Niagara Gazette

July 25, 2013

JENNINGS: Weekend music scene has a retro vibe

By Thom Jennings
Night & Day

Night & Day — The summer continues to roll along with some great live music choices including some big names from the 1980s appearing in Buffalo tonight, the son of a legendary drummer in Lockport on Friday and an all-day affair on Saturday headlined by a Canadian band famous for singing about an American woman.

We will start with tonight’s Thursday at Canalside show in Buffalo featuring Wang Chung and The Fixx.

Wang Chung was at the forefront of the New Wave movement in the 1980s with a slew of MTV and radio hits including “Dance Hall Days”, “Let’s Go” and “Everybody Have Fun Tonight.” The group formed in England and originally recorded under the moniker “Huang Chung” which is the first note in the Chinese classical music scale.

After a successful run the 1980s, Wang Chung split up in 1989 and rarely performed together in the 1990s. In recent years the band has recorded and performed together consistently, appearing on a Regeneration 80’s tour in 2009 and releasing a new album “Tazer Up!” last year.

The Fixx is another band that reached their peak in popularity in the 1980s. They are best known for the hits “Saved By Zero”, “One Thing Leads to Another” and “Red Skies.” They have been together consistently for 33 years and last year they released an album entitled, “Beautiful Friction.”

On Friday, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience comes to Lockport as part of their Canal Concert Series. Jason is the son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham who passed away in 1980. The show has been to the area twice in recent years, once at the UB Center for the Arts and another time at The Rapid’s Theatre. It’s an impressive show.

Two other shows are in the area Friday, The Wailers along with Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad will be at Buffalo’s Canalside for a free Friday night show. The Wailer’s are arguably the most famous reggae band ever, having once backed Bob Marley.

Also on Friday at Braun’s Concert Cove in Akron is Great White. The version of Great White that is appearing in Akron features the founding guitarist Mark Kendall, there is another group touring under the name Great White with founding lead singer Jack Russell.

Sadly, Great White is perhaps now best known for a massive nightclub fire 10 years ago that was touched off by their pyrotechnics. Russell is the only member of the current lineup that was performing with the group that night.

On Saturday at Canalside is an all-day music event to benefit The Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The “Concert for a Cure” features a ton of area bands including Whiskey Reverb, Hit N Run, The Informers and Route 66.

The headliner is The Guess Who, which no longer features Burton Cummings or Randy Bachman, but still has two original members. The current lead singer is Jim Kale who is married to Sass Jordan.

Also on Saturday, Larry Carlton, one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time will be coming to The Bear’s Den at the Seneca Niagara Casino. Carlton started out his career as a session player and has appeared on albums from Steely Dan, Christopher Cross and Barbara Streisand.

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