Michael Farrell
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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."

It's understandable if music fans hear the name Sheila E. and immediately think of another iconic artist: Prince. The two collaborated myriad times, whether on the Prince single "Erotic City" or Sheila's 1984 breakthrough album, "The Glamorous Life." They created together, toured together and, at one time, were engaged to be married. But for the performer born Sheila…

"There's no good new music anymore." Accepted as fact by too many who have aged beyond their favorite bands' heyday, this sentiment is regularly met with conciliatory nods — even though countless young musicians are creating inventive work inspired by these dissenters’ heroes and favored genres. Validation of this contradiction could be found Saturday at Alternat…

There are golden-age MTV acts that haven’t aged well. Whether because of keytar solos, Aqua Net blowouts or the glamorous excess of the times, some of the music and images haven’t translated to a new generation facing increasing complexities. And then there are others whose mobilizing anthems and instrumentation – born at a time of intense political polarizatio…

Ready, set – festival. Buffalo’s season of all-day outdoor music extravaganzas has arrived. And though not technically summer yet (which starts this year on June 21) , the live performance party starts at 1:30 p.m. June 17 with 107.7 Alternative Buffalo’s Kerfuffle within the cobblestone-laden confines of Canalside. Now in its fourth year, the sweaty, synth-ac…

Roadside taverns routinely experience changes in name, décor and clientele. But if the locale’s central focus remains the same, the impact of the changes can be minimal. Take Lackawanna’s Press Box. The longtime Abbott Road address was the dank neighborhood mainstay Woody’s before transitioning into its comparatively pristine iteration three years ago. The barroo…

It’s easy (and often enjoyable) for seasoned audiophiles to dismiss the modern wave of synth-addled, remixed indie pop as nothing more than extravagant servings of technological glitter and Mac-aided deception. A prime candidate for this set’s selective ire: Auckland, New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous. Resplendent with the cavalcade of percussive pops and buzzes …

Every Buffalo suburb has its dependable neighborhood bar. The one that’s been the understood rally point before texting was possible. The one that’s served generations of families, classmates and softball teams. The one that’s hosted cherished Bills and Sabres highlights and, dependent on the night, could double as the backdrop for Springsteen’s “Glory Days” vi…

“Good things come to those who wait” is a phrase to validate the importance of patience. And if any young band exemplifies this virtue over the past year, its Buffalo’s own Head North. Last summer, the indie-pop quartet of Brent Martone (vocals/guitar), Alex Matos (bass), Ryan Harris (guitar), and Ben Lieber (drums) had planned to release its mouthful of a full-le…

On Oct. 25, 1986, North Buffalo tavern owner Tom Murray fired his bartender. For laughing. This dismissal may sound unreasonable, but understand the following: Murray is a devout Boston Red Sox fan. The bartender in question was a New York Yankees fan. And the reason for the laughing? It was Game 6 of the World Series, and Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner had just let…

Some young bands can make an impactful first impression. And then there’s Colorado indie outfit, Slow Caves. According to The Denver Post, the Jakob and Oliver Mueller-orchestrated act was so amped during its first appearance at Fort Collins-based Spokesbuzz’s annual Underground Music Showcase in 2015 that its bounce broke the venue’s plywood stage. Shoddy const…

Any band in any genre cannot expect to be all things to all fans. But if an alt-country outfit can seamlessly toggle between chicken-wired rockers, whiskey-drenched weepers and an entire album that elicits poignant echoes of Chris Isaak, that band is certainly trying to do just that. Does Boston’s Girls, Guns & Glory pull it off? Those who have surveyed its catalo…

The Struts have all the makings of a big-time rock 'n’ roll band. Its frontman has the voice of Freddie Mercury and the moves of Mick Jagger. Its arena-accommodating singles are overstuffed with addictive choruses and hooks; and its on- and off-stage image seems inspired by a mix of Mötley Crüe and multiple readings of Stephen Davis’s “Hammer of the Gods.” …

Before opening last year’s “Live at St. Pancras Old Church” album with a sublime take on 2008 single “You’ll Only End Up Joining Them,” notably prolific singer/songwriter Kevin Devine clarifies the volume of his work for those who may have just discovered it. “I have a lot of records,” he said. “I’m only 35, but I have, like, a 70-year-old’s amount…

When the sprawling and spectacular RiverWorks first opened its doors on the Kelly Island banks of the Buffalo River more than two years ago, the question most asked about the entertainment complex was how to get there. Thousands of visitors and hundreds of eclectic sports events within its 5,000-capacity expanse later, the main inquiry is no longer how to find it. It’…

If you closed your eyes to envision a popularized image of punk rock, you likely wouldn’t conjure up an image of bassist Mike Watt. The former flannel-clad Minutemen architect has never rocked florescent liberty spikes or a Ramones-issued leather jacket to fit some genre caricature. But his career, message and live mayhem are genuine articles of the art’s ethos—an…