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Give thanks, eat, then go hear some live music

If you're hosting ex-pats over the Thanksgiving holiday, you need to hip them to the fact that, while  much has changed in Buffalo in their absence, one thing remains a constant - we've got a rich and vibrant music scene, one befitting a city at least twice our size. Our music scene has always been a useful barometer for ascertaining where we are as a city and a culture, and though we aren’t seeing any sort of real boom in terms of new music venues opening or better, more fruitful opportunities being offered to our beloved musicians, well, we've always been good at doing "down," but stubbornly resistant to staying there for too long. We are a city of musical survivors.

So pack up the van with your guests, and hit the clubs. We've got bands galore – some new, some old, some reforming just for the occasion, or to mark personal milestones.

A busy Thanksgiving Eve

Start at Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk) at 8 p.m. Nov. 22 where you'll find the evergreen power-pop quartet Girlpope reforming to mark their 25th anniversary, with the help of the Moment, performing for the first time in 10 years, and Garafalo Springfield, another great band we don’t get to see too often.

The Sportsmen's Tavern (326 Amherst St.) is welcoming Buffalo ex-pat Michael Lee Jackson and his band, the Gatos Malos – which translates as "bad cats," appropriate when describing the likes of Rodney Appleby, Percy Jones (PJ3 & the Pathway Band), Randy Cooke (Ian Gillan, Dave Stewart, Kelly Clarkson, Ringo Starr), Jim Bohm and Jim Runfola. The set will feature new songs as well as favorites from throughout Jackson's career. Advance tickets through, or $20 at the door.

MLJ & the Gatos Malos will be tracking an album with revered producer Nick Blagona – who has worked with Deep Purple, Cat Stevens, the Tea Party and a few hundred more - while they're here in Buffalo, too.

Michael Lee Jackson & the Gatos Malos play the Sportsmen's Tavern on Thanksgiving Eve.

One of the more buzzed-about young alt-pop bands in town, Mom Said No, will be taking over the intimate Hot Mama's Canteen (12 Military Road) beginning at 8 p.m. Nov. 22.

The Lowest of the Low has two nights in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.), at 8 p.m. Nov. 22 and 24.  (

After Thanksgiving

The celebration continues the day after Thanksgiving with the reunion of '90s rockers God's Children at 8 p.m. Nov. 24 in the Evening Star Concert Hall (8810 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls). Irving Klaws heads a bill that also includes  the Enemies, the Gennies and Slim Forsythe at Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.) at 8 p.m. The Steam Donkeys reunite for a throw-down at 8 p.m. Nov. 24 in the Sportsmen's Tavern (326 Amherst St.) and the Alison Pipitone Band takes over Dinosaur BBQ (301 Franklin St.) at 10 p.m. the same night.

If you're still mourning the loss of Gord Downie, you can honor the man's legacy and celebrate the Tragically Hip by catching the powerful documentary "Long Time Running" at the Screening Room Cinema Cafe at the Boulevard Mall at 5 p.m. Nov. 24 then head downtown to see Buffalo's Hip tribute ensemble Strictly Hip at 8 p.m. in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.).

Rock on, folks, and give thanks.



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