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Arts + Entertainment

Thursday at the Square…and the Harbor, 2011

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals from flickr.com user gimpbully

blog by BuffaloDotCom  • 

By now, you’ve probably seen the lineup for Thursday at the Square, and you’re probably already aware that the final six shows will be staged at the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf, the same location as Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor.  As you can see, there’s been considerable discussion in regard to the schedule, but here’s our perspective:

1)  Music fans are finicky and difficult to please; it’s easy to get caught in the trap of “if I don’t know the band, they probably suck.”  One of the charms of TATS is that it invites groups of different genres and eras to perform shows free to the public.  With an open mind, you might find yourself becoming a fan of something new.

2)  These events are as social as they are musical.  TATS still presents an opportunity to spend time outside in the summer—leaving work early, even—enjoying a delicious beverage with co-workers or friends.  Even if you’d prefer the Black Keys, Arcade Fire or Limp Bizkit (just kidding), summer Thursdays are a perfect social hangout. 

Here’s a quick look at the bands performing at Lafayette Square in TATS’ first four weeks, with cheerful analysis by Ben K., links to band websites and an accompanying YouTube video:

Lafayette Square Shows:

6/2:  Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Genre:  Indie rock from Southern California
Last played in WNY:  Town Ballroom, July 2010
Ben K.’s $.02: These guys are pretty good.  Well, at least that one song, “Home,” is pretty good.  I liked (like?) Ima Robot, vocalist Alex Ebert’s other band, and the Edward Sharpe project brings more of a indie-roots sound to the table.  This kind of music always seems to go over well at TATS concerts - the louder folk-rock bands keep people swaying and clapping through their beer buzz while remaining sonically overpowering enough to make people forget they’re listening to a bunch of hirsute dudes in flannel playing the accordion.  It should be a fun show.

6/9: Morris Day and the Time
Genre:  Funk rock from Minnesota
Last played in WNY:  Never
Ben K.’s $.02: One of my favorite Saturday Night Live performances of all time!  I was a young 13-year-old in 1990 when George Steinbrenner hosted SNL with Morris Day and The Time as musical guests (the same night the Cincinnati Reds won the World Series, I might add.  Yeah Chris Sabo!).  I used to tape every episode back then, and I must have watched Morris and the boys perform “Jerk Out” (one of the underrated songs of the 1990s) and “Chocolate” about 900 times.  So awesome, so cheesy, so unbelievably 1990 - I love it.  The best part is Morris ordering dinner on stage (Lobster: $1,000,000) and then actually getting served.  And they screwed up his order!  Please, for the love of God, go watch this.  I am going to get Morris Day’s autograph when he comes to Buffalo. 


6/16:  Blues Traveler and Buffalo’s own Willie Nile
Genre:  Blues rock from New Jersey
Last played in WNY:  Regularly—2010 at Molson Canal Series
Ben K.’s $.02: I never cared for Blues Traveler.  Willie Nile seems pretty amazing, though.  And he’s Buffalo’s Own!  Go watch Willie Nile, then drink a bunch of beer during Blues Traveler.


6/23:  Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Genre: Rock band from Vermont
Last played in WNY:  Town Ballroom, December 2010
Ben K.’s $.02: I know almost nothing about Grace Potter, but people seem genuinely excited that she is coming to town.  I guess I am, too!  This will be a learning experience for all of us, gang.


Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf Shows:

6/30:  Lowest of the Low
7/7:  Sloan
7/14:  Court Yard Hounds
7/21:  Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
7/28:  George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
8/4:  Tokya Police Club and The Sheila Divine

Short previews for Harbor shows will appear on Buffalo.com in early June.

TAGGED: blues traveler, buffalo place, edward sharpe, grace potter, morris day, tats, thursday at the square

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