Niagara Gazette

August 22, 2013

JENNINGS: A big week of local music on deck

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Over the next few days some of my favorite live acts will be coming to the region, including a jam band that opened for the Grateful Dead when Jerry Garcia was alive, a former Doobie Brother, a band named after a famous movie dog, a legendary pop singer that is in the Grammy Hall of Fame, and some Irish punks from Boston that helped end an old curse.

We’ll start at Buffalo Rocks Canalside who will be hosting s free show headlined by Adam Ant. The English singer got his start with Adam and the Ants before going solo, and hit it big with the single “Goody Two Shoes” in 1982 on the album “Friend or Foe.” I saw Adam Ant in 1982 and it remains one of my favorite shows of all time. I’m not sure how he is as a live performer 31 years later, but that is the great thing about free shows, you don’t have to pay to find out.

On Friday, over at the Fallsview Casino, there is a two-night run featuring Toto and Michael McDonald. Both artists are huge hit makers, McDonald sings “What a Fool Believes” and “I Keep Forgetting,” Toto’s big hits include “Rosanna” and “Africa.” Tickets for the show start at $60 Canadian and are available through Ticketmaster, if any remain.

Two other big names are coming to town Friday to Darien Lake The Allman Brothers and Steve Winwood. I could write an entire history book about either one of these bands. The Allman’s have been doing the jam band thing for longer than most bands on the circuit, and have featured some of the greatest guitarists of all time in their lineup.

Steve Winwood has been in The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and on occasion puts out some amazing solo material like “The Finer Things.” It will be a great night of music! Tickets start at $35 and are available through Live Nation.

Over in Lockport, a late addition to the Canal Concert Series, Everlast, who is best known for the hit “What it’s Like.” Everlast is also a former member of the hip-hop group House of Pain, which did the song “Jump Around.” He doesn’t play that one these days.

Also on Saturday, Johnny Mathis makes an appearance at the Seneca Niagara Casino. I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to Mathis, but we will start with the fact that he has sold over 350 million albums worldwide and 73 of his albums have entered the Billboard charts.

As for the aforementioned Grammy Awards, Mathis has three songs in the Grammy Hall of Fame (given to songs over 25 years-old that have significant historical significance) “It’s Not for Me to Say”, “Misty” and “Chances Are.” Mathis received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

It is a rare opportunity to see a living legend. There were only a few tickets left at the time of this writing so check with the casino box office for availability.

On Sunday, Rusted Root will be in North Tonawanda at Gratwick Park for the last of three free concerts in the Tonawanda River Rocks Series. They always play with a ton of intensity and are at their best when they have a large and enthusiastic crowd. The Pittsburgh-based jam band once toured with The Grateful Dead back when a guy named Jerry Garcia was with them. In fact, they opened for The Grateful Dead on what turned out to be Jerry’s final public performance.

Over at Buffalo’s Town Ballroom on Tuesday, the beloved punk rockers Dropkick Murphy’s will be headlining. If I wasn’t covering ZZ Top at Artpark I would surely be checking out this great band. I have been fortunate enough to catch them numerous times and interview lead singer Al Barr. One of their biggest fans is a guy from New Jersey named Bruce Springsteen.

The last time DKM came to town they packed The Rapid’s Theatre, so I would expect this show to be jam packed as well. General admission tickets are $27.50 in advance, $31 day of show.

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