They can’t quite fit 10,000 music-maniac fans, but they can host two members of the 10,000 Maniacs. And a healthy crowd of 5,000?
That’s no problem either.
Larkin Square, the cozily creative and architecturally eclectic plaza located at 745 Seneca St., will be hosting its third season of free Wednesday night concerts featuring local bands playing original music.
The 14-week series kicks off June 18 with Neville Francis & the Riddim Posse and continues with a diverse blend of bands. Fans of Jamestown-rooted alt-rock legends 10,000 Maniacs will pay special attention to the July 9 headliner, John & Mary and the Valkyries, featuring founding Maniac John Lombardo and longtime member Mary Ramsey, who replaced Natalie Merchant on lead vocals in the mid-’90s. The show also marks the return to Buffalo of Michael Oliver, now with Michael Oliver & the Sacred Band.
Rising jam band Aqueous returns home from touring for a July 23 gig; high school musicians from Western New York and the Music is Art program will take the stage Aug. 27 for Back to School Night; and Lance Diamond & the 24 Karat Diamond Band will let fans dictate the playlist Sept. 17 on an evening dubbed Total Request Larkin.
How many fans could there be? Enough to shut down the street, which is exactly what organizers are planning to do Aug. 20 in anticipation of a jammed crowd for South Buffalo Night, headlined by Brian Higgins & the Exchange Street Band. (The congressman’s main office is located on the sixth floor of the adjacent Larkin at Exchange Building.)
Last year, South Buffalo Night drew a capacity crowd of 5,000, the largest yet in a series that has seen attendance grow steadily from about 1,200 people on the first night in 2012.
“We’ve become this incredible venue for supporting local musicians,” says Leslie Zemsky, who oversees Larkin Square with the apt title “director of fun.” “I’m wowed by the rich variety of music in our community.”
The Live at Larkin concerts begin at 5 p.m. each Wednesday, with the headliner wrapping up around 8 p.m. Larkin District parking is free, and Larkin Square includes a variety of restaurants and an outdoor urban market where concertgoers can buy snacks, full meals and drinks (along with crafts and artwork from the market).
If you can’t make it on Wednesday, there’s also weekly music on Food Truck Tuesdays, which run from 5 to 8 p.m., and during Thursday evening’s Larkin Market, which runs from 4 to 7:30 p.m. beginning July 10.
Here’s the Live at Larkin schedule:
• June 18: Neville Francis & the Riddim Posse with Vitamin D.
• June 25: The Albrights with Aircraft.
• July 2: The Ragbirds with the Doyle Brothers.
• July 9: John & Mary and the Valkyries with Michael Oliver & the Sacred Band.
• July 16: Dive House Union with Jony James Band.
• July 23: Aqueous with Jeff Miers Band.
• July 30: Argyle Street Band with Leroy Townes.
• Aug. 6: The Steam Donkeys with Shaky Stage.
• Aug. 13: Alan Evans’ Playonbrother with Forealists.
• Aug. 20: South Buffalo Night featuring Brian Higgins & the Exchange Street Band and Jack Mahone with the Charlie O’Neill Unplugged Club.
• Aug. 27: Back to School Night featuring high school musicians and the Music is Art program.
• Sept. 3: Mary C & the Stellars with Drea d’Nur.
• Sept. 10: Peter Case with Tom Stahl & the Dangerfields.
• Sept. 17: Total Request Larkin featuring Lance Diamond & the 24 Karat Diamond Band with Caitlin Koch.