Come for the tune, stay for the ruin porn.
The British version of the Office only went on for two seasons, plus a special. The American version just ended after nine seasons, long enough to jump the shark. (Tim and Dawn didn’t get together until the very end of the Christmas special – Jim and Pam got married in season 6. David Brent had left Wernham Hogg by time of the special, but he was a part of the show – Michael Scott disappeared after season 7).
But now that both are done, Ricky Gervais, who played Brent and co-created the series, has revived the Brent character through a series of YouTube videos called “Learn Guitar with David Brent“. You don’t really learn how to play guitar, but Brent’s awkward and clueless arrogance comes out loud and clear.
Here’s an appropriate one for today – language NSFW. I find ’em. I find ’em.
Thanks to my former WNYMedia.net colleague Chris Charvella for posting this on Facebook, this Australian trio makes the case that all it takes to make a pop hit is four chords.
I first became aware of Dave Brubeck through a lyric in this Donald Fagen song, which was in reasonably heavy MTV rotation in the early 80s. Travel back to a somewhat cooler time. Brubeck died on Wednesday just one day shy of his 92nd birthday.
Tonight. 7pm. Mohawk Place, 47 East Mohawk Street. (465-2368/themohawkplace.com) $10 advance, $13 day of show
One of the latest of a long line of post-punk indie bands to come out of Brooklyn, Bear Hands is everything fans of the genre have come to expect and love. Dylan Rau’s vocals evoke the likes of MGMT and Vampire Weekend, Val Loper’s bass lines are infectious and contain just a hint of funk influence, and the band as a whole expertly walks the line between indie rock whimsy and punk rock edge expertly (plus, needless to say, the band’s name ranks among the very wittiest echelons of the indie-punk pantheon). Though they’ve only been signed for two years, Bear Hands already have an EP and a full-length release to their credit, and, in the spirit of the genre, show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Currently in the midst of a North American tour, Bear Hands will be gracing the stage at Mohawk Place tonight (July 24). Playing support will be another staple of Brooklyn’s burgeoning indie-punk scene, Fort Lean, among others. -edward a. benoit
Work is over, it’s Friday evening, and the sun is still shining. It seems to be a waste not to have happy hour outside during Buffalo’s summers. Or how does the iconic steps of the History Museum sound, overlooking the Mirror Lake, Delaware Park, and the Japanese Garden?
The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society held its seventh annual Party on the Portico summer happy hour on Friday, the second of a three-series event. The parties are on the back patio of the History Museum, located at 25 Nottingham Court, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The next and last party of the summer is on Friday, August 17 with The Steam Donkeys and The Albrights.
At each Party on the Portico, guests enjoy upbeat live music by local bands, free appetizers, cash bar – wine/beer cost $4 and water/soft drinks cost $1 – and free 15-minute mini-tours of the History Museum. The money goes to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.
The weather was perfect last Friday (July 20) as drinks and conversation flowed on the beautiful patio of the museum. A Potter’s Field and Marvelous Sauce, two local bands, performed and kept the atmosphere high and lively all evening, and even prompted some young guests to dance. “It’s a FUNdraiser, with the emphasis on ‘fun,’” Constance Caldwell, the director of communications and community engagements of the historical society, said. 300 to 600 guests attend each Party on the Portico, according to Caldwell. She said that the fundraiser is a way to both have fun and look after an important institution.
Melissa Brown, the executive director of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, said that she particularly likes its Party on the Portico event because people of all ages attend – which was quite evident on Friday, where ages ranged from 21 to decades older. “We usually have an older crowd with a lot of our events, it’s nice because it’s a mixed-age thing and sometimes it’s people’s first contact with the organization,” Brown said. “So it’s a nice way to say, ‘Hey, there is more to us than just the history stuff.’ And it’s about really getting involved with the community, too.” -lisa khoury
What do you get mix a piano, a quirky personality, and witty wordplay? Well, you get indie singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. Don’t recognize her name? You’ve heard her music everywhere – from Old Navy advertisements to Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill episodes to So You Think You Can Dance where a mother danced to her song and dedicated it to her children. VH1 named Michaelson as a “You Outta Know” artist and even The New York Times has said she’s “singing her way from obscurity.”
With such catchy lines – like “let’s get rich and buy our parents homes in the South of France; let’s get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance” – you’ll be singing along and bouncing to the piano, ukulele, and acoustic sounds. Her songs often explore love, relationships, and the loss of both, but she remains surprisingly optimistic. Her melodies bridge between haunting and smooth to soulful and poppy – it’s hard to quite pin down what Michaelson is all about.
She’s the daughter of a composer and sculptor; the arts have been in Michaelson’s veins since birth. After receiving a degree in theatre from Binghamton University, she began self-recording and self-releasing her music in 2002 via Myspace. She’s released five albums since, after music producer from Grey’s Anatomy found her Myspace page in 2006. Her most recent release, Human Again, has been out since January.
If you’re in the mood for a refreshing night of music mixed with Michaelson’s impeccable and captivating stage presence, head over to Town Ballroom tonight (July 20). -rebecca bratek
Yes is a band that needs no introduction. Four decades. Twenty-one studio albums. The bass part of “Roundabout.” These are the guys who managed to make 20-minute progressive rock epics radio friendly and invented the fine art of the trippy album cover (well, okay, Roger Dean did that, but still). Yes, the lineup’s changed, again—the current iteration consists of Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, and Jon Davison—but don’t let the lack of Jon Anderson dissuade you. Get up, get down, and see these titans of prog rock when they play close by a river, not in but around a lake at Artpark on Tuesday night (July 17). Accompanying the venerated quintet will be another set of the prog pioneers, Procol Harum, an Essex sextet whose 45 years of reputation precede them. Fans of unusual time signatures and the Hammond organ may never witness an opportunity like this again, and all for what it might’ve cost you to see it in 1969. -edward a. benoit
Tues. 17. Yes w/ Special Guests Procol Harum. 6:30pm Artpark. (754-4375/http://www.artpark.net). $5 before 7/15, $10 afterward.
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