Michael Farrell

Contributor

Buffalo News contributor Michael Farrell is the author of two novels--Running with Buffalo (2007) and When the Lights Go Out (2015)--and has had work featured in several publications, including Buffalo Spree, WNY Craft Beer Magazine and The Boston Herald, where he worked as a reporter from 2004 to 2011. A graduate of St. Bonaventure University (B.A., Journalism) and Pine Manor College (M.F.A., Creative Writing), he enjoys dark beers and corner bars; and owns multiple copies of Bruce Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love."

Although it’s technically accurate, it seems misleading to tab Elmwood Village institution Coles as a college bar. For more than 80 years, the Shatzel family-steered locale has provided both locals and visitors with the best version of Buffalo, whether via food, camaraderie or its Queen City-centric confines. Stained glass accentuates doorways and dining room walls…

Every band that decides to unplug its instruments and deliver earnest, acoustic material is not trying to replicate the jarring stylistic contrasts achieved by acts like Metallica or Nirvana. Sometimes, it’s much more subtle, and just a way for a longtime act to freshen up old songs, dive deeper into its work’s lyrical spirit and deliver each track in a slightly unf…

In the decade since Newmarket, Ont.’s Tokyo Police Club first excited Canadian tastemakers with its frenetic debut EP “A Lesson in Crime,” no one can accuse the band of complacency. Vocalist/bassist Dave Monks, guitarist Josh Hook, drummer Greg Alsop, and keyboardist/vocalist Graham Wright have produced three full-length albums and an armful of live and studio EP…

Being a Buffalo Bills fans these days isn’t a whole lot of fun. We’re now neck-deep in professional sports’ current longest playoff drought (at 17 years); suffer through some of the NFL’s most high-profile disappointments annually through nationally televised highlight reels; and enjoy viral Internet coverage when drunken fans choke-slam each other through tai…

At this point in our ongoing relationship with our northern neighbors, Buffalonians have developed certain expectations of our favorite Canadian musicians. Hail of electric guitars. Clad in denim. Songs that mention literary characters, missing hockey players and girls named Eileen. Does Toronto electro-rock duo USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) consistently satisfy any o…

When a group of friends form a band to simply play college house parties, its goals are simple: One, keep the crowd drinking; and two, keep the guests dancing. Since its first shuffling gigs more than 25 years ago, that’s exactly what Washington, D.C.’s Pietasters has done. Molded from the two-tone bounce of ska and fueled by the fervor of mid-'90s punk, the band ha…

Take a drive through the streets of South Buffalo and you’ll find plenty of gruff neighborhood taverns to call home for a season’s worth of Sabres action. Pick an address and you can gather at time-worn rickety tables to inhale plates full of wings; douse each order’s Frank's-aided flames with specially priced pitchers of Labatt; and, in the event that Robin Lehn…

After the unrepentant dumpster fire that has been 2016, there’s a decent chance you might want to float into your next calendar flip on a reassuringly fluffy cloud of hooks and grooves. Or beats. Lots and lots of pulsating beats. Enter the forthcoming domain of Ithaca’s Jimkata, who’ll give electro-pop revelers a soothing ride into New Year’s Day when it hea…

Since first delighting a gluttonous and insatiable populace, Buffalo’s chicken wings have been nothing if not complementary for any and all televised sports action. Sloppy, flaming and filling, they’re perfect to pass during day-long viewings of the NCAA Basketball tourney, snack on during the Stanley Cup playoffs or inhale throughout halftime of the Super Bowl. But…

If the music of Rusted Root has any transformative powers, one may be to turn any environment into its own whirling outdoor music festival. Its sound swaps out suit-appropriate tie shoes into Birkenstocks. Its rhythms can convert business casual professionals into twirling, tie-dyed dervishes; and its runaway percussion can transport a usually confined persona toward a …

Back in August of 2015, former Elmwood Avenue favorite Papa Jake’s unexpectedly closed its doors, leaving behind a loyal sports fan following who liked to team craft drafts, mussels and clams with its Sabres action. Thankfully, owner Scott Leary has orchestrated the locale’s spiritual resurrection with The Jake Tavern & Grill, now more than a year old and loc…

When Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper were rolling across the Midwest by frozen bus in the early days rock 'n’ roll, cramming abbreviated performances into one holiday showcase was not only the norm. It was expected. Play the hits, shimmy for the crowd and then get off the stage. No deep cuts; no still-under-construction studio noodlings. Just the songs …

Question: If someone asked you to list required elements of a Buffalo sports bar, what items would make the cut? A Jim Kelly or Gilbert Perreault jersey mounted in the barroom? Buckets of Molson Canadian bottles strewn across creaky pub tables covered in Frank’s, blue cheese and tears? A mustached guy wearing a vintage Bills leather jacket and Zubaz, sucking down Crow…

When you think of holiday music, maybe you don’t think Generation X guitars, singles titled “Cemetery” and reunited rockers reawakening the spirit of the 90s. But the calendar says it’s the Christmas season—and here come Canada’s haunting Headstones, marching its brand of black-draped alt-rock heroism into Niagara Falls’ Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St.) at…

When country music icon Merle Haggard died on his 79th birthday last April, scores of musicians performing under his now-homogeneous genre's banner expressed reverence for his influence and remorse for his passing. Unfortunately, few (if any) of these clichéd pop country players can claim any original material that audibly bears the honest, rough-hewn influence of Hagga…