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Summer in Buffalo = Music

Central+wharf+concert++09I had no intention of being at the Town Ballroom on a Tuesday night, listening to Youth Lagoon, whose dream-infused electronica reverberated like a jack hammer through the floor, into my feet and up through my heart.

But a friend wanted to go -- she had become enamored of Youth Lagoon's one and only album, "The Year of Hibernation"  -- so I tagged along.  As Buffalo pop music lovers know, there is no bad vantage point at the Town, so we stood just one level up from the reverential 200 or so truly major fans on the floor -- mostly twentysomething men, though there was one dancing girl in black leather shorts -- and we happily watched the red and purple smoke flow around the two-man outfit as they made their way through the album.  The set didn't last long; they played pretty much every song they had.

And who could complain?  The tickets were cheap, the piano-driven music was mesmerizing, Trevor Powers' stage patter was both charming and observant ("Buffalo is beautiful -- what happened to all the factories near the water?"), and even women of a certain age could be home in their beds around 11.

Tonight, it's the unmissable Lowest of the Low show at Artpark -- the brilliant if under-appreciated Canadian band I've undoubtedly seen more times than any other act in my not-brief life of concert-going. I can only assume they'll play "Subversives," "Bleed a Little While Tonight," and "The Taming of Carolyn," and that talented frontman Ron Hawkins will sing his creations with the usual full-throated splendor.

Later in the month, it's the neo-Motown songwriter from Ann Arbor, Mayer Hawthorne, with his crooning falsetto, at Town; back to Artpark for the uncategorizable but soulful Citizen Cope; and who knows what at the harbor, where in the past month or so, I've seen Grace Potter and the Nocturals, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Matthew Sweet, who delighted me by performing his entire classic album, "Girlfriend," from beginning to end.  For free, no less.

Summer in Buffalo may mean baseball for some people, jet skis for others, barbeque for still others,  but for many of us, it equals music.  And we are duly grateful. 

Should you want to get in on the fun, here's the Gusto summer concert guide.   And here's Buffalo News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers' Top 10 picks.  They don't correspond to mine, of course -- where on earth is Citizen Cope, I'm still wondering-- but I respect his choices nonetheless.

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(The photo above is by Robert Kirkham of The Buffalo News from last year's Lowest of the Low concert at the harbor.  The band plays tonight at Artpark. Jeff Miers will review the show.) 

And here's a taste of Mayer Hawthorne on Letterman last fall:

 

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