Niagara Gazette

March 12, 2013

Bėla Fleck, Wolff and Clark Expedition taking the stage

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — In case you missed it, Artpark has officially announced the first two shows of the Tuesday’s at the Park series. Billy Idol opens the series on June 4 and Joan Jett will be the headliner on June 11. Tickets for both shows go on sale tomorrow. The full lineup will be released in April, but there have been unofficial dates floating around for Reo Speedwagon and Bad Company. Stay tuned!

If you can’t wait until the summer to catch live music, this weekend is filled with an eclectic selection of events starting with Bill Cosby and Bėla Fleck at Kleinhan’s Music Hall this weekend. Cosby performs Friday March 15 at 8 p.m. I saw Cosby a few years back and his stand-up routine is hilarious. He is one of the few comedians left that can make you laugh without resorting to bathroom humor or foul language.

Bėla Fleck will be sitting in with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, performing a concerto for Banjo. Fleck is best known for his work with Bėla Fleck and the Flecktones which featured bassist Victor Wooten. Fleck was also a member of New Grass Revival and has appeared with the Dave Matthews Band on record and in concert. Fleck modernized bluegrass music well before bands like Mumford & Sons popularized it.

Fleck is performing two shows, one on Saturday evening at 8 p.m and a second on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. If you go to the Sunday afternoon performance like me, be prepared to leave early since the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is taking place in Buffalo on Sunday.

Up the road from Kleinhan’s, jazz music greats, the Wolff and Clark Expedition featuring Jeff Berlin will be at Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar at 253 Allen St. Duke’s is a great bar and an intimate venue to see world class jazz players like pianist Michael Wolff and drummer Mike Clark. Bassist Jeff Berlin is an added bonus.

Just to give you a little background, Michael Wolff was the bandleader for the Arsenio Hall Show from 1989-1994. That was when future President Bill Clinton appeared on the show playing saxophone. It is an iconic moment in presidential history. Wolff, Clark and Berlin have appeared with so many famous musicians, it’s not worth attempting to list any of them. If you really want to impress a date, friend or business colleague, take them to this show.

On Friday at The Rapids Theatre, Excision “the bass music boss hailing from Canada” appears. I am being honest when I tell you that I am not entirely sure what this show is about but I have heard it is quite a spectacle. Excision is described as a dubstep disc jockey. The owner of The Rapids Theatre promised me that I would be amazed if I come out to the show, so if you go you may see an out of place middle aged music writer.

Thom Jennings covers the music scene for Night & Day.