advanced technology, recently promoting the Samsung smart watch, a futuristic-looking device that syncs up with one’s smartphone. They are into aliens (a hallmark of future folk). They even look suspiciously dystopian, in sleep black garments. Most notably, Hjet and Jawo know precisely how to fashion a pop song that puts your psyche in a vice hold. Yes, I’m referring to that song every girl in every club adores: “I Love It.” The cynical may expect Icona Pop to be a one hit wonder, but their 2013 release This Is... Icona Pop was a pleasant surprise for listeners. It’s something more than just 11 tracks of padding around the undeniable hit. “I Love It” kicks things off, but in sequence it’s not so much an early burn-put as it is the spark that launches the rest of the album’s propulsive run. They’ll be setting the mood at getting the party started for a FREE show at the Waiting Room this Saturday night (8/1 @6pm).

> Del Spooner

Finger Eleven

8pm Iron Works, 49 Illinios St. (200-1893 / $23

"When everything is pushing you in one direction and your instinct drives you in another, that’s Finger Eleven,” says vocalist Scott Anderson of the Canadian rock group. Initially formed in 1989 while most of the members were sill in high school, it wasn’t until 1995 with the release of Letters from Chutney that the band started to see success. The album was originally released under the name Rainbow Butt Monkeys, but (for obvious reasons) the band decided to trade the original band name for the more sophisticated Finger Eleven, after a change in musical direction and a desire to be taken more seriously. Mercury Records released the group’s breakthrough album, Tip, in 1997, only to drop the band six weeks later. Fortunately, Finger Eleven was picked up by Wind-Up Records and Tip was re-released in the United States the following year. It was an album that defined the band’s new musical direction, a decidedly alternative rock, post-grunge sound that was absolutely huge in the late 90s. On a trajectory to success, their self titled album propelled them into the mainstream, attributed largely to the massive hit emo-balled “One Thing,” which reached number 16 on the billboard Hot 100. With a total of six LPs and a new album Five Crooked Lines set to drop this summer, you’re not going to want to miss them as they pop things off at Iron Works this Tuesday night (8/4 @8pm).

> Jeffrey Czum

Cody Blackbird Band

7pm Sportman’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St. (874-7734 / $12

If the thought of going to a bar to see a flute player gives you pause, you haven’t experienced the musical stylings of three-time Native American Music Award (NAMMY) winner Cody Blackbird. His third album, The Journey, earned Blackbird the Native American Music Awards Flutist of the Year title, making him the youngest ever recipient. By combining the styles of rock and blues with the sounds of Native American flutes, Cody’s music, which he terms “AlterNative Fusion,” sits in a class by itself in the music world. His songs combine powerful vocals with entrancing instrumental sections, but it grooves in an “I can’t believe I’m getting down to flute music,” kind of way. Blackbird, who is Eastern Band Cherokee and Dakota, has released four full-length albums and has given over 1000 performances with his band worldwide. Not only does Cody tour full-time, he finds time to work with troubled youth as a motivational speaker emphasizing traditional values. Come on down to Sportsmens Wednesday night (8/5 @7pm)for a one-of-a-kind performance that is so much more than world music. Joining him as a special guest will be Native American flutist Ed Koban from Niagara Falls, NY.

> Greg Mach