Buffalo is Alive with Music

Buffalo has its scene – but it also has a sound.

 

It’s the gritty guitar chords of a city always grinding, with fledgling musicians flicking strings through punk sets or intricate progressions in the corners of dive bars and dance halls. It’s the drum thump of an ethnically diverse population, packed together in rock clubs once host to jazz greats, alt rock gods and every performer in between. It’s the amplified exuberance of a region still rising from the ashes of its Rust Belt past, but now blooming from the artistic fervor that’s always kept it pulsating.

 

Buffalo’s music is its heartbeat, and every night, it’s unleashed to illuminate this once-heralded City of Light.

 

Popular Music Venues

 

Step into Asbury Hall @ Babeville and find downtown’s most angelic venue, set inside a converted 19th century Gothic Revival-style church. Catch a touring show inside the lower bowl of the historic Town Ballroom, then shuffle across the street to the Tralf for blues, jazz or the spirit of Prince—who famously played a surprise set in the place in 2002. Pack into Mohawk Place for genuine rock club grit, or find the city’s answer to Austin, Texas within the alt-country, honky tonk confines of Sportsmen’s Tavern. Walk up to a collaborative evening within the Colored Musicians Club; stroll in and get situated within the jazz-infused ambiance of Pausa Art House; or head to bohemian cool of Nietzsche’s, whose exterior artwork states its position quite clearly: Without music, life would be a mistake.

 

Rick James found his funk on these streets. The Goo Goo Dolls went from sweat-drenched local club shows to eventual pop radio stardom. Snapcase’s homegrown snarl influenced every fledgling hardcore act for decades—including fellow Buffalonians Every Time I Die, who tore up local spots before rising to a now flagship act of its genre. Ani DiFranco, Willie Nile and Weezer’s Patrick Wilson grew up here; and before its swirling jams moved summer festivals, Aqueous, Moe. and Soulive were born on these blocks.

 

But the venues and lineage are only part of the sound. The rest lies in the region’s ongoing need for that beat, and how it reverberates from musician to resident across all corners of Western New York.

 

Tireless local artists. Visiting Canadian quartets. Hip-hop poets and purveyors of glittering synth pop. Their rhythms roll through venues small and large, suburban or city. In the winter, it echoes between frost-covered windows of neighborhood taverns and intimate enclaves. In the summer, it moves into every park, headlines every waterfront festival, and entertains thousands, seven nights a week.

 

Finding Buffalo’s Nightlife

 

Regardless of season, it’s always a working-class communal experience, shared by locals who’ve lived it, and visitors who want to check the pulse of this city. And with every song or sold-out show, that vibrancy is here—and it’s the sound of Buffalo.

 

With many watering holes waiting until 4 a.m. for last call, you could say Buffalo knows a thing or two about nightlife. From old-school taverns and hopping bars to craft beers, casinos and live music, the Nickel City parties from dusk to near dawn.

 

You’ll find nightspots all over town, from Allen Street, Elmwood Avenue, University Heights and Hertel Avenue  to the Chippewa Entertainment District in the heart of downtown. Chow down on innovative food at Local Kitchen & Bar and SoHo, soak in the city on Skybar’s rooftop terrace and dance the night away at 67 West. The drop-down menus on the listings below will help you hone in on the nightlife and locations that fit your mood. Spend and evening in some of Buffalo’s classic taverns. Or fellas: plan a guy’s night out with these suggestions!

 

Ready to hear it? Scroll down to see our list of venues, or explore our events calendar for upcoming music events.

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Pausa Art House

The perfect place for your next night out.

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Listen Local. Drink Local.

The abundance of opportunities to combine live music and craft beer for an enhanced experience within Buffalo’s footprint makes WNY a first-class region for live entertainment. This series is presented by 42 North Brewing Company.

