With June officially in high gear, the summer concert lineup continues to heat up along with the weather. This week is no exception with two rock bands hailing from our neighbors up North, and a pick that’s likely to please fans of rap and hip-hop.
Rush at First Niagara Center
This week’s first concert pick is one of the most famous rock and roll bands of all time. Hailing from Toronto, Rush likely needs no introduction. Whether it’s classic hits like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight,” or deeper cuts like “The Camera Eye,” Rush’s near 50-year history has turned out a plethora of fantastic songs. Nominated for seven Grammy awards and winning numerous Juno awards, Rush has more than earned their place in both the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Rush is comprised of three musicians, each more acclaimed than the last. Lead singer Geddy Lee’s incomparable vocals and Alex Lifeson’s guitar playing have endeared the band to countless fans. Perhaps the most highly acclaimed member of Rush, however, is drummer Neil Peart. Rightfully so; Peart has often been viewed as one of the most influential drummers in the history of rock music, and Rush’s live performances show the reason why. Tracks like “YYZ” display Peart’s impressive stamina and skill. Fans that haven’t seen the band live should certainly take advantage of their opportunity this week. Rush plans to stop “large-sale” touring starting this year. While Buffalo’s proximity to the band’s home in Toronto likely means that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Rush, it’s certainly not a risk that fans of the group should be taking!
Rush will perform at First Niagara Center on Wednesday June 10.
Ticket pricing: Sold Out
The Arkells at Canalside
This week’s second musical attraction from Canada is the Arkells. Thursday will mark the third time the group has performed at Canalside, and if they sound as good as they did those previous occasions, attendees will be in for a treat! Perhaps the strongest band to come from Canada since the Tragically Hip (whom they name drop on the song “Kiss Cam”), the Hamilton-hailing Arkells are known for delivering strong live performances. The Juno-award winners also tend to treat Buffalo like a second home, matching the live energy of local bands gone big like the Goo Goo Dolls and Every Time I Die.
The Arkells are one of those rare bands that manage to sound better live than recorded. It doesn’t hurt when you can witness the strong chemistry the band has on stage, particularly on tracks like “Where U Goin,” when you can actually see the band’s impressive harmonizing skills. Lead singer Max Kerman is perhaps the group’s best live highlight, punching his fists in the air on tracks like “Come to Light.” Kerman never hogs the spotlight, however, as he’s also inclined to point out the obvious talents of the rest of the band, such as the Arkells’ very talented keyboard player Anthony Carone. On Thursday night, fans should expect to hear singles like “Come to Light” and “Leather Jacket” from 2014’s “High Noon,” but they might also want to brush up on their Motown familiarity, as well. The group has been known to jump into covers such as the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”
The Arkells will perform at Canalside on Thursday June 11.
Ticket pricing: Free
Tyler the Creator at Town Ballroom
This week’s final pick brings us back to the US. California rapper Tyler, the Creator will arrive at Town Ballroom this week, bringing hip-hop fans a strong option to take a look at. From a young age, Tyler showed a desire to create music. Before learning any music skills, he would design artwork for imaginary albums, complete with track listings and length. At 14-years-old, he learned to play the piano, a skill he still uses on tracks like “Yonkers.” That kind of multi-talent has served Tyler, the Creator well throughout his career. In addition to rapping, Tyler also serves as a record producer and a director of music videos for a number of different artists, including rappers such as Earl Sweatshirt and punk bands like Trash Talk.
Tyler, the Creator has been met with some controversy throughout his career, however. Tyler’s lyrics have sometimes been perceived as homophobic and misogynistic, earning him the ire of musicians such as Tegan and Sara, and drawing comparisons to some of Eminem’s less charming lyrics. Despite the controversy, Tyler is a skilled musician with a flair for strong beats, which can be seen on tracks like “She.”
Tyler the Creator will perform at Town Ballroom on Sunday June 14.
Recommended listening: “She (featuring Frank Ocean),” “IFHY,” “Answers.”
Ticket pricing: $30
Next week, the city will host a ’90s grunge favorite and a group devoted to keeping pop punk alive! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for local talent and other music acts around the city.
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