A promising winter in Buffalo

Jay-Z, Drake, Every Time I Die among those performing in Buffalo this winter

The Spectrum

Even in the midst of the holidays, winter can be a disheartening time for many college students spending the break in Buffalo.

Oscillating between loving and hating the seemingly endless snowfall, battling depression caused by the disappointing performances of local sports teams and waiting for the cessation of boredom caused by weeks away from the classroom are common pastimes during this frigid season.

Thankfully, there will be a little more to look forward to this winter aside from hitting the slopes or clearing your driveway of snow due to a wide variety of musical performances planned at many venues around the city.

For those looking to cap off their semester on a good note and combat finals week stress, Boston post-hardcore band Lions Lions will be performing at the Waiting Room on Delaware Avenue on Friday. Led by front man Joshua Herzer's soaring vocals, Lions Lions has a large song catalog consisting of not only its own upbeat rock sing-a-longs but also its versions of popular staples like Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" and Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake's "Holy Grail."

For the concertgoer less interested in Lions Lions' heavier style, MellowHigh, consisting of Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis and Left Brain of the OFWGKTA rap collective, will perform at the Waiting Room on Saturday, Dec. 7. Before the trio takes the stage to perform its set, UB students and Buffalo natives Quinton Brock and Derek Sullivan, who together form Network, will perform a set to open for MellowHigh.

Brock's intelligent lyricism, coupled with Sullivan's unconventional sampling and percussion production that varies greatly from song to song, produces an aural experience unlike that offered by most modern hip-hop acts. While their song catalog includes many crisp and straightforward rap offerings, the duo has also developed a number of noisy, abstract and convoluted tracks of a more psychedelic style that are just as sonically impressive.

Later in the month, on Thursday, Dec. 12, the annual Kissmas Bash, put on by local radio station Kiss 98.5, will take place at First Niagara Center. The event aims to cater to a wide variety of music fans and features seven different acts. The lineup includes the Jonas Brothers, Swedish pop duo Icona Pop and Tegan and Sara - identical twin sisters who double as an indie rock duo.

For those more attracted to one of the rap concerts Buffalo has to offer, hip-hop heavyweight Drake is also making a stop at First Niagara Center on Sunday, Dec. 15. as part of his ongoing "Would You Like a Tour?" Rapper Future and singer Miguel will accompany Drake.

As Christmas approaches, fans of metal and hardcore rock will get a chance to celebrate properly when Buffalo natives Every Time I Die play their Christmas show at the Waiting Room. The two-night event, taking place on Friday, Dec. 20 and Saturday, Dec. 21, will be the band's ninth annual incarnation of the holiday show.

Once it becomes time to fully embrace the New Year and semester of classes, UB students can still enjoy a couple more outstanding acts before facing the new scholastic rigors that accompany the melting snow.

On Monday, Jan. 27, rock band Dr. Dog will play at Main Street's Town Ballroom, where the group will be able to display its distinctively smooth style in front of a fairly intimate crowd.

Three days later, on Thursday, Jan. 30, rap superstar Jay-Z will make a stop at First Niagara Center as part of his Magna Carter World Tour - his first solo headlining tour since 2009. In what is sure to be an impressive performance, the so-called "Brooklyn boy" will likely perform a very diverse set, showcasing new tracks from his recently released "Magna Carta Holy Grail" alongside old favorites from albums past.

Although the winter season normally garners varied criticisms from disapproving students in a city like Buffalo, the musical offerings over the next couple of months should prove to be diverse enough - and of high enough quality - to silence the critics.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com