For 30 years, you could bank on it: Thursday nights in Buffalo would feature live music outdoors throughout the summer. The names of the locations and series changed frequently - we even got to say "wharf" for a few years - but leaving work Thursday often meant fresh air, a domestic beer and the joy and release that accompany a band jamming in the summer heat.
When Canalside Live veered away from Thursdays this year, it was big news, but it also presented an opportunity for others to fill the void. Local bands will star in Buffalo Place's new Thursday & Main concert series, free weekly gigs that should feel more grassroots and less corporate - two traits that made Thursdays in the Square so attractive.
Here's the first band on the slate:
Willie Nile opens Thursday & Main, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 13 at Fountain Plaza (50 Fountain Plaza). Free to attend.
Formerly the Queen City Social, this Buffalo Place concert series has cobbled together a strong, local lineup for 2019, with folk rock band Willie Nile kicking things off Thursday at Fountain Plaza. News Gusto editor Toni Ruberto passes along the season's performers, which touch on pop-rock (Humble Braggers, The Tins) to reggae-infused (Funktional Flow) to bluegrass/Americana (The CPX).
Buffalo's free live music options are plentiful each summer, and Buffalo Place's rebrand appears to be a step forward from previous attempts.
The rest of Buffalo's strong events for Monday through Thursday:
Gusto Vinyl Happy Hour: Rolling Stones' "Beggars Banquet," 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, June 10 in Sportsmen's Tavern (326 Amherst St.). Cost is $7 at the door.
Few previous Gusto Vinyl Happy Hours have drawn the social media response of this Monday, with the Rolling Stones' 1968 album "Beggars Banquet" - featuring hits like "Street Fighting Man" - as the focus of co-hosts Jeff Miers and 97 Rock's Anita West.
After listening to the album and a panel discussion with the hosts, local band The Jumpers will deliver their interpretation of one of the legendary band's more bluesy releases. Find more details about the event in our preview.
Osteria 166's sixth anniversary, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday, June 13 at 166 Franklin St. Free to attend.
Judging by their annual presentation of the Meatball Street Brawl, Osteria 166 and owner Nick Pitillo know how to throw a party. The Italian restaurant's sixth anniversary has a nice array of entertainment: live music from Grace Stumberg, Michael DiSanto and Verse, and the Osteria All Stars.
Complimentary snacks from Osteria's kitchen, plus beer, wine and liquor tastings are the restaurant's way of saying thank you for the patronage.
[Related: Osteria 166 in Galarneau's feature on creative pasta dishes]
M&T Bank Plaza Event Series kicks off, noon to 1 p.m. Monday, June 10, runs weekdays through Aug. 23 at M&T Bank (345 Main St.). Free to attend.
Here's a reason to take regular lunchtime walks downtown. The free music series welcomes a range of musicians and bands from different genres to play for roughly an hour in front of M&T Bank each weekday.
Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee Joyryde is the first band to play during the Plaza Event Series' 50th anniversary, with Ramblin' Lou Family Band, Westminster Community Charter School, German-American band the Frankfurters and Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps closing out this week. A different food truck will be on site each day of the week.
[Related: Plaza Event Series to collect used musical instruments]
George Clinton & Fishbone, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 11 at Artpark (450 S. Fourth St., Lewiston). Tickets range from $24 for lawn seats to $43.
George Clinton has proven age is just a number. At 77, the funk O.G. remains sprightly and keeps Parliament-Funkadelic relevant to the point where Jeff Miers considers Tuesday's Artpark gig one of summer's best.
On the heels of Sammy Hagar's well-attended show last Tuesday in Lewiston, expect an equally as lively follow-up for Clinton, who's supported by Fishbone, and Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf. Galactic, originally on the bill, opted to withdraw.
Buffalo Reading Invasion for June, 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 11 at Bidwell Parkway and Elmwood Avenue, near Caffe Aroma. Free to take part.
The Buffalo Reading Invasion returns for summer 2019, with the goals of appreciating the city's green spaces and rekindling a love for quiet reading. It's not flashy - just an hour to relax and read in (lush, thanks to the rain) Bidwell Park. The material is up to you - whether it's a magazine, something you stumbled upon on your Kindle or a classic paperback. It might not be a bad idea to bring a blanket.
If you can't make Tuesday's, there are two more slated for this summer.
Watch the U.S. National Team in the Women's World Cup, 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 11 at bars around Buffalo, including Mes Que (1420 Hertel Ave.). Free to attend.
The United States Women's National Team has won the most World Cups of any country - 3 - but the quest for a fourth begins Tuesday against Thailand in Reims, France. It's the first clash of the group stage, where the U.S. faces three teams, in the round-robin format, with the goal of finishing in the top two to qualify for the knockout rounds. After Tuesday, the U.S. plays again at noon Sunday and 3 p.m. June 20.
Since the games are televised on Fox, it won't be difficult for most bars in the area to tune their TVs to the game, but the Buffalo chapter of the American Outlaws will gather at Mes Que for viewing.
[Related: UB women's coach Shawn Burke previews Women's World Cup for The News]
Noir Essentials presents "The Lady from Shanghai," 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12 in Eastern Hills Dipson Theatre (4545 Transit Road, Clarence). Cost is $9.75 general admission, with discounts available.
There's nothing boring about the story line of 1947 noir film "The Lady from Shanghai," which works in a yacht cruise, a beautiful woman and a murder plot. The Facebook preview calls this a "fever dream of a movie," starring Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles, and is also directed by the latter.
Repeating events: Food Truck Tuesday, Live at Larkin in Larkin Square; Buffalo River Fest Park Concert Series; Music on Main in Williamsville; Slow Roll Buffalo.
New Found Glory, 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 12 in Town Ballroom (681 Main St.).
5 events to look forward to this weekend
Thin Man Summer Solstice concert
Juneteenth Festival in downtown Buffalo
FieriCon on Hertel Avenue
Zac Brown Band at Darien Lake
Rockin' at the Knox at Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Story topics: Buffalo Reading Invasion/ George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic/ Gusto Vinyl Happy Hour/ Instagram/ M&T Plaza Event Series/ Osteria 166/ Rolling Stones/ this week in Buffalo/ Willie Nile/ Women's World Cup