Joe Cocker’s spastic stage presence. Jimi Hendrix’s sunrise guitar solos. Bob Dylan’s predictable absence. This was 1969, this was Woodstock, and it’s an event that changed rock 'n' roll forever.
Will the fourth annual Wardstock—set for 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday inside Buffalo’s River Fest Park—leave the same indelible imprint on New York State and, by extension, the world? No.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a First Ward-sized serving of peace, love and music for those willing to take the stroll or cruise over to Ohio Street. Led by the music of Breakaway—the multifaceted Buffalo rockers capable of veering into the same Beatles covers once mastered by Cocker—the night will provide food, fun and a friendly atmosphere for those still free of festival fatigue, as well as Buffalonians looking to gather along the city’s developing Riverfront. Admission is free, and come as you are.
For those looking for a few indoor performances, there are plenty of nearby options. Laid-back beach funk and Irish sirens. Nineties punk and unpredictable, animal-named audible expression. All are booked on Buffalo’s live calendar, and they’re all intermingled inside this weekend’s list of local gigs.
Wakos, 10 p.m. Friday at Dinosaur BBQ (301 Franklin St.)
Buffalo’s Wakos has been around in various forms for more than a decade, with fluctuating entities and instrumental styles falling in line behind founding members Jason Schulz and Kevin Crowley. But now with the May release “City Lights,” the funk-and-jam jostling quintet has an established foundation.
Balanced by Schulz’s bass and driven by Crowley’s laid-back, Teva-appropriate vocals, they’re a perfect match for Western New York’s summer patios. And armed with the album’s beautiful title track or swaying chords of “By My Side,” Wakos is a dynamite attribute to add to the smoked brisket-accented indoor stage at Dino.
Before you go, listen to: “City Lights”
Venue and show info: dinosaurbarbque.com/bbq-buffalo
Johnny Revolting, 8 p.m. Saturday in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.)
Do you miss the nights you used to spend in VFW halls or cavorting around the open space of Showplace Theatre as the night’s bill echoed sets of songs influenced by the Descendants, Screeching Weasel and the Bouncing Souls? Well, good news: Buffalo’s Johnny Revolting is still keeping the power-chord splendor of the '90s alive with the same snotty, Lookout Records-style punk that’s made them an all-ages club and barroom favorite since releasing “Trailer Park Gold” and “Barely Legal” at the end of the glorious '90s.
On Saturday, the band will add to the final days of Infringement by manning Mohawk’s Punk Rock revue with the likes of Poindexter and Look, A Fang.
Before you go, listen to: “CYO Dropout”
Venue and show info: buffalosmohawkplace.com
Giraffes? Giraffes!, 9 p.m. Aug. 1 at Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.)
First thing’s first: the free-form sonic carnival that are the offerings of Joe Andreoli and Ken Topham aren’t for everyone. Their compositions meander into far-off corners you may or may not want your ears to occupy, and it’s possible your patience may wane during any number of their open-ended jams.
But the mere fact that the Massachusetts-born, California-matured duo has one song entitled “When Catholic Girls Go Camping, the Nicotine Vampires Rule Supreme” and another two-part track called “Werewolf Grandma with Knives” should at least pique your interest, if only for a few Cobblestone-set cans of beer amid the unpredictable chaos.
Before you go, listen to: “Scorpion Bowls at the Hong Kong”
Venue and show info: buffaloironworks.com
Frances Black, 2 p.m. Aug. 2 at Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.)
For some, the angelic appearance of Irish vocalists and musicians so far away from March is an odd occurrence. But with only a few lazy summer Sundays left—and time running out to enjoy some end-of-weekend kickback time along the city’s waterfront—what could be more relaxing than the sound of one of Ireland’s most cherished singers? Those who have listened to Dublin’s Frances Black may answer “nothing,” as the best-selling songstress has wowed both large and intimate crowds with her emotional depth and earnest delivery for decades.
This week’s headliner for Buffalo RiverWorks’ Guinness Celtic Concert Series, she’ll be on hand to either introduce her time-tested arrangements to Buffalonians—or to simply soothe fans floating by the venue on kayaks.
Before you go, listen to: her cover of the Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen A Face”
Venue and show info: buffaloriverworks.com