This week’s summer concert lineup comes to us as follows:

Tue.: Artpark - America w/ Stacy Clark
Wed.: Gateway Park - Jonesie & the Cruisers, Nickel City Pimp Choir
Thurs.: Lafayette Square - Ed Kowalczyk (No opener listed)
Fri.: Lockport - Our Lady Peace w/ Jimmy Gnecco of Ours, The Incurables
Fri.: Gateway Harbor - Backbeat 64
Sat.: Hard Rock Cafe - Gord Downie, Joshua James, Alison Pipitone

and it looks like a great warm-up to Independance Day!

I spoke about America and their perennial appearance in WNY in a previous post, so I won’t go there again. Look, I love America’s music. I liked it in the ’70s and I still like it now, it’s timeless, classic, but there is just nothing new. I can hear them any time, just fire up the MP3s… Their opener, Stacy Clark, a pop singer-songwriter from California, is essentially as generic as dozens of others. Pleasant to listen to, but forgettable.

The Gateway Park/Harbor concerts seem to be the low-budget, poor cousins of the summer series. After losing the Molson deal, they’ve refused to quit, but just don’t compare on headliners. But what they are doing, is giving a lot of local bands a chance. Wednesday’s show brings the Nickel City Pimp Choir, a local group that’s had my interest piqued for a while. They cover classic rock and roll and R&B with style and a fresh attitude and lots of showmanship. Along with them is that staple of local music, Jonesie and the Cruisers. One of the longest running bar bands in the area, you probably seen them somewhere before. Gary Jones always puts on a good show.

Thursday at the Square continues on with Ed Kowalczyk, of Live. Probably the biggest event of the week to Gen-X fans, it’ll be packed at the square. I found no information on opening acts, so I can’t comment there.

Friday in Lockport at the Canal Concerts will be the highly anticipated return appearance of Canadian band, Our Lady Peace. They were a highlight of last year’s concert series and have been brought back for an encore. Jimmy Gnecco of the band Ours and The Incurables are openers.

Also Friday, Gateway Harbor features Backbeat 64, a Beatles tribute band for those who prefer something more familiar. They’re a local group.

On Saturday you can travel to the Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls for their contribution the the summer music and hear Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip perform his solo act. It seems to be a week of solo appearances of stars from well-known bands! Even more exciting, to me, are the opening acts, Joshua James and Alison Pipitone.

I’ve heard Joshua play locally before and he’s worth the trip alone. Alison Pipitone is one of my favorite local bands, one of those I keep wondering why they don’t break out of the local scene and get national attention. She’s played the Canal concerts previously, in both Lockport and N.T. as well as Artpark, I believe, so they’re no strangers to the local summer concerts. Good to see them at the Hard Rock as well.

So, time to get down to brass tacks: what’s my pick for the week? It’s tough, as always, to choose only one, but I’d have to say the Hard Rock show on Saturday is the one where I’d really like to hear all three bands. Second choice would be the Lockport Canal Concerts, just because it’s close to home.

Finally, what’s up with Tonawanda/North Tonawanda? Why don’t they just drop one concert, preferably the Friday one, and concentrate their resources on their Wednesday night shows? Pool the money and do a better job. I liked the concerts on Sweeney Street when Molson sponsored them. I like that they are providing a venue for local bands, but they’re no competition against the Molson shows in Lockport. Why even try?