Sounds of the City: Heaven knows we're not miserable now
No time for small talk this month; we’ve got far too many acts to consider, from cult icons to marquee legends to up-and-comers. Here’s the most compelling of the bunch as of presstime.
Tuesday, October 9, at Kleinhans, 716-885-5000
After keeping a low profile for the last seven years, Apple is riding a wave of good vibes these days, starting with a much raved-about appearance at SXSW and continuing with glowing reviews for her fourth album, The Idler Wheel Dot Dot Dot. (That’s my own smart-aleck nickname for a title that, as Apple’s are wont to do, goes on for twenty more words.) Acoustically unrivalled Kleinhans seems an ideal venue for such a perfectionist performer. Come a few days early and catch the reunion tour of the Ben Folds Five on Friday, October 5, too.
Pearl and the Beard/Jack and the Bear
Thursday, October 4, at the Tralf, 716-852-2860
These two youngish bands have more in common than their sound-alike names: Both are indie acts with dedicated local followings and an approach to “Americana” that embraces complex harmonies and unusual instrumentation. Pearl & Co. have been wowing crowds opening for Ani DiFranco lately, while Jack & Co. have earned glowing praise from WNY mover/shaker Marty Boratin, which—coupled with a quick listen to a few sample tracks—ought to be enough to get you to the Tralf, no questions asked.
Friday, October 19, at Sportsmen’s Tavern, 716-874-7734
Often cited as one of the best singer-songwriters working in country music these days, Crowell has been dabbling in prose and collaborating on a song cycle with memoirist Mary Carr in recent years. He’s joined by Australian-by-way-of-Texas-and-Nashville Jedd Hughes. Also this month at Sportsmen’s: A return engagement by perennial good-timers Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys on Wednesday, October 3.
Friday, October 19, at the Rapids Theatre, 716-205-8925
Assign him a smart-aleck nickname if you must, but the King of Mope puts on an excellent live show, full of passion, energy, and wit. I’ve always been a bigger fan of his early days in the Smiths than his decades of solo stuff, but in concert it all sounds pretty great, as a 2009 show at UB’s CFA proved. Plan on a crack band of backup players and an enthusiastic crowd, to say the least. (Maybe too enthusiastic; the show sold out months in advance.)
Wednesday, October 24, at UB’s Center for the Arts, 716-645-ARTS
The singer who embodied memorable characters from a Wichita lineman to a rhinestone cowboy is wrapping up his farewell tour, and by all accounts he’s going out on a high note. Here’s your last chance to witness live performances of his numerous hits and to witness some damn fine guitar work from an unsung master of the instrument.
Friday, October 5, at the Seneca Niagara Events Center, 800-745-3000
The reigning king of cocktail pop brings his golden pipes to the Seneca Niagara Casino this month for an evening of dapper ditties and snappy repartée. He’s recorded duets with everyone under the sun and remains an unguilty pleasure with audiences of all generations, so it behooves you to pay homage yourself.
Ron Ehmke writes about music and other subjects for Spree and various publications around the country.