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Jeff Miers

Pop Music Critic at The Buffalo News since 2002.


In the bustling metropolis that is MTV land, it's apparently an extremely short trip from the sublime to the silly, the vibrant to the vapid. Last night, the cabs and buses were traveling particularly fast.The 2002 Video Music Awards were difficult to sit through. They started strong with an inspired rain-drenched performance by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band but …

It was one of the great philosophical, if not epistemological, arguments of the 20th century. What is the definitive line-up of the Kings of Californian hard rock, Van Halen? Was it the original version, what's now referred to as the "classic" roster of David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony? Or did, as some propose, the group actually improve …

"When the colour of the night/and all the smoke for one life/gives way to shaky movements/improvisational skills/a forest of whispering speakers/Let's swear that we will/get with the times/in a current health to stay/Let's get friendship right/get life day to day" - from "It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken," the Tragically Hip"Be here now." - Baba Ram DassIf we are doom…

Ghost Rider: Travels on the Road to HealingBy Neil PeartECW Press460 pages, $19.95 paperback When I interviewed Neil Peart -- drummer and lyricist with the rock trio Rush -- in 1997, his band had just launched a world tour for its 1996 "Test for Echo" album.Peart, long considered one of the strongest drummers in rock, struck me as a complex, deeply thoughtful, but ultim…

I guess I shouldn't have watched that 3 1/2 -hour documentary on the life and art of director Stanley Kubrick on Thursday night.If I knew exactly what I was in for Friday night, I might've thought twice.After all, the fabled director made a career of dashing audience expectations, ignoring public fancies and sounding the depths in search of the dark heart of his art. Near …

Walking to my seat through the thick and excitable crowd at last week's Bob Dylan performance at the Erie County Fair, I just about fell over.No, I hadn't taken one too many trips to the beer tent, or forgotten to tie my shoelaces, or eaten an absurd amount of sugar-coated fried dough.It was something else this time. Something blasting from the estimable PA towers on eithe…

In the current musical landscape, Tool stands alone. The band is too smart to be lumped in with the alterna-metal pabulum and rap-metal posing that clogs the airwaves and charts. But it nonetheless has captured a loyal, if somewhat underground, following, based presumably on its ability to blend heavy rock modernity with the grandiosity and sense of harmonic development co…

Since leaving Canadian power-pop legends the Pursuit of Happiness more than a decade ago, Leslie Stanwyck and Johnny Sinclair have been building a solid and devoted fan base one brick at a time. The group's deeply melodic, hook-heavy songcraft has endeared them to fans all over their native Canada and the United States, particularly in Buffalo, where they've been warmly re…

When will I grow up? God help me, I still feel the same way about Rockford, Ill., power-pop legends Cheap Trick that I did in the seventh grade, when my science notebook boasted a photo of bassist Tom Petersson, ripped from the pages of the "At Budokan" album package, taped to its cover. Petersson and vocalist Robin Zander were poster boys for '70s rock; suave, aloof, look…

"Grand National, please step to the head of the class. Based on the subversive hooks of your debut EP, 'Kingsize' -- all buzz-saw guitars, sweet vocal harmonies and mild snotiness -- it seems you're in danger of agitating our normally placid youth. Or at the very least, the young at heart, who we're happy to have bludgeoned into passivity with a steady diet of tuneless, an…

Torontonian songsmith Martina Sorbara creates sensitive, musical and esoteric singer-songwriter fare for people who would normally dislike such stuff.In the post-Lilith Fair backlash, Jewel went from "endearing and charming" to "grating and pretentious" without changing her approach one bit. It happens. So often, this week's chariot horse is next week's albatross. Still, p…

Halifax, Nova Scotia, might not seem to be the power-pop Mecca that, say, London, is. But the endearingly innocuous quartet known as Sloan has all but single-handedly put that city on the map for folks who still think that Badfinger, early Todd Rundgren and the Raspberries are artists worth celebrating.Sloan's latest, "Pretty Together," is a pop feast made all the more del…

REVIEWWHO: Paul WesterbergWHERE: The TralfWHEN: Thursday nightTHE LOWDOWN: Former leader of the Replacements goes solo with rock 'n' roll Paul Westerberg first played the Tralf as a solo artist in 1993. That show has become the stuff of legend. Nearly 10 years later, Westerberg can now add a second Tralf show to that category.Playing before a packed, sweaty and clearly …

In the late 70s, I had a favorite T-shirt, one I wore wrapped around my adolescent frame with something closely resembling pride. It was a black T, with a puffy, Peter Max-like logo emblazoned across the front in rainbow colors. The shirt had a vaguely hippie-ish look about it, emphasized by the seemingly ambiguous message its one-word logo imparted: Yes.The shirt gained m…

MUSIC REVIEWThe RisingBruce SpringsteenColumbiaRating: **** (out of four) There's a moment roughly halfway through Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's brilliant new effort, "The Rising," that sums up with goose bump-inspiring clarity the heart of both this record and Springsteen's entire career."Sometimes the truth just ain't enough/or it's too much in times like …