Michael King is the sort of virtuosic, genre-defying musician that most of the rest of the country likely assumes does not exist in Buffalo. However, those of us in the music scene around here know that these types of musical renaissance men and women, while rare, are performing in Western New York clubs on a regular basis. These are the people who seem to simply ooze music. They’re likely proficient on a number of instruments, they are likely to be educated in a variety of musical genres, and most significantly, they’re likely to willfully meld these various genres into a sound of their own, without too much thought given to broader pop trends.
That’s King, in a nutshell. He’s an incredible singer – as the former leader/arranger with the Buffalo Chips, an a cappella group, he knows his way around vocal harmonies – but he can also play guitar and piano well. He’s been known to radically rework revered songs in funk, soul, R&B and pop to the point where he has all but made them his own by the time he’s finished singing them. At heart, however, King is a songwriter. The release last summer of his debut solo EP, “Open” – recorded at Robby Takac’s GCR Studios – proves that, as imaginative as King can be when it comes to rearranging songs we all know and love, he’s even more so when it comes to his own material.
Things are bound to get soulful when King and his band arrive for a show at 8 p.m. Friday in the Ninth Ward, Babeville (341 Delaware Ave.). Tickets are $20 advance, $12 day of show (box office, Tickets.com, Rust Belt Books and Terrapin Station). Visit Michaelking.us for additional information.
This is for real...
Cool new band alert: the Forealists – a band composed of members of the Etchings, Critt’s Juke Joint and others, and headed by keyboardist/vocalist Rocco DellaNeve, bassist Zuri Appleby and beats-master Wesley Harris – has released the single “Livin’ It Up.” (Listen via Forealists.com.) This song is a beast, an incredibly infectious marriage of melody, synth-pop, electronic dance music and plain old groove that suggests what it might sound like if you tossed the Robert Glasper Experiment’s “Black Radio” and that new Daft Punk platter in a food processor and hit “liqueify.” Move over, Robin Thicke – this is like what you do, except hip. Buffalo style. Listen, and then head to Mr. Goodbar (1110 Elmwood Ave.) at 11 p.m. Friday. The Forealists and the Albrights will share the bill. Admission will be $3 at the door.
After eating the Lotus …
Head on over to Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar (253 Allen St.), for an after-Canalside shindig featuring Occupanther and Space Junk at about 10 p.m. Thursday. The final Thursday at Canalside of the season is headlined by jam-tronica overlords Lotus and features an opening slot from Buffalo’s prog-jam wunderkind Aqueous. The Aqueous lads are said to be planning a trip to Duke’s afterward, for some all-star jamming with the Occupanther boys. Should be a blast.
Anthony Hamilton will preside over an evening of soul, R&B and funk at the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.) at 8 p.m. Friday. This is a rare club show for the Grammy winning artist. His guests will be Buffalo’s own neo-soul maestros Verse. Tickets are $69 advance, $74 day of show (box office, Ticketmaster).
At 10 p.m. Saturday, the annual Phish Tribute takes over Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.). The music of the delightfully eclectic Vermont quartet will be celebrated by the Jony James Band with Scott Molloy from Lazlo Hollyfeld/Logo City, Funktional Flow and Universe Shark on the back stage, and Imperial Brown between sets in the middle room. A $5 cover will be accepted at the door. Proceeds benefit Buffalo Riverkeeper.
The Niagara Falls Blues Festival takes place at 101 Old Falls St. in Niagara Falls beginning Friday and carrying on through Sunday. Acts scheduled to perform include Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Mississippi Heat, Bill “The Sauce Boss” Wharton, Cheryl Arena, Richard Ray Farrell, Donnie “Mr. Downtown” Walsh and Mahajibee Blues Band. A full roster can be found through www.niagarafallsbluesfest.org. Admission is free.
The Willow Creek Winery (2627 Chapin Road in Silver Creek) presents Wild Wild Fest, an all-homegrown music celebration starting at 5 p.m. Friday. Well Worn Boot, Lazlo Hollyfeld, Funkknut, Honey Spine, Jack Topht, the Slyboots Drum Ensemble and others are scheduled to perform. Overnight camp tenting is encouraged. Admission at the gate will be $10.
Enjoy what’s left of the summer music season, folks!