Niagara Gazette

January 9, 2014

JENNINGS: Mike Epps ready to warm things up

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A couple of rock bands from the 1990s and a famous comedian top the list of things to do this weekend. After a week of sitting home and singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” you may want to go out and catch a live show.

Before we get into the weekend’s events, I just wanted to pause and acknowledge the passing of one of music’s most influential artists, Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers.

Phil and his surviving brother Don produced tons of great music that combined rockabilly, country and pop. They laid the groundwork for rock and roll’s domination in the 1960s with hits like “Bye Bye Love”, “Wake up Little Susie” and “Cathy’s Clown.”

Bands like The Beatles, The Hollies, The Beach Boys and the duo of Simon and Garfunkel cited the Everly Brothers as a major influence. The Everly Brothers distinctive harmonies are instantly recognizable and with Phil’s passing many people, including myself, will revisit the group’s catalogue in remembrance of Phil Everly. He will be missed.

We will start this weekend’s events at the Seneca Niagara Casino where they will be hosting comedian Mike Epps. He began his comedy career in 1995 on the Def Comedy Jam tour and has since been in tons of movies including “The Hangover” and “Hancock.”

Perhaps his most famous movie role was in the film “Next Friday,” the sequel to the film “Friday.” Epps played Day-Day Jones in the 2000 film, and its 2002 follow up “Friday after Next.” I guess it’s appropriate he will be at the Seneca Niagara Casino on a Friday. Keep in mind it’s only this Friday, not next Friday or the Friday after next. Tickets start at $32 and are available via Ticketmaster.

Also on Friday at The Town Ballroom, Maryland-based rock band Clutch will be performing. The band’s latest album “Earth Rocker” is their highest charting effort to date, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock Albums chart last year. They have been around for more than 20 years and built a devoted fan base because of their reputation as a great live band. General admission tickets are $22 in advance and $25 day of show. Town Ballroom tickets can be purchased at Tickets.com or at The Town Ballroom box office.

The following night at The Town Ballroom, the documentary “Bring Me Your Vultures: A Mohawk Place Documentary” will be shown. It still bums me out that Mohawk Place closed — it was a special place. The movie starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance and $15 day of show.

Also on Saturday night, ‘90s rock band Eve 6 will be at Seneca Niagara’s Bear’s Den. In my mind the lyrics to their big hit “Inside Out” are amazing. I love the classic lines “Want to put my tender, heart in a blender, watch it spin around to a beautiful oblivion, rendezvous then I’m through with you.” It doesn’t get much better than that! Tickets for Eve 6 start at $40 and are available at all Ticketmaster locations.

Finally, your show on a tank of gas is Neil Young at Massey Hall in Toronto with Diana Krall. Tickets are long sold out in spite of the hefty price range of $115 to $270. Young is the same guy that sang out against commercialism in rock music in his song “This Note’s for You.” The opening line of the song “Don’t want no cash, don’t need no money” seems outdated now that he commands huge dollars for his concert tickets. If you can afford the tickets you can afford the gas to get there to see his commercial free show. Your best bet is to check StubHub for tickets.

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