Niagara Gazette

November 21, 2013

JENNINGS: The Rascals head weekend full of music

By Thom Jennings
Night & Day

Night & Day — There is no shortage of music selections heading into the last weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday. Shea’s has a couple of solid offerings; three shows at The Bear’s Den and a really cool show at The Tralf are on the top of my list.

We will start at Shea’s Performing Arts Centre in Buffalo on Friday where they will be hosting The Rascals. The show is part concert, part documentary and features the original lineup of the classic band, including Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati, Dino Danelli and Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductee Gene Cornish.

The Rascals are members of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have a huge collection of hits, my favorite being “Good Lovin,’” a song I discovered when The Grateful Dead covered it. Former Springsteen guitarist Steve Van Zandt helped organized the reunion and produce the show. Hoepfully other bands will follow The Rascal’s lead when they reunite and offer a quality show like this.

On Saturday, Bryan Adams returns to Shea’s. I have always loved his music, his “Unplugged” offering is one of the best in the genre, “Summer of ‘69” is a song I have performed for years and even with my mediocre singing ability it remains a huge hit. Ballad, rocker, it doesn’t matter, Adams is simply a great artist with great songs.

On Friday at The Tralf is an artist known as The White Buffalo, whose real name is Jake Smith. The southern Californian will be performing in a town that bears his name, which is cool, but what is even cooler is his amazing baritone voice and the fact his music appears in “The Lone Ranger” movie and the television show “Sons of Anarchy.”

Also on Friday at Shannon’s Pub in North Tonawanda, one of my faves in the Celtic Music genre, Catch and Release. They performed a spectacular set at the Niagara Celtic Festival this summer, I highly recommend you go see them and then catch two Great Big Sea shows at The Bear’s Den the following week.

On Saturday at The Bear’s Den you can catch Smash Mouth. They have some great original songs like “All Star” and “Walkin’ on the Sun” but my favorite is their cover of “I’m a Believer” that was featured in “Shrek.”

The University of Buffalo has a pair of great shows at the UB Center for the Arts. On Sunday, actress, singer, and former American Idol runner up Katherine McPhee comes to town. She has been in the tabloids of late, but there is no denying that she is beautiful and talented, so ignore the gossip and enjoy the show!

On Wednesday UB will host The Brian Setzer Orchestra. Brian used to be in The Stray Cats, a band that didn’t have a full drum set, and now he heads a full blown orchestra. Setzer is one of my favorite guitarists and likely introduced rockabilly to an entire generation of music lovers, especially during the early days of MTV.

The night before Thanksgiving is shaping up to be a great night for music as well, at The Hard Rock Café in Niagara Falls USA, a local favorite, Klear, will be headlining a free show. The band’s music has been featured in multiple television shows and films and they recorded for Robby Takac’s record label. When they headlined a free Thursday’s in the Square series they drew 15,000 fans.

Finally, our show on a tank of gas, Pink will be in Cleveland on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena. Pink is definitely on my bucket list of artists to see live and if you have the time it should be well worth the trip.

Tickets for the shows at Shea’s, UB and Seneca Niagara Casino’s Bear’s Den and The Tralf are all available through Ticketmaster.