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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: Peter Wolf, who performs at the Town Ballroom on Tuesday, the 18th.

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.

Peter Wolf

Tuesday, May 18

Almost everything I ever needed to learn about rock and roll, I got from one single music video. My life was altered by a clip, at the dawn of MTV in the early 1980s, that had it all: A huge sing-a-long hook, big beats and guitars, nubile girls in lingerie, and a skinny guy in striped shirt dancing around and singing in the middle of it all. He was probably the coolest guy I’ve ever seen, before or since. It was the video for J. Geils Band’s “Centerfold,” and that guy in the middle of it was singer Peter Wolf. As I would later learn, “Centerfold” was Geils Band’s sort of second act and big pop breakthrough. Before that they had—for more than a decade and a half—been the hardest-rocking live rhythm and booze band ever. From that point, though, I was a rock-and-roll fan. More so, I was a Peter Wolf fan. The former Peter Blankfield was a kid from the Bronx enamored with doowop, soul, blues, country, and raucous rock and roll. When he ended up in Boston as the riffing, rapping hipster DJ at the WBCN in the late 1960s, he hooked up with J. Geils Band. The rest is rock-and-roll history. Following a career of gold records, sold-out tours, stints supporting the Rolling Stones, and an earned reputation as one of the greatest live acts on the planet, Wolf split from Geils Band following their biggest-selling album—Freeze Frame—in 1983. While he would reconnect with J. Geils Band in the late 1990s and 2000s for wildly successful reunion tours, the great part of Wolf’s story was that he persevered as an artist on his own terms. 1984’s Lights Out was a funky effort helmed by the electro pioneer Michael Jonzun, while 1987’s Come As You Are was an edgy power-pop- and soul-buoyed blast. His streak of solid efforts continued through the 1990s with Up to No Good (1990), Long Line (1996), and Fool’s Parade (1999). Perhaps Wolf’s finest work has been in the 2000s, however. 2002’s Sleepless proved a flawless collection of tracks that highlighted virtually every style of music that made Peter Wolf who he is, with guests including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and a kaleidoscopic variety of material from country to blues to ballads to straight pop. Sleepless is an absolute must-own for any self-respecting fan of genuine American music. Then there’s the brand new record Midnight Souvenirs—with guests like Merle Haggard and Neko Case—that matches the power and scope of Sleepless. Still, the ultimate Peter Wolf experience has to be seeing him spread his unique gift for stage ownership, which there’s an all too rare chance to catch this Tuesday (May 18) with his current band. Some folks might call it a Peter Wolf concert, but like the man himself has said, “Ain’t nothin’ but a house party!”

—donny kutzbach

7pm (doors). Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $22/advance; $24/day of show at 223-6000, Town Ballroom box office, Tops Markets. All ages.

Friday, May 14


If you remember bands like the Jumpers, the Enemies, Lip Service, Vores, or the Paper Faces, congratulations for staying in Western New York after college. If you don’t, but have an interest in the local music scene, you’ll still want to see this new documentary about Buffalo’s punk rock era circa 1977-85. Former Buffalo News reporter Elmer Ploetz weaves together interviews, archival footage of the Jumpers and the Enemies, photos, posters, and recent reunion footage to recapture the excitement and power of the era. The documentary also features people from behind the scenes such as former WBNY programmer Tom Calderone, artist Karl Kotas, former Buffalo News rock critic Dale Anderson, Rockers magazine editor Andrew Elias, and McVan’s club owner Joe Tearose. A work in progress, Bflo Pnk 1.0 is the initial version of a collage/homage that will grow as more footage from that era is uncovered. The documentary screens at Squeaky Wheel on Friday (May 14) at 7pm. Any profits from this project will be donated to the Foodbank of WNY and the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

For more info, visit

—m. faust

7pm. Squeaky Wheel, 712 Main St. (884-7172 / $5.

Friday, May 14

Michael Tarbox (of the Tarbox Ramblers)

As leader of Boston’s Tarbox Ramblers, singer/songwriter Michael Tarbox has infused hillbilly country and gospel with post-punk tribal drumming. The results have always been intense and ultimately gratifying. Taking a brief a respite from his internationally acclaimed band, Tarbox has been setting out on his own. Performing sans the usual percussion that is so prominent in his other work, Tarbox focuses on the more traditional nature of his endeavors. Dark country, blues, and gospel infiltrate his songs and his lyrics reflect the menacing underbelly of Americana. Tarbox has recently been working with a host of collaborators, most notably Buffalo native and multi-instrumentalist Jim Whitford. No one knows for sure who will be showing up with Michael Tarbox this time in Buffalo, but chances are it won’t be any less than moving. Michael Tarbox performs an early show at Mohawk Place on Friday, May 14 at 7pm. Opening are the Alison Pipitone and Bill Nehill.

