Dr. Rock
By Dave Richards Erie TImes-News staff blogger
News about entertainment in and around Erie   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1703
Posted: March 14th, 2014

Grammy nominated Detroit MC Big Sean is headed to Penn State Behrend for a May 1 concert in the Junker Center.
Sean’s debut, “Finally Famous” included guest work by Kanye West, Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown, and produced hits with “My List,” “Marvin & Chardonnay” and “Dance A$$ (Remix”).
That album also won three top honors at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Big Sean also appeared on the 2012 hit “Mercy” with Kanye West and Pusha T.
Opening for Big Sean will be Chevy Woods, who is part of the Wiz Khalifa’s crew.
Tickets are $30. They go on sale March 31 at www.estore.psu.edu and 898-6171. Tickets are $20 for Behrend students.

The Backstreet Boys and Avril Lavigne will team up June 14 at First Niagara Pavilion near Pittsburgh and June 18 at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in Darien Center, N.Y. Tickets go on sale March 21 at Ticketmaster.

It’s St. Patty’s Day weekend. With the big day falling on a Monday, that means double the partying. Lots of places feature Irish music on both Saturday and Monday. Saturday also features the parade at 2 p.m., kicking off at 11th and State streets.

Sherlock’s welcomes Jackson Station (2 p.m.), Paddy Whacked (6:30 p.m.) and I-90s on Saturday. On Monday, look for Jackson Station (10 a.m.), Geek Army (2 pm.), Paddy Whacked (6:30 p.m.) and I-90s (10 p.m.)

Brewerie features the Mulligans on Friday at 9 p.m., Brokenstraw on Saturday, and, on Monday, Mulligans (7 a.m.), Brokenstraw (3 p.m.) and the Bangerzz (5 p.m.)

Mulligans also play Saturday before and after the parade at U Pick Six Taphouse, as well as at 8 p.m. that ight at Lavery Brewing Co. They play at 11 p.m. on Saturday after This American Song. On Monday, Mulligans also play at the Public House at 5 p.m.

Blarney Rubble plays after the parade on Saturday at Pufferbelly, and at the same venue on Monday at 4 p.m.

Crooked I on Monday welcomes the Tradesemen and Human Animal.

Lest we forget Town Pants also play tonight at 8 p.m. at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena’s Celtic party in Jamestown, N.Y. Call (716) 484-2624.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 11th, 2014

Several new concert listings have rolled in.
Look for Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band (including Todd Rundgren and Steve Lukather) on June 29 at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. The same venue also welcomes EDM superstar Skrillex with Dillon Francis and What So Not on May 27, and Ray LaMontagne on June 11.
All three shows go on sale Friday.
Tim McGraw, Kip Moore and Cassadee Pope play at Blossom near Cleveland on June 8. Tickets go on sale Friday.
Vampire Weekend will play Buffalo’s Outer Harbor on June 9. The same venue features City and the Colour, Young the Giant and Tokyo Police Club on July 11. Both shows go on sale March 14 at noon at Ticketmaster.

In Pittsburgh, new Stage AE shows include Boston (Jul 15, Ray LaMontagne (June 6), and Tyler the Creator (June 4). Thle first two go on sale Friday; Tyler is on sale now. Tim McGraw plays First Niagara Pavilion on June 24; tickets go on sale Friday.

If more roll in later today, I’ll update the post.

I’m still soaking in the “True Detective” finale on Sunday. The final denouement was incredibly intense, with Rust and Marty catching the Yellow King though not without paying very steep prices. But it was the last 10 minutes or so that really sealed the deal. Matthew McConaughey’s performance was stellar, as he contemplated his near-death experience and how it’s transformed him. And it brought to light what the series was really about; these two men ultimately banding together despite assorted demons to do the right thing. How they come out the other side isn’t clean nor perfect, but they’ve clearly changed and will move on with deeper appreciation for life. Marty knows what he threw away (his family); Rust knows he masked the death of his daughter with booze and philosophical claptrap that made it not hurt. Now he senses a grander picture.
I’m not sure how season two will top this one: it was brooding, atmospheric, occasionally funny and unlike so many other law-and-order shows. Sad it’s over, but hey, “Game of Thrones” comes back April 6, then “Mad Men” on AMC.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 7th, 2014

