Sounds of the City
Best bets for November
Janet Jackson plays KeyBank Center November 4.
Wednesday, November 1
John McLaughlin and Jimmy Herring @ UB's Center for the Arts: The jazz fusion guitarist behind the Mahavishnu Orchestra kicks off his farewell tour with this very show, sharing the stage with jam-band virtuoso Herring (known for his work with Widespread Panic, the Allman Brothers Band, and the Dead). Each man will play a set of his own, then they’ll join forces for a jam based on vintage Mahavishnu recordings.
Shilpa Ray @ Nietzsche's: In addition to a powerhouse voice and a harmonium (that most punk of instruments), this Brooklyn-based Indian-American rocker possesses a terrific sense of humor and music history, as evidenced in CD packages that resemble classic album art by Prince and the New York Dolls and song titles like “Colonel Mustard in the Billiards Room with Sheets of Acid.”
Science & Art Cabaret/Finnegans Waves @ the Ninth Ward: Calling all lovers of James Joyce, marathon performance events, and Hallwalls’s ongoing science-based cabaret series. From noon to midnight in the gallery’s cinema space, local participants will be reading aloud Joyce’s notoriously “difficult” pun-filled masterwork, Finnegans Wake, under the direction of visiting French theater director Christian Giriat. There will be no live audience in the room with them, but—if you choose not to be one of the readers—you can watch online or in the Ninth Ward bar elsewhere in the same building. Starting at 7 p.m., the bar screening will be interrupted for a while by a Joyce-themed cabaret. Got all that? The answer to your most important question is: Yes, there will be snacks.
Thursday, November 2
Alton Brown @ UB's Center for the Arts: The foodie favorite expands the scope of his hit TV series with songs, video sequences, and plenty of messy audience participation.
Alexis deVeaux @ Montante Cultural Center: Join the acclaimed author and educator with deep ties to Buffalo in a conversation about “The Future of Freedom” as part of Just Buffalo’s extraordinary “Civil Writes Project,” examining the legacy of segregation in the City of Good Neighbors.
Jim Santella @ the Burchfield Penney: The now-retired DJ who pioneered progressive FM radio in Buffalo (before moving on to cohost Theater Talk on WBFO for years) reads from his memoir, recounting his many brushes with rock royalty.
Thursday and Friday, November 2 and 3
Huey Lewis and the News @ Fallsview: If it is indeed hip to be square, then I suppose this is the show for you.
Friday, November 3
John Sebastian @ Rockwell Hall: The best-known member of the Lovin’ Spoonful performs the generation-defining hits of that band, plus his earlier and later solo material. What a day for a daydream!
Saturday, November 4
Janet Jackson @ KeyBank Center: Over the course of a lengthy career, the multiplatinum-selling singer and actor has alternately thrilled the masses and alienated them, releasing top-notch music all along the way. The focus of the current “State of the Nation” tour is her socially conscious material, both old and new.
Sunday, November 5
In Solidarity / A Puerto Rico Fundraiser @ Sugar City: Members of the Stripteasers burlesque group and Birds Nest Circus Arts perform, along with folk/punk band Cardboard Homestead, noise rockers Voice of Dissent, and comedy troupe Yellow Sauce. Proceeds benefit Mutual Aid Disaster Relief.
Monday and Wednesday, November 6 and 8
Roger Daltrey @ Fallsview: In between the Who's various farewell and reunion tours, the band's lead singer performs many of the same hits, along with material from his occasional solo albums, in more intimate settings like the casino on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.
Tuesday, November 7
Waxahatchee @ the Tralf: In the couple of years since her appearance opening for St. Vincent at Babeville, singer/songwriter Katie Crutchfield and her band have garnered oodles of rave reviews and devoted fans for their infectious tunes, reminiscent of the best guitar-driven indie rock of bygone days.
Wednesday, November 8
Andrea Mancuso @ Hallwalls: There's a brilliant twist to the gallery's always-fascinating series of artists talks this season, as the speakers address not their own work but that of another WNY-based figure they admire. This month, video maker and educator Mancuso salutes Pulitzer Prize-winning Buffalo News cartoonist Adam Zyglis.
Thursday, November 9
Slowdive @ Town Ballroom: In one of the strangest twists in a career full of them, the archetypal British shoegaze band reunited for the first time since their 1995 breakup and released new music this year. That's not the surprising part; the surprising part is that the new album contains some of the best work they've ever done, and by all reports their current live act is outstanding.
