One critic once wrote of Keller Williams that he "writes and performs songs the way Salvador Dali painted, with compelling, sometimes bizarre images; windows to perception as viewed by the mind of a creative genius." Williams' voice has been compared to James Taylor's, and he has shared the stage with artists from Merl Saunders to Ani DiFranco. He brings his unique and entertaining style to the stage Thursday at 9:30 p.m. in Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St. Wise Monkey Orchestra from San Diego opens.
SCENE'S BIG FIVE
1. Animal Planet: Tonight at 11 in the Calumet Arts Cafe, 56 W. Chippewa St. Michael Lee Jackson and Animal Planet bring their brand of rock and R & B to the Calumet. Linda Rutherford and Celtic Fire will open.
2. James Armstrong Blues Band: Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Tralf, 622 Main St. James Armstrong plays a traditional blues show at the Tralf.
3. Dr. Eugene Chadbourne: Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. Chadbourne is a wild performer who plays what he calls "shockabilly" blues on guitar and electric rake. Yes, rake.
4. Sinclair Music Festival: Today through Sunday at Long Meadows Park, Route 60 in Sinclairville. More than 20 bands play rock, blues, alternative and country music. Gates open today at 10 a.m.; performers include the Ron Mendez Band, Plastic Nebraska and One World Tribe. For information: 962-2227.
5. Michael Hill's Blues Mob: Tonight at 10:30 p.m. in the Lafayette Tap Room, 320 Pearl St. Michael Hill plays guitar and sings his soulful brand of the blues. The Love Dogs, a hot young swing band, will take the stage at the Tap Room Saturday at 10:30 p.m.
BIG BEAT STORY OF THE WEEK
It was a huge week of exposure for the Goo Goo Dolls. The hometown band featuring Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac were featured in a one-hour "Behind the Music" special that runs all month on VH1. The Dolls also played live at VH1's annual backyard concert on Labor Day and repeats will run throughout the month. The Dolls are embarking on a national tour for MP3, and will also play Canada. There is a chance they will return for a hometown gig in early December.
AROUND AND ABOUT
The Funny Bone Comedy Club in the Boulevard Mall begins its annual comedy workshop series on Sunday at 1 p.m. The seven-week program costs $125 and prepares students to become stand-up comics. For information, call 838-2800. . . . Sad to report the demise of local band Scattered Flurries, which recently broke up after eight years. Also, Tim Wright, musician and promoter, is calling it quits for the music biz and moving on. He will be missed. . . . Good news for Ani DiFranco, who recently earned her first gold record for the album "Living in Clip." That 1997 double CD sold more than 500,000 units, a major accomplishment for an independent label. Buffalo Ani is also expected to work with Prince on the Artist's new CD. . . . Top 10, Sept. 10, 1992: "Humpin' Around" by Bobby Brown.
Looks like the Doors are headed to Broadway. Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for the famed '60s band, is penning a Broadway musical based on Jim Morrison and company. It will be called "Celebration of the Lizard." . . . Wyclef Jean's performance at a recent fund-raiser for President Clinton reportedly upset a few spectators. Jean, a hip-hop artist with a salty vocabulary, reportedly cursed, played a Jimi Hendrix-style "Star Spangled Banner" and even offered Clinton a cigar. . . . The Artimus Pyle Band featuring the one-time Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer, brings its Southern hard-rock country sound Saturday at 8 p.m. to the Barcade, 1620 Niagara Falls Blvd. . . . Top 10, Sept. 10, 1983: "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats.
Praise keeps coming for Mercury Rev, the alternative band with roots in Buffalo. Rolling Stone magazine described the band's current album, "Deserter's Songs," this way: "A lustrous song cycle about solitude and escape that evokes the eccentric airs and graces of Neil Young and the Beach Boys." . . . David Bowie's new album, "hours-," will be released on Sept. 21 on the Internet by Virgin Records, two weeks before it is available in stores. . . . Major Healy plays original music Saturday at 9 p.m. in the Showplace, 1063 Grant St. . . . Top 10, Sept. 10, 1965: "Heart Full of Soul" by the Yardbirds. . . . The Frantic Flattops and Dollywatchers play a hard-rocking twin bill Saturday at 11 p.m. in Nietzsche's. Hypnotic Clambake performs tonight at 11. . . . This week's words to live by, courtesy Christina Aguilera: "I feel like I've been locked up tight/For a century of lonely nights."