Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

May 1, 2014

JENNINGS: Ani DiFranco back home for Babeville show

Niagara Gazette — In case you missed it earlier this week, Artpark filled in the remaining pieces of their Tuesday and Wednesday series. They added six more Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees bringing the total to nine for the series. Sammy Hagar will make his first Tuesday appearance with former Van Halen bandmate Michael Anthony. Styx and Heart will be returning to the series as well.

One of the highlights will be Aretha Franklin, who spent much of her youth in the Buffalo area, on July 22. I still consider my interview with Franklin to be the most important of my career, and her concerts at the casino in 2011 and 2013 were nothing short of majestic.

One interesting note, Steve Lukather may be the first artist to appear with two different headliners at the Tuesday series. Lukather is in Ringo’s All Starr Band and in Toto, and both groups are headliners this year. If there was a guitarist worth seeing twice in a season, it is Lukather.

The Wednesday series added Sara Bareilles, easily one of the best singer-songwriters of this generation. I saw Sara open for Sugarland at the New York State Fair a few years ago and fell in love with her music.

Speaking of talented singer-songwriters, Buffalo’s own Ani DiFranco returns home to Babeville on Friday. Even though she calls New Orleans home these days, DiFranco is beloved in her former hometown, not just as a performer, but as a trailblazing indie artist, proving that talent sells albums, not record companies. Tickets are $32.50 in advance and $37.00 day of show and available at Tickets.com or the Babeville box office.

On Saturday over at Seneca Niagara’s Bears Den, they will be hosting Canadian Britpop and Celtic folk influenced alternative rockers Spirit of the West. They were one of the most popular alternative bands in Canada in the 1990s and had a huge hit with “And if Venice Is Sinking.” One of the advantages of being so close to the Canadian border is that we get these intimate shows from great Canadian bands. Tickets start at $40 and are available through Ticketmaster.

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