Niagara Gazette

September 5, 2013

Deborah Harry and Blondie's Rapids Theatre show a highlight this week

By Thom Jennings
Night & Day

Night & Day — This weekend features some top country music acts, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, one of the greatest pop songwriters of all time, a former sitcom star and a New Jersey rock band discovered by Bon Jovi.

The weekend gets started tonight with a highly anticipated show from the country duo Florida Georgia Line at Braun’s Concert Cove in Akron. Tickets for this show sold out a long time ago.

On Friday at the same venue, rockers Skid Row will be in town for a headlining show. The band’s multi-platinum selling eponymous debut album, released in 1989, included their signature hits “18 and Life”, “I Remember You”, and “Youth Gone Wild.”

The successful follow up album, “Slave to the Grind.” Was released two years later, and while it was not as successful as their debut album, it still sold well. By 1995, the band released their third and final album with colorful front man Sebastian Bach, who was fired by the band in 1996.

Skid Row’s current lineup features three original members and vocalist Johnny Solinger. Guitarist Dave Sabo grew up down the street from fellow New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

At the Rapid’s Theatre on Friday, they will feature a cool double bill with Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Blondie and punk pioneers X.

Blondie’s iconic lead singer is Deborah Harry, who also had a moderately successful solo recording career and acting career. Harry also appeared in Playboy.

Blondie currently features three original members in addition to Deborah Harry. They had a slew of hits including “Call Me” and “Heart of Glass.” The show should feature some tracks from their forthcoming album, “Ghosts of Download.”

Opening the show is the aforementioned X, from Los Angeles. The band did not achieve the commercial success that Blondie did, but music critics love this band. Rolling Stone Magazine lists two of their studio albums on their prestigious top 500 albums of all-time list, and in Los Angeles they are legendary.

Over on the Canadian side, Niagara Fallsview Casino will be hosting two nights of Neil Sedaka, Thursday and Friday. Honestly I wouldn’t even know where to begin to list the amazing songs he has written, but a sampling includes “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” and “Love Will Keep Us Together.” He also had a hit with a song entitled “Stairway to Heaven” in 1960, well before Led Zeppelin made the song title famous with a different song with the same title.

On Saturday, comedian Brad Garrett, perhaps best known for his role on the television show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” will be performing at the Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center. It’s an appropriate locale for Garrett because he is not only an actor-comedian, he is a well-known professional poker player.

Finally, on Saturday at Darien Lake, Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry will be sharing the stage. I have seen Rascal Flatts multiple times and they always put on a great show, both musically and visually. As for The Band Perry, I saw and briefly met them a few years ago at The Rapids Theatre. They hung out after the show until everyone had a chance to meet them, and it was evident they were on their way to superstardom. As far as double bills go in country music, it doesn’t get much better than these two artists.

For our show on a tank of gas, the “Godmother of Punk” Patti Smith will be performing at Massey Hall in Toronto. She was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, and her show in Toronto is a rare opportunity to be close to a legend.

Finally, looking ahead to Wednesday, the long awaited return of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals to The Town Ballroom for a headlining show. If you missed my two part interview with Grace Potter, it is still online. If you go to the show look for the middle-aged music writer dancing wildly, that will be me!

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