Let’s hear it for the Summer of 2010, it’s not gone yet, but it’s getting close. School is just around the corner for those young enough and things are winding down. Labor Day is only a couple weeks away. Thursday at the Square and the Molson Canal Concerts are done, but a few good shows are left and a couple festivals to finish things off with a bang.

Big Sugar - Kelly Hoppe
From Big Sugar

Last week’s Canal Concert with Big Sugar was, in my opinion, the best of the season. I was happy with the opening acts, but Big Sugar stole the show with a outstanding set. As I warned you, they were LOUD! but gave a great performance with songs representing all of their catalog. They really fed off the audience’s energy and fed it back in a long show going to at least 10:30pm.

The attendance was somewhat lower than the previous week. I don’t know why, maybe weather uncertainties, or other events, but a very respectable sized crowd nonetheless. It was a fitting turnout for the band without being excessively crowded and I got some good photos. I put my earplugs in and moved up as people were moving back because of the loudness!

Here’s next week’s lineup:

Monday: Artpark - Sara Evans, Amanda Nagurney
Tuesday: Artpark - The Trews, Aqueos
Tuesday: Gateway Harbor - No Excuses, Hit N Run
Friday: Artpark Main Stage ($) - Bachman-Turner
Friday: Pine Ave. Pavillion - Amanda Nagurney, Mason-Dixon Band 
        (7-9pm Niagara Falls)
Friday-Saturday-Sunday: Hamburg Fairgrounds - Buffalo Irish Festival
Saturday: Ulrich City Center (Lockport) - NYS Rock & Blues Fest - 
       Savoy Brown, Square Circle Triangle, Terranova Band, Wanted By The FBI, 
       Flyin' Blind Blues Band, more
Saturday-Sunday: Elmwood Ave. Festival of the Arts - 3 stages, over 20 bands 
       each day! Plus the festival!

Amanda Nagurney is all over the place this week. She’s really been busy this summer. I know I kind of said some less than enthusiastic things about her earlier, but I do love her. She’s a very promising talent and a credit to our area. I hope she has tons of success. Catch her at Artpark or in Niagara Falls this week.

The Trews at Artpark this Wednesday is the last First Niagara Wednesday show for the season and it should be a good one. I like The Trews, a band from Nova Scotia very popular on Canadian radio. There’s a Big Sugar connection here too: Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar has worked with them as a Producer. Aqueos, a Buffalo prog-rock jam band opens for them.

No Excuses and Hit N Run make for another cover band lineup at the Gateway Harbor event. No Excuses is one of those bands that needs an original name; do you know how many No Excuses bands come up in a Google search? But you might recognize some of the members from other local bands like Suckerpunch and Gravity.

The big shows this week are the festivals. NYS Rock & Blues Festival is new this year, held in the same venue as the Molson Canal Concerts were, just on Saturday. A bunch of great local bands are booked to warm you up for Savoy Brown.

Penny Whiskey at Scottish Fest
From Amherst Scottish Festival

Another “more bands than I can mention” event is the Buffalo Irish Festival. If you love Celtic music, as I do, you have to spend a day or two at this festival. Oh there’s plenty of other things to do, but with a couple stages of pretty much continuous music, you can’t go wrong. Grab a Guiness while you’re there too!

Bands to check out: Penny Whiskey (played at the Scottish Fest last weekend), Emish, The Dady Brothers, (Lockport’s own) The Dustmen, Seamus Kennedy, (Outstanding!) and The McKrells. Kevin McKrell is a gifted songwriter and is currently performing as a trio with his daughter and Buffalo native and former Steam Donkey, Doug Moody.

And it’s a shame they fall on the same weekend, but the Elmwood Festival of the Arts is also going on. As an art festival, it’s kind of the Allentown festival’s little brother, but less pricey and more accessible, IMHO. But for entertainment, you can’t beat it with several stages going at all times. Check the web page for the schedule, you’ll need to plan ahead to see the acts you want.

The biggest problem with narrowing this week down is there are fewer evening shows and the weekend ones all happen together. Wednesday with The Trews at Artpark is an easy choice. The weekend, though is a “can’t do it all” situation. The best case scenario would be Irish Fest on Friday night, the Rock & blues Fest Saturday, and finish up with the art festival Sunday! If you can do all that, you’re a better man than me!

[Clicking on photos will take you to their albums!]