Mark Freeland; Move the Pole benefit; a CD release for Grace Lougen - The Buffalo News
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Mark Freeland; Move the Pole benefit; a CD release for Grace Lougen

It’s fitting that the seventh iteration of “Electrorespect: A Tribute to Mark Freeland” comes one week after the second annual Continental Reunion, and one day after Ani DiFranco performs a homecoming gig in Babeville. Freeland was the unofficial Mayor of the Continental. And he loved DiFranco.

It is a cliché to suggest that someone who has died is still here among us, that they never really left, that we can still converse with them or seek their guidance. But it’s a cliché for a reason. Sometimes, when someone has lived a life that made a significant mark on all of those they came into regular contact with, it can indeed seem that their body has gone, but everything else is still here. Such is the case with Freeland. He died in 2007, after battling throat cancer for several years. And yet, when you look at Buffalo’s arts culture, you would think the man never left.

A musician, painter, purveyor of confrontational art, friend, mentor and agitator of the status quo, Freeland spent decades creating a body of work that included his body. The first time I encountered him, he walked into a club wearing some sort of headdress, with feathers poking wildly from atop a crazy coiffure. It was impossible not to look at him, and that’s how he liked it.

Freeland was Buffalo’s art-punk, but he never pledged full allegiance to any single musical genre, having worked in the prog-rock realm with Pegasus, crated nascent electro-pop and hip-hop on his own, and provided angular, avant-garde guitar sculptures atop the computer-generated techno of Amungus.

Freeland’s legacy is one of endless curiosity about art and its possibilities. It’s a legacy that deserves to be celebrated, and often. At 9 p.m. Saturday in Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.) , you’ll be able to help a host of Freeland-inspired artists celebrate the man’s life and work, among them Ed Koban, Funk Monster & Woman, David Kane, John Toohill, Disobedient Quartet, Jeff Repeater, Aversa Army, Lemonade, the Gum Wads, Moonpowder and Lesionread. The $5 admission at the door will benefit the annual Buffalo Infringement Festival.

Move the pole!

Sightlines are everything. A concert experience can be greatly affected by your ability to see and hear the action on the stage, or otherwise. The Forvm in the Maple Entertainment Complex (4224 Maple Road, Amherst) is a great venue, but there is one small problem – there’s a pole in front of the stage. Not a deal-breaker, necessarily – I’ve been to several multi-act bills featuring young musicians at the club, and thoroughly enjoyed myself – but an annoyance, nonetheless.

Greg Burt, of For the Music Productions, has been booking bills filled with young bands, troupes of musicians of high school (and just beyond) age, in the Forvm for more than a year. He’s also acted as soundman at these shows, and his enthusiasm for the gig has been palpable whenever I’ve encountered him.

Burt has hatched a plan to relocate the pole in front of the stage, and he’s assembled some 50 acts to aid him in his quest.

The “Move the Pole Fest” takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. A $10 admission fee will go toward chipping away at the $10,000 it will reportedly take to get the pole moved. Space does not permit a full listing of all 50 bands, but among them are the Hypnoitc Jerks, the Last Sentry, the Nigh, Scholar, Den of Lions, Darling Harbor, Ironsoul, Tea with a Giant, the Andrew Hambridge Band and Magdalen. Advance tickets are available through

Amazing Grace

Grace Lougen, area blues/rock performer and erstwhile guitarist with the Grace Stumberg Band and the Black & Blues Band, will celebrate the release of her debut solo effort, “The Grace Blues Project,” in concert at 7 tonight in the Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.). The show will feature Lougen and her band, with the Love Parade and Will McFarlane.

For the album, which will be available at the Sportsmen’s tonight, Lougen was joined by her band – Caleb Saathoff, Ben Saathoff, Alimamy Bader and Linnea Crimean – plus guest musicians Jerry Livingston, Carl Johnson, Howard Fleetwood Wilson II, Tony Rhodes, Michael Petrino, Will McFarlane, and vocalists Grace Stumberg, Savannah King, Bethany Durene Fonda and Emmi James.

Admission at the door will be $10. Learn more about Lougen through


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