Niagara Gazette

March 6, 2013

JENNINGS: Rihanna, Big Leg Emma warm up winter concert scene

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — As we finish up the last weeks of winter the concert season hits a bit of a lull, but there are a few interesting selections in the area this weekend representing different generations and genres of music. We are also starting to see the summer schedule unfold at Darien Lake, Dave Matthews Band, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts and Train have all confirmed dates at Darien Lake this summer. The Avett Brothers have a date at Artpark on May 24.

This Friday, pop superstar Rihanna comes to the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. In the eight years since her debut album “Music of the Sun,” Rihanna has garnered an impressive collection of seven Grammy Awards and eighteen Billboard Music Awards. Rihanna’s show in Buffalo is the first stop on her Diamonds World Tour 2013.

On Saturday Big Leg Emma appears at Club Infinity 8166 Main St. in Clarence. The band will be headlining a free show commemorating Terrapin Station’s 25th anniversary (the Buffalo store not the album).

Big Leg Emma gets their name from one of my favorite Frank Zappa songs. Like many of the late Frank Zappa’s songs, it would be considered quite politically incorrect, as it is about a girl that gets fat. The line “I got a big dilemma about my Big Leg Emma, she was my steady date until she put on weight,” was classic tongue in cheek stuff from Zappa.

Big Leg Emma comes from Jamestown and bill themselves as “Americana roots rock music.” To me that is the fancy name for jam bands like Rusted Root. Whatever you want to call it, I have seen Big Leg Emma a few times and they put on a great show. It’s free so you have nothing to lose.

On the same night another of my favorite bands, The Grass Roots appears at The Bear’s Den at The Seneca Niagara Casino. The band is known for a slew of hits like “Temptation Eyes” and “Sooner or Later.”

The band has quite an interesting history, and in spite of the name, they were not organically created, the band was manufactured by two major record producers based in Los Angeles. They have had over 50 members since 1965.

On Sunday, Pavlo, the “Greek God of the Guitar” will be at The Tralf on Main Street in Buffalo. The Mediterranean style instrumentalist has nine albums to his credit including “Trifecta” a collaboration with Oscar Lopez and former Triumph guitarist Rik Emmett. If you like flamenco style guitar you will love Pavlo.

If you are really feeling adventurous you can make the trip to Toronto to see Pink. She is appearing at the Air Canada Centre. Last year’s “The Truth About Love” is one of my favorite albums of 2012. If you can afford the tickets she is worth the trip.

Next week look for an exclusive interview with Jewel, who is coming the area on March 16.

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