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Four shows: Big Leg Emma kicks off the weekend

Colliding with power chords inside Moose Lodge 992. Crowded around craft beers and blues riffs at Armor Inn. Crammed inside the Erie County Fairgrounds’ Agri-Center—and waiting for the Ramones. (Yes; this actually happened.)

Hamburg residents have a history of getting their music in a variety of locations and doses, but with Saturday’s Hamburg Music Festival— starting at 2 p.m. and spread across 25 locations—the only serving size is steady. With a $10 wristband, visitors can enjoy bands like Fountainhead, the Gutter Prophets and the Ifs will fill indoor and outdoor stages at venues like J.P. Fitzgerald’s and Mammoser’s throughout the day and night, while longtime local favorites Alison Pipitone and Ron Hawkins will bring their bands to the Village’s Memorial Park for the season’s first serving of outdoor tunes.

Team these audible options with the draft beer and food truck-served meals now required at any local affair and you’ve got an all-day dance party, courtesy of the Town The Friendship Built.

But if taking a scenic cruise into the Southtowns for 12 hours of local music doesn’t interest you, there are other city-set options to scratch your itch for amplification. Jamestown jam artists, a coffeehouse-hosted solo set and two sonically opposed sides of Toronto. They’re all in town for the taking, and they’re all part of this weekend’s live line-up.

Big Leg Emma, 9 p.m. May 15 in Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.)

When a band shares its name with a Frank Zappa tune, you can count on its members to be full of surprises. But in contrast to their mustached, Muppet-inspiring counterpart Zappa, most of the Jamestown collective’s variety come from their instrumental and vocal shifts between offerings of folk, bluegrass and country.

Songs fronted by mandolinist Charity Nuse can add some sass to Widespread Panic-styled selections like “Rain’s Gonna Fall”; fiddle-laden tracks taken by guitarist Steve Johnson like “Prophecy” can pick up the pace; or the two can tandem on sweet, earthy prances like “Sing To Me.” No matter the direction, the festival mates of such jam favorites as Gov’t Mule and Rat Dog will certainly entertain those heading to Iron Works Cobblestone confines to start their weekend.

Before you go, listen to: “Sing To Me”

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Venue and show info:


Dee Adams, 7 p.m. May 15 at Daily Planet (1862 Hertel Ave.).

Songs off Dee Adam’s 2013 album “Mile Marker” sound like they need to be performed in either a chicken-wired roadside tavern or on a beachfront patio, one that could accommodate the band, patron-hoisted Coronas and lakefront sun as its backdrop. It’s a contrasting range, but one the award-winning Buffalo-based singer/songwriter’s material seems both instrumentally and lyrically suited to accommodate.

So with this suggested, how will her echoes of Brandi Carlisle and Lucinda Williams on tracks like “Can’t Put Me Down” and “I’ve Drive For Miles” play within the more tranquil (albeit caffeinated) environs of Buffalo’s finest Superman-inspired coffeehouse? Haul yourself up to Hertel and spend your Friday night finding out for yourself.

Before you go, listen to: “Coming In For A Landing”

Venue and show info:


Cancer Bats, 6 p.m. May 15 at Studio @ Waiting Room (334 Delaware Ave.)

If you’re looking for the absolute antithesis of tunes with a Chai tea and, instead, would rather immerse yourself in sweaty Black Sabbath riffs, thunderstruck percussion and kerosene-fueled caterwauls of Canadian angst, ditch the coffee run and crawl up Waiting Room’s stairs to its Studio on Friday. Toronto’s Cancer Bats are as ferocious as you’d expect a band named after diseased, flying rodents to be.

Longtime bandmates Scott Middleton (guitar) and Liam Cormier (vocals)—who first teamed up as part of metal-geared At the Mercy of Inspiration before forming the Bats in 2005—are joined by bassist Andrew McCracken and drummer Joel Bath to deliver the audio equivalent of a flaming, M-80-filled tractor trailer being dropped off the CN Tower. Now touring with Fender-thrusted wailers off this year’s “Searching For Zero,” the hardcore vets will offer the weekend’s angriest set when they plug in with local opener Tugboat.

Before you go, listen to: “Satellites”

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Venue and show info:


 Great Lake Swimmers, 7 p.m. May 16 at Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.).

And on the sonically opposite side of Toronto are the Great Lake Swimmers, who’ve dealt a brand of rural acoustic around the poignant vocals of frontman Tony Dekker over six albums. The Canadian quintet earned stateside notice on college and alt-rock radio in the late-aughts with singles “Pulling On A Line” and the ethereal, banjo-accented “Your Rocky Spine.”

The band’s latest—April’s “A Forest of Arms”—features the type of emotive, string-led forays found down the Spotify page of genre mates (and recent Tralf visitors) Horse Feathers, but veers into sunnier instrumental territory with stand-out tracks like “Zero In The City” and the uplifting “Shaking All Over,” aided by sparse electric riffs by Eric Arnesen and Celtic fiddle intervention by Miranda Mulholland. They’ll join for these tracks and more when they appear in Buffalo’s Theater District on Saturday night.

Before you go, listen to: “Shaking All Over”

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Venue and show info:

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