Niagara Gazette

October 24, 2013

JENNINGS: Grass Roots, Winery Dogs and USS among acts in town this weekend

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — This weekend is packed with many musical treats including the arrival of a supergroup featuring Buffalo’s own Billy Sheehan, three great shows in two nights at the Seneca Niagara Casino, a great party at the Rapids Theatre featuring great music from north of the border and an eight show run of a Ricky Nelson tribute at the Fallsview Casino.

We will start on Friday at The Seneca Niagara Casino where The Fray will be headlining. The Colorado-based rock band released their multi-platinum debut, “How to Save a Life,” in 2005. They are an uncharacteristically young for a band at the casino, and this is a great chance to see The Fray in a relatively intimate setting.

On the same evening in The Bear’s Den at Seneca Niagara Casino, Richard Marx will be performing a very intimate show. I suppose Marx is best known for his single “Right Here Waiting,” but that is only a small part of his amazing career in the music industry. Marx is a gifted producer and an amazing songwriter. I love his work with Emerson Drive, Fee Waybill and his solo work.

The following night at The Bear’s Den is The Grass Roots. They sing some of my favorite songs of all time including “Temptation Eyes” and “Two Divided by Love.” The band was created by two songwriters, P.F Sloan and Steve Barri and has had a staggering number of members over the years, 44!

You can get ticket information for the shows at

Saturday is shaping up to be a busy night, starting with The Winery Dogs at Hard Rock Niagara Falls USA. Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy combine their talents to form one of the great power trios of all time. Their eponymous debut album is powerful, but what else would you expect from a band with Buffalo’s Billy Sheehan? Tickets for the show are $25 available on for a 9 p.m. show, but they will likely be sold out.

At The Rapids Theatre on Saturday night they will be hosting their annual Halloween party featuring one of my new favorite acts out of Toronto, TimeGiant, who is supporting the headliner Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS). I wrote a huge feature piece on TimeGiant when they opened for Jason Bonham in Lockport this past summer. Drummer Charlie McKittrick and I are still in contact and I can’t wait to see them blow the doors off the Rapids.

As for USS, I am ashamed to say I had never heard of them, but after checking out the Toronto-based band’s music on the web they look like they put on a great show.

Over the border at The Fallsview Casino Mathew and Gunnar Nelson will begin an eight-show run of a multimedia event entitled “Ricky Nelson Remembered.” The first show is Thursday and the final show is the following Wednesday. The late Ricky Nelson is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was a very influential figure in popular music and popular culture. For ticket information check out

For your show on a tank of gas, take a drive to Rochester on Tuesday night and catch Grouplove. The band is best known for the song “Tongue Tied” a million seller that was featured in an Apple iPod commercial. I discovered them after interviewing former Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin — his son Ryan Rabin is Grouplove’s drummer. Tickets for the show are available at

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