Niagara Gazette

October 10, 2013

JENNINGS: Decade by decade, a good week for local concerts

By Thom Jennings
Night & Day

Night & Day — If you aren’t one of the lucky ones that scored tickets to Pearl Jam on Friday there are plenty of other great shows coming to the region, including soft rockers and other alternatives. In fact, this weekend’s shows represent artists from the 1950s to the present, and so to change things up I’ll present them to you in their respective decades.

We’ll start on Tuesday, where over at the Tralf, they will be hosting John Mayall, who formed his first band in 1956. Of course Mayall’s claim to fame is his stints in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a band that over the years featured some amazing guitarists including Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Peter Green, Walter Trout and Coco Montoya (who played in the area last weekend).

On Friday, our band from the 1960s is Savoy Brown, who are at The Forvm (part of the Maple Entertainment Complex in Buffalo.) Originally formed in 1965, the band has undergone many personnel changes — they launched the career of the late “Lonesome Dave” Peverett of Foghat — but through it all the constant has been guitarist Kim Simmonds. I saw the band in the early 1990s and they were great! If you like hard driving British blues, these are the guys to see.

On Friday and Saturday, the 1970s are represented by soft rockers Air Supply who are at the Niagara Fallsview Casino in Canada. The band hails from Australia, which means that the land down under has arguably produced the greatest soft rock group, Air Supply, and the most famous hard rockers, AC/DC.

Our 1980s offering is Soul Asylum, formed in Minneapolis. They play The Tralf on Tuesday with Fountains of Wayne. I won’t miss this show, they are one of my favorite live acts and their live album “After the Flood” is an album I listen to often.

That brings us to the 1990s and Pearl Jam. The band comes in to town on Saturday for a sold-out show at First Niagara Center. The band sold all of their tickets for $69, and are one of the few major concert acts that has fan friendly ticket policies. They will be performing songs from their album “Lightning Bolt,” which will be released on Tuesday. At the time of this writing, there were some reasonably priced tickets on StubHub.

From the 21st century on Tuesday, Selena Gomez comes to First Niagara Center. From 2002 to 2004 she appeared in “Barney and Friends,” a show that my kids grew up on. She also appeared on Hannah Montana and a bunch of Disney kid shows. She has yet to twerk or host “Saturday Night Live,” her biggest mistake was her choice of boyfriends, but she has corrected that one.

Finally, our show on a tank of gas and a bonus show. Tonight, in Syracuse at a venue called The Lost Horizon, where District 97 featuring John Wetton will be performing. Wetton is progressive rock royalty and best known for being the voice of Asia’s biggest hits like “Heat of the Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell.” He also did time in King Crimson and U.K. Wetton appears on District 97’s latest album “Trouble with Machines.” The band features former American Idol contestant Leslie Hunt. They represent a new generation of prog rockers. This is a show I am devastated isn’t coming closer. It’s going to be a great one.

Over in Rochester next Thursday at The German House Theatre you can catch another legend, folk singer Arlo Guthrie. I have seen him numerous times and if you read my Sunday column, you may remember that Guthrie’s version of “Amazing Grace” is one of my top five concert moments. If you don’t want to drive to Rochester he will be at Babeville on Wednesday. Honestly, it’s worth seeing him two nights in a row if you have the time.

If you are looking for some local stuff, on Saturday at The Tralf The Rob Falgiano Band will be holding a CD release party. They feature one of my favorite local guitarists, Mike Criscione (who admitted to me he never reads my column!) At The Waiting Room on Friday, my good friends the Buffalo-based Heavenly Chillbillies will be headlining.

Tickets for Soul Asylum, Rob Falgano and Air Supply are available through Ticketmaster. Arlo Guthrie and Selena Gomez are on For the other shows, check the venues websites.

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