Greece is not short on notable figures claiming the country’s ethnicity. Plato. Socrates. Pete Sampras. They’re all formidable gentlemen, albeit with one boasting more Wimbledon titles (seven) than the others.
And these are just three names to celebrate at Buffalo’s 37th annual Greek Fest, due to kick off at 11 a.m. Friday outside Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (146 W. Utica St.). The weekend-long party will include authentic Greek cuisine, gifts and artists, as well as continuous live music from Grecian Strings Band and Toronto’s The Athenians inside the event’s food and bar tents. Add festival dancing styles that number in the thousands and you’ve got a blowout fit for Jesse Katsopolis and his Rippers.
But what if you don’t celebrate Greek lineage? What if you dislike baklava, rather your yogurt served runny and think Olympia Dukakis’s Oscar-winning performance in “Moonstruck” was overrated? Maybe the fun of Greek Fest isn’t for you and, instead, you’d rather choose between live Minstrels, Iron Works country, emo chords, and the sounds of Sega. All are options on Buffalo’s live performance calendar, and they’re all on the weekend’s list of recommended gigs.
The Skiffle Minstrels at Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.), 5:30 p.m. June 5
Starting the weekend with Buffalo’s favorite Western Swing specialists at Sportsmen’s isn’t anything new. The quintet plays the Black Rock favorite on the first Friday of every month, filling Dwane Hall’s bandbox with just the right mix of Hank Williams covers and originals from past albums “Homespun” and the Hall-produced “All God’s Children Gotta Dance.” But this Friday, the Paul Todaro-led amalgam of blues, country, folk, and jazz will celebrate their third album, “Happy Hour,” with a New Orleans-flavored release party ideal for their host venue—and perfect for those looking to dance away their work week.
Before you go, listen to: “Louisiana, Texas” or watch the 2012 YouTube clip below:
Venue and show info at sportsmenstavern.com
Head North at Studio @ Waiting Room (334 Delaware Ave.), 6 p.m. June 5
Over the past two years, the Buffalo-bred quartet of Brent Martone (guitar/vocals), Alex Matos (bass/vocals), Ryan Harris (guitar), and Ben Leiber (drums) have gone from DIY upstarts hawking their debut EP, “Scrapbook Minds” to a multi-textured emo force with a second EP in hand. Now signed to Philadelphia’s Bad Timing Records, the foursome unleashed the six-song “Bloodlines” in March.
Polished, passionate and pulsating, the release announces an act led by the pained and, at times, stripped vocals of Martone, as well as another Queen City contingent intent on making its name known nationally. Stop upstairs at Delaware’s Studio and see why it may happen.
Before you go, listen to: “The Planet”
Venue and show information at waitingroombuffalo.com
Will Hoge at Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.), 9 p.m. June 5
At first listen, the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter can be easily assigned a place under the mainstream country banner. He’s written material for genre titans Lady Antebellum; boasts plenty of songs about drinking, small towns and trucks; and features his biggest hit to date, “Strong” (off this year’s “Never Give in”) in popular Chevy commercials.
But strip away the stereotypes and dig a little deeper into his material and you’ll find it lyrically reminiscent of the life lessons evident in “The River”-era Bruce Springsteen. And since Hoge uses a Bruce-ish Fender when going electric through his traditionally high-octane live shows, this similarity may not be a coincidence. Judge for yourself this Friday night when he visits Buffalo’s Cobblestone District.
Before you go, listen to: “Guitar Or A Gun”
Venue and show information at buffaloironworks.com
Armcannon at Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.), 6 p.m. June 6
If you’re operating a venue that hosts Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh architect Lou Barlow on a Thursday, how do you top or match this booking throughout the following weekend? You don’t. Mohawk Place officials know this, and their staff presumably understands this. So when you can’t up the ante, why not book a band that specializes in doling out reworked versions of video game theme songs?
Enter the chaotic cacophony of Armcannon, five teenage gamers who share a love of the music associated with such cartridges as “The Legend of Zelda” and “Contra,” have taken it to the studio and, in the case of “Zelda,” doused it in an 11-minute, Nintendo-fueled hellfire of guitars, keys and percussion. Is this better than the live snare march of Sebadoh’s “Flame”? No, but it could possibly take your gaming fandom to unforeseen levels on Saturday.
Before you go, listen to: “Tecmo Super Bowl”
Venue and show information at buffalosmohawkplace.com