Clash City Rockers!
When Joe Strummer died at the age of 50 on Dec. 22, 2002, it felt as if some particularly rude bloke had snuffed out the candle and left us all in the dark. Or at least, all of us for whom Strummer represented something -- an authenticity of spirit, an intelligent irreverence and a belief in rock's real power to affect and infect the moment, not merely reflect it.
In the years that have passed, we've happily noted Strummer, and by extension, the Clash's continued relevance, as well as the music's depth of influence on the broader rock culture. Not just within what we might narrowly define as "punk rock," either -- for Strummer was as much singer/songwriter as he was punk shouter, as much world music-fusion pioneer as he was three-chord-and-lyrical-venom showman, as much reggae and dub and hip-hop fan as he was icon of the late '70s London underground.
Keepers of the Strummer flame have been presenting an annual tribute to their man since his passing. These events have always taken place right around the holidays, and thus, acted as meeting ground for local rock cognoscente and visiting Buffalo expatriates alike. Some of our finest musicians have given thanks and praise of the musical variety to Strummer at Mohawk Place each year, but this time the event has grown enough to warrant a move to the more spacious Town Ballroom (681 Main St.), where the likes of the Rebel Waltz, Ghetto Defendants, the Prisoners, Outer Circle Orchestra and DJ Dr. Wisz will gather at 7 tonight to celebrate the music of the Clash, Strummer solo and the incredibly awesome Mescaleros in the 10th annual Joe Strummer Tribute.
The Dreaming Tree, a Western New York Dave Matthews Band tribute, plays Macaroon's Nite Club (576 Dick Road, Cheektowaga), beginning at 9 tonight.
At 10 p.m. Saturday, DJ collective the Queen City Cartel's Christmas Eve Party takes place in Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar (253 Allen St.).