The Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.) continues its Thursday Night Series with another bill that focuses on local original music, and packs significant bang for buck. Lazlo Hollyfeld, Rhubarb and Alex Berkley will share the bill. With an emphasis on an early start time, quick change-over time between bands and relatively short set lengths, the Thursday shows would seem to be a perfect fit for local original music supporters who want to support talent, hear great music and habituate downtown Buffalo without feeling obliged to stay out until 4 a.m. on a work night, and break the bank in the process.
There are more than enough reasons to support the series, and this show in particular, but let’s concentrate solely on the music itself for the time being.
Lazlo Hollyfeld is a unique entity on the Buffalo music landscape, precisely because the group occupies no single specific genre and yet manages to offer something of interest to fans of various idioms, from electronic music to jam-band stylings. The band – keyboardist Scott Molloy, drummer Bill Wachowiak, bassist Chris Gangarossa, guitarist Sonny Baker and percussionist Matt Felski – shares common ground with post-rock icons such as Mogwai and Tortoise, but the jammier side of EDM is often part of the mix as well. The resulting hybrid often suggests what it might sound like if Radiohead covered Side 2 of the Flaming Lips’ “Zaireeka,” but kept a danceable groove going throughout.
Rhubarb is a funky beast of a band and manages to fuse elements of progressive rock, jam band and R&B into its bizarrely beautiful sound. The high level of musicianship displayed by the instrumentalists provides some heady highs, but Rhubarb never loses sight of the groove, and as far out as the band is capable of getting, the rhythm section of bassist Nick Gonzalez and drummer Ryan Campbell always keeps one foot firmly rooted in the earth.
Opener Alex Berkley is best described as a twisted and highly prolific singer-songwriter who crosses idiomatic lines at will within the space of his always interesting and idiosyncratic songs.
The show will run on a strict timetable, with Berkley taking the stage at 9 p.m., Rhubarb following at 10 p.m., and Lazlo Hollyfeld capping the evening with a performance that kicks off at 11 p.m. $5 will get you in the door.
Anything but the blues!
We know guitarist/vocalist Jony James as a singularly talented blues musician. But on Saturday, we’ll have the opportunity to get a sense of what James is into when he’s not playing the blues. I love this idea – James will perform a show beneath the banner “Anything But the Blues” at Central Park Grill, 2519 Main St., during which he will avoid his normal fare in favor of acoustic interpretations of material by the likes of Thin Lizzy, Bob Dylan and the Band for the first set, and full-band electric takes on tunes by the likes of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix for the second set. A huge thumbs up to the idea of taking musicians out of their comfort zones – though having seen James play on many occasions, I feel confident that he plays rock as well as he plays the blues. Show time is 8 p.m., and admission is free.