Niagara Gazette

January 24, 2013

Lewis Black, pair of Celtic acts to warm things up this weekend

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — It is historically the coldest time of year in Western New York, but there are a few solid choices for entertainment this weekend, including a famous comedian and two popular Celtic acts.

Lewis Black, a comedian best known for his “Back in Black” segment on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” will be performing at Seneca Niagara on Saturday. The 64-year-old comedian got his start in show business as a playwright in New York City in the early 1980s.

Black left the theatre, pursued comedy full-time in the 1990, and by 1998 Black starred in his own stand-up special on the Comedy Central network. In 2004 he hosted his first HBO special, entitled “Black on Broadway.” Other comedy specials include “Stark Raving Black,” and “In God We Rust.”

The comedian also has a Grammy to his credit — he won for Best Comedy Album in 2007. Black has also authored three books, hosted numerous award shows and specials, and appeared in dozens of television shows and films.

Lewis Black’s humor is filled with sarcasm and political commentary. Some of his famous one-liners include, “All the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911,” and “Republicans have nothing but bad ideas and Democrats have no ideas.”

The show takes place at the Seneca Events Center at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and at the casino box office if available. They start at $40.

There are a couple of great Celtic bands coming to Shannon’s Pub in Tonawanda this weekend if you prefer music to comedy. The seven piece high-energy band Catch and Release, based out of Rochester, will be performing at Shannon’s on Saturday.

Catch and Release played a great set at the Niagara Celtic Festival in Olcott this summer. I met singer Terry McCarthy at a Dropkick Murphy’s in Buffalo a couple of years ago and he sent me their album and press kit, and I really enjoy it. Terry is also brothers with two members of Buffalo-based Celtic band McCarthyizm. There is no cover charge.

On Sunday, Enter the Haggis returns to the region for a 7 p.m. show at Shannon’s Pub. The Toronto-based band has a new album coming out in the spring. It will be the second fan-funded album for the band, they raised $40,000 for their 2011 release “Whitelake,” and last year they raised over $60,000 for their upcoming release.

The band has appeared multiple times on national television, including a full-length concert that was broadcast on PBS and an appearance on the “Live with Regis and Kelly” show.

The band has garnered a fiercely loyal following, and they have accomplished that the old-fashioned way, through extensive touring and effective use of social networks.

I had the opportunity to see the band twice last year, once in Rochester and once at the Riviera Theatre. They are a great live band, and very down to earth if you have the chance to meet them.

Tickets for Enter the Haggis are $20, and are available at Shannon’s Pub and may be purchased at the door. You must be 21 and over to attend.