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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of events to watch out for the week, including our editor's pick: The Artvoice Best of Buffalo party, where we'll announce our winners. It's at the Town Ballroom on Monday the 26th, and is free to attend.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out our new and improved events calendar on-line for complete event listings, a location guide to find your way about the city, restaurant reviews, and more.

Best of Buffalo

Monday, April 26

Back again, it’s Artvoice’s annual Best of Buffalo party at the Town Ballrom, held this year on April 26 from 6-9pm. With well over 500 nominees, it’s expected to be well attended. But it isn’t just the honored guests who are invited. The party is free and open to the public, a showcase and celebration of what our readers say are the best things about our city for food, entertainment, people, places, shops, and much more. There’ll be food to sample from as many of the nominated restaurants as we can get to come, and hopefully we’ll be able to spot some local celebrities among the crowd. The last years have seen the Town Ballroom so packed it has been hard to see the entertainment, so this year we’ve pared down a little. There will be DJ sets from Shock & Awe and emcee bits from comedian Kristen Becker (of the Dykes of Hazard). We’ll be announcing the top winners in each category—the number one spot only—throughout the night and handing out plaques to the winners. We’ll print the names of those winners in next week’s issue.

Be sure to look in this week’s for the (long) list of nominees. With the extent of the categories this year, you just never know who or what might be in there.

6-9pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / Free.

Friday, April 23

Black Maria Film Festival 2010

The phrase “film festival” may be in the local air rather more this week than most of the year, but if you’re not movied out make room for the Black Maria Film + Video Festival, a traveling program that is in it’s 29th year but visiting Buffalo for the first time. Named after the world’s first motion studio, built in 1893 and operated by Thomas Edison (it’s pictured here), the BMFF annually presents a roster of short films that, in the words of Festival Director John Columbus, preserve Edison’s “pioneering and adventuresome spirit of innovation.” Columbus, who will be present to host the screening, curates a different program for each screening location, but to scan the pool of possibilities visit

—m. faust

8pm. Squeaky Wheel, 712 Main St. (884-7172 / $6, or $4 for SW members.

Friday, April 23

Amanda Blank

Amanda Blank can make a man quiver in his dirty boots. She is in the new school of strong, outspoken female performers. With fearless sexuality, club-ready beats, and overall sheen and gloss, Blank is a pop music doll, rapping and singing in pure radio-ready raunch. Take the song “Might Like You Better,” from her debut album I Love You, where Blank samples the Romeo Void lyrics “I might like you better if we slept together.” She sells it. You buy it. I Love You was produced by renowned DJ and producer Diplo and TV on the Radio mastermind Dave Sitek. The album also features appearances by heavy hitters like Spank Rock, Santogold, and Lykke Li. She’s also been featured on songs by Ghostface Killah and Britney Spears. Her songs have been heard on television shows like Entourage and CSI. Amanda Blank will be at the Communist Party this Friday (April 23) at the Tralf. The show starts at 11pm with special guests Steve Kream and more to be announced. It’s going to be a dirty, sweaty, sexy, late show.

peter vullo

11pm. Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / $12

Friday, April 23


Canada definitely gets ripped on for being “the #1 country located north of the United States” and “America’s hat,” but every now and then, those Canucks really make us Yankees shut our traps. Alexisonfire is an example. For the less enlightened, the band got their name from the world’s only lactating contortionist stripper, Alexis Fire. The quintet formed in St. Catherines, Ontario back in 2001, and has been evolving ever since. According to the band their sound has changed from “two Catholic high-school girls, mid-knife fight” to the “guy with a pretty voice getting into an argument with a guy who is kind of upset about things, while a guy who really likes punk.” Their post-hardcore rock combines hints of punk and a bit of screamo all wrapped up in a progressive package. With award-winning songs like “Pulmonary Archery” and “This Could Be Anywhere in the World,” it’s easy to see why this is a band that deserves respect. Alexisonfire will be touring the US promoting their fourth and latest album, Old Crows/Young Cardinals, and will be stopping at Town Ballroom this Friday (April 23) with bands Trash Talk, La Dispute, and Therefore I Am.

—jeremy lee

7pm (doors). Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $15/ adv; $18/day of show at box office, 223-6000, and Tops Markets

Friday & Saturday, April 23 & 24

Cute is What We Aim For

The new and improved (revised?) version of Buffalo’s own Cute Is What We Aim For returns to the home town for two appearances at Mohawk Place on Friday (April 23) and Saturday (April 24). What was originally a five-piece band is now down to one original member, front-man Shaant Hacikyan, known simply as Shaant by most. The band, nfamous for their rotating lineup of the same seven characters, took a brief hiatus this year to fire everyone but Shaant (pictures of former band members that appeared on Cute’s website were subsequently replaced by six pictures of Shaant looking like Robert Pattinson). Their sound has remained unchanged, though, as Shaant is still belting out his ideas about love and heartbreak through a veil of quirky indie rock. Buffalo scenesters might remember Cute’s quick and steep rise to indie stardom, which began in 2005 when they gained overnight success via Myspace. The band signed to pop-punk record label Fueled By Ramen later that year and went on to release two colorful, hook-laden albums, 2006’s The Same Old Blood Rush With a New Touch, and 2008’s Rotation, both produced by pop-rock aficionado John Feldman (Good Charlotte, Ashlee Simpson, Story of the Year). Supporting acts on Friday are It’s a Firefight, Inlite, and Thrown Under the Bus. On Saturday Meet Me in March, Letterset, and Firefight open the show.

