Sounds of the City
Around the world in a month
Will Holton's Love Cadenza Part III @ Metropolitan Entertainment Complex
Don't let winter weather keep you from hitting the clubs and other venues of WNY or you'll miss a surprising number of promising-sounding concerts during this shortest of months. Here's what catches my eye amongst the offerings.
Friday, Feb. 10
Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Key Bank: I assume they'll be leaving the tube socks at home for this tour. (Psst: Trombone Shorty opens, so do not come late.)
The Scores of a Man: A Revival of Julius Eastman @ the Burchfield Penney: The late singer, pianist, and composer, who built an international reputation during his time with the legendary Creative Associates group involved with UB's music department in the early 1970 before moving to Manhattan, nonetheless died in obscurity at Millard Fillmore Hospital in 1990 before his fiftieth birthday. In the last couple of years, his reputation has enjoyed a major resurrection, thanks to a boxed set of his music, additional new recordings, a DJ remix album, and an outstanding new book about his troubled life and transcendent art. This free tribute concert unfolds in various spaces throughout the museum from 5 to 10 p.m. or so and includes several performers presenting his pieces, along with an appearance and book-signing by one of the co-editors of the anthology. (See Elizabeth Licata's event preview for more on the BPAC event and its fascinating backstory.)
Stephen Bishop @ the Bear's Den (Seneca Niagara Casino): Some know him as the singer-songwriter behind the effortless-sounding 70s pop hits "On and On" and "Save It for a Rainy Day." For others, he'll always be the twerpy folksinger whose guitar gets smashed by John Belushi during a frat party in Animal House. He also wrote and performed the theme song for that movie and provided music for countless other films as well as material for the likes of Phil Collins, Chaka Khan, and Barbra Streisand, so he's got quite a body of work to play—much of which you may not even realize is his.
Saturday, Feb. 11
Doyle Bramhall II @ the Tralf: I first became aware of this Austin-based blues guitarist when he backed up Roger Waters on a solo tour back in the 90s, but he's also popped up on stages and recordings in support of Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Bettye LaVette, and Susan Tedeschi in subsequent years, and got his start with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Here's your opportunity to see him front and center.
Sunday, Feb. 12
Pete Malinverni @ the Buffalo History Museum: The latest offering in the Buffalo Jazz Collective's consistently impressive "Second Sundays" series of talks and concerts by Buffalo-bred star players highlights the work of pianist and composer Malinverni, who is chair of the Jazz Studies department at SUNY Purchase when he's not busy performing with the likes of Mel Lewis and Joe Lovano in NYC and beyond. He'll be joined by the Buffalo Jazztet and the BAVPA Choir in a performance of his own piece "The Creation," based on a poem by James Weldon Johnson, among other works.
Drums Around the World @ Kleinhans: Here's a kid-friendly intro to some of the many ways rhythm and percussion are generated by cultures near and far. The African American Cultural Center, Lancaster High School’s Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra, and the Buffalo Suzuki Strings Instrument Zoo will all be on hand, along with how-to tips on creating your own drums from household items and a human beat-boxing demo.
Wednesday, Feb. 15
Paul Kozlowski Quartet @ Pausa: The genre-and-geography-blind globe trotter who calls Buffalo home between travels returns to this cozy Allentown cafe with his crack ensemble of seasoned WNY players, David Adamczyk (violin), David Phillips (drums), and Benjamin Levitt (bass). Forget "world music"—broaden your own world by going wherever these guys care to take you.
Wednesday, Feb. 15—Thursday, Feb. 16
Deconstructing the Beatles: Sgt. Pepper at Hallwalls: Following up on their packed screening of Fab Four expert Scott Freiman's video lecture on the White Album last year, Hallwalls presents a second installment in the four-part series. Think Pop Up Videos mixed with a PowerPoint-driven TED Talk and you've got the basic idea. Lots of fun, whether you're a hardcore Beatlemaniac or a newbie to this generation-defining album.
