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At precisely five minutes to set time, an official Rascal Flatts countdown clock appeared on two screens at either side of the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center stage. Previously, song requests and pitches for moving up to the front of the stage streamed live and large on the screens. It was social media sharing at its best. The superstar country-western trio Rascal Flat…

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PopSly and the Family Stone, “Higher!” (Epic/Legacy, Four discs). A gorgeous package befitting the puzzling giant of soul in the psychedelic era. The one virtually unanimous choice of everyone actually at the Woodstock Festival as the megastar of the whole event was Sly and the Family Stone. Neither Michael Wadleigh’s movie or the record and disc of what they did there has…

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East Coast punk met West Coast punk at the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls on Friday, as New York diehards Blondie and Los Angeles stalwarts X joined forces before an adoring throng. Both bands represent the new wave avant garde of the late ’70s and ’80s, and both have weathered the ravages of time rather well. On paper, the double bill made perfect sense. Both bands are f…

LOS ANGELES — There’s one second of sound on John Legend’s new album, “Love in the Future,” that sums up his current artistic mission. It’s on the delicate, gloomy track “Asylum,” and the sound is a snare drum. Or rather a blast of raw, percussive white noise that punctuates his future-soul tale of a love “where we both go crazy.”“We were leaning toward progressive, cool s…

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Superstar rapper, hip-hop artist and record producer Jay Z is bringing his “Magna Carter” world tour to town with a concert Jan. 30 at the First Niagara Center.

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The Friends of Vienna are beginning their 2013-14 season Sunday with a surprise – a change of venue, for this concert only. The concert features the popular Castellani-Andriaccio Guitar Duo, and because of the crowd, it will be held not at the Unity Church, the Friends of Vienna’s home base, but in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (1080 Main St.). The two guitarists – husband-…

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Grace Potter knows how to command an arena-sized stage. She’s proven as much several times in the Buffalo area, most recently when Grace Potter and the Nocturnals opened for the Tragically Hip in the Outer Harbor Concert Series, during a show that would end up being cut short by the rain. The band is also a veteran of the Thursday at the Square series – in fact, the Wester…

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Don’t panic, music lovers. Just because summer is ending, you needn’t fear a paucity of concert activity as the leaves begin to fall and you contemplate stowing the patio furniture in the shed and breaking out a sweater or two. Yes, this is Buffalo, where 12 months of concert activity are crammed into roughly 90 days each summer, but things have changed around here over th…

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The classical music scene is readying for a colorful fall.From now until December, Buffalo will be seeing a range of what promise to be memorable events. They start out summery – there’s even one more outdoor free concert – and then ease into deeper territory. They are so varied that people who have been music fans forever are sure to find something new to intrigue them. A…

When you see a double-neck guitar, you immediately see it as a signifier. You don’t see it as an instrument. You see it as a bit of iconography redolent of progressive rock bands of the 1970s, the sort for whom a mere six strings was just plain not going to be enough to tell the whole 20-minute, multisection story.So if you’ve seen a picture of Kristian Dunn, one half of …

PopVan Dyke ParksSongs Cycled[Bella Union]3½ starsEccentric he certainly is. Legendary as well. “Genius” he may well be. But let’s not complicate matters too much. It’s very simple really. Honest.Imagine what might have happened if Randy Newman had decided that his true mission in life was to marry the Midwestern Parisian surrealism of Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein to …

Chief Keef. 7 p.m. Oct. 2, with Chosen 1ss, Koolie High and Jae Skeese. Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. 852-3900. www.townballroom.com. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 day of show and go on sale at noon Friday (box office, www.tickets.com).Soulfly. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9, with Havoc, Seven Faces and Skinbound. Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave. www.waitingroombuffalo.com. Tickets are $20 …

The “No Principals Tour” finds Blondie and X, the leading lights of late-1970s/’80s new wave from opposite coasts, uniting for a show likely to celebrate the virtues of New York City and Los Angeles punk and post-punk.Blondie, featuring Debbie Harry, is the most commercially successful representative of the New York City new wave generation that gave us the Patti Smith gro…

Perhaps a headline from a New York Times article published July 30 caught your eye. “Once Just a Punch Line, Buffalo Fights Back,” ran the bold type above the byline. It was essentially a positive piece, despite the rather condescending headline. (I’ve personally never felt like a punch line living here. In fact, I always thought the joke was on everyone else.)Times writer…