The Best Live Shows to See This Week

The Story So Far
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The Story So Far @ Town Ballroom

After a rather small music lineup in Buffalo last week, this week boasts an impressive and diverse set of performers. Indie rock giants, masters of metal and two bands with very confusing names represent this week’s picks! Let’s take a look at what the city of Buffalo has to offer!

Kicking things off this week is pop punk group The Story So Far. The band’s name has been a source of controversy and perhaps some confusion, as there was a (now defunct) band with the same name a few years prior. This group seems to have had a lot more success with the name, however. Formed in California in 2007, The Story So Far quickly rose among the ranks of the pop punk genre’s most popular new bands. In 2014, they headlined Warped Tour, playing the main stage for the entire duration of the tour.

The Story So Far’s self-titled, second studio album is set to release on May 19, the same day they’ll perform at Town Ballroom. Fans should expect the new album to receive a heavy focus, particularly the singles “Nerve,” Solo” and “Heavy Gloom.” Fans of groups like The Starting Line and Forever the Sickest Kids would do well to take a listen.

The Story So Far will perform at Town Ballroom on Tuesday May 19.

Recommended listening: “Quicksand,” “Heavy Gloom,” “Solo.”

Ticket pricing: $20-$22


The Pixies @ Rapids Theater

The indie rock scene is filled with bands that have been more influential than popular. The Pixies are one such group, and fans can find out for themselves when they perform at Rapids Theater this week. While the Pixies never reached the same heights as many of the bands that they influenced, their impact on music is unquestionable. Bono of U2 once referred to the group as “one of America’s greatest bands ever.” A number of popular groups have cited the band as an influence, including Nirvana, Radiohead and Weezer. Fans of the latter group would do well to check out the Pixies track “Wave of Mutilation.” It could easily be mistaken for a “Pinkerton”-era Weezer song.

The Pixies took a 10 year-hiatus from 1993 to 2003, reuniting in 2004 to perform sold out concerts around the world. The band has had very little turnover throughout their history, having only lost one founding member (bassist Kim Deal) in all this time. As a result of this hiatus, the group has a rather small discography for a band as influential as they’ve proven to be. Last year’s “Indie Cindy” was the band’s first album since 1991, and only the fifth full-length album in the band’s near 30 year history. Attendees should expect to hear a number of tracks off the album as a result.

The Pixies will perform at Rapids Theater on Tuesday May 19.

Recommended listening: “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” “Wave of Mutilation,” “Where is My Mind.”

Ticket pricing: $45.50


Mastodon @ Rapids Theater

The following evening, that same venue will play host to a much different music genre. Heavy metal group Mastodon is set to perform at the Rapids Theater. Formed in 2000, the band quickly became a favorite among metal aficionados. Since then, they’ve been Grammy-nominated three times, and won a number of other music awards, including the Kerrang! award for Best Album of 2012 for “The Hunter.”

While metalheads would likely credit Mastodon’s popularity to their hard and fast instruments, or their lyrics, which evoke fantasy settings, but it’s the vocals that probably deserve the most credit. All of Mastodon’s four band members participate in singing, but no matter who’s singing, the group’s clean vocals are never drowned out by the music, nor are they impossible to discern. With the metal genre having been mostly dominated by the metalcore and death metal subgenres over the last decade or two, it’s likely a breath of fresh air for those raised on bands like Metallica and Black Sabbath. Tracks like “Motherload” prove that Mastodon can still rock hard without screaming their lyrics the way so many other recent metal bands do.

Mastodon will perform at Rapids Theater on Wednesday May 20.

Recommended listening: “White Walker,” “The Motherload,” “High Road.”

Ticket pricing: $32.50-$36


Music fans looking for something to dance to would do well to check out Babeville this weekend. The band !!! (Chk, Chk, Chk) is set to perform, bringing their unique blend of dance and punk to Buffalo. Of course tracks like the excellent “One Girl/One Boy” also bring quite a bit of funk into the equation, too. It’s a unique blend that gives !!! (Chk, Chk, Chk) their signature sound.

Despite the confusing to pronounce name, !!! (Chk, Chk, Chk) has found a loyal fanbase. Formed in 1996, the group is an amalgam of the punk bands Black Liquorice and the Popesmashers along with Nic Offer, former lead singer of The Yahmos. After touring together, several members of the bands decided to form a new group. Since then, !!! (Chk, Chk, Chk) has released five studio albums, including their latest, 2013’s “Thr!!!er.”


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