Friday, Feb. 17
Sexy Wheel: Anti-Valentine's Erotica Show @ Squeaky Wheel: You younguns may not remember it, but Squeaky's annual "Peepshow" fundraiser started out yeeeeears ago as just this kind of anything goes NSFW fun-for-all—so I'm glad to see them returning to their kinky, pansexual, queer-as-folk and straight-as-a-broken-arrow roots with this collection of short films and videos. Don't miss visiting artist Tara Merenda Nelson, whose live performance allows the audience to censor her Super 8 film themselves. As if that weren't enough, the afterparty at poly-friendly Dreamland features a set by DJ Sh*t Wedding. (Special ticket rates encourage you to bring not one date but two.) Throw that box of chocolates away and get real, lovers!
I Prevail @ Buffalo IronWorks: If you're still trying to get tickets to this show at this late date, you will not prevail: It's "100% sold out" according to IronWorks' website. Which means you'll miss these hard rockers (complete with separate "clean" and "harsh" lead vocalists) and their viral cover of Taylor Swift's "Blank Space."
Saturday, Feb. 18
Will Holton's Love Cadenza Part III @ Metropolitan Entertainment Complex: The Buffalo-based saxophonist presents the latest in his annual survey of established and up-and-coming jazz and R&B players. Among this year's ten are Hall of Famer vocalist Joey Diggs and trumpeter Brian Freeman, plus visiting headliner Doobie Powell, a singer, songwriter, and producer known for his work with Musiq Soulchild.
Keifer Sutherland @ the Bears Den: The actor takes a break from saving the world to play selections from his new country album. If you don't attend, the terrorists will have won.
Friday, Feb. 24
Drea d'Nur salutes Nina Simone @ Kleinhans: A dynamite Buffalo-bred singer pays tribute to the inimitable Dr. Simone, with a shoutout to our own late lamented legend and Simone sideman, Emile Lattimer. See my longer preview for details.
An American Siddhartha @ UB's Center for the Arts Mainstage Theatre: Lehrer Dance and the BPO revisit mid-20th century German novelist Hermann Hesse's classic novel about a spiritual seeker in India in the time of the Buddha in a new stage adaptation presumably set in 21st century America. How's that for multiculturalism?
Zoso @ the Riviera Theatre: Pay close attention now, because this is going to get complicated. Watch a live cover band reenact the 1976 concert that became the basis of Led Zeppelin's film The Song Remains the Same. Show up a day early (Feb. 23) and see the original movie (featuring classic performance footage framed by truly horrendous fictional segments devised by each of the band members), or come back on Saturday (Feb. 25) for Zoso's reenactment of the set list from Zep's final U.S. tour. See the Riv's website for numerous bargain-priced combinations if you plan to attend more than one evening.
Maceo Parker @ Rockwell Hall: Give yourself and your kids a crash course in funk from the sax player whose résumé includes years of work with James Brown, George Clinton, and Prince, as well as an extended relationship with our own Ani DiFranco. He's led his own first-rate group for more than two decades now, and puts on a hell of a live show.
Saturday, Feb. 25
GZA @ the Waiting Room: Score! One of the founding members of the Wu Tang Clan hits a remarkably intimate space for someone of his caliber.
Sunday, Feb. 26
Fred Eaglesmith @ 189 Public House: This gravel-voiced country/folk singer songwriter certainly sounds like a Southerner, but it's really southern Ontario he hails from. East Aurora is the setting for the latest of his many visits to our side of the border. Given how long he's been on the road patiently building a following one audience at a time, expect a respectful but enthusiastic crowd for his short-story-like tales of rural life.
George Clinton @ UB's Center for the Arts: Having long ago given up on distinguishing between his bands Parliament and Funkadelic, Clinton—a musical genius if there ever was one—now just grabs whoever is still standing, slaps 'em onstage, and lets the fun(k) begin. I'll be blunt, folks: The legendary players in this ensemble are not getting any younger. Neither is their ringleader, and neither are you. You will kick yourself for eternity if you don't catch them in action while you still can.
Ron Ehmke is a writer, performer, and media artist who is followable on Facebook; he also tweets, tumbls, instagrams, and google-plusses (@RonEhmke), and does other enjoyable things you can find out about at his site: everythingrondoes.com. An updated version of this column appears on our own site at the beginning of every month.