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Monday, December 11, 2023
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950



Haley Reinhart talks Anderson .Paak, “Lo-Fi Soul” and October show

There’s something magical about Haley Reinhart’s aura.  It’s in her ‘60s appeal, it’s in her free-spirited live shows and it’s in her band, which once included the now Grammy-winning hip-hop heavyweight Anderson .Paak. Reinhart, quite like her former drummer-turned-performer extraordinaire, has evolved her sound over her career. Her new record, “Lo-Fi Soul,” is a coverless call to the ‘60s, full of organs, lovely backing harmonies and vocal effects that carry the record throughout. Unlike her previous effort, “What’s That Sound,” Reinhart’s originals run her latest and feel straight out of The Monkees’ or The Doors’ organ-heavy catalog. It’s vintage, but it’s her.

Drag Queens performing at Sheas Smith Theatre Friday night. From left to right Nicki Monroe, Cece Vergara, Sasha Storm, Keke Valasquez-Lord, Winter Storm, Chyna Dior, Bebe Bvlgari and Armani.

Say ‘More w--re:’ A celebration of feminine expression

The crowd chanted “more w--re” and dropped dollar bills as Keke Valasquez-Lord entertained the audience to “Last Dance” by Donna Summer.  Club Marcella held “Curtain Up’s a Drag” in collaboration with Shea’s Performing Arts Center at the Smith Theatre Friday night. The 237-seat Black Box Theater was nearly full –– surprisingly with an older audience. It featured individual performances from Sasha Storm, Cece Vergara, Chyna Dior, Nicky Monroe, Valasquez-Lord, Winter Storm, Bebe Bvlgari and Armani, along with a group act at the end. Reigning Miss Gay Buffalo Icon Valasquez-Lord –– an entertainer in the Buffalo drag community for the past 13 years –– hosted the show. 

Guerilla Toss plays in Buffalo.

What would the odd say: A conversation with Guerilla Toss’ Kassie Carlson

A backdrop of old VHS tapes and psychedelic visuals set the stage as wild synth patterns clash with violins.  NYC band Guerilla Toss has covered everything from ear-splitting punk to ‘80s synthpop. Its gradual evolution has created a satisfying career arc, but one consistent appeal of the group is vocalist Kassie Carlson. Her singing ranges from high-pitched screams to melodic anthem cries, but she always remains the heart and soul of the band’s personality.

Kanye West performs at Fall Fest 2005.

When Mr. West woke up the fest

Kanye West wasn’t a big fan of presidents in 2005 and he probably never expected to dap one up when he visited Alumni Arena on Oct. 21 of that year. But Dela Yador –– the 2005 Student Association president –– thinks about his encounter with West often.

Stills from the production of Hairspray now showing at The Kavinoky Theatre.

“Hairspray” brings the ‘60s back to Buffalo

Buffalo’s production of “Hairspray” brings something to the musical that professional performances don’t typically see. A student-filled cast. “Hairspray,” despite the uncharacteristically young team, radiated an exuberant energy between the cast and audience that resonated throughout the house.

Emily Quartley poses with her life-sized drawing.

Paying for portraits

Marysia Paradis began making art as soon as she could hold a pencil.  Her mother encouraged her to draw and paint and she soon found that she especially had a skill and love for drawing animals. 

Koffee talks to The Spectrum editors.

Koffee talks travel, ‘Rapture’ and Kranium

Koffee didn’t need any coffee to help her pull off her Fall Fest performance Saturday night. Instead, the artist –– who had the flu –– leaned on and harnessed her Buffalonian fans’ positive energy.  Koffee, born Mikayla Simpson, performed at the Center for the Arts during the Student Association’s first of three Fall Fest shows, where she announced her sickness on stage.

Portraits of comedian Gilbert Gottfried. Gottfried will take the stage at the Helium Comedy Club in November.

Gilbert Gottfried talks residuals, ‘Ren and Stimpy’ and forgetting his roles

Gilbert Gottfried could have played an important role in your childhood. But he probably won’t remember if you ask him. Throughout his 30-plus-year career, the comedian lent his voice to films like “Aladdin,” cartoons like “The Fairly Odd Parents,” video games like “Kingdom Hearts” and over 160 other projects. While he doesn’t always recall each of his gigs, he still rakes in the residual checks for them –– even the ones worth $.01. 

Buffalo rapper Billie Essco poses with a bicycle.

Billie Essco says new album is his ‘musical peak’

Billie Essco remembers the day he saw his creative idol live.  The Buffalo rapper decided to drive down to New York City and go see Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 show. After the life-changing show, which featured Young Thug and Kid Cudi, Essco left the city to go stay at his friend’s place in Washington, D.C.

The single cover to Lil Pump's "Gucci Gang."

Bankable beats

When asked to describe college students, most people’s first response is “broke.”  Students have to pay for tuition, meals, gas, rent, books and so much more, so it gets hard to hold on to extra cash.But if you listen to this playlist of rich rhythms, you can feel richer, even while eating ramen noodles out of a coffee mug.


On 'Lover,' Taylor Swift shows tremendous artistic growth

Swift has spent her whole career trying to describe true love in her songwriting. In the liner notes for "Red" she muses,“real love shines golden like starlight, and doesn’t fade or spontaneously combust. Maybe I’ll write a whole album about that kind of love if I ever find it.”  And with "Lover," she achieves that. In a call-back to "Red," Swift sings “I once believed love would be burning red/but it’s golden like daylight.”

Comedian Jim Norton will return to Buffalo to perform at Helium Comedy Club from Sept. 5-7.

Jim Norton brings his honesty to the Buffalo comedy scene

Jim Norton became interested in stand-up comedy when he was 12 years old. Now, Norton performs at sold-out shows across the country and runs a radio show on weekday mornings. He has also created several podcasts, appeared in a few comedy shows, published two books and may have a small role in the upcoming Netflix feature film “The Irishman.” 

The Jonas Brother lit up the stage in vibrant colors while they entertained the crowd at the KeyBank Center Tuesday night. From left to right: Kevin Jonas, Joe Jonas and Nick Jonas.

Buffalo catches the ‘Lovebug’

On Aug. 30, 2009, 12-year-old Sarah Scott’s dreams came true when she saw the Jonas Brothers live in Toronto. Ten years later –– and wearing the same t-shirt from 2009 –– her childhood dreams came true again, this time with a beer in her hand.

Struts vocalist Luke Spiller performs at Canalside Thursday.

The Struts boogie-woogie by the harbor

 The Struts, currently on their “Young and Dangerous Tour” in support of their latest studio album “Young and Dangerous,” took on the rainbow-lit stage at Canalside on Thursday night and opened to the cheering crowd with “Primadonna Like Me.” Spiller dazzled on stage with his signature glittered cheekbones, black tattoo chokers, a gold fringe jacket, and an embellished green blouse.  

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