-The Hold Steady “Constructive Summer”
Hi, I’m Chris and I’m new here. The above quote is from one of my favorite songs and I think it sums up what my goal is with this blog. We’re all getting older and busier but that doesn’t mean we can’t get out and help be a part of continuing to build up this Buffalo community that is currently flowering into a renaissance. I’ll try and help by putting together a list of 5 things to do this week. We’re busy, but I think we can handle that. It’s also a good list for when you have people coming in from out of town and you need to throw together a quick list of things to do. I’ll be publishing this weekly so check back every Sunday/Monday-ish for updates. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook as well if you are into that sort of thing.
5. Buffalo Vaggie Fest VI (Aug 8)
This Saturday, punks from as far as Montreal and Philly will descend upon Buffalo to partake in the 6th annual Vaggie Fest. First off, let’s talk about the venue. Buffalo’s Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle was founded in 1895 and is the oldest surviving Polish library in Buffalo. According to the website, the library holds 12,000 volumes with over 400 hand copied plays. I’ll be honest, I had never heard of the place until now. Checking out this interesting piece of Buffalo history ought to be worth the price of admission even if their wasn’t any music involved. Vaggie Fest itself (a play on words that recalls Veggie Fest and the fact that this is an event that celebrates women in punk rock/ hardcore) will consist of 9 straight hours of a full frontal assault on your ear drums and your face from 17 different bands. The lineup is impressive, with bands like VCR from Toronto, Pretty Boys from Montreal and local rockers Blobs. If you have an interest in punk rock or feminism or both this ought to be a fun and exhausting way to spend your afternoon and evening.
4. Slow Roll: Buffalo (Every Monday)
Let’s just get this out of the way early. Yes, the Buffalo Slow Roll is slow. I know it’s in the name, but they really aren’t kidding. If you are a hardcore cyclist or an impatient person this is not the event for you. However, if you don’t mind a relaxing cruise through the nooks and crannies of Buffalo’s urban landscape with upwards of 300 people then you won’t be disappointed. The Slow Roll movement started in Detroit as a way to explore the city’s unique neighborhoods and grow biking culture and has expanded to 8 other cities so far. Buffalo is a perfect location for an event like this as it gets people into areas of the city they would not normally see and gives Buffalonians yet another fun thing to do during the summer. The concept is simple and perfect- meet at a bar, go for the ride, end at a bar for drinks. This Monday (Aug 3rd) they will be meeting at Larkin Square, but check the website hyperlinked above as they change venues every week.
3. Tour the Colored Musician’s Club Museum (Wed-Sat 11-3)
What often gets lost in the rich history of Buffalo is that the city used to be a major hotspot for Jazz (and its offspring) in the US. At one point there were upwards of 30 different Jazz clubs with frequent acts like Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald who followed the “chitlin circuit” from New Orleans to NYC. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the Buffalo Colored Musicians Club Museum where local African American musicians based out of (they weren’t allowed in the white-only Buffalo Musician’s Union so they started their own) and it was a phenomenal experience. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know much about Jazz/Blues etc as the museum is designed for both experts and newbies alike. There are stations where you can privately listen to full tunes from important historical figures from Scott Joplin to Aretha Franklin to Miles Davis (seriously if you haven’t listened to Kind of Blue you are missing out, just click the link). There are also fun things for kids to do, as they can test out different instruments and see how they interact with the band as a whole using little mixing stations tuned to hits like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Take the A Train.” The staff is incredibly friendly, passionate and knowledgeable and very welcoming. I highly recommend this great museum.
2. Psychedelic Furs @ Town Ballroom (Aug 8)
Legendary British art rock band The Psychedelic Furs will be in Buffalo Saturday night. Many I’m sure would recognize their big hit “Love My Way” (produced by Todd Lundgren who was just in Buffalo a few months ago) off their 1982 album Forever Now. They also wrote the title track to one of America’s most beloved 80’s movies. Although the original version of “Pretty in Pink” was written on their 1982 album Talk Talk Talk, it of course later brought them major fame in the States for being the inspiration for the movie of the same name starring the perfect Molly Ringwald in 1986. Should be a great show, dig into a few of their albums this week and see if it is your thing.
1. Buffalo Brewfest @ Buffalo Ironworks (Aug 7)
(Don’t let this be you)
Another beer festival? Sure, why not? Bonus- this one supports the Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center Foundation so you can get hammered and do your good deed for the day at the same time. At the Buffalo Brewfest, expect over 100+ different beers to sample from 10 different breweries both local and from out of town. Should be an awesome event as the people over at Buffalo Ironworks always do a great job. In addition, if you haven’t been down to the greatly-improved-but-still-work-in-progress Cobblestone district this is as good an excuse as any.
Other notable Events: KMFDM @ Ironworks (Aug 6), Mohawk’s Punk & Ska Extravaganza @ Mohawk Place (Aug 7)
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!