The Grapevine: Your weekly collection of Buffalo's sonic selections


Beside a few geese meandering around campus, UB can seem mostly dead in the summer. There are, however places not too far from Buffalo where music is always alive.

If you’re stuck in the city the next few weeks or wish to venture outside its boundaries, make sure to check out some of these upcoming shows.

Saturday, June 10

The Internet, Majid Jordan and more - Echo Beach, Toronto

The stage will be set at this Saturday’s Manifesto festival in Toronto when Majid Jordan headlines in their hometown. The duo, known for their R&B jams under Drake’s OVO Sound label, are just one of the acts represented at Manifesto 11.

The annual community festival, held this year at Toronto’s Echo Beach venue, will also feature acts like The Internet, Isaiah Rashad and Jidenna.

Manifesto has become a staple in the city, with artists like R&B crooner Anderson.Paak and rapper Goldlink performing in years past. This year’s festival appears no different.

The Internet, a soulful group featuring R&B singer Syd and multi-instrumentalist Steve Lacy, should be playing material off of their Grammy-nominated album Ego Death. Isaiah Rashad, who performed at 2015’s Fall Fest, dropped his jazzy sounding debut The Sun’s Tirade to the rap world’s delight last year.

The fest has moved from its annual September celebration to June and also compacted its celebration into a one day affair. Nonetheless, expect a show of regal proportions as multiple young acts flex their talents.

Saturday, June 10

Gladys Knight - Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

One of soul music’s greatest acts and music legend, Gladys Knight will take over the falls this weekend.

Knight blessed soul fans in the ‘70s with instrumental records recorded with The Pips. “The Empress of Soul,” as she is known as, brilliantly exhibited her vocals on songs like “Midnight Train To Georgia” along with heartfelt singles like “Neither One Of Us.”

Gladys Knight & The Pips also created the memorable soundtrack to Claudine, written and produced by Curtis Mayfield. The soundtrack featured the string-heavy and beautiful “The Makings Of You” as well as the funky “On & On.”

Don’t miss seeing Knight play her timeless classics live in Niagara Falls this weekend.

Thursday, June 15

Gary Clark Jr. - Canalside

Grammy Award winner Gary Clark Jr. will be making his way to the Queen City this month.

Clark Jr. has fused everything from neo-soul and R&B into his modern stylings and blues rock jams. The artist’s influences make for a pleasing product on albums like Blak and Blu as well as 2015’s The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.

Clark Jr. leaps around typical blues and refreshingly provides for a vibrant product when his songs are performed live. General admission to the show is the low price of $5, so grab some friends and enjoy the sounds of this celebrated rocker.

Saturday, June 17

John Legend - Echo Beach, Toronto

Grammy Award winner John Legend will be taking Toronto’s premier outdoor venue this summer. The singer is known more recently for his No. 1 hit “All of Me” but has been a go-to singer for decades in the hip-hop world.

In his recent album, Darkness and Light, the singer’s voice hits with purity in songs like lead single “Love Me Now.” He also invites a slew of artists to accompany his solo-soul mission, collaborating with Chance the Rapper and R&B craftsman Miguel.

Legend has been known to magically work the piano during his shows, so don’t expect anything different from the multi-talented artist next week.

Friday, June 23

New Kids On The Block, Paula Abdul, Boyz II Men - KeyBank Center

The Queen City will have the right stuff when the lovable ‘80s and ‘90s group New Kids On The Block come to town. The boy band’s style made them a hit amongst teens and young adults, a bond that got back together in 2007, ending their break-up.

The band will be joined by singer and former-American Idol judge Paula Abdul as well as the pitch perfect R&B group Boyz II Men.

Abdul’s debut Forever Your Girl hit No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart, a CD that featured No. 1 hits like “Straight Up” and “Opposites Attract.” The singer hasn’t released much since 1995 but will likely take audiences way back in time during her poppy performance.

Boyz II Men is also a blast from the past, with songs like “I’ll Make Love To You” and “End of the Road” that exhibit range and ‘90s swagger. Albums like Cooleyhighharmony and II are gold to any R&B fans ears, so certainly anticipate soul being a factor during this show. 

Benjamin Blanchet is a co-senior arts editor and can be reached at 


Benjamin Blanchet is the senior engagement editor for The Spectrum. His words have been seen in The Buffalo News (Gusto) and The Sun newspapers of Western New York. Loves cryptoquip and double-doubles.