Niagara Gazette

September 26, 2013

JENNINGS: Randy Houser, moe. make for impressive week of live music

By Thom Jennings
Night & Day

Night & Day — Last weekend was a slow one, this weekend more than makes up with it thanks to some great shows coming to the University of Buffalo, Shea’s, The Town Ballroom, the Bear’s Den and Niagara Fallsview.

We begin with Friday night at the Bear’s Den where blues legend Booker T will be performing an intimate show. You can check out my recent interview with him in this week’s Night and Day.

Also on Friday, moe. will be at the Town Ballroom. The band formed at the University of Buffalo in the late 1980s and quickly established itself as one of the premier jam bands around, performing on the same bill as Furthur, The Allman Brothers and The Who. They also performed at Woodstock ‘99, and have appeared at Bonnaroo five times.

The band hosts a famous annual festival called “moe. down” every year. My son Thom Jr. attended the event this year, which ran Aug. 9 and 10, he told me it was a great time. The event was originally held on Labor Day weekend, and according to their website the 2014 moe.down will mark the return of the festival to Labor Day weekend.

On Saturday, one of my favorite country artists, Randy Houser, will be at UB. If you read my Sunday column, you might remember that I interviewed Houser not long after his latest album “How Country Feels,” came out. I wrote that “How Country Feels,” “may be the album that propels Houser to the next level of stardom.”

Well I am happy to say that the album has produced two number one singles, including the million-selling “Runnin’ Out of Moonlight,” and the follow up, the album’s title track, “How Country Feels.” His newest single is “Goodnight Kiss.” Whether you go to the show or not, you must get the album, it is my favorite country album of 2013. Best of all, it’s a free show! Part of UB’s “Tailgate Concert Series,” with shows that start two hours before each home game. Details can be found at

Over at Kleinhans Music Hall on Friday is Bernadette Peters. I fell in love with her when she appeared in Steve Martin’s “The Jerk.” That appearance is only a small part of her amazing career, which included Broadway musicals, television appearances and her recordings. Peters is a legend, and just an amazingly talented individual. Tickets start at $43 and are available at

There are three other shows on Saturday worth mentioning, including Celtic Thunder at Shea’s Performing Arts Center,The Canadian indie band Stars at The Tralf and The Border City Shakedown at Taps Brewery in Niagara Falls.

On Tuesday, not one, but two of the greatest guitarists in the world come to UB’s Center for the Arts, Joe Satriani and Steve Morse. Both of these guys hold plenty of megabytes on my iPod. I have never seen Satriani live so my fingers are crossed that I will get approved to cover the show, as for Morse, well I had the honor of driving him from the Rochester airport to a show at The Red Creek Inn in 1990 shortly after he released “High Tension Wires.” Morse flew his own plane at the time!

Morse is also known for his great work with The Dixie Dregs, Kansas and is currently the guitarist for Deep Purple. Satriani also performs with Chickenfoot, a supergroup featuring former Van Halen alumni Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony. Tickets start at $29 and are available at

Finally, our show on a tank of gas, on Tuesday in Hamilton Ont., Grammy Award winning trumpet player Chris Botti will be performing at Palace Theatre.

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