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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's pick for the week: Lemuria, who performs at Sugar City on Thursday the 16th.

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.


Thursday, December 16

On Thursday (tonight!) Buffalo’s own indie-pop stars, Lemuria, return home to perform at Sugar City, just weeks before the release of their sophomore album, Pebble. 2010 was a big year for Lemuria, who formed in Buffalo six years ago. The three-piece indie rock band, with a sound that lands somewhere between Jawbreaker and Broken Social Scene, spent the month of July in Baltimore recording their Bridge Nine Records debut with producer J. Robbins (Jets to Brazil, Mewithoutyou). “They contacted us a little over a year ago about doing a new record,” said singer and songwriter Alex Kerns. “It was kind of surprising because they’re more of a hardcore label and we’re an indie rock band, but we’re really happy with them,” Kerns said. “Chautauqua County,” the group’s first single released on Bridge Nine, is a speedy powerpop tune with lyrics like an inner monologue about doubts and missed opportunities. Like this single, the rest of the album is very emotionally driven, and focuses on family and relationship issues, Kerns said. When it comes to singing such personal words every night, Kerns said that at first it can be uncomfortable, but after a while he gets used to it. “It’s like wearing a new hat,” he said. Following the Buffalo show the band, made up of Kerns on drums, guitarist and vocalist Sheena Ozzella, and bassist Max Gregor, will venture out on a three-week tour after spending Christmas with their families. 2011 could turn out to be an even bigger year for the band, who have plans to tour Australia and Japan. —cory perla

6pm. Sugar City, 19 Wadsworth in Allentown ( $6.

Friday & Saturday, December 17 & 18

Paula Nelson & The Guilty Pleasures

Country music has a long tradition of being a family affair. This weekend, Buffalonians get treated to two performances by Paula Nelson—daughter of American icon Willie Nelson. The pair recently recorded a nice version of John Fogerty’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” but this pass through town should feature her on her own with the Guilty Pleasures, her backing band. Friday night (Dec 17) finds her performing at the honkiest, tonkiest beer joint in town, the Sportsmen’s Tavern, which is expanding and growing each week thanks to an ambitious renovation plan. Saturday (Dec 18) she’ll headline at Babeville, and proceeds from the show will be going to help fund MercyFlight. New York City singer/songwriter Valerie Mize opens. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to catch the next generation of country royalty on her first visit to our neck of the woods. —buck quigley

9pm Friday. Sportsmen’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St. (874-7734 / $20; 7pm. Saturday Babeville, 341 Delaware Ave. (852-3835 / $20.

Saturday, December 18

Sexy Neighbors

Never let it be said that there isn’t any honor amongst indie bands. This Saturday (Dec 18), Soundlab will be the site of a headlining spotlight split three ways, unfolding into a tripod of rock and roll experimentation. Brooklyn-based upstarts, Sexy Neighbors (consisting of ex-Buffalonian Felix Gottdiener) bring home their frantic garage-infused post-punk consisting of jangly guitars, rolling bass lines, scattered drums and an organ sound that brings to mind the better part of atomic-age refrigerator commercials. Coming off like a sort of bastard child of Orange Juice and the Talking Heads, with a serious homage to the garage-y side of the 1960’s, Sexy Neighbors subscribe to a from-the-ground-up approach of creating hypnotically danceable tunes that keep you on edge. They are undeniably off-kilter while never derailing from the ultimate goal; keeping it fun. Fellow Brooklynites, Baby Erection will be making an appearance as well and despite their name, they are anything but modest. Their punked-out lo-fi excursions give light to the concept of using feedback as an instrument in and of itself. Playful, artful and almost post-apocalyptic in nature, Baby Erection are nothing if not captivating. By way of Richmond, VA., Gull is the solo outlet for Nathaniel Rappole, member of Ultra Dolphins. A veritable one-man explosion of sound, Gull consists of guitar, drums, and vocals simultaneously played by one mind and body creating a singular math-rock entity that will leave jaws dropped. —eric kendall

9pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (440-5907 / $6..

Saturday, December 18

Bert Jansch

The daunting list of artists citing the influence of Scottish-born, folk-jazz-rock virtuoso guitarist/singer/songwriter Bert Jansch is too long and almost too incredulous to list. From Led Zeppelin to Simon and Garfunkel – Genesis or Pavement - The Strawbs to The Smiths – they have all acknowledged his skillful picking precision, his bold and distinctive chording as well as his moody, haunting voice. Jansch is one of the last century’s most singularly influential guitarists as well as a songwriter and singer of unmatched power. His unique and revolutionary combination of traditional folk, blues, and jazz touches along with a tempered shrugging off of convention, made him a trailblazer of the British folk scene in the 1960s and 1970s. These days, he is seemingly as busy as he has ever been, whether it is continuing to record, touring the globe, and regularly collecting accolades for his mark on music, including Mojo Honors and BBC Radio nods. Following up his recent sold out run of spring dates opening for Neil Young, Jansch returns to the Queen City for a rare seated show, Saturday (Dec 18), at the Town Ballroom where his songs and magnificent playing are guaranteed to have that more much magic with such intimacy. Pegi (Mrs. Neil) Young was originally scheduled to support Jansch on this show but had to bow out of the tour. —gore peterson

7pm. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. (852-3900 / $22 advance/$25 day of the show.

