Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Film Now Playing
Next story: News of the Weird

See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of events to watch out for the week, including our editor's pick: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, playing for free at this week's Thursday in the Square. As always, check our on-line events calendar for a constantly updated and comprehensive listing of what's going on!

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

Thursday, July 16th

If Thursday at the Square had a roof on it, there’s a good chance that the sucker would be getting torn off. And even if it rains—long as you got that flashlight—there will be a little light under the sun. You will be forced to get off your ass and jam. Oh, I can hear my mother call, I can hear my mother call!

From the mind-bending psychedelic explosion of Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain” to the dance floor manifesto of Parliament “Get up the Downstroke,” George Clinton has led one musical revolution after another after another, from his early years in New Jersey singing doo-wop to his reinvention of black music in the 1970s, to his recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Clinton’s uncompromised, far-out soul and funk is in a category of its own. He can shift from gentle, soulful introspection to mutant disco abstractions to space and science-inspired, groove-laden sprawl. Always freakily funky and frank with sexual hunger, druggy haze, and a firm anti-establishment streak, Clinton’s imprint with Parliament and Funkadelic is so big that without him it’s hard to imagine so much that followed: The royal purple prowess of Prince, Dr. Dre stoning the world with The Chronic, the Red Hot Chili Peppers becoming arena rockers, or ever getting the chance to do “The Humpty Dance.”

Clinton’s current incarnation of Parliament-Funkadelic is a cast of musicians and players whose number rivals the roster of a football team, making for a big old celebration and replay of the career of one of popular music’s greatest innovators. And the multi-color-haired ringmaster genius himself will be at the center of it! Clinton and company will take it to the stage in Lafayette Square and to miss it would be a crime against all that is P-Funk. If you are willing to suck some soul, you in turn might end up with some nicely-licked funky emotions.

—donny kutzbach

5pm. Lafayette Square, downtown Buffalo ( FREE

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, July 10-12th

Grease Pole Festival

Like any good ethnic festival, this weekend’s Grease Pole Festival—in its 40th annual iteration, the oldest ethnic festival in Buffalo—offers terrific food. And this celebration of Puerto Rican culture—to commemorate the Puerto Rican constitution— offers plenty of Latin music: salsa, reggaeton, meringue, and bachata, with bands coming from as far as Puerto Rico. Plus, there are dance contests. There are carnival rides and games, too. But the main attraction at the Agustin “Pucho” Olivencia Center on Swan Street is the 35-foot grease pole, which teams of five take turns trying to climb. Traditionally such a pole can be coated with biodegradable axle grease mixed with anything from hot sauce to dish soap, and can include banana peels and various other symbols of slipperyness. At the top of the pole is a prize to be captured. If you haven’t seen this before, you’ve never seen anything like it

—brian blackwell

Friday, 5pm-11pm, Saturday noon-11pm, Sunday noon-10pm. Agustin “Pucho” Olivencia Center, 261 Swan Street. FREE.

Friday, July 10th

Lehrer Dance

For the first time in over seven years, Artpark is presenting a professional dance concert and they’ve chosen the Buffalo-based LehrerDance to take the stage. Under the direction of Queens native Jon Lehrer, the company has been thriving here in Buffalo, collaborating often with Configuration Dance, selling out its entire season last year at UB’s Center for the Arts, and continually touring throughout the country representing the best our city has to offer in the realm of innovative, contemporary dance. After graduating from UB, Lehrer returned to NYC to join his first professional dance troupe, moving on to Chicago where he worked with Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, eventually becoming a director of the company. A little more than five years ago Lehrer returned to Buffalo where he founded LehrerDance, adding to a small but hardworking group of unique and original dance companies in the area. The performance on Friday (July 10) will feature a selection of audience favorites as well as three exclusive world premieres.

