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."

By any scientific, straw or sidewalk poll, Duke University men's basketball is annually rated as one of the most disliked entities in college sports. So it could rankle plenty of hoops fans to watch any NCAA Tournament action inside Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill, a downtown Buffalo ballgame bastion that prominently displays a framed Christian Laettner Duke jersey in…

Marc Berger has come a long way since spending his early music days inside internationally renowned rock venues like New York City's Knitting Factory and CBGB’s. Whether appearing at Austin’s South by Southwest music festival, opening for Bob Dylan or appealing to the ear of Woodstock icon Richie Havens, he’s made the rounds. But with his latest album, “Ride,…

When it comes to a band’s musical identity, are bouts of artistic meandering a considerable asset or detriment? Depends on how masterful the act in question can navigate its shapeshifting—and how willing its fans are to go along for the ride. In the case of Seattle’s Minus the Bear, it’s ran the gamut of scattershot guitars and exclamation-laden tracks (see: …

In the landmark 1964 court case, Jacobellis v. Ohio, U.S. Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart famously identified obscenity by uttering the since repeated line, “I know it when I see it.” The same is becoming clear in the murky world of country music. But instead of calling on just their sight, listeners are depending on their ears to separate a conveyor belt full …

In these salad days of ambitious brewers and craft beer bars blooming across Buffalo, it’s easy to take a comparatively elder statesman like Pearl Street Grill and Brewery for granted. [PHOTO GALLERY: Pearl Street Grill and Brewery] The brick- and timber-lined locale has been a stable watering hole for Sabres fans since taking over the former Garcia’s Irish Pub s…

Some music fans may see no correlation between the finest traditional Irish music and indie-rock quintet Local Natives. Whether genre, imagery or the ability to reduce a barroom full of Guinness guzzlers into a sobbing mess, the connection is not immediately evident. But in the sound of the Southern California act — due to play at 8 p.m. March 17 inside Town Ballroom …

The survival of ethnic traditions can face its fair share of struggles, resistance and intermittent stumbles. In the case of South Buffalo quintet Crikwater, adherence to its role as Nickel City saviors of traditional Irish music has encountered these and other inconveniences. Including surgical staples. To the head. Before the band's March 5 show at the Buffalo I…

The last time Buffalo hosted NCAA Tournament action, a lot about the city was different. KeyBank Center was First Niagara Center. HarborCenter was still rising; and Canalside’s ice rink and interpretive waterways had yet to be finished. Then there was the locally brewed beer selection. Sure, upstart breweries had joined cherished veterans like Flying Bison to ignit…

There’s only so much an aspiring musician can create when sequestered with the spinning, secondhand influence of their artistic heroes. Eventually, experience, struggle and invention intervene to produce something entirely personal and, at times, original. In the case of South Buffalo native Grace Stumberg, this metamorphosis happened while in the literal shadow of on…

Ten years ago, most people familiar with J.P. Fitzgerald’s Pub and Restaurant wouldn’t have immediately tabbed the beloved Village of Hamburg haunt as a sports bar. A place that regularly featured sports on its televisions? Sure — but any game projected in its bar or narrow dining area usually served as mere set decoration behind nights of competitive dart battles…

Over its more than 60 years of existence, the familial lineup of the legendary Isley Brothers can claim imprint on an impressive array of musical endeavors. The R&B group’s “Twist and Shout” helped launch The Beatles across the Atlantic. The band once hired a backing guitarist named Jimi Hendrix; have had hits successfully sampled by hip-hop icons like Notorio…

Sometimes, a band’s style of music doesn’t mesh with its host surroundings. Singer-songwriters often sound best against a muted backdrop, and a heavy metal act couldn’t be contained in a jazz club. As for Dallas, Texas rock outfit Thieves of Sunrise, it will find no such environmental conflict when the unleash their wailing southern rock ricocheting against the ru…

Parliament-Funkadelic icon George Clinton is now 75 years old. He boasts such accolades as membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; steering boogie classics like “Flashlight” and “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Rook Off the Sucker)”; and leading a kaleidoscopic collective whose conceptual style strived to look like, according to Clinton, “pimps from outer spac…

In 1964, the incomparable Nina Simone performed before a sold-out Kleinhans Music Hall amid a harrowing time of political and social unrest. More than five decades later, the High Priestess of Soul’s civil rights-fueled compositions still reverberate with listeners now navigating their own servings of present-day tumult and suppression. That’s one reason that Buffa…

For those of a certain age and classic rock-steered predilection, introduction to Windsor, Ont.’s Tea Party via opening single “The River” off 1993’s “Splendor Solis” was a memorable revelation. The guitar and bass sounded like Black Sabbath. The drums sounded like Led Zeppelin. And the voice of lead guitarist/vocalist Jeff Martin? A haunting reincarnation …