It's a top-heavy week in Western New York for events, but the top two are arguably the biggest events of the summer. The Rolling Stones' vaunted appearance will attract over 50,000 rock fans, while the two-day Taste of Buffalo annually reels in nearly 500,000.
The 10 demands, "Start Me Up!" (Perhaps the most feeble attempt at a Stones pun yet).
Commentary: Oh, you were looking for Rolling Stones content? We have Miers' terrific preview, details about parking, crowd and other tips for concertgoers, Mick Jagger's pre-show dinner adventures, The News' throwback reviews from past Stones shows, songs you're most likely to hear on Saturday and a closer glance at Jagger's favorite Paula's doughnut. One of these is a fib.
2) Taste of Buffalo, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday in Niagara Square and along Delaware Avenue. Free to attend, although individual food and drink tickets cost money.
Commentary: Dubbed the "largest two-day food festival in the U.S.", the Taste is just a really big buffet on blacktop. Here are the participating restaurants and their offerings, plus Hannah Gordon's preview of what's new to the festival this year. Peruse Robert Kirkham's photo gallery from last year's Taste of Buffalo.
Commentary: Even though he hasn't released an album since fall 2013, Toby Keith still made an obscene amount of money -- not just for a country musician, but any musician -- in 2014. The least he could do is make a little of that $65 million rain on Saturday. He's no stranger to Darien Lake, but keep an eye on his opener, Chris Janson, whose single "Buy Me a Boat" has held steady on Billboard's country chart. See Matt Chandler's concert preview for more.
4) Buffalo Niagara Blues Festival, noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Silo City (92 Childs St.). Free to attend, and food and beverages may be purchased on site.
Commentary: I'm no blues guru, but here's the lineup, presented by the WNY Blues Society: guitar duo Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King, Teeny Tucker, sextet Mississippi Heat and the Chicago Blues Connection, ironically the only local group of the four. The Facebook event page notes cheap beer prices -- $3 for Labatt Blue and Blue Light, $4 for Flying Bison Rusty Chain, wine and hard cider. You're also reminded to bring a folding chair, for sitting, presumably.
5) Hydraulic Hearth beer garden grand opening, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at 716 Swan St. There's no cover.
Commentary: They had us at public shuffleboard courts, but then sweetened the deal with made-to-order shandies (basically sweet or bitter juices added to the 12 craft beers available, many of which come from Community Beer Works' satellite operation in Hydraulic Hearth.)
David Michael Miller, the Fancy Corkers and Eric T. Crittenden's B-Funk are the musical acts planned. Hydraulic Hearth's regular brunch and dinner service will run as normal, too.
6) Burchfield Penney's Second Fridays, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday at 1300 Elmwood Ave., featuring Philip Burke's "Likeness of Being" exhibition, music from Lazlo Hollyfeld and a performance of Hollis Frampton's "Zorn's Lemma" by Cages and Wooden Cities. It's free.
Commentary: There is a LOT going on here, and it's a pleasant surprise that it's free. Looking at the artistic side first, Burke has a gift for opening a "window into the souls" of celebrities by magnifying a few of their distinguishing characteristics, Colin Dabkowski writes.
Local music has a prominent place in the event, too, as Mac McGuire relays. That Sonny Baker might be omnipresent.7) Watch "Minions" in theater; here are the Fandango listings near Buffalo
Commentary: Jeff Simon handed "Minions" a surprising three stars out of four, which was far more than I predicted upon seeing the trailer (embedded in the review). I suppose I wasn't in the proper mindset to see the animated trailer, as I was at the movies to see prehistoric creatures with unnervingly sharp teeth, not comedic, banana-colored jokesters.
8) FC Buffalo vs. Lansing United, 7 p.m. Friday at Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium (2885 Main St.). $8 for a general admission ticket.
Commentary: It's by far the biggest match of the season, as the local semi-pro soccer team tries to solidify its place in the National Premier Soccer League playoff race. The top four teams make the postseason, and currently, Lansing sits at No. 3, just one point ahead of the Wolves, who must stave off hard-charging AFC Cleveland and the Indiana Fire.
Earning at least a point at home is a must -- expect to see (and hear!) The Situation Room and the growing legion of local soccer supporters in force tonight.
9) Eat at one of Andrew Galarneau's top 20 restaurants reviewed so far.
Commentary: Hey, if Mick Jagger can take the leap, so can you. Click on each of the 20 restaurants linked above for much greater detail and juicy food photos.
Commentary: BW's BBQ chicken dinner sales will run through 8 p.m., when mysterious Pucker hits the bandshell. The beer tent will thrive from 7 to 11 p.m., considering it's the final night of the Williamsville festivities.