If you are unfamiliar with the rich tradition of Americana and roots rock in our region, Flatbed might act as an able point of entry for you. The band – singer Joelle Labert, guitarist Derek Bassett, drummer Thom Davis, harp player Nathaniel Montague and bassist Michael Tinsmon – brings together influences from the last 100 years of American music in a manner that is somehow redolent of Western New York in general and Buffalo in particular – a form of roots music that reflects the wide-open spaces of the outer rural areas and the urban hipster-bohemianism of downtown in equal measure.
In Labert, Flatbed boasts its secret weapon, a singer able to convincingly bring the influences of 1950s country, ’70s singer/songwriter fare, and pre-Beatles rock ’n’ roll to bear on her bandmates’ collective casual, rustic amble.
It’s strong, affecting music delivered in a charismatic, personable manner, and as such, it sounds best when played in an intimate club, where the lines between performer and audience member become delightfully blurred.
That’s what is likely to happen when Flatbed takes over the happy hour slot from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar (253 Allen St.). There’s no cover charge for the show. Sample some Flatbed through www.flatbedmusic.com.
Doreen Taylor grew up in Alden but made a name for herself as singer/songwriter and stage actress far away from home – mostly on Broadway, but also in Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, where she honed a rather eclectic style that marries the grandeur of show tunes, the rootsy sentimentality of American country music, and the over-the-top showmanship known to lovers of the Vegas-style review.
All of these elements can be noted through Taylor’s most recent effort, “Magic,” which yielded the YouTube hit “Last Call (for Alcohol)” and is notable for the diversity of its content. Taylor can do straight-up contemporary country but she is known to tackle standards like “Summertime” and “The Way You Look Tonight” with equal conviction.
At 8 p.m. Sunday, Taylor brings what she has called “a feast for the senses” to Asbury Hall at Babeville (341 Delaware Ave.). Taylor has planned a large-scale presentation for this show, with the help of an eight-piece band assisted by backing vocalists and dancers.
The show will be a benefit for Andrew’s Army and UNYTS. Tickets range from $22.50 to $42.50, with VIP packages available, which include premium seating and an after-show meet and greet. Find them through Tickets.com, at the Babeville box office, or by calling (888) 223-6000.
An indie/prog feast
Indie-rock and alternative fans should rejoice in the fact that Minus the Bear arrives for a show at 8 p.m. Saturday in Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls). The Seattle-born outfit is one of the more interesting of the current class of indie rockers, and is touring behind last year’s excellent “Infinity Overhead” album. Minus the Bear will be joined by INVSN and Slow Bird. Tickets are $22.50 to $25 (box office, www.rapidstheatre.com).
On Friday, prog/jam-band fans should head down to Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.) to catch the jaw-droppingly virtuosic “sci-fi Middle Eastern funk” trio Consider the Source. Marrying the Eastern modalities of Shakti with the Space Age tonalities of Radiohead and the abundantly funky undercurrents of prime fusion-era Herbie Hancock, CTS must be seen to be believed. Electro-funk outfit Fikus will open. Show time is 9 p.m., and tickets are $10 advance (www.mnmpresents.com).