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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v6n19 (05/10/2007) » Section: Calendar Spotlight


The annual mother-loving festival Mamapalooza reaches venues in the US, Canada and Australia during the month of May, and showcases moms as musicians, artists, comics, writers, craftspeople and athletes. The event is dedicated to serving, celebrating, inspiring and encouraging women through a strong message of personal and artistic empowerment. It’s the only cultural event of its kind, and it’s just in time for Mother’s Day. Mamapalooza is celebrating its seventh year—and its third year here in Buffalo—and will feature local artists Annette Daniels Taylor, Sandra Gilliam, Cynthia Maxwell, Lydia Baines and many more. Head over to Allentown’s Rust Belt Books on Friday (May 11) or Saturday (May 12) between 7-10pm for the event, which is co-sponsored by Just Buffalo’s “The Big Read.”


After what feels like several thousand weeks of winter, the springtime weather brings a little more life to the home front and Buffalonians are looking to party. Perfect timing for local band Flatbed, who will be celebrating their CD release party at Nietzsche’s on Friday (May 11), 10pm. The band self-produced the album, which is a balanced mix of country, folk, rock, blues and jazz, and features a few guest stars who add a little flavor and instrumental variety. Flatbed was nominated “Best Americana Band” at the Buffalo Music Awards for 2005 and 2006, so one can imagine there’s a yellow brick road up ahead for this group of seven musicians, who have already developed quite a following in the three years they’ve been performing. Special guests the Old Sweethearts open the show


On Saturday (May 12), 10pm, indie-rock band Beamer will take the stage at Nietzsche’s for a CD release show with fellow Buffalo rock groups Knife Crazy and Wolf Tickets. Beamer uses colorful background rhythms to support the thoughtful lyrics that are prominent in many of their songs. The band’s latest release, Where’s It’s Quiet, was mixed, mastered and produced independently and is a portrait of the various influences the band draws upon. The use of piano in songs like “Away” and the Elliott Smith-like melodies complimenting powerful vocals set the band apart from the run-of-the-mill. The other side to Beamer is the punk-rock energy below the well-designed structure, just waiting to reveal its grungy, power chord-laden sound to an audience waiting to be rocked

Steve Burnside

This year’s Cross-Border Blues Festival media kickoff concert takes place on Saturday afternoon (May 12) from 2-6pm at the Lafayette Tap Room. The Cross-Border Blues Binational Series takes place annually from June to October on both sides of the Can-Am border, drawing over 35,000 people to various venues to hear musicians from all over WNY and Ontario. Saturday’s event features Steve Burnside (“Canada’s First Man of Blues”) and his Marquis Band with special guests Tony Grisanti, Jimmy Wozniac, Donna Rose and Toronto’s Johnny Max, among others. Burnside makes his own contribution to the Cross-Border Festival by hosting his own “Summer Blues Series” at Niagara Falls’ Fireman’s Park, with weekly concerts from July to the end of August.

Album Leaf

Begun as the solo project for classically trained multi-instrumentalist James LaValle, post-rock instrumental band the Album Leaf has come into its own as a musical entity no longer in the shadow of its roots. The name iself is a nod to LaValle’s musicianship (with its reference to the Chopin piano piece Album Leaf in E major), a talent that has led him through collaborations with bands such as the Black Heart Procession, Triztero and GoGoGo Airheart, and to write songs for much lauded contemporaries Conor Oberst and Mark Bianchi (of Her Space Holiday). After grabbing the ear of Sigur Ros in the early 2000s, LaValle spent the next few years supporting the Icelandic band on numerous tours. Last year’s release Into the Blue Again (Sub Pop) put LaValle on exclusive conceptual and instrumental duties, but Album Leaf’s live performances bring a full band and live visuals, with lights and projections creating a mesmerizing multi-media show. See them at Soundlab on Wednesday (May 16) at 9pm with Young Galaxy (featuring members of Stars) and the Sleeping Kings of Iona

Beaver Nelson

By the age of 19 Beaver Nelson was being hailed as a near genius by many members of the music press. Although he never crossed into the mainstream, by the late 90s Nelson had fulfilled the hype with his acoustic based folk songs, becoming one of Austin, TX’s most beloved singer/songwriters. Crossing Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits, Nelson’s music is both honest and introspective, and never without humor thrown in. After four critically acclaimed albums, Nelson took up a job painting houses and, inspired by the experience, came up with a whole set of songs that make up his newest release, Beaver Nelson’s Exciting Opportunity. It’s another album that should make the critics swoon and extend Nelson’s increasing cult following. He performs at Mohawk Place on Wednesday (May 16) at 8pm. Matt Smith and Dee Adams open the show.

Luke Doucet

The aftermath of a broken heart is all too familiar for many musicians, especially when dealing with those demons in the midst of trying to make a record. For canadian singer/songwriter Luke Doucet, the experience fueled his latest release. Broken (and other rogue states), chronicles the end-of-relationship state of mind: He wrote half the album completely drunk and the other half completely sober. An alt-country record that incorporates roots sounds and mixes them with modern elements and Doucet’s silver-tongued lyrics, this may be his most accomplished work to date. Doucet has been touring since he was 19 and has already made and/or contributed to several successful albums, but Broken represents the man at his best, able to make every day things seem a little more exciting, and the unfamiliar a little less strange.

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