Niagara Gazette

May 8, 2014

JENNINGS: Joe Bonamassa highlights weekend acts

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — There are three well respected national artists coming to the Buffalo area this weekend, but before we get to those shows I wanted to spread some love to a couple of Buffalo-area artists associated with the Hard Rock Café in Niagara Falls on the American side.

First, congratulations are in order for Buffalo-based Dirty Smile. The group — man- aged by a great local musician, Jeremy Hoyle — was chosen to represent Western New York in the annual Hard Rock Rising contest. The voting ended May 7, and I am proud to say I case my vote for the band, and win or lose, they are a band that has a bright future.

On Friday at the Hard Rock Café, they continue their “Free Music Friday” series with a performance from the Jamie Holka Trio. I have been playing Jamie’s “Git in Where You Fit in” CD to all of my friends and it has been getting universally great reviews. If you have never seen Jamie perform live, you ought to check this show out.

We now move over to Buffalo on Friday at Shea’s Performing Arts Center and the return of Joe Bonamassa. I go back many years with Joe, I saw him open up for B.B. King on May 24. 1990, just a few weeks after he turned 13 years old! (Joe turns 37 the day before he comes to Buffalo).

Watching Joe’s playing progress over his 25-year career has been quite a treat. Joe’s publicist recently sent me his four-disc video release “Tour de Force: Live in London” and it has provided me with endless hours of enjoyment. The set came out in audio format this week, and any of the shows are well worth buying. I love Joe’s studio albums, but his live material is my favorite.

Tickets for Joe Bonamassa at Shea’s start at $69 and are available through Ticketmaster.

On Saturday, Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas returns to Seneca Niagara’s Events Center for an intimate evening of music. The show has long since sold-out, and I imagine anyone that was fortunate enough to see him the last time he was in town probably snatched up these tickets quickly, the previous show was phenomenal, one of the best I have ever seen at Seneca Niagara.

Thomas and his wife Marisol founded a charitable foundation based in New York City called Sidewalk Angels. The foundation supports a number of worthwhile causes including no-kill animal shelters and help for the homeless.

On Monday over at the UB Center for The Arts they will be hosting the return of Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and guitarist Boz Scaggs. His professional recording career started with the Steve Miller Band, Scaggs received songwriting credits and contributed lead vocals on the Steve Miller Band’s first two albums in the late 1960s. Just last week I heard “Lido Shuffle” on a Canadian rock station, and it is a song that has not lost any of its magic.

Speaking of magic, my show on a tank of gas this week is Duke Jupiter’s free show at the Lilac Festival in Rochester on Friday. Having grown up in Rochester, Duke Jupiter was an important part of my youth. They were recently inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, a well-deserved honor.