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It's time to party like it's 1998, as First Night Buffalo will once again ring in the new year. Among the musical performers this year are John and Mary of 10,000 Maniacs; Tom Stahl; David Kane's Them Jazzbeards, and the Steam Donkeys. Check Gusto listings for bands playing at various sites downtown. First Night festivities begin Wednesday at 7 p.m. and conclude with the ball drop and fireworks at midnight.

1. Moxy Fruvous: Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Hard Rock Cafe, Niagara Falls. Alternative band from Canada throws a rocking New Year's Eve party.

2. Mike Oliver and Go Dog Go, the Pine Dogs: Saturday at 11 p.m. in Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St. Oliver and his band create alternative pop sounds, with help from the Pine Dogs.

3. Hula: Tonight at 11 in Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. Hula plays its intense brand of original rock, appearing on the bill with Terry Sullivan's band, Dollywatchers.

4. David Kane's Them Jazzbeards: Tonight at 10 in Roxy's, 884 Main St. Kane's band creates some cool cocktail jazz.

5. Oui 73, Girlpope: Wednesday at 10 p.m. in Mr. Goodbar, 1110 Elmwood Ave. Oui 73, Girlpope and four other bands rock the old year out in style.

Pearl Jam's new album will be no surprise to its fans. The CD is called "Yield," and much to the band's dismay, all the songs have been played on the Internet. A Syracuse radio station, WKRL, reportedly played the entire album on the air without consent. It was recorded and posted on an Internet Web site. Epic Records plans to release the Pearl Jam CD on Feb. 3.

There just seems no way to keep Prince Charles and his sons, William and Harry, away from the Spice Girls. Chuck and the kids turned up at the Girls' movie premiere of "Spiceworld," in England. "Charles is our new manager," joked Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm. . . . The Psychotramps rock out Wednesday at 11 p.m. in the Continental, 212 Franklin St. . . . The Bee Gees are scheduled to do a New Year's Eve pay-per-view performance from Las Vegas. . . . Comics Rocky LaPorte and Jill Turnbow team up for two shows starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Funny Bone in the Boulevard Mall. . . . Alison Pipitone is featured at the Songwriter's Showcase, 8 p.m. Monday at Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St. On Sunday in the club, the yearly reunion of the Thirds will take place at 9 p.m.. . . Top 10, Dec. 26, 1993: "Whomp (There It Is)" by Tag Team.

Michael Civisca has done it again. The local crooner's Christmas album, featuring himself and local acts, has shipped nearly 12,000 copies. Civisca's first album of pop standards sold nearly as many copies, making his albums two of the biggest records in local history. . . . Gamalon holds a CD release party in its jazz-influenced style, Saturday at 9 p.m. in the Tralf, 100 Theater Place. . . . Alternative pioneer band Bow Wow Wow has re-formed and is back on tour. . . . Don Vincent, formerly of the Pine Dogs, performs with his current band, Ashford Junction, Saturday at 10 p.m. in the Springville Hotel, 53 W. Main St. Proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity. . . . The Vinnie Barbarino Experience plays polyester rock Wednesday at 11 p.m. in Nietzsche's. . . . Scene quiz: Who said:,"I'd rather be a queen than a princess"? Was it RuPaul, Marilyn Manson or Aretha Franklin? Answer: the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. . . . Doombuggy and Randall play original rock Saturday at 10 p.m. in the Star Bar, 414 Pearl St. . . . Top 10, Dec. 26, 1980: "Lady" by Kenny Rogers.

Danny Lynn Wilson plays the blues tonight at 10 in the Lafayette Tap Room, 391 Washington St. Animal Planet performs there Saturday at 10; Billy McEwen headlines Wednesday's Tap Room show. . . . Looks like Jerry Lee Lewis won't get a street named after him in Hernando, Miss. Some fans and the Killer himself wanted to name a thoroughfare for the wild piano rocker. Town supervisors, who said they had received calls from local residents who didn't want to live on Lewis Avenue, killed the plan. . . . Mike Oliver says his band, Go Dog Go, will play the Bitter End in New York City and national record executives may offer a deal. . . . The Brother Project performs original music Saturday at Broadway Joe's, 3051 Main St. . . . Top 10, Dec. 26, 1969: "Leaving on a Jet Plane," by Peter, Paul and Mary. . . . This week's words to live by, courtesy George Harrison: "Ring out the old/Ring in the new."

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