Into everyone’s life, Rain should fall — at least once in your life. The long-running tribute to the Beatles showed why they among all others reign as the toppermost of the poppermost of Fab Four salutes with a redesigned multimedia show before about 1,650 fans at the Warner Theatre on Thursday.
The presentation was totally upgraded from the last time Rain played. A video screen behind the band, as well as a few side ones, displayed short films, cartoons, crowd footage, live shots of the band and imaginative animation that augmented most the songs. Along with newsreel clips, ancient commercials (The Flintstones for Winston — really?) and backdrops of Shea Stadium, Rain plunged you into 1960s in a fun, involving way.
The “Eleanor Rigby” video was particularly Python-esque; others were just trippy fun with giant lava lamps, melting colors and huge horse heads.
Crazy stuff, but all the visual support put the Beatles within the context of the times and also kept the focus off the band, in a way. Rain is about celebrating Beatles’ music; it’s not about celebrating Rain. So the music, of course, ultimately takes center stage and on that front Rain can do no wrong. They could play four nights in a row without repeating a song and every one would be compelling. No band ever had a better batting average than the Beatles; they raised the bar to a level no one can match.
Rain played the early, Beatlemania songs with uncanny accuracy. They deviated a bit on some latter-day songs — notably “While My Guitar Gentle Weeps” and “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which featured clipped phrasing from Steve Landes that dulled the song’s dreamy nature. Rain also cut off “Magical Mystery Tour” before the climax…and I really wanted to hear that; it’s the best part of the song.
Those are small quibbles, though. Paul Curatalo, in particular, shined as Paul with impeccable vocals and mannerisms, including the cheery smile and head tilting. And, yes, he played bass left-handed. Douglas Cox’s drums were turned up in the mix, but he locked in as Ringo. Tom Teeley, as George, was suitably reserved for the most part, but woke up to pull off an electrifying “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” solo that inspired a standing ovation. Landes came through on “In My Life,” one of Lennon’s best songs, and a spectacular “Help.” Rain’s sparkling harmonies were spot-on throughout the night, and they’re not easy to pull off. Keyboard Chris Smallwood was indispensable behind the keys, triggering horns and special effects, as needed, for “All You Need Is Love,” “Sgt. Pepper,” a masterful “A Day in the Life” and others.
All in all, Rain passed the audition — again. This was Rain’s fourth trip to Erie, perhaps accounting for a smaller than usual crowd. But the beefed-up production and new set list — they played quite a few different songs than last time — made it perhaps their trip yet.
The show made me marvel at the Beatles’ magical artistry and collective chemistry all over again. When I got home, I couldn’t decide which album to pull out first and start blasting. I had to hear more.
That’s the point, right?

Here’s the set list.
1. “She Loves You”
2. “Please Please Me”
3. “From Me To You”
4. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
5. “A Hard Day’s Night”
6. “I’m So Happy Just to Dance With You”
7 “Yesterday”
8. “Help”
9. “Daytripper”
10. “Twist & Shout”
11. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
12. “With A Little Help From My Friends”
13. “Eleanor Rigby”
14. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
15. “When I”m Sixty-Four”
16. Sgt. Pepper reprise
17. “A Day in the Life”
Second half
1. “All You Need Is Love”
2 “Magical Mystery Tour”
3. “Strawberry Fields Forever”
4. “Blackbird”
5. “Two of Us”
6. “In My Life”
7 “Here Comes the Sun”
8. “While My Guitar Gentley Weeps”
9. “Come Together”
10. “Get Back”
11. “Revolution”
“12. “The End.”
1. “Give Peace a Chance”.
2. “Let It Be”
3. “Hey Jude.”

A few new concert announcements rolled in. James Taylor and his All Star Bande will play July 29 at Buffalo’s First Niagara Pavlion. Tickets go on sale March 14. Also, a country bill with Tim McGraw, Kip Moore and Cassadee Pop will play First Niagara Pavilion near Pittsburgh (June 6) and Blossom Music Center near Cleveland (June 8). Those go on sale March 14.
Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca, N.Y., will welcome Katey Sagal and the Forest Rangers on May 30. Tickets go on sale Monday.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 6th, 2014

So cool to see Erie’s Falling Hollywood get accepted into South by Southwest, the long-running, mega music conference and showcase in Austin, Texas. They’re one of Erie’s best original bands — a fresh, invigorating blend of rough-and-tumble Americana with hooks and harmonies and, lately, killer-riff tunes that recall bands such as the White Stripes and the Kills.
They’ll be posting tweets during their visits, check them out at @fhollywoodmusic. The fest runs from today through March 15.
FH recently posted a new video for “Blood Hits the Wall.” See it here.

