Niagara Gazette

June 13, 2013

JENNINGS: Hard acts to follow this week

By Thom Jennings
Night & Day

Night & Day — This weekend there are so many great shows coming to the area I honestly wish I could clone myself. The list includes Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Sheryl Crow, Darius Rucker, Jana Kramer, The Go Go’s, Marianna’s Trench, Sheena Easton, Trace Adkins and The Ragbirds.

I’ll begin with the names on the list I have seen, starting with Vincent Furnier, better known by the name of his former band, Alice Cooper. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is credited with pioneering “shock rock,” incorporating theatrics and wild imagery into his show.

If you are a fan of his music, including classic songs like “School’s Out,” and “Billion Dollar Babies,” you will love his stage show. Cooper still gives it his all, and his current band adds a lot of power to the old songs. The group’s newest and youngest member is female guitar superhero Orianthi, a 24-year-old Australian who was slated to be Michael Jackson’s guitarist on his last tour.

Performing with Cooper is the controversial singer Marilyn Manson. The pairing makes sense, but to be honest I’ve never been a fan of Manson’s.

Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson perform at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor on Friday. Tickets are $20 and available on Ticketmaster.

If you are a country music fan you are likely ecstatic over WYRK’s Taste of Country Lineup. I have seen Darius Rucker three times, Sheryl Crow once and Jana Kramer once. Those three alone are well worth the price of admission, with my favorite of the three being Crow, who put on an amazing show at Artpark last year.

Rucker is best known as the former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, and even though Hootie is the nickname of one of Rucker’s friends, he was often given the moniker because he was the band’s lead singer. For many years now he has been performing country music, effectively reinventing himself and reviving his career. He will likely perform some Hootie and the Blowfish songs.

Jana Kramer is a rising star in the country music world. She has a tiny frame but a powerful voice.

Also on the bill is Gloriana and Rodney Atkins. If you aren’t making the trip to Toronto to see Taylor Swift on Friday, you will definitely get to see a great evening of country music.

Tickets for WYRK’s Taste of Country at Coca- Cola Field on Friday are $29 for reserved seats in the stands. The general admission filed tickets are long sold out.

The Go Go’s come to Seneca Niagara Casino on Saturday night. The all-girl group dominated MTV in the early ‘80s with hits like “Our Lips are Sealed,” and “Vacation.” The band split up in 1984 and reunited at various intervals in the 1990s and has been touring regularly over the last few years. Like most young men my age, I had a mad crush on lead singer Belinda Carlisle!

Tickets for the Go Go’s at Seneca Niagara Casino are available on Ticketmaster and at the casino box office. They range from $20 to $50.

Over the border at the Fallsview Casino, Country singer and Celebrity Apprentice winner Trace Adkins performs tonight, and on Friday and Saturday, “Morning Train” singer Sheena Easton will be performing. Tickets for all three shows are available through Ticketmaster.

On Wednesday, one of my favorite bands, The Ragbirds, will be performing at Larkin Square as part of the free Live at Larkin series located at 745 Seneca Street in Buffalo. I interviewed Ragbirds singer (and Buffalo native) Erin Zindle a few years ago and she is a wonderful and talented performer.

A couple years later, my son Timothy’s band, No Cash Value, opened for the Ragbirds in Grand Junction Colo., proving that the world is a much smaller place than it seems!

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