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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's pick for the week: The Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting & Magical Memories on Main Street at the Rotary Rink this Saturday the 4th.

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.

Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting & Magical Memories on Main Street

Saturday, December 4

There was once a time, before Black Friday and Cyber Monday existed, when parents would walk down Main Street in Buffalo with their children, who would press their noses up against the cold glass windows of AM&A’s department store and watch the elaborately animated window displays, miniature bands performing, Santas ho ho ho-ing, and mechanical nutcrackers marching, until the glass fogged from their candy-cane scented breath. It was about absorbing the holiday atmosphere and being part of a community during those weeks before Christmas. This year the Rotary Club of Buffalo is bringing back those special moments for Magical Memories on Main Street. Main Street between Tupper and Chippewa will be lined with vintage Christmas window displays from the 1930s through the 1950s, restored by the Buffalo Rotary Foundation. Magical Memories on Main Street runs through Jan 11. On Saturday (Dec 4) Buffalo Place will hold it’s 27th annual Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, presented by First Niagara. A 40-foot tree with hundreds of lights and ornaments will be unveiled during the celebration at the Rotary Rink. The event will also feature fireworks over Fountain Plaza, free ice-skating at Rotary Rink, horse and wagon rides, face painting, and a visit from Santa Claus. —cory perla

3pm. Rotary Rink, 40 Fountain Plz. ( Free.

Friday, December 3

Colors in the Air Album Release Show

Putting years under the belt can be a tricky thing for a young band as it slowly matures. In some cases, musical growth never comes and the band simply stagnates. In others, musical growth is too much to handle and intra-band acrimony causes splits. So, it’s amazing to see—and hear —how gracefully Buffalo’s Colors in the Air have transitioned through the years. Beginning as a high school band in Lockport in 2005, Colors in the Air excelled at a spirited and hook-heavy punk-infused brand of pop. It’s astonishing that five years on they are not only still together, but over time have slowly made a stylistic 180-degree turn. With their brand new album Mirror Mirror the band has crafted a sweeping collection of modern stadium-rock-worthy anthems taking cues from U2, Coldplay, and the Arcade Fire. These are not the kids you remember as the emo-punk band. The penchant the band always displayed for big choruses is not only still there but honed to perfection. Immaculately recorded, performed, and arranged, there is a grandiose quality to CITA’s songs, but also a steady balance to arrive at an intimate warmth. Mirror Mirror is loaded with tracks like “Hell If I Know,” “Seeing Stars,” and “No Photographs” that are as good as (or better than) anything you are likely to hear on alternative rock radio, terrestrial or satellite. Not afraid to show some influences, the warm and playful “Going Home” borrows from Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.” The album is a testament not just to the artistry of the musicians who created it, but also to their willingness to stick together, grow and see what the years bring. Colors in the Air celebrates the release of Mirror Mirror this Friday (Dec 3) with support from Pardi Gras.

7pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (465-2368 / $7.

Friday, December 3

The Power of Nightmares

Is Al Qaeda a figment of the neoconservative imagination, a phantom designed or at least exaggerated to mold Americans into a controllably fearful state? That’s the most extreme charge leveled by the three-part BBC documentary, The Power of Nightmares, and while you may not agree with writer-director Adam Curtis’ conclusion, he makes a solid case for many other ways in which fear has been used as a tool. Deconstructing the ruinously expensive “War on Terror” back to its roots, Curtis twins the stories of Islamic fundamentalist Sayyid Qutb and neocon godfather Leo Strauss, both of whom felt that the post-World War II world was drowning in spurious “freedoms.” Their ideas, how they were put into practice by their followers and how some of their schemes took on deadly lives of their own make for deeply unsettling but highly informative viewing. The Power of Nightmares will be presented in three parts. Part One, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” will be shown this Friday (Dec. 3) at 7:30pm, followed by “The Phantom Victory” and “The Shadows in the Cave” on Saturday (Dec. 4) beginning at 1pm. All screenings are free and open to the public. —m. faust

7:30pm. Pilgrim St. Luke’s Church, 335 Richmond Avenue at West Utica. Free..

