Three Dog Night at the Lockport Canal Concert last week

Tuesday: Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Maria Aurigema (Artpark)
Wednesday: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue (Artpark)
Thursday: Flaming Lips (Artpark Mainstage $)
Thursday: G. Love & Special Sauce with Rogue Wave (Lafayette Square)
Friday: Blues Traveller w/ Free Henry, Automaton, Bearhunter (Lockport Canal Concert)
Friday: Celtic Women (Artpark Mainstage $)
Saturday: Soul Asylum with The Incurables, DoDriver and A Potter’s Field (Hard Rock NF)

Let’s do the run-down. Tuesday, Artpark brings the next in their lineup of Oldies acts with CCR. No, not Creedence Clearwater Revival, it’s Revisited, as in no John Fogerty. Another franchise act. But the opener isn’t bad at all, Maria Aurigema is the real deal and a local blues act well worth seeing.

On Wednesday, Artpark brings in Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. From New Orleans, Shorty takes the trombone and trumpet to a level kind of like where the Campbell Brothers (Next week!) take steel guitars. It’s a little Jazz, a little funk, a little urban and totally unique and different. Try it, you’ll like it. There is no opening act, not just none listed, they say there is none, so expect a special, long show.

The Tonawanda Harbor shows are notably absent this week. The reason: Canal Fest is in full swing with all kinds of music. Too much to mention here, so check it out here.

That brings us to Thursday and the Square, Lafayette Square. Buffalo Place brings back G. Love and Special Sauce for what seems like the twentieth time. I’m sure it’s only the second or third, but are they really that popular? I haven’t seen G. Love yet, but he seems interesting. Kind of a jam-harmonica sound, what they call Hip-hop Blues. Call it what you want, it’s likely not going to bore you. Opening is Rogue Wave. Should be a good fit for the mood.

If you don’t mind paying, the Flaming Lips are at the Artpark mainstage Thursday.

On Friday, the Lockport Canal Concerts bring Blues Traveler to the Ulrich Center. Harmonica wizard John Popper, looking somewhat slimmed down will bring his high energy jam-rock to the stage. A trifecta of local openers are lined up as well.

Free Henry, Automaton, and Bearhunter all will warm up the crowds. Don’t show up at 8 o’clock and ask who is on stage. Show a little respect and get there in time for the hard-working, local acts. They’re really pretty good.

Free Henry returns for the second year. They also are on the Artpark and Hard Rock schedules this summer, so they’ve been busy! One of my favorite local rock bands. Another local rock group from the Harvest Sum collective is Bearhunter. No info on Automaton, or Automation, as reported elsewhere. You’ll have to go to find out!

Competing for time on Friday night, but not really because it’s a totally different genre, is Celtic Women at Artpark’s mainstage. A little to polished and smarmy for me, I would rather see Cherish The Ladies who were here last week!

Finally, Saturday brings the Hard Rock Cafe’s free show in Niagara Falls with Soul Asylum. The runaway train hits the stage there after local openers The Incurables, DoDriver and A Potter’s Field. DoDriver brings a harder-edged rock sound, while The Incurables seem to be more in tune with Soul Asylum’s sound. A Potter’s Field, formerly Nancy’s Candy, kind of splits the difference, and I really like the lead singer! I can’t find a web site, but I found this site with photos and videos.

So, what’s my verdict? This week is pretty much a draw. Not a bad show in the bunch, but I can’t really say any one is a must-see. I have a hunch, though, that the show on Wednesday with Trombone Shorty will be the one people will be talking about afterwards. But you won’t go wrong with G. Love or Soul Asylum. G. Love and Rogue Wave together will be a good show, while Soul Asylum has a wealth of local talent to support them.

So, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue is the pick by a nose!

Dale Campbell

Dale Campbell at the Canal Street Gazebo

I’ve been covering some of the major free concert series this summer, but there is so much more. Any day of the week and any neighborhood has something to offer sometime this summer. Here’s just a few of the many smaller, but often just as rewarding venues you might want to check out. Don’t forget there are always music acts coming to the various casinos around. Niagara Falls, Salamanca and even the Fairgrounds Gaming in Hamburg all have some pretty big names as well as local acts at different times. Prices vary, but are usually quite reasonable.

Lockport Canal Street Gazebo shows (noontime)
M&T Plaza Event Series (noontime)
Lewiston Jazz Festival
Lewiston Art Council (Blue Monday, Summer of '69, Jazz Festival, more!)
Comprehensive collection of concert information around Buffalo

Last week, I did go to the Canal Concert to see Leroy Townes and the Lone Stars and Rob Falgiano Band. Both were excellent. I hung around the outside of the venue during the Three Dog Night show. It was good, but I really don’t get the fuss over these oldies acts. Half the original members are gone and it’s like karaoke. I could have gone home and spun some vinyl for the same effect.

I was standing near the stage watching Rob Falgiano when some toothless old guy and his haggy girlfriend comes pushing their way up and he asks; “What band is this?” I said; “You come here and you don’t even know who you’ve come to see?” So he said; “We’re here to see Three Dog Night. I don’t think this is them.” No kidding. I think he’s personally spent a few three-dog nights, by the look of him. So, I said; “This is the Rob Falgiano Band. They’re a local group.” At that point, I walked away.

I just think it’s the height of rudeness to come late to a show, push your way to the front past the people who got there early for the opening acts and then expect them to explain what is going on. I know, I’m the exception to the rule in that I’m usually more interested in the local and lesser-known groups, than the big-names, but this is what spoils the free shows for me more and more.

Anyway, I took some photos. Actually a lot of photos, but weeded out a lot of duplicate shots and put them up on the web. You can check them out at My Opera Photos.