Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Scene It: Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick at CMAC

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 3:51 PM

Cheap Trick performed at CMAC on Saturday, July 11. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Cheap Trick performed at CMAC on Saturday, July 11.

The rain juked me, goddammit, and I missed the P-Funk show at MLK Jr. Park on Thursday. I did manage to catch The Goods at the aftershow at the Dinosaur BBQ, though. I walked in as the quartet was taking a stab at Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne.” Known for its sky-scraping jams and polyrhythm, the Goods were a little bluesier, but rockin’ nonetheless, especially when Miss Teressa Wilcox brought joy to the boys by joining them on a spirited take of Lucinda’s Williams' tumultuous tune “Joy.”

The best stage at The Corn Hill Arts Festival has to be the one at the gazebo with its cool canopy of trees, short skirts display, and terrific sound. Every year I track down this stage by following my ears. This Saturday, was no different as me and Mr. T shuffled toward the gazebo to the sound of Steve Grills and the Roadmasters. The band was locked in tight like a pugilist clinch as Grills flexed his huge vocabulary through Fender tube and tweed.

Tyler Pearce followed. It was my first time hearing this young singer-songwriter: her acoustically-rooted folk rock got excellent rock band treatment as she intoned with casual intent. She sounded just fine, but I’d like to see a little more of the drama that her pretty and thoughtful songs demand.

I thumbed my way onto a limo ride with some members of the lunatic fringe and barreled down the 90 to CMAC for Cheap Trick and Peter Frampton Saturday night. Now I’ve loved Cheap Trick since I was a kid (I was CT guitarist Rick Nielsen -- complete with spinning bow tie -- for Halloween in 6th grade) and have seen them a ton of times. And what I usually found tres cool at past shows actually distracted me a bit this time around. Nielsen is the source of the band’s chordal bliss and hooks, and live he noodles and stretches and augments, slithering around Robin Zander’s unbelievable (I think it’s actually gotten better) voice. And though it’s amazing to hear the guitar in the moment, it was a bit much in spots. The show highlight, besides hearing “Surrender” was bassist Tom Petersson’s version of the Velvet Underground’s “Waiting For My Man.”

Peter Frampton rose to the challenge of following Cheap Trick with a positively exquisite mix. If you bring in too much artillery into CMAC it winds up sounding like shit; loud and confusing shit. Frampton was loud, no sweat, it just made sense even when he stepped way, way out of the box to tackle an instrumental version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” I went in skeptical, but Frampton showed me the way.

Peter Frampton performed with Cheap Trick at CMAC on Saturday, July 11. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Peter Frampton performed with Cheap Trick at CMAC on Saturday, July 11.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I Scene It: The Tragically Hip at CMAC

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 4:00 AM

The Tragically Hip performed at CMAC on Saturday, July 4. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • The Tragically Hip performed at CMAC on Saturday, July 4.

The last time I saw The Tragically Hip in concert, the Canadian band didn't yet have its own postage stamp, and Bill Clinton was the president. That was 15 long years ago, so when Gord Downie and company announced an area gig, I filed it under "must see." The Hip did not disappoint as it rocked the enthusiastic house at CMAC on the Fourth of July working in a pre-fireworks celebration that was made even better by a complete performance of classic album, "Fully Completely."

The Hip did not slow down a bit during a nearly 2-hour set. Charismatic and eccentric front man Gord Downie's voice was vigorous while the rest of the band was at the top of its game. Downie still can't dance though; he twisted and twitched and possibly twerked -- moving like an erratic marionette at times but owning the stage regardless. You could almost imagine him grabbing your arm and miming his own life story on a train trip through the Canadian Rockies.

Downie walked onstage in a white suit, black shoes and fedora as the band members picked up their instruments, then it was off with "Grace, Too." There is no better opening line to get things started than "He said I'm Tragically Hip." The band's second tune "My Music at Work" whipped the crowd into action. A fan favorite, "New Orleans is Sinking," slipped through the cracks of American radio but the heavy, bluesy groove got the audience swaying like an old time revival.

After a quick changeover, five video panels descended for the "Fully Completely" portion of the show. The Hip ripped through its greatest album as Canadian imagery was projected including grainy film of a snow storm. Two of the album's strongest numbers, "At the Hundredth Meridian" and "Fifty Mission Cap" produced some of the night's cooler moments: both tunes demonstrated the cohesive energy of this extraordinary rock band.

The only stage banter all evening was the farewell, "Thank you music lovers." It led to an encore that ended too quickly with "Blow at High Dough." Downie who had been shedding souvenirs into the audience all night was handed a bouquet of flowers at the end, lovingly bestowed by a fan.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

City of Rochester announces ROC the Park lineup

Posted By on Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 4:00 AM

This town certainly loves its music festivals. And there is no shortage of places to throw one. And now with Martin Luther King Jr park back in the mix, the mayor just announced a three concert series aptly named ROC the Park. This will be the series' second year.

For three separate days -- Saturday, July 5; Friday, August 7; and Saturday, September 5 -- ROC the Park will present a handful (a large handful) of neo-soul, R&B, and Motown featuring headlining artists Drea D’Nur, Team Powell, and Carlton Wilcox.

The complete lineup is as follows:

5 p.m., Saturday, July 25: "A Night of Neo-Soul" featuring Drea D'Nur with supporting acts Tamra; Will Houghton; Shondra Floyd; Monique Perry; Maisha and Jasma.

6 p.m., Friday, August. 7: "Rhythm and Groove R&B Tribute" featuring Team Powell with supporting acts Brown Skin; Renee and Nate Anderson; Brothers 4 Life; and Anthony Donte.

5 p.m., Saturday, September 5: "A Tribute to Motown," featuring Carlton Wilcox Live with supporting act Divine Nature.

Local food and beverages will be available for purchase. Patrons may bring one sealed bottle of water into ROC the Park. To accommodate more attendees, lawn chairs will not be allowed. Picnic baskets, bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates and pets are also not permitted at the event.

Parking is available at nearby parking garages including the Washington Square Garage, 111 Woodbury Boulevard, Court Street Garage, 194 Court Street. and at the East End Garage, 475 East. Main St., as well as on-street in the area.

Tickets are $5 (VIP for $25, children under 12 are free) and available at tickemaster.com or the Blue Cross Arena box office.

For more information, visit www.cityofrochester.gov/ROCthepark or call 311 (428-5990 outside city limits).

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