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Can't Miss Concerts

The Flaming Lips

16 shows that you must make time for

The Flaming Lips

Artpark, July 22

The Flaming Lips are on some sort of yearlong extradimensional voyage right now. They’re still fresh off the releases of two albums, their darkly psychedelic and critically acclaimed epic, Embryonic, as well as their own mutated rendition of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. After the hospitalization of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd due to an “undisclosed aliment” caused the cancellation of several shows in May, the band is back on the road and will bring their sonic laser-light spectacle to Artpark on July 22. Singer Wayne Coyne has been pondering the fabric of reality and humanity in his lyrics for 27 years, so it’s no surprise when he sings about killing the ego and runs around stark naked in the video for their first single off Embryonic, “Watching the Planets.” What is surprising is that the band can release a gritty and contemplative album like Embryonic, the follow-up and antithesis to their colorful and bouncy 2008 album At War With the Mystics, and still successfully incorporate it into their fantastical live show without scaring away everyone but the true “fearless freaks.” One thing we can all collectively hope for is that when the Flaming Lips finally make their return to Buffalo after 16 years, Coyne will jump into his famous giant plastic bubble, blast us all with confetti and guide us to the other side.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Crosby Stills and Nash

Artpark, August 14, 28

Many may have felt a bit heartbroken after this summer smash sold out, but don’t buy those $200 tickets on eBay yet! Petty and the Heartbreakers have just added another show with Crosby, Stills and Nash at Darien Lake on August 28 and tickets are on sale now. The band will be on tour in support of their new album, Mojo, out June 15, but fan favorites like “Free Fallin’,” “Breakdown,” and “American Girl” will inevitably make their way onto the setlist.

Vans Warped Tour

Darien Lake, July 14

Sum 41, Reel Big Fish. and electric-pop-punkers Motion City Soundtrack headline the annual punk festival at Darien Lake. It used to be worth the sun poisoning and rapid dehydration to see legendary Warped Tour veterans like Nofx, Rancid, and Bad Religion whip the punks into a sweaty and frenzied circle pit, but classic punk acts are few and far between on this year’s tour, with the exception of the Casualties. Hopefully the SPF 800 doesn’t wear off before crowd favorites like Alkaline Trio and Everytime I Die take the stage.

Umphrey’s McGee

Thursday at the Square, July 15

How do you smuggle a bong onto the subway? We don’t recommend trying, but this Hippiefest in the Square is sure to draw out all of the party-happy and crowd-surfing “Umphreaks” for an “improg” (improvised progressive rock, anyone?) jam-a-thon.

Public Enemy

Town Ballroom, August 11

“Yeeeeah Booooy!” Don’t worry; Flavor of Love is still dead. Believe the hype, though, because after 23 years and nine albums, 1980’s hip-hop innovators Flavor Flav, Chuck D, and crew will be spitting rhymes at Town Ballroom on August 11.

Bear In Heaven

Soundlab, June 26

Bear In Heaven may not be a household name like many of the other bands on this list, but the Brooklyn-based experimental/electronic/psychedelic/rock quartet are making some seriously mind expanding music. Think Deerhunter meets Jefferson Airplane or Rush. Singer/guitarist Jon Philpot comes close to Geddy Lee’s vocal range and style while their music is frosted by thick, modulating synth lines and the rhythmically hypnotizing drumming of percussionist Joe Stickney.

Beach House

Town Ballroom, June 20

Beach House exists in a perpetual dream. Their slow-melting and shimmering dream-pop tunes capture exactly what it feels like to fall asleep in the middle of summer on a comfy chair with the sun beating down. “Zebra,” off of their recently released full-length Teen Dream (Sub Pop Records) has a lo-fi, indie freak-folk feel that could make them Grizzly Bear’s cuter younger sister, which still doesn’t make them nearly as cute as lead singer Victoria Legrand.