Crawford County Fair near Meadville will announce its first headliner on March 28. We’ll post that news as soon as we hear.

Reminder: Rain brings its mind-blowing tribute to the Beatles (and the ’60s, basically) to the Warner Theatre today at 7:30 p.m. You’ll never see the Beatles live, so this is the next best way to experience them. Plus, though they’ve been here before, they’re promising a mostly new show. They’re tackling “Two of Us,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “From Me To You” and other songs they didn’t do last time. They present a high-tech show full of visuals and costume changes that spans the Beatles from their British Invasion days through St. Pepper and up through “Let It Be” and “Abbey Road.”
Call 452-4857 for ticket information.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 5th, 2014

Chautauqua Institution has added Wilson Phillips for July 18.
The vocal group includes Wendy and Carnie Wilson, the daughters of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, and Chyna Phillips, the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips from the Mamas & Papas. They saluted their respective parents with “Dedicated” and will songs from that in concert. Of course, they’ll also do their hits, such as “Hold On” (recently featured on “Glee”), as well as “Release Me” and “You’re in Love.”
Tickets go on sale April 1 for Wilson Phillips, and all other amp shows. More will be announced soon. Here’s a clip to get you psyched up.

Look for a big Roar on the Shore announcement on Thursday about their July 18 headliner. It’ll be in Showcase. Sworn to secrecy until then, sorry.

The Gathering at Chaffee’s is adding a giant 100-by-40-foot dance tent for its festival, and has added Potwhole, the Mighty Sea, Strangers and Liars, Bronsen Euard and Matt Texter. It also secured Psyence to flash mind-warping visuals. You can get early-bird tickets for $35 through April 20; the fest is set for July 25-26 in Girard. See www.thegatheringatchaffees.com.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 3rd, 2014

In the Internet age, everyone’s a critic, so griping and complaining tend to predominate. So I wasn’t surprised to read posts this morning from people blasting Sunday’s Oscar telecast as boring or bland.
I didn’t see it that way. I thought Ellen DeGeneres helped class it up again, after Seth MacFarlane lowered the taste bar last year (though, yes, some of his bits were funny.)
I liked how she strolled amid the crowd and interacted — ordering pizzas, taking a selfie with stars who piled into the shot. All that kept the show fresh, fun and unpredictable; you didn’t know where Ellen would show up next. That was important because the awards themselves turned out to be fairly predictable. The only real “surprises” came in categories such as short film (“Helium”) and animation (“Mr. Hublot.”) Even Spike Jonze’s win for “Her” was no grand shock; he did win several other awards for the film.
Strange to see “American Hustle” get shut out, along with “Captain Phillips” and “Philomena.” I thought Oscars, perhaps, would share the love a bit more. Instead, “Gravity,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Dallas Buyers Club” dominated, but that’s okay — they were three of the best films in a very, very strong film year.
For the most part, I enjoyed the acceptance speeches too. Very few did the pull-out-a-sheet-of-paper-and-read a long list of names bit. Still, there’s no reason this show has to exceed three hours. Why have Bette Midler sing after the roll call of deceased celebrities; why not during it? Why so many clips of movie heroes? I’d rather see the show celebrate the nominees than history; I’d like to see more clips from performances and the movies.
Good show, and now awards season is finally over. Fine by me. Let’s get on with 2014.

I caught Green Day’s “American Idiot” on Saturday at the Warner Theatre and had a great time with about 1,800 other folks. The band rocked fiercely; and the orchestrations added to the power and punch of the songs. Whoever choreographed the show deserves a medal; performers zoomed in and off stage, and it featured multiple moving parts, including a metal staircase.
The story isn’t overly ambitious; it loosely follows three friends who seem determined to assert their individuality and find their place in an overstimulated, media-blitzed world with fewer opportunities. Banks of TVs accentuated that point, with images hurtling by at lightning speed.
One friend joins the military and becomes wounded, another stays in his hometown with his pregnant girlfriend, though his aimlessness ultimately costs him. Another learns the cost of drug addiction, losing his girl as well before slinking home. It’s a bleak, show, really, but the galvanizing music and hurricane energy of the performers made it a blast. Nice touch: the cast emerged following a standing ovation with acoustic guitars and played “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life.”)

