Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lost in the Supermarket

Between being a music freak and an anal person in general, I take close notice of music being played in stores, especially supermarkets, when I/we shop.
Sunday, I did the grocery shopping alone while Val rested up mainly from her Friday IV steroid treatment for her multiple sclerosis, combined with her shooting a show at Mohawk Place Saturday (review to come soon at http://Buffaloroots.com). We shop at Wegmans in North Buffalo (we live in the Elmwood Village in the city), and in the past, music has been pretty good there at times, including Roxy Music and David Bowie. Well, things weren't so good this time; as I entered the store, I was welcomed with the sounds of England Dan and John Ford Coley warbling "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," a song which I oh, so cleverly changed to "I'd Really Love to See Yours Tonight," awfully amusing for a young adolescent. I was able to zone out the rest of the music during that shopping trip.
With holiday shopping intensifying, my presence in stores and malls will increase somewhat during the next month, but thankfully, due to Internet shopping, shopping at independent stores on Elmwood Avenue and from artists and Val using her artistic and graphics talent, I won't have to overdose on Muzak or Christmas and holiday music. Indeed, we do have some of our own Christmas and holiday music to listen to when we're in the mood, including songs and CDs by Bruce Cockburn, Leon Redbone, Celtic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the classic Charlie Brown music by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

Condolences and Good Wishes

That is what Val and I send out to Kelly, better known to many as Jaquandor, of www.byzantiumshores.blogspot.com, and his family upon the unfortunate and much too early death of his son, Quinn. It has been almost 24 hours since I read of Quinn's apparent peaceful passing, and I am just as stunned as when I first learned of it. Kelly's blog is one I try to make a daily habit of reading (and I don't even write on my own every day), and between his commentary on subjects such as Star Wars/science fiction (which Val would appreciate much more than me), working in retail, fashion, music and the Buffalo Bills, he often wrote lovingly, humorously, seriously and always honestly about Quinn and his struggle and life.
Anything more I could write would just trivialize these events, but as Kelly and his family proceed with Christmas preparations, it is obvious that Quinn will be with his family for a long, long time. RIP, young man.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Buffalo's Music Community

Last night, Kevin and I went to the "This is It" Red Cross benefit. There were sets by Bob James, Terry Sullivan, Adam Gearing, The Vores, The Transonics and The Outlyers, among others. The newer bands covered groundbreaking songs from veteran songwriters like Bob Kozak and Dave Meinzer. There were also vintage screenings of video interviews and performances (thanks to Elmer Ploetz), and the players in the older bands were playing mostly new material. Of course, there will be a lot more detail when Kevin writes a review for the site, but I just wanted to touch on another point.

There is such an amazing music scene here. Last night showed the mixture - the old and the new. The influence and continuance. The talent and the following. Just how it seems that everyone meshes over the years.

OK, I'm done gushing. I'm just glad that we have this in Buffalo.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Celebrate Good Times, C'mon

OK, I am a bit embarrassed at the Kool and the Gang musical reference, but this will be a darn good weekend at Mohawk Place, Buffalo's leading alternative/alt.country and roots rocking club at 47 East Mohawk Street (no disrespect to the Sportsmen's Grill, which is more country, alt.county an d roots rock and much less alternative).
In particular, Saturday's and Sunday's shows will be real hell raisers; starting at 8 or 9 p.m. (I've seen both) Saturday, November 26, a combination of legendary local punk, new wave and cow punk/roots rock musicians from Buffalo's 1970s-1980s music community will team up with some newer/younger bands for a show to benefit the American Red Cross; the event is being organized by Bob James of the Ministers of Love, who formerly played with the Restless, the Rain, the Third Floor Strangers and others. James also helped organize the "This Is It: Greater Buffalo's Greatest 1977-84" compilation double CD, possibly the best recording or Buffalo music in existence.
Among the musicians and bands featured on the CD are Terry Sullivan/The Jumpers, Pat Kane, Dave Meinzer/Davy and the Crockets, the Vores (who have a pretty cool new CD to be reviewed soon at http://Buffaloroots.com) and James, and all of these musicians will perform at the November 26 show. The actual lineup is: The Vores, Middleman (playing Pauline and the Perils' songs), the Outlyers (Meinzer's current band, which will play Davy and the Crockets' songs), Pyrolixious from Kenmore West High School, Wheezing Stumblers (including one of Meinzer's nephews), the Old Sweethearts and the Transonics, both also with very good CDs I will soon review. There will also be solo acoustic sets by Sullivan., James, Adam Gearing (currently of the Outlyers, formerly of the Riddlers), Kane (the Stains, the Elements) and Gary Zoldos (the Method, Hiwatts).
Sunday, November 27, Mohawk Place celebrates its 15th birthday with several bands in a bash expected to run a long time into the night, featuring the Irving Klaws, Mark Norris and the Backpeddlers. Missing Planes, Wolf Ticket and the Old Sweethearts. It will be a free show, so enjoy.
Val and I want to thank Pete Perrone, the owner and proprietor of Mohawk Place, as well as Mike Doktor, Renee Roberts, Bill Nehill, Marty Boratin (formerly) and others who have helped make Mohawk Place a great club to catch excellent local and national bands at, and a home away from home.

