Niagara Gazette

October 31, 2013

JENNINGS: Taj Mahal, Denny Laine among week's diverse acts

By Thom Jennings
Night & Day

Night & Day — There is a slew of great choices coming to the region this weekend, and enough to suit just about every musical taste from ‘60s pop, Beatles classics, blues and metal.

We will start on a busy Friday night with Taj Mahal at the UB Center for the Arts. The 71 year-old blues musician was born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks Sr. He began using the stage name Taj Mahal in the the late 1950s. Taj Mahal has won two Grammy Awards and his unique form of blues that mixes jazz and world music is simply infectious. Tickets for the show start at $27 and are available through

Also on Friday, Faster Pussycat will be at Braun’s Concert Cove in Akron. They will be supported by John Valby. I made my first trip to Braun’s last weekend and it’s an interesting venue. This show should be the last of their 2013 season, and you will want to dress warm since it is an open arena. Tickets are $20 and available through

A show I stumbled across is coming to the Buffalo Sportsmen’s Tavern at 326 Amherst St. Every now and then they grab a really cool performer, on Friday Denny Laine will be performing Abbey Road and other classics from his days in Paul McCartney and Wings and the Moody Blues. I assume that will include “Go Now” and “Live and Let Die,” just to name a few. Laine is featured in the rerelease of “Wings Over America,” the concert film and album for the band’s 1976 U.S tour. For $30 you can see a guy that was playing huge arenas for many years in an intimate setting. I am kicking myself for not requesting an interview to preview the show.

As if that wasn’t enough to choose from, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will be at Shea’s. They have had 29 top 40 hits and inspired the musical “Jersey Boy.” They are deservedly in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I just can’t think of a better venue to showcase their talent than Shea’s.

There is one more choice, Merle Haggard will be at Kleinhan’s Music Hall in Buffalo. Haggard is a country music legend and has 38 number one singles, nearly 100 songs that have charted. Haggard has released 76 studio albums, and too many country music awards to mention. Tickets for his show start at $40 and are available at

On Saturday at Seneca Niagara’s Bears Den, blues guitarist Johnny Winter will be headlining. In the late 1960s Winter received what was at the time the largest advance for a recording contract from Columbia Records. He is considered by many music publications as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and he performed at the original Woodstock. The show is sold out, but you can check Ticketmaster to see if they are releasing any tickets.

Next week on Tuesday, the Rapids Theatre will be hosting Asking Alexandria a “metalcore” band from England. They are not my cup of tea, but of you like hardcore metal and punk it is certain to be a great evening of music. Also on the bill, All That Remains, Sevendust, FOR TODAY, Emmure. I hadn’t been out to The Rapids in quite some time until Saturday’s show with USS. It is a great place to see a show. Tickets for this one are $27.50 in advance and available through

Finally, our show on a tank of gas is in Rochester this Friday at The Main Street Armory which features Langhorne Slim and the Law. Their publicist sent me a copy of their latest al bum “The Way We Move,” which received universally good reviews. It is a great album. The band is playing a show for $10, and they have earned a reputation as a great live band, so whatever you spend on gas you will save on the ticket price.

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