Next big show: Rain, the tribute to the Beatles, set for Thursday at the Warner Theatre. Look for a preview of that in Showcase.I spoke with the musician who plays John Lennon, he said about 75 percent of the show is new. Here’s a preview clip of what to expect.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 28th, 2014

It’s not only the weekend, it’s the end of February, another month in one of Erie’s most brutal winters ever.
That’s reason enough to celebrate, far as I’m concerned.

Saturday, I’m checking out Green Day’s “American Idiot” at the Warner Theatre. Lots of tickets remain for this, which surprises me. I thought this was instant-sellout material, considering that’s one of Green Day’s most popular albums and it’s a Broadway show with a younger appeal. Call 452-4857 for ticket details.

Excellent Boston metal band Junius plays Crooked I tonight, though “metal” may deter some from catching what is actually more of a dark, progressive-metal band that builds epic soundscapes. The singing is clean; this is not a screamo-o band. It’s smart, enthralling metal; Rolling Stone described them as a Neurosis-meets-Morrissey.

Tonight also features Jackson Station for happy hour at Bullfrog (6-8 p.m.), Unordained (acoustic) at Bobby’s Place, Poets and Thieves at the Sandbar, and Chrome at Oasis. Saturday includes Ten and the Clintones at Sherlock’s, Perdition at Crooked I and Potwhole at Kings’s Rook.

Chris Higbee is at P.I. Downs for its anniversary weekend today and Saturday; Basile plays at Jr.’s Last Laugh.

This just in: Rising country star Thomas Rhett, the son of Rhett Atkins, will play at Edinboro University’s McComb Fieldhouse on May 3 at 7 p.m. Rhett’s debut album “It Goes Like This” was a hit out of the box with the title track, which reached the Top 10. Rhett has also co-written singles for Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Lee Brice. Tickets are $25, $10 for Edinboro students, and on sale now at www.edinborotickets.com.

In honor of Pat Monahan’s 45th birthday today, here’s a clip of Train performing “Meet Virginia” on David Letterman’s show, though you must first experience a pretty racy commercial.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 27th, 2014

This just in: Alabama Shakes will play May 7 at the Hardrock Casino in Northfield, Park, Ohio, and also May 8 at Stage AE in Pittsburgh. Tickets for both shows go on sale Saturday at Ticketmaster. In December, the band announced it had completed its second album; no word has been announced yet about a release date. This band oozes soul; Rolling Stone declared their “Hold On” as the top song of 2012. Hear it below.

Darius Rucker blows into Erie tonight, along with a foot of snow, it looks like. Just when you think this winter can’t possibly get any worse, it does. Did Russia decide to export all of its leftover snow from the Winter Olympics?
Anyhow, good seats remain. Eli Young Band and David Nail open. The show starts at 7 p.m. Call 452-4857 or visit www.erieevents.com.

In case you missed yesterday’s news, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Rod Stewart and Santana will co-headline an 18-date summer tour. They’ll hit two area arenas: Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center on May 27 and Buffalo’s First Niagara Center on May 31. Tickets for both go on sale March 7 — at Ticketmaster for Pittsburgh and at tickets.com for Buffalo.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 26th, 2014

8 Great Tuesdays will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2014, which means we can probably expected a beefed-up schedule. Acts will be announced later, but for now the Erie-Western Port Authority is seeking local bands for opening slots.
This is one of Erie’s plum gigs, playing on the bayfront before thousands of people on a summer night. Just a hundred or so people may catch you at a bar show; but you could play before 5,000 or more folks at Liberty Park.
Apply now, in other words. The first concert will be July 8. For an application, visit www.porterie.org/musicians.

Just in: Rod Stewart and Santana will team up May 31 at Buffalo’s First Niagara Center on May 31. Tickets go on sale March 7. The Wailers and Rusted Root will team up at Stage AE (outdoor stage) in Pittsburgh on May 22. Tickets go on sale Friday at Ticketmaster. Remember when the Wailers played at 8 Great Tuesdays? That was one of my favorite shows there, ever.

Here’s a YouTube clip of them playing “Roots Rock Reggae” from January 2013.