Saturday, December 18

McCarthyizm X-Mas Benefit Show

There are people out there who experience a much colder winter than we do, and it’s important to come together and lend a hand to those less fortunate during the holiday season. Buffalo alt/garage outfit McCarthyizm knows the true spirit of Christmas charity better than anyone, as they host their annual Christmas Benefit Show on Saturday (Dec 18) at Nietzsche’s. It’s a Christmas party you should really make room for, as all proceeds benefit Friends of the Night People, a charitable organization located in Allentown that provides food, clothing, medical care and counseling to the poor and homeless in Buffalo. FoNP have been cemented in the community since 1969, raising public awareness on homelessness and poverty issues while providing essential support resources for those in need. The Night People served over 50,000 meals in 2009 between their Allentown facility and satellite kitchen, “Urban Diner,” located on Paderewski St. on Buffalo’s East Side. They are on pace to exceed 50,000 meals served in 2010 and rely on the help of donations, sponsors, fundraisers (like this one), and volunteers to support their mission. Sponsored by the Left Bank Restaurant, the mega-show features a slew of bands performing throughout the night on two stages including A Potter’s Field, Alison Pipitone & Pamela Ryder, Numoniker, the Paricles, Silhouette, Paul Weisenburger, Poor Ould Goat, and Guillermo Izquierdo. Bring in non-perishable goods and/or winter clothing and receive a break on admission at the door. —jon wheelock

9pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 /

Saturday, December 18

77 Jackson St. Rear by William Y. Cooper, Book Signing

On Saturday (Dec 18) author William Y. Cooper will host a book signing for his first novel, 77 Jackson Street Rear at the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library. Cooper lives and works in Buffalo. A Buffalo Arts Studio artist, Cooper is a writer, painter, art teacher, and illustrator. “All the arts call for the imagination. The tools might be different but the expression is the same. You’re just using a different language to express the experience,” said Cooper. 77 Jackson Street Rear was written for adolescents, but this fast-paced adventure mystery novel is filled with historical references and is an engaging book for readers of all ages. The adventure plays out in and around Montgomery, Alabama at the beginning of the 1955 bus boycott. 12-year-old hero Denmark and his portly best friend Odi have been kidnapped for ransom by three men who think they are the sons of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Denmark draws upon his beloved grandmother’s teachings and the character she inspired in him during the hateful and brutal “Jim Crow” era of the segregated South. The novel is available for $20 at the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library. Purchase a copy for yourself or as a gift. —jill greenberg

2-4pm Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library, 1324 Jefferson Avenue (716-883-4418). Free.

Sunday, December 19

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Nobody does Christmas bigger than the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Since 1993 TSO has been performing their epic brand of progressive-rock in arenas across the country, lasers, pyrotechnics, and synchronized lights included. The band, formed by composer Paul O’Neill in 1993, is split into two separately touring entities, TSO East and TSO West, each consisting of at least 15 members. They are widely known for their trilogy of over the top, Christmas based rock-operas, the Christmas Attic, the Lost Christmas Eve, and their original 1996 album Christmas Eve and Other Stories, featuring recognizable tunes like “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” and “A Mad Russian’s Christmas.” The band’s most recent release, 2009’s Night Castle, a two hour long double disc album, strays from their Christmas trilogy yet still preserves the band’s signature orchestral, wintery tone. On their website O’Neill describes his vision of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a boundary breaking marriage of classical music and rock, inspired by the likes of Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the Who and Beethoven. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will appear at HSBC Arena on Sunday (Dec 19) for two shows at 4pm and 8pm. —cory perla

4pm and 8pm. HSBC Arena, One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza (855-4100 / $27.50-$59.50

Sunday, December 19

Harvest Sum Holidaze Showcase

If you’re thinking about getting dazed this holiday season, whip up a batch of grandpa’s special eggnog and head on down to Mohawk Place on Sunday (Dec 19) for the Harvest Sum Holidaze Showcase. The show will feature some of the top acts signed to Buffalo’s Harvest Sum Recordings, including Micah Schnabel of Columbus, Ohio based indie-rock band Two Cow Garage. Branden Barnett of alternative rock band Ghost Shirt, also hailing from Columbus, will join the party in support of their latest album Daniel, as well as Harvest Sum powerpop rockers Semi-Tough and Roger Bryan & the Orphans. Rounding out the show will be Mark Norris & The Backpeddlers. The fun starts at 7pm with drinks, food, giveaways, and general holiday cheer. —herbie timpson

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