—cory perla

6pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (855-3931). $12/14

Saturday, April 24

Against Me!

If you have any question as to whether Against Me! is one of the most influential and egregiously awesome, real-deal punk bands around, there’s enough evidence to prove that it is fact. Following a relatively short career including underground early ’00s classics like Is Reinventing Axl Rose and As the Eternal Cowboy, their 2007 album New Wave (Sire) will go down as something of a benchmark. It is a methodically perfect album of agit-prop rock hooks and sloganeering on a major label without ever a smidgen of the betrayal and stink of “selling out.” (Sorry, Green Day and all your Broadway musical friends.) Indie singer/songwriter Ben Lee was so taken by New Wave that he recorded a complete cover version of it. If that’s not enough, look at the sea of young acts so clearly inspired in the wake—from fellow Floridians Fake Problems to the similarly exclamation point-loving O Pioneers!!!—so clearly indebted to Against Me! and their uncompromising music and message. This Saturday’s (April 24) performance at the Town Ballroom is a chance to catch Against Me! in all their unbridled folk, punk, and fist-pumping glory as they play favorites from that clutch of feted previous records as well as their much-awaited forth-coming June release, White Crosses. For all those that stopped believing in rock’s righteous power after the Clash, Rage Against the Machine, or whenever…listen again. The crest of the next wave revolution rock is upon us and Against Me! is right at the front of it. Dead to Me and Money Brother open the show.

5:30pm (doors). Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $12.50/ adv; $15/day of show at box office, 223-6000, and Tops Markets

Monday, April 26

Heavy Trash ft. Jon Spencer

Taking an extended break from his beloved Blues Explosion, Jon Spencer has created some of the truest and sincere primitive rock and roll with his outfit, Heavy Trash. Along with partner Matt Verta-Ray, Spencer eases back on the primal R&B of his previous outfits to produce some of the most outrageous rockabilly to come along in years. However, this is no mere transparent throwback to an earlier time. Heavy Trash clearly know their roots, incorporating country, gospel and gritty soul to create something that it truly unique. Beginning with their self titled debut up to their most recent record, Midnight Soul Serenade, Spencer and Verta-Ray invoke an Americana that few can match. Still, no matter how great the records are, nothing can match the pure voltage of witnessing Heavy Trash live. Spencer is the consummate showman. One part crooner, one part street gospel preacher and all around true entertainer, Spencer possesses the raw fury that leaves most of his contemporaries, as well as those who came before him, in the dust. Heavy Trash perform at Mohawk Place on Monday (April 26) at 8pm. Opening is the Found, who are currently beginning work on their third full length release.

—eric boucher

8pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (855-3931).

Tuesday, April 27

Horse Feathers

Horse Feathers makes me want to grow a beard again, move to a big farm, and forget the city. Something about a plucked banjo, half-whispered vocals, and weepy violin does that to me. The indie folk band hails from the rich-musical landscape of Portland, Oregon and is currently signed to the Kill Rock Stars record label. While Horse Feathers belongs in the same musical family as Iron & Wine, here feminine backing vocals and an array of swirling stringed instruments add a touch of mourning and beauty. The band is currently made up of principal songwriter Justin Ringle (vocal, guitar), Nathan Crockett (violin, saw), Catherine Odell (cello, vocals), and Sam Cooper (banjo, mandolin, violin). On the track “Cascades,” taken from the band’s brand new album Thistled Spring, Ringle sings blatant poetry: “Kiss on the mouth with hearts that were bound and gagged. The noose was broke, the witness was their cascades.” Heavy stuff delivered in a pretty way. Horse Feathers will play the Ninth Ward at Babeville this Tuesday (April 27). This show calls for earth tones and braided twigs. Wear some flannel.

—peter vullo

7pm (doors). Ninth Ward at Babeville, 341 Delaware Ave. (852-3835 / $8/ adv; $10/day of show at box office, 223-6000, and Tops Markets

Tuesday, April 27

Royal Bangs

Royal Bangs from Nashville, Tennessee, will bring their mixture of indie rock and electronic pulses to Soundlab on Tuesday (April 27). Formerly a five piece, the band has condensed down to three. Anchored by keyboardist/vocalist Ryan Schaefer, their music is a blend of familiar sounding indie rock and electronic synth laser tones. Percussionist Chris Rusk plays his style of fast and precise drumming while guitarist Sam Stratton leads the trio with fidgety overdriven guitar riffs. The music has a clear science fiction influence to it. The video for their latest single “War Bells” portrays a furry alien creature pulling human body parts from his gut and laying them on a psychedelic contraption which eventually brings the body parts to life. Of course, our alien friend is continuously shooting lasers from his finger tips in synchronization with the song. The track sounds like it could be a B-side to Beck’s Guerro or The Information, while others like “My Car Is Haunted” have a dance-punk sound similar to bands like Friendly Fires or White Denim. Both tracks belong to their recently released, and appropriately titled, full length album Let It Beep.

—cory perla

8pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. ( $10/$12