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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 B.O.O.M! Round 4 Quarterfinal Show, to be held this Friday the 26th at Nietzsche's.

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.

Artvoice B.O.O.M. Live Show

Friday, February 26

It’s time for another live installment of our ongoing Battle of Original Music—or BOOM, for short. This is where four bands that won the right to compete in front of a frenzied crowd of local music lovers will strut their stuff in the hope of garnering the most votes and a spot on the bill for our upcoming Battle Royale—the Artvoice BOOM Grand Finale, which will take place next week (March 5) at the Tralf Music Hall. The winner that night will receive a pile of cash and a digital recording setup courtesy of our friends at Guitar Center. Past Grand Finale winners include Dali’s Ghost and TypeRelevant. This week’s preliminary features Glass Hero, the Breathing Tree, Deja Fuze, and Jimmie Meat and the Potatoes. These acts got here by generating the most votes in our weekly online contests, where we shine a light on some of the best original music our area has to offer. Friday, every audience member through the door will receive one ballot to cast for his or her favorite artist, and when those votes are counted by the end of the night, we will announce our winner. That winner will join the Albrights, Hunger Anthem, and Photos of Wagons, who’ve already taken a similar honor at our other preliminary live shows. Come out and support our great local original music scene. May the best band win.

10pm / Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St. / $5 / 886-8539,,

Saturday, February 27

Mr. Lif

Boston based hip-hop MC Mr. Lif is ready to tell you what he thinks about the government, no matter who is in charge of it. On the title track of his newest album, I Heard It Today (2009), which he released on his own record label, Bloodbot Tactical Enterprises, he makes references to the housing crisis of 2009, September 11, the 2008 election, and the war in Iraq…in his first verse alone. His lyrics come off like a news ticker, filtered through a conspiratorial libertarian point of view, and dripping with a sense of mistrust that he is not hesitant to express, even in the era of Obama: “Oh I see, so uh, we all supposed to just start trusting the government again cuz we got a friendlier face to it now, huh?” He’s fed up with all the promises and his only comfort now is a little bit of smoke to settle his nerves. His style and sound are similar to some of the artists he has collaborated with—such as Aseop Rock and Akrobatic—but Mr. Lif takes it to the next level lyrically, and even musically. “I Heard It Today” is full of his typical, in-your-face rap style and huge beats but is contrasted by the kind of electronic bleeps and blips you might expect to hear on a Brian Eno album. His diverse collection of words, beats, and sounds has plenty of pop sensibility, while drawing inspiration from rock and electronic music as well. Expect an equally diverse crowd of indie music fans, grooving hip-hoppers, and forward-looking political crusaders when he hits the stage of Soundlab on Saturday (Feb. 27).

—cory perla

10:30pm / Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. /

Sunday, February 28

The Etchings

Often when the term “local indie band” comes to mind, people think about wannabe rock stars jamming in their parents’ garage for a few years before throwing on their yuppie suits and ties and heading out into the real world. This assumption could be made about a lot of bands, but that is exactly what makes people appreciate the rare gems like the Etchings. This Buffalo native foursome is the real thing. No gimmicks, no clichés, no nonsense. A few minutes into one of their stes and it’s apparent: This band really did their homework. Look out for songs like “Something in the Air” and “Hibernate” for beautiful songwriting, catchy riffs, technical drum work, and melodic vocals. The band has also been picking up steam recently. They have performed on stages all over the Northeast including Boston, Cambridge, and NYC. Again, the Etchings aren’t just another indie band: the words “This is not a Hobby” are clearly stated on their webpage. They will be headlining at Nietzsche’s for their first show ever in Buffalo this Sunday (Feb. 28). MoFaux, Sleeping Future, and the Tins open the show, starting at 10pm.