Unexpected BUFFALO’S PLAYLIST

First Monday Jazz Jam

02/05 – 12/02

The Gypsy Parlor

Monthly on every first Monday, join Becky Davis for our monthly jazz jam. Bring your instruments or vocals and jam…

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Sammy Kershaw

03/08 – 03/09

$65

Turn back the country music time clock with the soulful sounds of this multi-platinum album maker. With hits like “I…

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The Music of Phil Collins and Genesis

03/08

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Bradley Thachuk, conductorFrom In the Air Tonight to Against All Odds, and Turn It On Again to Invisible Touch, Phil…

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First Ladies of Song

03/09

Kleinhans Music Hall

As the lead vocalist with the Count Basie Orchestra, Carmen Bradford is one of jazz music’s most diverse and exciting…

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Swing Street

03/09

PAUSA Art House

Swing Street will present a vocal and instrumental collection of songs which capture the essence of this music, while highlighting…

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Art of Jazz – Dan Wilson, “Things Eternal”

03/10

Buffalo AKG Art Museum

$40

For more than two decades, the Art of Jazz series has been recognized as one of the premier jazz events…

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Sammy Rae & The Friends

03/10

Electric City

$35-$65

Sammy Rae & The Friends appearing live in concert.

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Global Grooves Concert Series: Dervish

03/12

Kleinhans Music Hall

Dervish are long-established as one of the biggest names in Irish music internationally. They’re renowned for live performances, which match dazzling…

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Meshell Ndegeocello

03/12

Electric City

$39-$85

Meshell Ndegeocello appearing live in concert.

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Peter Case

03/12

Babeville

Peter Case:”I try to take things I love and use them in a new way,” said triple Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Peter…

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HIT n RUN at The Hawk!

03/15

Diamond Hawk Golf Course & Pub “The Hawk”

$5

HIT n RUN, 9 time winners of Top Pop Rock Band by Buffalo Music Awards, is coming to The Hawk!Get…

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Mendelssohn’s Reformation

03/15 – 03/16

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Internationally-acclaimed violinist and Sphinx Competition laureate Melissa White was recently appointed Professor of Music at UB. She performs the sweeping…

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Casual Concerts – Matt Venuti

03/16

Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Venuti creates a performance that he customizes for each audience through his intuitive improvisational prowess…

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Boney James

03/17

Kleinhans Music Hall

$51.50-71.50

Smooth Jazz and Rhythm and Blues Sax master Boney James returns to Buffalo for one night only, fresh off the…

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Celtic Tenors

03/17

Electric City

Come join us on St. Patrick’s Day for Celtic Tenors on March 17th 2024!Doors: 3:30 pmShow: 4:30 pm   For…

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Excision: Nexus Tour – 2 nights

03/19 – 03/20

Buffalo RiverWorks

Excision: Buffalo New York: Feat 2 nights of bass music, a monstrous K2 sound system, visual panorama, world class laser…

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Brit Floyd PULSE Tour 2024

03/20

Kleinhans Music Hall

Brit Floyd returns to the stage in 2024 with P·U·L·S·E, their biggest and most spectacular production to date, a celebration…

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Nickel Creek

03/23

Center for the Arts

Nickel Creek is mandolinist Chris Thile, violinist Sara Watkins and guitarist Sean Watkins. Together a sum of more than their staggering…

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STYX

03/23

$55

A leading force in Rock music for decades, this band has brought us mega-hits like “Come Sail Away,” “Too Much…

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Schubert and Wagner

03/23 – 03/24

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Copland’s popular Billy the Kid Suite complements Schubert’s sublime and familiar “Unfinished” Symphony No. 8. and Wagner’s glorious operatic prelude…

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Samantha Fish – The Bulletproof Tour 2024

03/24

Babeville

Blues rocker Samantha Fish is best known for her blazing electric guitar fretwork, though her secret weapon is astute, nuanced…

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Too Many Zooz

03/30

Babeville

Self-described “Brass House” trio Too Many Zooz make manically kinetic instrumental music that combines avant-garde jazz, EDM, punk rock, and sundry other…

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Jeff Rosenstock w/ Sidney Gish, Gladie

04/02

Babeville

$25 advance

Tenuously beloved punk and EMMY-nominated Craig of the Creek songwriter Jeff Rosenstock is back today with “LIKED U BETTER,” his…

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National Geographic Speaker Series: Life on Thin Ice with Kiliii Yuyan

04/02

Kleinhans Music Hall

Award-winning photographer and National Geographic Explorer Kiliii Yüyan captures the human experience in some of the world’s harshest environments. Through…

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