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3 can't-miss shows: Johnny Cash tribute, Wild Rivers, Cure vs. Smiths

The seventh annual Johnny Cash Birthday Bash, 9:30 p.m. Feb. 23, Sportsmen's Tavern (326 Amherst St.), $5.

New year, new venue.

After spending the last half decade in Allentown, the annual Johnny Cash tribute has serendipitously relocated to Black Rock's Sportsmen's Tavern, which was named the best roots/Americana venue by the Nashville-based Ameripolitan Awards.

This year's repeat-free birthday celebration will feature performances by rollicking alt-country act the CPX, outlaw country outfit Uncle Ben's Remedy and roots rockers Ten Cent Howl.

In addition, CPX frontman Andrew J. Reimers, who recently took on the voice of Cash in MusicalFare Theatre's "Million Dollar Quartet," will be performing acoustic selections from the 2017 production upstairs between band sets.

[PHOTOS: Smiles at the CPX-Mas in Mohawk Place]

*****

Wild Rivers, 7 p.m. Feb. 24, Mohawk Place (41 E. Mohawk St.), $10.

A busy Buffalo weekend would make it easy to sleep on any show given the solid options, but those who find themselves downtown would be wise to pop into Mohawk Place to catch Toronto's Wild Rivers.

The folk-pop quartet, currently deep into a lengthy tour that kicked off just last week, emerged as a duo in the busy Ontario metropolis in 2012. After expanding to a four-piece, the group would eventually released its self-titled debut in 2016. The harmony-rich nine-track album recalls the likes of Fleetwood Mac, the Lone Bellow and the Civil Wars.

The group's most recent single "Do Right" was shared last year.

Local support will be provided by dancey synth quartet Mutual Friends, resurfacing after a short hiatus, and the alt-rock outfit Younger Then.

*****

The Cure vs. The Smiths Dance Party, 9 p.m. Feb. 24, Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.), $5.

Post-punk supremacy will once again be on the line as Transmission Dance Party pits the eternal British rivals against each other for the 15th year running of its trademark event.

Whether you side with the gloom-rock heavyweights of the Cure or prefer the mercurial Morrissey and crew, the popular dance party, continues to be an equal opportunist for both bands, playing back-to-back jams from the English acts long into the night.

Those who show up early will be treated to a cocktail-hour set of full of mellow Cure/Smiths songs to loosen up the crowd for the musical throwdown that will follow.

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