—k. o’day

8pm. Artpark Mainstage Theater (1-888-223-6000 / $20-$30

Friday, July 10th

Consider The Source

Toting the loaded description of “sci-fi Middle Eastern funk,” New York City’s Consider the Source is excited to announce the release of their highly-anticipated 3rd album, Are You Watching Closely, a follow up to 2007’s celebrated release Esperanto. With Jazz Times’ Howard Mandel calling them “the future of music,” and after sharing a stage with Wyclef Jean and Klezmer great Andy Statman, the band is ready to tour with a new musical perspective—futuristic in it’s own respect. They blend heavy, sludgy rock with jazz-fusion, Middle Eastern sounds, and calculated, complex time signatures. The band has been widely accepted with a fan base ranging from jam band lovers to prog rockers to jazz enthusiasts. They will be having their Buffalo debut at Nietzsches on Friday (July 10) along side Peanut Brittle Satellite and Headie LeMar.

—baron von schtupin

10pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St (886-8539 /

Monday, July 13th

Ani Difranco

Apparently, it’s been a “Red Letter Year” for Ms. DiFranco, as that’s what she titled her 18th and most recent studio album, on which she also declares: “I’ve got myself a new mantra. It says, ‘don’t forget to have a good time.” This is a pretty laid back philosophy coming from such a socially conscious performer as she, but by many accounts Red Letter Year is one of the happiest recordings the singer has produced. The music and lyrics reflect the personal milestones she has achieved over the past couple years—a baby, a marriage, and a relocation to New Orleans among them. But DiFranco is still a hometown girl who always maintains a residence, a company, and a presence here in Buffalo. She returns (from touring with David Byrne) for Artpark’s 2009 Anniversary Season on Monday (July 13), with Dublin-based alt pop duo the Guggenheim Grotto, an act that has built a dedicated cult follwing in the US since its debut three years ago with the critically acclaimed Waltzing Alone. They’re here now promoting their sophomore recording, Happy The Man.

—alan victor

8pm. Artpark Mainstage Theater (1-888-223-6000 / $30-$35/indoor or $20/lawn seating

Monday, July 13th

Pine Leaf Boys

Acadiana is that part of Louisiana that was settled by refugees of “the Great Expulsion” of French immigrants from Canada’s maritime provinces, ordered in 1755 by British governor Charles Lawrence. They were expelled because they wouldn’t sign allegiance to the British crown. Twenty-eight years later, the stubborn British would lose their American colonies at the end of the Revolutionary War—with help from France. Today, the fiddle and squeeze box-driven music of the uprooted Acadians (Cajuns) is recognized globally as one of the most distinctive and beautiful branches of the American music tree. One of the hottest bands playing the infectious stuff these days hails from the same area where their ancestors arrived with portable instruments (like fiddles and triangles) to sing romantic songs of ill-fated love, separation, humor and hardship—they’re called the Pine Leaf Boys. Fronted by accordionist/singer Wilson Savoy, whose father Marc has hosted a Saturday morning jam session in Eunice, LA since 1966, and fiddler/singer Courtney Granger, whose lineage is linked to the legendary Balfa brothers—these guys are as Cajun as boudin sausage and jambalaya. Joined by Lafayette natives Drew Simon on drums and Thomas David on bass, with rhythm guitar supplied by Jon Bertrand from Jeff Davis Parish, this is a Louisiana musical invasion guaranteed to heat up our unseasonably cool summer, ma chere ‘tit fille.

—buck quigley

7:30pm. Sportsmen’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St. (874-7734 / $20.

Tuesday, July 14th

Man Man

Wild, schizophrenic, and strangely poignant, if there was a circus in hell, these guys would be the house band. Members of Anti-records, Man Man are label mates with Nick Cave and Tom Waits, and if you haven’t heard of those lords of weird then this show may not be for you. For people in the know, you can look forward to Captain Beefheart growls coupled with bizarre 19th century saloon excursions, and a live show that’s gained attention from indie big shots like Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse. So, those who don’t mind the mess a whirlwind of sounds and styles makes, and perhaps love such a mess, check out the Tralf Music Hall on Tuesday (July 14). It’s guaranteed to be a kinetic, intriguing, and original show

—geoff anstey

8pm. Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / $15 at Ticketmaster locations