In the clubs and under the radar - The Buffalo News

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In the clubs and under the radar

Bobby Lebel is the sort of musician that helps Buffalo retain its position as a mecca for music lovers. People in the loop know we have some of the finest musicians in the country right here in our humble little corner of the world, and we don’t care if the rest of the country knows this to be the case.

Lebel is a virtuoso, to be sure, but like most of the fully tenured musical greats in the area, he’s also a mentor, a guy who gives back to the community by passing the torch and encouraging greatness in young musicians. Lebel teaches students of various levels who play guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, lap steel and drums, and also offers workshops in studio recording – which tells you an awful lot about his considerable musical skill set.

A member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, Lebel is perhaps best known as leader of the band the Headers, although his credits included considerable session and soundtrack work, as well as solo performances. Lebel’s latest project is an Americana-based supergroup of sorts, knows as the Damn Fine Rebels, and featuring bassist Mark Harris, drummer Elton Hough, backing vocalist Helen Lebel and keyboardist Carol Jean Swist.

Bobby Lebel & the Damn Fine Rebels will be joined by guests the Poor Boys at 8 p.m. Friday at the Hard Rock Café (333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls).

Art of convergence

Speaking of virtuosos, three of them – tabla player/percussionist Ravi Padmanabha, guitarist Ron LoCurto and harmonium player Michael McNeill – have taken to performing together as My Nada Brahma. The trio performs a stirring fusion of Indian classical music, jazz and world beat rooted in high-level musical interplay. All three artists have proven themselves in various formats – Padmanabha in just about any genre you can imagine, LoCurto in jazz, rock, pop and blues, and McNeill as a jazz pianist – but together, they craft a sound greater than the sum of its individual parts. My Nada Brahma performs at 8 p.m. Friday at Pausa Art House (19 Wadsworth St.). Admission is $5.

The heaviness returns

Headlined by hard rock/metal/stoner rock legends Clutch, Wednesday’s show at the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) will also feature rising metal stars the Sword and Pennsylvania’s much buzzed-about Crobot. Lovers of Led Zeppelin, Kyuss, Soundgarden and classic Black Sabbath, this one’s for you. Tickets for Wednesday’s show, which starts at 7 p.m., are $22 advance, $25 on the day of the show, and can be found at the Town Ballroom box office or through


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