Niagara Gazette

December 26, 2013

JENNINGS: Closing out 2013 on many high notes

By Thom Jennings ngedit@niagara-gazette
Night & Day

Night & Day — Lots of great music is coming to the area to close out 2013, including a former beauty queen, a Canadian legend, 1960s chart toppers, an influential folk singer and a Grammy Award-winning hard rock band from the 1980s.

Seneca Niagara Casino’s schedule is packed and begins on Friday with a performance from Kim Mitchell, current Q107 disc jockey and former member of Max Webster. Mitchell is no stranger to the region, I have seen him many times and own his entire solo catalogue, including his last effort “Ain’t Life Amazing” which was released in 2007.

Mitchell will be appearing at The Bear’s Den, and the show is sold out. Lucky ticket holders will hear “Go For a Soda” and “All We Are” and I am sure he will work in a couple Max Webster classics. This is a show I am devastated that I won’t be in town for, Kim is an amazing performer and when I had the honor of meeting him a few years back he was easy to talk with and didn’t have an ounce of rock star ego.

On Saturday at the Seneca Niagara Events Center, they will be hosting Vanessa Williams, who is the subject of my feature piece this week.

On Sunday at The Bear’s Den, folk singer Judy Collins will be headlining a 7 p.m. show. Collins is best known for her renditions of “Send in the Clowns” and “Amazing Grace.” My personal favorite is her version of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire.”

Also on Sunday, Steve Forbert will be at Sportsmens Tavern in Buffalo for a 6 p.m. show. Orbert is best known for “Romeo’s Tune” a great song well worth looking up on YouTube. That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the great songs Forbert has penned and performed. At $15 advance and $20 day of show, it is a huge bargain.

On Tuesday night, New Year’s Eve, there are three excellent selections right in Niagara Falls.

At the Bear’s Den, they will be hosting two shows from Paul Revere and the Raiders at 7 and 10 p.m. They are best known for the hit “Kicks” one of the greatest rock songs of all time. Paul Revere has been the frontman since 1958.

Also on Tuesday at The Rapids Theatre, they will be hosting The Headstones and TimeGiant. The Headstones are one of Canada’s most popular bands from the 1990s and known for great live performances. TimeGiant, well let me say this about TimeGiant, I have seen them twice this year and they are an impressive live band. Drummer Charlie McKittrick has stayed in touch since I interviewed him this past summer and the band sent me an autographed Christmas card that made my day! If I wasn’t seeing Todd Rundgren in Florida I would be enjoying TimeGiant at The Rapids. General Admission tickets are $50 and available at The Rapids box office and through Ticketfly. If you go wish all my friends at The Rapids (John, Rafael and Marc) and TimeGiant a Happy New Year from me!

Up the road at The Hard Rock Café, they will be hosting its annual New Years Eve Guitar Drop and fireworks with a free performance from Living Colour. I saw Living Colour on the Experience Hendrix tour a few years back and they were stellar. If you don’t have other plans you can’t miss with these guys.

Finally, my show on a tank of gas, Big Wreck will be ushering in the New Year in Barrie, Ont., for their 16th annual Downtown Countdown. Ian Thornley and I share a birthday, but the real reason to see these guys is that they are a phenomenal live act.

On last note to all my readers, I hope you have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve. Thanks for a great 2013!

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.