Over the past week, Buffalo’s favorite Gothic revival-style church-turned-world class concert venue, Asbury Hall at Babeville, delivered two of the city’s most anticipated shows in recent memory.
Last Friday, the locale hosted alt rock virtuosos Modest Mouse for an unforgettable two-hour set. And on Tuesday night, its stage welcomed multi-instrumental hipster angels Neutral Milk Hotel, touring for the last time before transitioning into mustache-wax-accented folklore. So with this impressive twofer in the rearview, what could the Ani DiFranco-steered address possibly do this weekend as an encore? Two words: frag fest.
Yes, following live tracks about lampshades, Jesus Christ and carrot flowers will be the first annual Queen City Frag Fest, scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. April 26 in Asbury Hall and due to give home aquarium enthusiasts the chance to buy, sell and swap coral frags, fish tank equipment and other associated items with local vendors and hobbyists. If you do have an interest in accenting your freshwater-submerged castle within the same environment that’s hosted such artists as Andrew Bird, Nick Lowe and St. Vincent, then Sunday’s Aquarium Professionals of Western New York-hosted event is for you.
But if you’d rather eschew the goldfish trading for the type of performance gold that typically finds venues like Asbury or its downstairs 9th Ward, you’re in luck. Massachusetts-made guitar heroes with hometown ties. Upstart blues barons with their first headlining gig. British ska heroes still keeping the Beat, and a bearded trio much bigger than its headcount. They’re all swimming through the Nickel City this weekend, and they’re all part of the Farrell Four.
The Sheila Divine, 9:30 p.m. April 24 and 25 in Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.)
Formed in Boston in 1997 but led by Hamburg-born Aaron Perrino, the post-punk outfit that rose to notice on the back of such Western New York-influenced tracks as “Automatic Buffalo” reemerged last year – and played such local summer events as Edgefest – after a decade-long hiatus. Now with a new album currently under construction and due out this year, the band who cut their teeth in legendary Cambridge rock holes like the Middle East are returning to Perrino’s birthplace for a two-night stay at Sportsmen’s Tavern with special guests, Boston’s Hallelujah The Hills. Joined by bassist Jim Gilbert, drummer Ryan Dolan and guitarist Brian Charles, Perrino will surely deal out evocative favorites from the band’s 1999 breakthough “New Parade,” as well as tracks from their forthcoming release—and plenty of on-stage moments that both Buffalonians and Bostonians can harmoniously enjoy.
Before you go, listen to: “Hum.”
Venue and show info: sportsmensbuffalo.com
The Crooked Books, 9 p.m. April 25 in Mr. Goodbar (1110 Elmwood Ave.)
Unless you’re the type who follows the ebb and flow of the Buffalo music scene like the stock market, you probably haven’t heard of the Crooked Books – yet. Led by familiar singer Evan Thompson and guitarist Josh Gartley (both of Buffalo Folk Heroes and Second Trip), the band has been developing its high-energy blues and classic rock riffs since forming last November, and has played only a handful of gigs with its full lineup, including bassist Dan Kunkel, drummer Nikki Carlough and vocalist/keyboardist Tara Clack. So what does that mean for Saturday’s gig at Goodbar? It means if you attend the show, you can arrive at the ground floor of the quintet’s eventual ascent, much like those seasoned rockers who wax nostalgic about seeing the once-gritty Goos in the Continental. Bragging rights like this are priceless.
Before you go, listen to: Evan Thompson’s “Clover and Vines” (with Buffalo Folk Heroes).
Venue and show info: mrgoodbarbuffalo.com.
The English Beat, 8 p.m. April 25 in Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.)
In select critical and fan-occupied circles, singer, songwriter and guitarist Dave Wakeling has been referred to as the King of Ska. That’s high praise for the English Beat (and General Public) leader whose Two-Tone UK contemporaries included such genre luminaries as the Specials and Madness. But sometimes, the spoils go to the last man standing. Wakeling and his Beat – who first formed in Birmingham, England 1979 and reunited in 2003 – are certainly standing, still touring internationally and delivering ‘80s hits like “Save It For Later” and the sax-infused “Mirror In The Bathroom” for skanking armies everywhere. On Saturday, they’ll make their second appearance inside Iron Works, dragging all that is Wakeling and the Beat in tow for a night of Cobblestone-located craziness.
Before you go, listen to: their version of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Tears Of A Clown.”
Venue and show info: buffaloironworks.com
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, 7 p.m. April 25 in Waiting Room (334 Delaware Ave.)
When a band places the words “big damn band” in its musical moniker, it sets some cacophonic expectations for listeners. But when that same band can turn any gathering into a moonshine-soaked swamp stomp with only three musicians – and a singer who sounds like an amalgamation of Les Claypool and Charlie Daniels – the word “big” is understood to signify the sound of Reverend Peyton and Co. The southern Indiana trio has made their name with past albums like “Between The Ditches” and this year’s “So Delicious” by serving up a steady diet of Americana, Delta blues and stoop-step hillbilly, with servings meaty enough for urban hipsters and backwoods boozers alike. Anyone interested in a taste should look no further than the wild “Front Porch Trained,” which not only features Peyton’s signature vocals and frenetic fretwork, but also a Big Damn Band pace capable of turning any city music hall into a sweaty, country-blues jamboree.
Before you go, listen to: “Something For Nothing.”
Venue and show info: waitingroombuffalo.com.