More new shows are below:
MARCH 25. Kid Cudi, King Chip. Wolstein Center, Cleveland.
MARCH 27. Curren$y. House of Blues, Cleveland. On sale Feb. 28.
MAY 1. YG. House of Blues, Cleveland. On sale Feb. 28.
MAY 10. Darryl Hall and John Oates. Public Hall, Cleveland. On sale Feb. 28.
MAY 18. Killswitch Engage. Town Ballroom, Buffalo.
MAY 20. Chicago. Hard Rock Rocksino, Northfield Park, Ohio. On sale Feb. 28.
MAY 29. The Head and the Heart. Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland. On sale Feb. 28.
MAY 31. Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington, Joe Nichols. Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. On sale Feb. 28.
JUNE 4. Pablo Cruise. Palace Theatre, Greensburg.
JUNE 17. Needtobreathe. Town Ballroom, Buffalo.
JULY 9. Justin Timberlake. First Niagara Center, Buffalo. Note: Rescheduled date.
JULY 30. Panic! At the Disco, Walk the Moon. Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, Cleveland. On sale Feb. 28.
AUG. 1. Panic! At the Disco, Walk the Moon. Stage AE, Pittsburgh. On sale Feb. 28.
OCT. 25. Ian Anderson. Palace Theatre, Greensburg.

FEBRUARY concerts
FEB. 27. Darius Rucker, Eli Young Band, David Nail. Erie Insurance Arena, Erie. 

FEB. 27. Soweto Gospel Choir. Byham Theatre, Pittsburgh.
FEB. 28. Badfish — a Tribute to Sublime. Town Ballroom, Buffalo.
FEB. 28. The Sonics. Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland.

March concerts
MARCH 1. Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show. Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh.
MARCH 1. Stanley Clark. Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland.
MARCH 1. Green 17 tour with Flogging Molly. Stage AE, Pittsburgh.
MARCH 1. Badfish. House of Blues, Cleveland.
MARCH 1. Richard Thompson (acoustic), Teddy Thompson. Byham Theatre, Pittsburgh.
MARCH 2. The Tossers, Continental. Tralf, Buffalo.
MARCH 2. Caravan of Thieves. Tralf, Buffalo.
MARCH 2. Parquet Courts. Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland.
MARCH 4. Green 17 tour with Flogging Molly. House of Blues, Cleveland.
MARCH 4. Bob Weir & Ratdog. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Buffalo.
MARCH 5. Bayside, Four Year Strong, more. Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland.
MARCH 5. Fleshtones. 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh.
MARCH 6. Ronan Tynan. Reg Lenna Civic Center, Jamestown, N.Y.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 24th, 2014

Sundays pack in too many quality TV shows; it’s impossible to keep up unless you DVR everything and time-shift viewing.
Which I do, but I can’t stand waiting. That means I hit the sack around 1 a.m. or so, which isn’t cool. Half the time I’m too groggy to enjoy what I’m watching. But I’m caught up.
HBO’s “True Detective,” my current favorite TV show, is winding down. Just two episodes remain. Wed’be better find out who the Yellow King and the serial murderer are (or if they’re one and the same), or I’ll be miffed. The reason behind Marty and Rust’s fallout was revealed last night, and that disappointed me. In a way, it was too predicable and cliched. This show has been better than that. But it’s still a fascinating and compelling drama, and like nothing else on TV, so I’ll see it through
“Girls” continued its rebirth in season three; the show has been on target, funny and more focused than season two. Characters, at least, are aware of their own failings and flaws, instead of just yammering on like whining narcissists.
“Walking Dead” has been equally strong in its return. Rick’s escape from a gang of thugs was mightily suspenseful, and I’m getting more curious to see what this “sanctuary” will entail. I’m liking the more open and occasionally smiling Michonne, too. Nice to see that characters, even in this apocalyptic world, can grow and evolve. There was actual laughter in the episode, too. No Daryl, though. That’s next week.

A fun week is ahead: Green Day’s “American Idiot” on Saturday at the Warner Theatre, and the Academy Awards on Sunday. See the Showcase page on Facebook later today for a chance to win two tickets to the Film at the Erie Art Museum’s splashy Oscar party, complete with red carpet. The contest will roll into Friday. We’ll also have details in Thursday’s Showcase, along with Oscar predictions by an expert, namely me. Hey, I qualify. I see everything.

Just two new shows have rolled in so far: The Head and the Heart (May 30) and Panic! at the Disco on Aug. 1, both at Stage AE in Pittsburgh. They go on sale Feb. 28.

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