Town Ballroom, July 8

“The world is in sync with Devo,” says Devo vocalist and bassist Gerald Casale on their website. It’s been 20 years since the band released a proper full-length album, but next Tuesday they are preparing to release their highly anticipated, ninth studio album titled Something for Everybody. For those who didn’t grow up in the 1980s wearing nuclear outfits and red Devo Energy Domes (though they’ve recently transitioned to cyan-colored Energy Domes), now is your chance to catch up on your pop-culture references with Devo at Town Ballroom.

The Juan Maclean

Soundlab, July 31

Oh, how confusing it can be to be an electronic musician. It turns out that Daft Punk is human after all, but apparently the Juan Maclean is less than human, which means he’s probably at least part robot, right? It would make a lot of sense, because how else could this DFA Records artist create the phased-out laser sounds that make up the outer-space disco-house grooves on his albums Less Than Human and The Future Will Come. He’ll bring his troop of android musicians and his universe of knobs, switches, and keys to Soundlab on July 31.


The Harbor, July 31

Yeah it was a crazy game of poker, we get it. You probably should have folded. O.A.R. (which actually stands for Of A Revolution) have been combining pop, alt rock, and reggae to create their half jam band, half arena rock spectacle for over a decade now. If anyone is going to start a revolution it’s these five white guys from Rockville, Maryland.

Green Day with AFI

Darien Lake, August 5

Get your Green Day brand hoodies here! Get your Green Day t-shirts! Get your Green Day boxers! Get your Green Day “21st Century Breakdown songbook!” Get your Green Day “American Idiot the Musical” tickets here! Get your Green Day Rock Band video game! Get your official Green Day Beer Koozie! Get your Green Day Christmas tree ornaments! Get your Green Day Action Figures! Get your Green Day brand Gelatinated Non-Dairy Gum-Based Beverages here! Okay, so that last one was actually Krusty the Klown brand, but who’s keeping track?


Darien Lake, July 31

Thank the Lord above, Creed has reunited. After their break up in 2004 the three members of Creed that aren’t Scott Stapp did the unexpected and formed their own Creed ripoff called Alter Bridge. Two mediocre albums later and Alter Bridge is nowhere to be found while Creed has set aside their differences to reunite, tour and release an album called Full Circle. Here’s to hoping that, at the very least, Stapp isn’t too inebriated to sing “with arms wide oooooopen!”


The Tralf, September 2

Of all the bands and concerts on this list, Tortoise is the most purely musical. Their instrumental post-rock has been a source of inspiration for bands around the world for almost two decades now. If you missed their last show in Buffalo check out their full set on Artvoice TV. And don’t miss this one.

Goo Goo Dolls

Darien Lake, July 23

What can we say about one of Buffalo’s most enduring and popular bands that hasn’t already been said? The Goo Goo Dolls have consistently kept Buffalo on the musical map for 23 years and continue to tour on a massive worldwide basis. If you’re one of the seven people in Buffalo who haven’t seen local darlings Johnny Rzeznik, Mike Malinin, and Robby Takac (affectionately still known as Robby Goo in this office) perform live, then don’t miss this opportunity.


Dream Theater

Town Ballroom, July 5

This list probably doesn’t look like much to the metalheads of Buffalo, but here comes the shinning bright spot. Dream Theater brings their technically proficient brand of progressive metal to Town Ballroom on July 5 and what more could a heavy metal fan ask for? If you’re into light shows hopefully you saw Rob Zombie in May; if you’re into mind-blowing, surgical guitar solos shredding, then you’ve come to the right place.

John Mayer

Darien Lake, August 10

So his “hood pass” has surely expired but who cares, the man can play a mean geeetar…plus when John Mayer openly wept onstage during an apology for his use of the N-word in Playboy, his whole band of black musicians stood behind him, so that proves he’s not a racist. Just shut up and jam, dude.


Darien Lake, August 8

It’s definitely lead singer Hayley Willams’ bold charisma that gained this pop-rock band instant attention, according to their website. It probably had nothing to do with her gorgeous flaming red hair, her Gwen Stefani-esque voice, her sexy dance moves, her…wait there are four dudes in this band too? Hayley, if you read this, please leave your rockstar boyfriend for me.

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