Share this article

print logo

Mark Sommer

I have worked at the Buffalo News as an enterprise reporter, and as arts editor, for the past 17 years.


The Welsh band the Alarm burst on the music scene in 1983, opening U2's first arena tour and matching them for fist-waving anthems. Using electrified acoustic instruments, songs like "68 Guns," "Spirit of 76" and "Blaze of Glory" raised the battle cry. Vocalist Mike Peters and fellow bandmates Eddie McDonald, Dave Sharp and Nigel Twist released seven albums, but in 1991 th…

Mohawk Place is the place to be Thursday night for scaled-down indie roots rock courtesy of Dayton, Ohio (Swearing At Motorists) and glam-cabaret by way of Los Angeles (Abby Travis).Swearing At Motorists is a band of two - singer, songwriter and guitarist Dave Doughman, and drummer Don Thrasher, formerly of Guided By Voices. Part of the Midwest lo-fi scene, the duo's most …

When Jennifer Gold looks at the blighted stretch of Main Street north of West Ferry, she imagines travelers beckoned by a Krispy Kreme green and orange neon-lit "Hot Donuts" sign. A few doors down, there's a tailor perhaps, or a dry cleaner, and on the opposite side of the street a cafe with a patio, and a row of ethnic shops and a baker or small grocer. Elderly people are…

Beaver Nelson is one heckuva songwriter, good enough to stand out in a city - Austin - that has loads of 'em. That was forecast as far back as 10 years ago, when as a 19-year-old, Nelson was hailed by Rolling Stone in an article about Texas songwriters as "a songwriting prodigy.""A couple of my friends thought it was really cool, but other than that, it didn't matter (prof…

As a teenager, I would put on a Laura Nyro record, huddle near a speaker and escape into her world. An East Coast transplant living out west, I felt a strong connection to her New York street-wise sound, and found refuge in her deeply introspective, often frenetic songs about loss and yearning, hope and joy.Nyro's powerful, rapturous voice exuded passion and a wild, sensuo…

Tom Hambridge is a past recipient of the Boston Music Awards' "Most Outstanding Drummer of the Year" award, has performed as a session drummer at recording studios and participated in drumming clinics and workshops alongside such notable drummers as jazz's Billy Cobham and Vanilla Fudge's Carmine Appice.Here are Hambridge's five favorite rock drummers:Ringo Starr (Beatles)…

Sitting in with Ringo and His All-Starr Band.Hambridge and his wife, Chris, were introduced to Ringo Starr backstage last year before a concert in Nashville. Ringo asked Hambridge if he knew "With a Little Help From My Friends." When Hambridge says he, of course, did, Ringo invited him to sit in on drums for the song during the encore."I'm ushered to the drum kit and just …

Bonnie Raitt wants songwriter Tom Hambridge to write her a song. Susan Tedeschi turned to producer Tom Hambridge for her hit blues album, "Just Won't Burn." Nashville's Sound Emporium studio seeks out drummer Tom Hambridge to play on recording sessions. And publications from the Boston Globe to Blues Review are praising recording artist Tom Hambridge on his first major-lab…

Art Alexakis, the 39-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist for Everclear, is known for thoughtfully tackling personal issues head-on. Among them: growing up in a broken home, living in poverty, being addicted to drugs and, more recently, going through a divorce and remarriage.Everclear first emerged from Portland, Ore., in 1995 with "Sparkle and Fade," which spawned tw…

Remember Devo? Rambunctious Minneapolis band Manplanet bears more than a passing resemblance to them. The four pop-punk musicians dress in white, red, green and blue space suits, employ animated stage movements, offer sci-fi themes and rocket toward rock 'n' roll heaven with infectious hooks and power chords.The band -- featuring Jeff Ham of the former glam-band Detroit on…

Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen has long been one of the quintessential boogie bar bands, serving up a brew of country swing, blues and rock that has hipsters and truck drivers frequently tapping their toes and after the band's really left the runway, flailing all about.The band came out of Ann Arbor, Mich., in the late-'60s, headed by George Frayne, then a gradu…

Hunting is a dying activity in more ways than one. The ranks of hunters have been in steady decline in New York and around the country, and recruitment efforts have been largely ineffective in stemming the downward trajectory.It appears that killing animals in the wild doesn't have the appeal to younger generations that pro-hunting groups had hoped for. While studies sh…

WHAT: Redheaded Stepchild's Christmas PartyWHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday (food buffet starts at 8 p.m.)WHERE: Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St.ADMISSION: $5INFO: 886-8539 Local faves Redheaded Stepchild makes what's becoming one of its increasingly rarer Buffalo appearances on Saturday night at Nietzsche's. Joining the band will be four of the area's stalwart musicians - Jim Whitford,…

WHO: The FountainsWHEN: 11:00 p.m.WHERE: Mister Goodbar, 1110 Elmwood Ave.ADMISSION: $4INFO: 882-4000 The Fountains' new CD, "Diamond Wheel," is an innovative and creative melange of sounds - a touch of Americana given a bright pop sheen thanks to the lush vocals and principal songwriting of guitarists and twins Gary and Jeffrey Andrews, and the solid rhythm section of …