Black Friday thoughts

Yes, I put in my time for many years in retail and have vivid memories of the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, and believe you me, I don't miss retail too much (sales, stock and management), although it wasn't the living hell it seems to have become.
First, I urge anyone shopping this holiday season (and really all year) to remember that the sales people, stock people and even the managers/supervision are human beings. It won't suddenly make an item appear after you have been told that it is out of stock if you swear, scream and spew sarcasm at a sales person, nor will it help to yell at a stock person who took 5 seconds from your carryout to put his or her coat on. On the other hand, retail people should remember that while they may have been asked a question 5, 10 or even 25 times, there is a good chance this is the first time the person in front of them or on the phone is asking the same question.
Of course, these and enormous crowds are part of the reasons why more people are shopping online or at smaller stores than at larger stores and malls. Personally, I am working today so I don't even have to think about joining the fray.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Rock n roll....


I thought I'd do a little writing as we wait for Kevin's "day job" to give him a minute to write his review on the Fleshtones.
We saw them Sunday night at the Mohawk. After shows like that, I just can't say enough about a good ole' sweaty night of garage rock. The energy of that show was contagious. The band was in constant motion, and the crowd (Sunday night sized as it was) was dancing like crazy. I know that first-hand, as a gimpy photographer such as myself is always watching for ferocious dancers...
It was good to see younger people in the crowd. Garage is making a kind of comeback that has gotten airplay on "alternative" stations, which I thought was long overdue. I was starting to think that people of my ilk were sitting around listneing to Little Steven's radio show, saying things like "In my day..."
So seeing a band like The Fleshtones, and the Roadhouse Gypsies, on a Sunday night was enough to make me take a vacation day on Monday to sleep in. Now that's saying a lot....

Friday, November 11, 2005

Come on, See the Show

While I apologize for using an Emerson, Lake and Palmer reference in the title of this post, I do want to mention a couple of shows coming to Buffalo that sound interesting.
Two shows are coming to the Sportsmen's Tavern on Amherst Street: Josh Cole will bring his folk and roots rock sounds there Tuesday, Nov. 15; his new CD, "Hypocriticool," is pretty good, and you can check him out at www.joshcole.com. Ed Bentley, who hails from Yorkshire in the outer reaches of Western New York and is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, will perform Sunday, Nov. 27. His new, fun CD is "Here We Go Again," and he can be contacted at www.edbentleymusic.com.
Also, and it may be redundant if you have recently checked out our main website, http://Buffaloroots.com, the Fleshtones will play at Mohawk Place Sunday, Nov. 13, with the Roadhouse Gypsies opening; admission is $8.

It's Been a Long Time Since I ...

It has been way too long since I've written to this blog, but as a Democratic committeeman and volunteer for several campaigns, the election season has kept me way too busy and tired. Fortunately, we were pretty successful (increasing the Democratic majority on the Erie County Legislature to 12-3 from 8-7, electing Democrat Mark Poloncarz county comptroller over a Republican opponent after the GOP incumbent decided not to run for re-election, etc.). Happily, no more mailings, door-to-door canvassing, telephone banking, sheet pizzas and days without seeing Val awake and so on for at least a little while.
This should mean that my postings will become a bit more regular, but then, there are always excuses, um, I mean reasons, for gaps.