Music fans mingling aside parked cars. Summer couples dancing in the street. Notes of live performance echoing across a corner of Western New York. Yes, the Rolling Stones will be rocking the Ralph on Saturday, but they’re not the only slick action in town.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for Buffalo’s 46th annual Grease Pole Festival.
The three-day Hispanic affair outside Swan Street’s Agustin “Pucho” Olivencia Community Center is not only one of the city’s longest-running ethnic bonanzas. It’s also the only festival that provides food, family fun and live music—including the likes of Latin jazz outfit Grupo Sol Y Sombra and salsa singer Rey De La Paz—as a lead-in to Sunday’s Grease Pole competition, featuring teams of men and women trying to shimmy up a greased telephone pole by scaling each other’s backs. Once to the top, dangling prizes await, as well as claim to one of the most unique proficiencies inside the region’s festival season.
But if covering yourself in grime amid some of the city’s finest meringue and bachata music doesn’t appeal to you, no worries. There are plenty of other live music options—ones you can enjoy without crushing your buddy’s shoulders—across the Nickel City. Stones covers and artistic collaborations. Country-folk homecomings and multi-genre Lancaster quintets. They’re all on this weekend’s live performance calendar, and they all make the following list of recommended gigs.
Stoneflower at The Lodge (79 W. Chippewa Ave.), 10 p.m. Friday
If you already decided to fork over a car payment for one of their concert tickets, you probably don’t need any extra Rolling Stones-related motivation for their weekend appearance at the Ralph. But if you’d like a lead-in, the Geno McManus-led Stoneflower will be lording over Chippewa on Friday to play all the Keith Richards-reared cuts the blues-rock legends may (or may not) play on Saturday.
And, if you haven’t purchased tickets and unexpectedly get swept up in McManus’s dirty delivery of “Sticky Fingers” cuts, good news: The Lodge will be giving away concert tickets during the night’s performance. Where else can you find such generosity and Jagger moves surrounded by decorative stag chandeliers this weekend? Nowhere.
Before you go, listen to: The Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”
Venue and show information at thelodgebuffalo.com
Pocket Vinyl at Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.), 8 p.m. Friday
Lots of musicians diversify their artistic interests away from the stage. Steve Earle writes fiction. Jewel writes poetry. Dolly Parton wowed crowds with her performance alongside James Woods in “Straight Talk.” But it’s more rare to mix both your pursuits into one performance like Eric Stevenson and Elizabeth Jancewicz of Pocket Vinyl.
The Connecticut-based husband and wife work together—with Stevenson on vocals and instrumental while Jancewicz paints—to create wholly unique and multifaceted compositions. Soundtracked by songs off their three full-length albums (as well as their fourth, due in the fall), paintings are created on site and sold at shows via bid, which should make the Mohawk into Buffalo’s most interesting auction house on Friday night.
Before you go, listen to: “A Little Joke”
Venue and show information at buffalosmohawkplace.com
Kate & Corey at Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.), 9:30 p.m. Friday
Country-folk duo Kate and Corey Coleman are not the second coming of Johnny and June Carter Cash. Yes, they’re a couple just like their genre forebears, but they didn’t decide to leave Buffalo’s music scene for Atlanta’s two years ago to find crowds who’d notice their on-stage dynamic, lean back in barroom chairs and yell for covers of “Jackson.”
They left to build off chemistry and musicianship that’s clearly unique, with vocal prowess and Martin proficiency exceptional enough to earn them national (Texaco Country Showdown finalist) and local (Buffalo Nightlife and Georgia Music Awards honorees) accolades. Now touring off their newest EP, “Somewhere Else Tonight,” the duo will roll its latest work into friendly and, for the Sportsmen’s vets, familiar Black Rock confines come Friday night.
Before you go, listen to: “Do You See Me Now?”
Venue and show information at sportsmenstavern.com
Child of Folly at Mr. Goodbar (1110 Elmwood Ave.), 9 p.m. Saturday
When a band lists Incubus, Ray Charles and Tom Waits as their influences, its members could be setting up listeners for massive confusion or an interesting amalgamation of sounds and styles. For Lancaster’s Child of Folly, they’re striving for the latter, with vocal servings by Beau Brooks and Jess Chizuk backed by Kyle Schmidt’s versatile guitar on slick tracks like “Shame” or careening key-backed rockers like “Shotgun.”
Between those two songs, listeners can get a good idea of how the quintet’s aforementioned craft guides can factor into different facets of their work. But for those interested in how they marry seemingly incompatible elements into harmonious offerings, step up to the second floor of Goodbar on Saturday for a live look.
Before you go, listen to: “Stone Cold Liar”
Venue and show info at mrgoodbarbuffalo.com