Niagara Gazette

January 30, 2013

Constantino, Winters highlight local concert scene

By Thom Jennings
Night & Day

Night & Day — The highlight of this weekend is the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil Sowerby in Punxsutawney, Penn. With any luck the country’s most famous weather prognosticating groundhog will not see his shadow and we will have an early spring after a bitterly cold winter.

Hopefully this weekend will not be forced to an endless cycle of mornings listening to Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” like Bill Murray did in the classic movie “Groundhog Day.” There are a few good choices for music fans this weekend, including a couple of legendary guitarists that are coming to town, one here in Niagara Falls and the other at The Tralf in Buffalo.

This Friday at the Hard Rock Café, the venues “Free Music Friday” series features a local legend and Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee, Dave Constantino, best known for his stint in two legendary regional acts, The Tweeds and Talas. Constantino has been performing in the area for a whopping 48 years! I have had the opportunity to see him at least six times and he has never disappointed me.

Constantino will be the featured performer every first Friday of the month at The Hard Rock Café. What can fans expect over the next few months?

“The first three shows will include guests that are best known for being blues or R&B performers, Billy McEwen, Willie Haddath and Jony James to name a few. But that does not mean that I will be inviting blues guests only, and when I do have an opening act it will not always be blues. I will try to mix things up,” Constantino said in an exclusive interview via email this week.

After 48 years as a performer I asked Dave to share some of his favorite moments as a performer.

“My first band, The Tweeds were on the bill at two large shows in Buffalo, The KB Fun-Affair and The Teenage Fair. The list of performers was amazing and I was very glad to be part of it. I have great memories of The Buffalo Aud opening for Aerosmith and playing my song “See Saw“ and seeing people holding up their lighters during the tune. I liked how that looked and felt. I loved outdoor Talas shows. Still do when they happen. Delaware Park, Hard Rock Quarry, the drive-in concerts and we would play in large lots at various movie theater complexes.”

Dave’s been busy working on a new Dave Constantino Band album that he hopes to release sometime this year. He’s worth paying to see, so the fact that these shows are free should be good enough reason to heck hum out.

The other guitar legend coming to town is Johnny Winter, who is also playing a Friday night show. Winter will be in Buffalo at The Tralf. Winter is considered one of the best blues guitarists of all time, and signed one of the most lucrative record deals in the 1970’s when he was a major headliner.

Winter performed at the first Woodstock, and I will forever remember him for being the least talkative person I have ever interviewed. When I asked him for some recollections of his Woodstock performance he answered “It was awful. There was a lot of mud around and it got nasty.” My follow up question was whether he met any of the other legendary performers that day and he simply replied, “Nope.”

Tickets for Johnny Winter at The Tralf are $28 and available at all Ticketmaster locations. In spite of him being a tough person to interview, by all accounts he still is an amazing performer to watch and he lets his guitar do most of the talking.