—eric boucher

7pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (855-3931 / $7.

Saturday, May 15

Bo Burnham

“I’m Bo, yo, I’m the greatest rapper ever and I’ll weather your weather whether you think I’m clever or not. Think you’re better? You’re not. Don’t need a sweater, I’m hot. I’m a real G shorty that can really find your G-spot,” is the introduction 19-year-old musician-comedian Bo Burnham gives himself on his song “I’m Bo Yo.” The young rapper from Hamilton, Massachusetts has made his short, YouTube born comedy career as a filthy and funny teenager with a lot to say about vaginas, drugs, and poop. Sitting at his electric piano or with an acoustic guitar, he lays down lyrics like “I got more lines than Whitney Houston’s coffee table,” and “though I’m sexually straight, you’re bound to find, I’m mentally gay, because I’ll blow your mind,” which he raps on the title track of his debut album Bo Fo Sho, released on Comedy Central Records in 2008. Burnham is the youngest person ever to appear on a Comedy Central special. He also played a small role in Judd Apatow’s 2009 movie Funny People. The controversial comedy satirist will be performing at the Town Ballroom on Saturday (May 15), for an all-ages show. Note: The humor may be lost on anyone under 11.

—cory perla

7pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $25/advance at 223-6000, Town Ballroom box office, Tops Markets. All ages.

Thursday, May 20

We Love You

Since 1972, tens of thousands of people defined only by their physical proximity have met every summer in a United States forest to establish a temporary city complete with childcare, medical care, sanitation, and free kitchens that feed thousands. Each gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light, which welcomes all comers, culminates on July 4 with an elaborate prayer vigil for world peace. Despite their proven ability to leave no footprints behind in the public forests where they gather, they have come under increasing pressure from Federal law enforcement seeking to end the gatherings. We Love You, a documentary, filmed at the 2008 Rainbow Gathering, will be screened next Thursday (May 20) at Hallwalls, hosted by Artvoice columnist Mike Niman, who is also a consulting producer of the film and author of People of the Rainbow: A Nomadic Utopia. The evening will include raw footage of a police attack on the Rainbow Day Care Center and a discussion of government documents Professor Niman has obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

For more info, visit

—m. faust

7pm. Hallwalls, 341 Delaware Ave. (854-1694 / $8 general, $6 students/seniors, $5 members.

Thursday, May 20

Wayne "The Train" Hancock

From the first notes of his 1995 debut, Thunderstorms and Neon Signs, fans of no-frills juke-joint music could tell they’d found a new bright light in Wayne “the Train” Hancock. In the big Texas Milky Way of honky tonk stars, Hancock is decidedly a latecomer. But, while his songs, delivery, and constant touring schedule are eerily evocative of an earlier time, his best work is also firmly rooted in the present—making him much more than a simple nostalgia act. Fifteen years down the road, Hancock continues to win more and more converts to his stripped-down, infectious form of jazz-influenced, swinging hillbilly boogie. Hancock comes to Buffalo next Thursday (May 20), part of the Sportsmen’s Tavern’s ongoing Private Party series. The show promises to cram the little dance floor there, while also causing substantial wear and tear to the footwear worn by anyone within earshot—since clinical studies would probably show it’s impossible to listen and not tap your foot at the same time.

—buck quigley

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

Thursday, May 20

Hurricane Bells

When a storm approaches, Hurricane Bells ring through town. This indie rock band serves its namesake well, sounding the alarm, churning and chugging along with force. Sometimes the songs are slow and plaintive, showcasing the masculine yet sensitive vocals of main man Steve Schilitz. Other songs, like “Monsters,” drive hard with a strong and steady rhythm. That song features heavily on the Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack, which undoubtedly helped grow the band’s fan base. Schilitz, who first gained notoriety as the singer and guitarist for the band Longwave, recorded the bulk of Hurricane Bells’ debut album Tonight Is the Ghost on his MacBook, writing, performing, and recording all on his own. The album kicks off with “This Year,” which features some Bon Iver-like ghostly harmonies and hopeful lyrics: “This year is the year it’s gonna be really something. I got all my friends in case it comes to nothing.” Doors open at 8pm for Thursday’s (May 20) show at Mohawk Place. Queen City natives Odiorne (fronted by original Mercury Rev member Jimy Chambers) and Colors in the Air are set to open the show.

Ring them bells, boys.

peter vullo

8pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (855-3931 / $10.