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Four shows: Strand of Oaks, Cosmic Shakedown, more

Multi-instrumentalists aside secondhand copies of Hemmingway. Paintings above steaming Americanos. Strip-teasing burlesque before an on-stage folk explosion. Fasten your seatbelts, Buffalo - it’s time to infringe.

The 11-day Infringement Festival—an eclectic, grassroots-organized circus featuring more than 430 diversified artists across nearly 100 local venues—kicked off yesterday with performances at noted venues like Nietzsche’s and the relocated Rust Belt Books, and with art installations inside caffeine caverns like Perk’s and Spot.

This weekend, the free-for-all continues at places both in and around Allentown, or even a little further away. Example: Saturday’s 14-band bonanza atop Broadway Market, allowing visitors to team downstairs seafood orders of Red Snapper with live sets from New York City’s psychedelic Pink Ride and Buffalo’s reunited Electric Watermelon. Will it incite the type of fervor generated by U2’s 1987 rooftop gig or the Beatles’ Abbey Road appearance? Probably not, though time spent amid east side-set chords isn’t a bad way to vary a routine shopping trip.

But between stops at art galleries, book stores and city porches, you might want to mix in a few non-festival related performances to color your weekend. Bearded balladeers with a “Green Mind.” Golden Gate pop and Grace-helmed blues riffs. Live Cosmic craft - and an opener whose name elicits imagery of Starkist cans and a parked sedan. All are options on Buffalo’s live performance calendar, and they’re all intermingled inside this weekend’s packed list of gigs.

Strand of Oaks, 8 p.m. Saturday at Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.)

Cue up the opening track off Indiana-based singer/songwriter Tim Showalter’s “Heal” and you may assume he enlisted Dinosaur Jr. architect J. Mascis to head his Strand of Oaks. Dig deeper into the album—or into any of the project’s three preceding full-length efforts—and you’ll find cuts much more diversified than the aforementioned and seemingly Dino-inspired “Goshen ‘97.”

An eclectic array of key, percussion and guitar arrangements pair with their creator’s impassioned vocals to bring unpredictability to each track, and also tease the potential that’s earned Showalter mention with that of indie titans War on Drugs and Father John Misty. See if such praise is worthy when he appears off Main Street.

Before you go, listen to: “Goshen ‘97”

Venue and show information at


Sonny and the Sunsets, 8 p.m. Friday at Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.)

If a traditional carnival catered solely to the happiest hipsters, what music would be played at this assumingly bespectacled fete? Let me suggest that of San Francisco’s Sonny Smith and his Sunsets, whose recently released “Talent Night at the Ashram” could be played on repeat as colorfully tattooed millennials exchange candy apples, cotton candy and turns at the ring toss.

It’s kaleidoscopic lo-fi at its finest, instigating echoes of west coast Jonathan Richman while turning out bouncy licks perfectly suited for fun and games or the sun of the season. This should certainly brighten the usually dank Mohawk when the California quartet arrives on Friday.

Before you go, listen to: “Baby Jokin”

Talent Night at the Ashram by Sonny & The Sunsets

Venue and show information at


Grace Lougen and the Leftover Pancakes, 9:30 p.m. Friday at Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.)

Local musicians are seemingly born every week, but it takes talent and grit to drive stakes deep into the Queen City music scene. Blues guitarist and Kenmore native Grace Lougen has hammered plenty over the past four years, lending her Derek Truck-inspired style to both Black and Blues and Grace Strumberg bands.

Now with solo work off last year’s “The Grace Blues Project”—as well as single “Made a Mess” with fellow local David Michael Miller—Lougen’s digging even deeper, as should be on display when she joins her Leftover Pancakes inside Sportsmen’s. And as an added endorsement of the blossoming artist, the show will also feature Buffalo Music Hall of Fame musician Doug Yeomans, there to share a stage and spotlight he could easily command on his own.

Before you go, listen to: “Traffic” here

Venue and show information at


Cosmic Shakedown, 8 p.m. Saturday at Mr. Goodbar (1110 Elmwood Ave.)

The organ-jangled tunes of Buffalo’s Cosmic quartet do not seem to be simply culled from watching old Garth Hudson videos or studying the on- and off-stage performance tension between the Black Crowes’ brothers Robinson.

Their rock—though blues-tinged—is dirtier, driven forth with grime on its windshield and mud caked in its wheel wells. This much is evident on tracks from 2012’s “Fake American Dream,” and it’ll certainly be clear when Chris Delmont, Larry Gartley Harold Pollinger and Shea Rayhn join openers Science Lion and Parking Lot Tuna to unpack their musical journey across the upstairs of Goodbar on Saturday.

Before you go, listen to: “Sippin”

Venue and show info at

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