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The Music Scene

Talk to a great many musicians in town who’ve either had a taste of the touring life or who’ve sought greener pastures in music centers like New York City, LA, Austin, or Nashville, and you soon discover that Buffalo is a great place to hang your hat. The small minority who leave and never look back are far outnumbered by those who either return for good or at least make a point of performing in the old stomping grounds whenever they get the chance.

One reason for this is the supportive music community here in town. There’s a low tolerance level for posers and a high level of respect for players who’ve honed their licks and polished their craft as writers. Best of all, there are lots of venues where bands can get a foot in the door to polish their live act, as well as get paid to do so—which is kind of unheard of in more glamorous locales.

The Skiffle Minstrels (photo by Rose Mattrey)

Our readers chose a number of acts that would stand out anywhere in genres ranging from blues to classical to country to folk to hip-hop to jazz to rock, and we also boast a burgeoning club DJ scene, and lots of great original stuff across all categories.

Stone Country, a staple at the Sportsmen’s Tavern, would be a standout at any honky-tonk on Broadway in Nashville, and they stand next to more left-of-center acts in the country category like Skiffle Minstrels, as well as Bareback Jack, who cultivate a more contemporary hot country sound.

In the blues category, standouts like the Mick Hayes Band, Jony James Blues Band, and Todd Eberwine Band do the city proud—while Fresh Guac and TypeRelevant (past winner of our Artvoice BOOM competition) are busy blazing their own trail through hip-hop territory.

Performers like Dee Adams and global force of nature Ani DiFranco represent us well on the folk scene, and Adams hosts her own open mic, one of many around town that offer an open stage to any performer eager for that first taste of playing in public. Meanwhile, on the classical end, we routinely get major kudos for our BPO and JoAnn Falletta, while we also get to enjoy the breathtaking skill of classical guitarist Mir Ali, often in intimate local venues.

None of these names are lost on our astute readers, whose musical taste and support for the local scene are what forms the backbone of our music community. Read below for a full list of all our top five candidates in every category—in no particular order, because they’re winners, all.

buck quigley

Best Blues Acts

Mick Hayes Band
Poor Boys
Jony James Bles Band
Junk Yard Dogs
Todd Eberwine Band

Best Classical Musicians

Roman Mekinulov
JoAnn Falletta
Mir Ali
Christian Campos
Paul Kozlowski

Best Club DJs

DJ Cutler
DJ Vixxen
DJ Lil Joe
DJ Simple
DJ Q Ball

Best Country Acts

Underground Stampede
Skiffle Minstrels
Stone Country
Bareback Jack
West of the Mark

Best Folk Acts

Dee Adams
The Leftovers
Erin Sidney Welsh
Ani DiFranco
Shady Grove

Best Hip-hop Acts

Chae Hawk
Fresh Guac
Type Relevant
Billy Drease Williams
Bloodthirsty Vegans

Best Female Vocalists

Caitlin Koch
Christina Custode
Dee Adams
Alison Pipitone
Maggie Zindle

Best Male Vocalists

Lance Diamond
Paul Todaro
Bob Buckley
Chris Maloney
Jim Candytree

Best Vocal Ensembles

Buffalo Choral Arts Society
Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus
Lake Effect
Buffalo Chips

Best Jazz Acts

Custode & Parisi
Bobby Militello
Allen Street Jazz Band
Brownman Electryc Trio

Best Rock Acts

Hit N Run
Black Widow
Free Henry!

Best Original Music Acts

Free Henry!
Whiskey Reverb
Bloodthirsty Vegans
Photos of Wagons

Best Open Mic Nights

Nietzsche’s with Michael Meldrum
Sportsmen’s Tavern with Dee Adams
WAM events at Stillwater
Broadway Joe’s with Todd
Tudor Lounge with Chris & Shane

Best Band Names

Anal Pudding
Whiskey River
Free Henry!
Bloodthirsty Vegans
Underground Stampede

Worst Band Names

Anal Pudding
Angry Soil
Hit N Run
Bareback Jack
Goo Goo Dolls

...and the nominees are:
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NomineesThe Fine Arts
People PowerOur Fair City

The 2010 Best of Buffalo Winners List

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