Saturday, December 4

3rd Annual Beatlemagic Holiday Show

This Saturday (Dec. 4) see one of Buffalo’s most popular Beatles cover bands, BeatleMagic. They will perform at the Tralf for their third annual holiday show. Music by the Beatles is so universal that this event is sure to be enjoyed by people of all ages. Formed in Western New York in 1999, BeatleMagic is more than a cover band. The band is committed to meticulously reproducing the Beatles’ music and image with the utmost accuracy, through ever phase of the Fab Four’s career. BeatleMagic even extends their obsession with detail down to costume changes ranging from the collarless grey jackets of the bands early period to the psychedelic costumes of Sgt. Peppers. Their playlist is wide-ranging, spanning all of the bands singles and major albums, across the Beatles’ prolific career. They also encourage fans to request songs on their website ( They strive to capture the mannerisms and stage humor that defined the Beatles. They even play authentic instruments such as Rickenbaker and Gretsch guitars and Ludwig drums. BeatleMagic has performed throughout the United States and Canada. In the past year they have performed in the area at the Niagara University Live Music Series, the Wednesday on the Canal Concert Series, the M&T Plaza Event Series, and the Ellicottville Fall Festival Oktoberfest. —jill greenberg

7pm. Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / $20 presale, $25 day of show. Tickets on sale at all Ticketmaster locations.

Sunday, December 5

Freelance Whales

Dearest Freelance Whales, your music is cute and hazy. Your use of glockenspiel and choir vocals turn grey skies blue. The sounds of banjo strings pluck at poor hearts. The Freelance Whales are a collective of five cool kids from Queens, New York with instruments. Weird ones, played well, including something called a waterphone: a bowl shaped, ambient sound producing device. Their album Weathervanes (Frenchkiss Records) is full of strange digital and organic sounds, which lead to an interesting contrast of noise. Comparisons to the Postal Service and Sufjan Stevens are not far off at all, with precious lyrics and vocal inflections, and saccharine melodies. It’s cuddle-y kumbaya! Freelance Whales play Mohawk Place on Sunday (Dec. 5) with folk tinged indie pop band Miniature Tigers. Doors at 7pm. Tickets are $10 advance, $12 day of. Freelance Whales offer the sweet, blissed-out stuff. Candy songs for cavities. Yum. —peter vullo

7pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (465-2368 / $10 advance, $12 day of the show.

Wednesday, December 8

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals

With a vintage blues-driven style reminiscent of the golden age of rock, it might sound like Grace Potter and the Nocturnals came right out of the 1970s. The Vermont-based quartet has only been playing together since 2002, but seem to have decades of experience under their belt with their time-spanning take on classic rock, funk, blues, and folk music. Fronting this dynamic group is 27-year-old lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Grace Potter, who drives the band with her enchantingly soulful voice and expertise on the Hammond B3. Like a modern-day Stevie Nicks or Janis Joplin, every song drips with Potter’s vocal mood, showcasing a range that can go from a whispering breath to a belting roar in an instant. Backing her up is an outfit, equally as talented, made up of guitarists Benny Yurco and Scott Tournet, bassist Catherine Popper, and drummer Matt Burr. From tender lovesick ballads to all out funk ecstasy, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals don’t fit conveniently into one genre, and that’s what makes for a special kind of group. The band’s reputation has risen considerably since the release of their 2007 album This Is Somewhere (Hollywood Records), landing gigs opening for Dave Matthews and Trey Anastasio, and late-night appearances on Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson. Not to mention their music has been featured on TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters, and the VH1 documentary Woodstock: Then and Now. The band released their fourth album, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (Hollywood Records), in June. They will appear at Town Ballroom on Wednesday (Dec 8). If there was ever a band that sounded like a reincarnated version of every great classic rock act of the 1960s and 1970s, it would be this one. —jon wheelock

6:30pm. Town Ballroom 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $15 advance, $19 day of show.

Wednesday, December 8

George Clinton & Parliment Funkadelic

George Clinton, Parliament, and Funkadelic. Three names that have come to define funk and shape rock through the decades. Three groups of musicians that have also struggled to stay together yet persevered, through legal battles, drug abuse problems, and even death since the late 1960s. George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic’s most recent challenge: the death of their always eccentrically dressed lead guitarist, Garry Shider, in June of this year. To P-Funk, Shider was considered the straw that stirred the drink, the conduit between Clinton and the other members of the band. To everyone else he was the diaper-wearing madman on stage with a guitar and fingers that never stopped spewing funk rhythms. Since Shider’s death, Clinton and his rotating cast of 25 musicians have continued to tour in his honor and in support of their latest release, George Clinton and his Gangsters of Love (2008), an album featuring artists like Santana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sly Stone, and System of a Down. Clinton and P-Funk will appear, in all of their rainbow wig wearing, glitter guitar twisted glory at the Rapid’s Theatre in Niagara Falls on Wednesday (Dec 8). Eric Crittenden & Juke Joint Blu open the show. —cory perla

7pm. Rapids Theatre, 1711 Main St., Niagara Falls (205-8925 / $26.50 advance, $30 day of the show.