Toni Morrison @ Kleinhans: On the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's visit to Kleinhans, join the author of Beloved and other modern classics for the latest in Just Buffalo's phenomenally successful Babel series.
Friday, November 10
Nick Offerman @ Shea's: The hirsute Parks and Rec star and go-to Manly Man for pretty much every indie comedy nowadays brings his standup routine to town.
Institute for Creative Music Collective @ Pausa: This loose-knit jazz ensemble pays tribute to the music of Bjork on their latest album and tour, following previous reworkings of Prince and Radiohead.
Layla Ali @ Hallwalls: The internationally lauded, Buffalo-born visual artist talks about her work at 8 p.m., kicking off the opening of an exhibition of her paintings and drawings.
Tuesday, November 14
The Strumbellas @ Town Ballroom: The self-described "folk popgrass" sextet from Ontario became an overnight sensation with "Spirits," the rousing breakout single from their aptly titled third album, Hope. If you're feeling the need for huge anthemic choruses and optimistic lyrics, you've come to the right place.
Timber Timbre @ Mohawk Place: There are distinct echoes of their countrymen Leonard Cohen and Daniel Lanois in the moody sound of these Ontario folk-rockers, whose latest album, Sincerely, Future Pollution adds 80s synth to their earlier guitar-driven sound.
Wednesday, November 15
Spyro Gyro @ the Tralf: The homegrown hitmakers—with sales in advance of ten million albums—return to one of the clubs that launched their four-decade career.
Thursday, November 16
Buffalo Chamber Players @ the Albright-Knox: The museum's resident company performs Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov's klezmer-rooted tribute to twelfth-century Kabbalist rabbi Isaac the Blind.
Friday, November 17
The Last Waltz Live @ Asbury Hall: The fortieth anniversary of the Band's legendary farewell concert last year inspired several re-enactments of the star-studded event around the country; this year, the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation and Babeville join forces for a Buffalocentric version featuring Ron Davis, Jim Whitford, Buck Quigley, Sharon Bailey, Leah Zicari, Eric Crittenden, Mark Norris, Joelle Labert, and many more. Part of the fun will be finding out who plays the cameos by Van Morrison, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and, lest we forget, Neil Diamond.
Jewish American Songbook tribute to Stan Getz @ Temple Beth Zion: The latest installment in this brilliantly conceived ongoing series, programmed by the Buffalo Jazz Collective, honors the tenor sax player best known for his crucial role in popularizing Brazilian bossa nova in the States in the early 60s —though his fifty-year career also included big band music and less pop-oriented jazz. (BJC members will also revisit the music of Harold Arlen, previously honored in the Temple Beth Zion series, in concerts on Saturday the 4th at the Kenan Center in Lockport and Sunday the 5th at Theatre of Youth. Visit buffalojazzcollective.com for details on these and many more exciting shows throughout the area this month.)
Saturday, November 18
Bob Dylan @ Shea's: I hear this Sinatra-inspired singer of saloon songs—the Michael Bublé of his generation—has also written one or two of his own. Maybe he'll do some of those, too.
Saturday, November 18—Sunday, November 19
To and From 1967: A Rebellion with Martin Sostre @ the Frank E. Merriweather Library: Squeaky Wheel and Just Buffalo join forces for this look back at the "long, hot summer" of 1967 by paying tribute to the late East Side bookstore owner turned internationally recognized political prisoner, combining documentary films and readings.
Tuesday, November 21
Mariah Carey @ Seneca Niagara Events Center: All she wants for Christmas is you.
Wednesday, November 22
The Moment, Girlpope, and Garafalo Springfield @ Mohawk Place: Spend the night before Thanksgiving with vintage Buffalo power pop/punk/whatever. Rumor has it the evening may feature a shout-out to one of television's greatest Turkey Day triumphs.
Maggie Cassella @ the 9th Ward: The Amerian-born, Toronto-based stand up/sit down comic presents Gay Panic!, a light look at our current dark times from a queer perspective, under the auspices of Hallwalls.
Friday, November 24
Milkweed @ 189 Public House: The folksy Binghamton trio pays another visit to East Aurora for a free concert featuring their blend of country, blues, and bluegrass.
Wednesday, November 29
The Joe Policastro Trio @ the Hotel Henry: The JazzBuffalo series continues with a performance by this Chicago-based acoustic ensemble known for concept albums covering pop standards, show tunes, and film music with influences from the worlds of funk, soul, rock, and Brazilian jazz.
Ron Ehmke is a writer, performer, and media artist you can learn more about at everythingrondoes.com.