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Buffalo's 2016 summer concert playlist

One function of a playlist—whether for the gym, a long car ride or a significant other—is to construct a vibe. With its intricately weaved collection songs, it can replicate a defined ambiance, all while motivating for a specific purpose.

So how does one make a playlist to embody the vibe of Buffalo’s eclectic summer concert calendar? I don’t know.

The aforementioned rules prevent me from chasing Whitesnake’s “Here I Go” with Miranda Lambert’s “Little Red Wagon.” I can’t paint a coherent sonic portrait by mashing together tunes by Josh Groban and Coolio, and it’s impossible to follow the Deftones with almost anything.

But what I can do is stitch together the following cohesive succession of tracks, meant to thread together the next three months of local shows. Should be interesting, so here’s one man's soundtrack to help you prepare.

“Ain’t it a Sin” by Charles Bradley
June 9, Canalside

The song: Do you prefer your summer groove injection with some stank on it? Then get ready for Daptone soul invader Bradley, whose thumping plea off newest release “Changes” should incite an in-unison strut across Canalside’s concert sod.

Lyrics to sing: “I try to be a righteous man. I try to give love all over the world — but I’m tired of being used!”

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“You Can’t Be Told” by Valerie June
June 3, 9th Ward at Babeville

The song: The Memphis songstress describes her brand of art as “organic moonshine roots music.” One sip of this Dan Auerbach-steered stomp will confirm this identification, as well as keep you clapping well after the last string is clipped.

Lyrics to sing: “Ain’t tryin' to be nobody but my fine sweet self. Honey, if I give you everything, then I'll have nothing left.”

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“Part One – Hey, No Pressure” by Ray LaMontagne
June 29, Artpark

The song: New Hampshire native LaMontagne might get more notoriety for serenading wedding dances or lonely drinks, but this Jim James-produced track—with its infusion of galactic My Morning Jacket-esque Fender fuzz—is anything but.

Lyrics to sing: “Anything you want to be you can be. Anything you want your life to mean it can mean.”

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“Things Have Changed” by Bob Dylan
June 30, Artpark

The song: You never know what tracks from Dylan’s canon of favorites and forgotten classics will make a night’s setlist. This one — which won him an Oscar for its inclusion in “Wonder Boys” — has been starting recent shows in Japan, so it could kick off his Artpark appearance.

Lyrics to sing: “I’ve been walking 40 miles of bad road. If the Bible is right, the world will explode.”

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“Sedona” by Houndmouth
June 3, Town Ballroom

The song: There are tracks that act as a summer breeze for the lonely soul. Others demand a crowd, with music to induce intertwined masses to gleefully bellow lyrics. This number from Indiana’s Houndmouth satisfies both — and does so beautifully.

Lyrics to sing: “Hey there, Sedona let me cut you a deal. I'm a little hung over and I may have to steal your soul.”

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“Stay in My Corner” by the Arcs
Aug. 24, Darien Lake

The song: Those who have heard Dan Auerbach’s previous deviations from the Black Keys — see: 2009 solo album, “Keep it Hid” — know he can ease off the electric blues throttle. This embracing swoon with his side project Arcs acts as a soulful reminder.

Lyrics to sing: “I won't always be a winner, babe. In fact, I'm bound to burn.”

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“Time” by Basia Bulat
June 21, Artpark

The song: One-sided relationships court rising tension. An amplified replication of such escalation can be found via Bulat and Jim James, whose “Good Advice” track shows how gorgeous vocals and Gibson exclamation can embody frustration.

Lyrics to sing: “Trying to forget, and you revive every part of me I buried alive.”

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“Like to Get to Know You Well” by Howard Jones
June 14, Artpark

The song: Best known for serenading the romance (and Camaro repairs) of John Cusack’s Lane Meyer and Diane Franklin’s Monique in 1985’s “Better Off Dead,” this tune will also awaken '80s nostalgia — and a decade’s worth of regrettable hairstyles.

Lyrics to sing: “Don’t want to talk about the weather. Don’t want to talk about the news. Just want to get to the real you inside.”

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“Welcome to the Terrordome” by Public Enemy
June 23, Canalside

The song: If you were once a Generation X male tuned weekly to “Yo! MTV Raps,” then you likely found your way to PE’s classic “Fear of a Black Planet.” This track — with Chuck D’s poetic deluge flanked by Flava Flav’s bombast — is one reason you still listen to it.

Lyrics to sing: “When I get mad, I put it down on a pad. Give you something that you never had.”

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“Mr. Wright” by the Claypool Lennon Delirium
Aug. 25, Canalside

The song: Does this song detail the predilections of a skeevy pervert? Yes. Is this narrative eased by the merger of Primus bassist Les Claypool’s devastating handle and the kind of trippy instrumentation expected from an offspring of the Plastic Ono Band? You bet.

Lyrics to sing: “He’s creepin’, creepin’, creepin’, creepin’, creepin’ through the night.”

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“Love on Strike” by the Tins
July 27, Larkin Square

The song: There are plenty of reasons to recognize the Tins as one of Buffalo’s most promising music exports. But the marching snarl of this 2015 singles offers another reason, amplifying an attitude as linked to the Queen City’s gritty past as its bearded revival.

Lyrics to sing: “You haven’t acted your age in ages. Went on to rewrite with no pencil, no pages.”

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“Kid Icarus” by Sam Roberts Band
July 31, Canalside (Edgefest)

The song: One could be forgiven for wondering why Roberts and Co. would spend an entire “Lo-Fantasy” track on their love of a Nintendo game. Peel past the title and you’ll instead hear a contender’s defense, served up by a band with plenty of fight.

Lyrics to sing: “Now every time that I break down, some up-and-comer tryin' to steal my crown.”

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Spotify playlist for Summer 2016 selections:

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