—jeremy lee

10pm / Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St. / 886-8539,

Sunday, February 28

Via Audio

It might look like indie-pop has started to tread the slippery slope towards anonymity, becoming the kind of stuff you hear for a few seconds on The Hills or in iPod commercials. Then Brooklyn-based quartet Via Audio comes along, putting back into songwriting the craft that the indie-rock world has been sorely lacking. The band shows that songs can be catchy without being discarded as poppy filler music—that they can still be meaningful and intelligent. Formed in the halls and practice rooms of the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2003, Via Audio has garnered attention from the likes of Pitchfork, Spin, and Filter since releasing their debut album Say Something (Sidecho) in 2007, produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno. Singable, danceable, and approachable, Via Audio infuses their songs with a myriad of flavors: folk, funk, R&B, lo-fi, and dub—among others. Singer Jessica Martin’s voice is a light, almost haunting complement to the atmosphere the rest of the band produces. Their sophomore album Animalore (Undertow) is set for release on March 9, so catch them at Soundlab on Sunday (Feb. 28) while you can. Philadephia’s Pattern is Movement and Buffalo-based All of Them Witches open the show.

—jon wheelock

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

Monday, March 1

Radu Lupu Rebounds

Fishermen like to talk about the big one that got away, the one that they spent years trying to catch, only to have it slip off the hook just as they were about to slap it into the landing net. The dedicated volunteers who put on the Ramsi P. Tick Concert Series must have felt the same way when the enigmatic, Swiss-based touring concert pianist Radu Lupu had to cancel his first ever Buffalo area concert less than 24 hours before he was scheduled to appear on Feb. 9. Local promoters have been trying to land a performance by Lupu ever since he first gained international recognition as the first prize winner at the Van Cliburn competition in 1966. Different substitutes were offered, but the organizers said thanks, but no thanks, only Lupu will do. The only date that Lupu was available was Monday (March 1), when he will be perform his originally announced program: In the Mists by Leos Janácek, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, “Appassionata,” and Schubert’s magnificent final piano sonata, the Sonata in B-flat Major, D.960. To avoid concerts two nights in a row, the event originally scheduled for Tuesday (March 2), violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner, has been re-scheduled for May 18.

—jan jezioro

7:30pm / Flickinger Performing Arts Center, Nichols School Campus, 1250 Amherst St. / 759-4778,

Tuesday, March 2

Justin Townes Earle

On Tuesday (March 2), folk singers Justin Townes Earle and Joe Pug will kick up dust at the Mohawk Place. Skilled songwriting is born into the Earle clan. Justin, who’s named after legendary country-folk singer Townes Van Zandt, is the son of famed singer/songwriter Steve Earle. On the track “Mama’s Eyes” from his latest release, Midnight at the Movies, Justin Earle sings, “I am my father’s son,” and indeed he is. Earle sings songs unaffected by time and technology, straight from the heart of the American songbook. He has relentlessly toured the country, making stops at SXSW, Bonnaroo, and the historic Grand Ole Opry in his hometown of Nashville. Supporting Earle is Joe Pug, who left the University of North Carolina before his senior year after an epiphany—and a beat-up 1995 Plymouth Voyager—brought him to Chicago to quietly record the songs that would make up his debut EP Nation of Heat. Pug is touring in support of his recently released full-length debut Messenger. At Tuesday’s (Feb. 2) show at Mohawk Place, ten-gallon hats and cowboy boots are not required, but strongly suggested.

—peter vullo

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

Thursday, March 4

Umphrey's McGee

Next Thursday (March 4), get out your gear and prepare for the jam session of the century with Umphrey’s McGee at the Town Ballroom. The band, whose music has been called “progressive improv,” was formed in 1997 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, with such disparate influences as Steely Dan and King Crimson. The band is at their best on stage where their musicianship and knack for improvisation can shine. In 2007 their double album Live at the Murat was given a coveted Jammy Award for best live album, and given a four-star rating by Rolling Stone. The band’s latest studio release, 2009’s Mantis, is a labor of love that showcases songs the band had not yet performed live at any of its 100 annual shows. The album reveals Umphrey’s more progressive tendencies, like on “Cemetery Walk”—a seven-minute trance anchored by a classy piano motif. With Mantis, the band has shown it may be in the same jam-band family as Phish, but they are distant cousins, not blood brothers. Doors open for the show at the Town Ballroom at 7pm. Jam soon after.

—jon wheelock

9pm / Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. / $8 & $10