I totally love living in an international megalopolis like Tor-Buff-Chester because the advantages for us Buffalonians in the creamy center between Toronto and Rochester are numerous and frankly, pretty damn cool if we take advantage of them. Sure there's commercial benefits, but I'm more interested in: 1) the hockey, namely our symbiotic relationship with our farm team in Rochester and our excellent and heated division rivalry with the Toronto Maple Leafs (I despise those ____ers); 2) the cultural benefits, and 3) the music. Especially the music, with Buffalo ideally situated between the two poles of our megalopolis, the megaregion becomes our oyster. Case in point: the skull crushingly fine tri-fecta going off tomorrow night featuring Sharon Van Etten with Damien Jurado at the Town Ballroom (tickets are still available!), Yeasayer in Toronto, and Sleigh Bells and Araabmuzik at the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester.
Tomorrow night we've got ourselves a smorgasbord of shows worthy of interest, even if two of the three acts have already played Buffalo this year. I'm not going to get into the Sharon Van Etten show because that's being covered tomorrow (also, I'm not that excited about it, but that's just me), which leaves the Yeasayer and Sleigh Bells shows, which will be excellent based on what's been seen before by the Town Ballroom faithful. Even though their Fragrant World album let a lot of people down, Yeasayer's Buffalo show was exceptional... a puzzling paradox that will make their show at the Danforth Music Hall an opportunity to perhaps solve this mystery while checking out the allegedly impressive light show they're mounting on this leg of the tour, perhaps as a result of the decidedly mixed reviews Fragrant World received upon it's release in mid August. I myself would like to believe that the band thought they'd be conquering the world behind their new album and went for a light show that'd blow minds while they circled the world triumphantly, but I suspect that's naive tomfoolery. In any case, Fragrant World sounded great live alongside cuts from All Hour Cymbals and Odd Blood, so this ought to be a great show for Buffalonians eager to revisit those heady summer nights when our scene was on fire.
Indeed, one of the hottest and most explosive shows of the summer easily had to be the Sleigh Bells show in July, another Buffalo show strong enough to merit seeing them again, this time at the Water Street Music Hall. In fact I'm bummed that Yeasayer and Sleigh Bells are going off on the same night because the wall of sound laid down by Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss was delicious, utterly irresistible, and something I'd love to experience again. If there is one downside to living in a megalopolis, it'd be the fact that sometimes great shows go off on the same night, forcing hard choices on the part of discerning music fans. Hell, the night of the Yeasayer show at the Town Ballroom, Sigur Ros played Toronto. Sometimes you can't win, but boy is it nice to have options.
Now I know that Buffalonians have a complicated relationship with our neighbors to the North, and it's completely understandable considering their hockey fans mock us in our own building, their poor driving skills make them menaces on our roads and theirs, and their disdain for us does tend to strike a sour note. That said, to hell with them. Toronto is nice, and it's wasted on them... so we might as well partake in the goodness while also occasionally benefiting from our proximity when bands pass thru town on their way to or from Toronto. OK, yes, to be honest, I wish more shows visited Buffalo. Of course. More, more, more. But that's not necessarily how it goes for a struggling Rust Belt city like ours, and while progress is definitely being made cultivating a scene and an audience, this is where living in a megalopolis comes in handy. Between Toronto, Rochester, and Buffalo we get just about everybody... and it is good.
Oh yeah, by the way, Passion Pit plays the Main Street Armory in Rochester February 18. I agree that it sucks that they're not playing here, but the Armory is a fantastic venue (of a size we just don't have in Buffalo), their show at the Rapids Theatre 2 years ago was muy excellent even with light show issues, and that means road trip...