In the clubs and under the radar - The Buffalo News
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In the clubs and under the radar

Jamestown’s Smackdab is making a name for itself through the power of its live show. Though I couldn’t make the Blue Heron Music fest this year, the buzz I heard from friends who went suggests that Smackdab tore it up and earned the respect of the crowd with its afternoon set. (Video on the band’s Facebook page backs this up.)

Smackdab excels at what might be called a new fusion, a hybrid of styles rooted in R&B and funk, with the instrumental dexterity of jam bands. Which means you can dance to the music, but it’s not all endless jams. Vocalist and frontman Jon-Marc Johnson is at the center of the band’s sound, and he keeps things grounded in classic funk and soul.

Soon enough, Smackdab is likely to be hitting the road, and hard. The band is a natural fit for the festival crowd, and the music is infectious enough that predicting a rapidly expanding fan base for Smackdab does not feel like wishful thinking.

We’ll be treated to a local appearance by the Jamestown lads at 11 p.m. Friday in Mr. Goodbar (1110 Elmwood Ave.). Imperial Brown shares the bill, but Smackdab plays first, according to the Facebook event page. Admission is $3 at the door.

Gig picks

Multitasking is, generally speaking, not something that musicians are particularly good at. Just ask their significant others. You might think they’re listening to you, you might think that they are capable of strumming their guitar while simultaneously carrying on a conversation with you, but you’re probably wrong. Music tends to be the thing that musicians do best. Organizing things and multitasking? Less so.

Brett Michaels defies this stereotype, however. As the frontman with ’80s glam/hair-metal outfit Poison, Michaels came across as your run-of-the-mill Los Angeles-based hard rock frontman, a guy you might want to party with, but who you’d never trust to balance your checkbook. Yet, since he started his solo career, while concurrently holding down the frontman position whenever Poison reforms to tour, Michaels has proven himself more than capable of multitasking. By this point, we know him as rock star, reality TV star, bandleader and campaigner for the American Diabetes Association, among other things.

This summer, Michaels is wearing his bandleader hat. On Friday, he brings his solo band to Braun’s Concert Cove (11891 Main St., Akron). Hair Nation and Stealin’ will handle the opening act duties. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 advance, $45 day of show ( and at Braun’s).

Here’s a potentially face-melting triple bill for your listening and dancing pleasure. At 10 p.m. Saturday, Universe Shark, Funktional Flow and Space Junk will tag-team at Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.). Bring $5 to the door.

Cool new band alert: Tempo, a jazz quintet composed of trumpeter Christian Robinson, saxophonist Russ Carere, organist Dave Pinchoff, bassist Ed Klavoon and percussionist Bill Conroy, performs at 8 p.m. Saturday in Pausa Art House (19 Wadsworth St.). The Pausa folks describe the band as “a new pan-stylistic ensemble … combining adventurous compositions with energetic group improvisation to create a unique sound that is simultaneously classic and modern.” Sounds pretty compelling to me. Admission is $5.

Here’s a major score for hip-hop fans. Legendary Bronx rapper Kool Keith will take over Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar (253 Allen St.) at 10 p.m. Friday. Check for tickets.


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