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What defines a sublime concert experience? Is it the venue? The weather, if the show happens to be an outdoor one? The quality of the company you keep during the gig? The behavior of the crowd? The sound? The set list? The price of beer?Inevitably, it is a combination of all of these things. Which can make every concert experience a dicey proposition. There are so many var…

The last time I saw Maroon 5 in concert, the band was sharing the bill with John Mayer at Darien Lake. Adam Levine was just the singer and occasional guitar player in the band. He hadn’t yet become “Adam Levine, celebrity judge on ‘The Voice.’ ” “Moves Like Jagger” had not yet been recorded. Levine seemed to be more of an art-pop guy. Now, he clearly wants …

Hard to believe, but true – we’ve made it nearly to the end of the summer concert season. Tonight finds Thursday at Canalside signing off until next year, but man, what a way to go out – with a double bill featuring one of the progenitors of jam-tronica, Philadelphia’s Lotus, and perhaps Buffalo’s finest progressive music ensemble, the rapidly on-the-rise Aqueous…

RockThe Winery DogsThe Winery Dogs[Loud & Proud]Rating: 3 starsThe Winery Dogs is a supergroup composed of three revered and fully tenured virtuosos. One of these virtuosos is Billy Sheehan, the Buffalo native widely held to be one of the finest rock bassists of the past three-plus decades. The other two aren’t exactly slouches. Mike Portnoy is one of the most influentia…

The last of this summer’s Buffalo Place Rocks Canalside weekends kicks off Friday, as Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo return for a full-force tour through several decades of massive rock radio hits, among them “Heartbreaker,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Love is A Battlefield.”Guitarist (and Benatar’s husband) Giraldo first cut his teeth as a member of Ri…

DETROIT – Honoring the mentor who taught them how to “perform for kings and queens,” some Motown luminaries paid tribute to Maxine Powell on Monday night.In a warm, nostalgic reception at the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit, artists including Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves and the Four Tops’ Duke Fakir gathered to greet and applaud the woman who ran Motown’s …

With the 2013 Video Music Awards now in our rear view, it’s time to take a thoughtful, considered look back at some of the evening’s high and low points.Some highlights:• Most necessary reinvention: Kanye West, who needed to be seen as a thoughtful artist after months of Kardashian-related PR shenanigans.• Best foreshadowing: “I really wanted to win the Best Rap …

The MTV Video Music Awards are a vile and depraved celebration of everything that is wrong with popular culture. And then there are the bad parts.Sunday’s broadcast of the only tangentially music-related event was filled to the brim with them.You might be tempted to write off a reaction such as mine to the fact that people my age – or any age north of 25 – are “not…

RockThe Jimi Hendrix Experience (Experience Hendrix/Legacy, four discs). “The Purple Box” is what it has been called since its original 2000 release. What it has always been is a collection of 60 tracks previously unreleased or unavailable Hendrixiana from Jimi in Excelcis 1966 to 1970. Let’s freely admit that four previously unreleased tracks in a newly expanded edi…

DARIEN – These homecoming gigs are always special. When our own Goo Goo Dolls come back to Buffalo – well, almost Buffalo, Darien Lake being the midpoint between our town and Rochester – the marriage of civic pride and great pop-rock songs never fails to make for a special night. Saturday, the Goos took a break from their co-headlining summer tour with Matchbox Twent…

NIAGARA FALLS – The blues are back for their yearly visit.The Niagara Falls Blues Festival, a free three-day event, will be held on Old Falls Street from Friday through Sunday.“We do it for the love of the blues,” said festival founder Toby Rotella, who ran the Imperial Garage, a blues club on Third Street in the early 1980s. “And to try to educate people about the…

What does it mean that ’N Sync might reunite for Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards? Or that the Internet is gabbing about the prospect even though there’s really no proof that it’s a possibility?It means the world, burdened by so much already, must grapple with more difficult questions: Does Justin’s solo career really need this kind of stunt? Did Lance issue a non…

The MTV Video Music Awards may be turning the big 3-0 Sunday night, but don’t expect lots of retrospectives and reminiscing.With high-profile performers, including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, the VMAs will take over the Barclays Center to become the first major awards show held in Brooklyn, and instead of getting lost in nostalgia, they plan to make new buzzed…

A profoundly beautiful late-August evening. One of the finest improvisation-based rock bands of all time. An opener who could have headlined the place. It all added up to make Friday night at Darien Lake one of the highlights of the summer concert season.Why do people flock every summer to see the Allman Brothers at Darien Lake? Simple. You always know what you’re going …

Extraordinary Adam Ant, glam rock pioneer, played Canalside on Thursday night with his the Good, the Mad & the Lovely Posse. It was a visual and aural page from the 1980s – the only thing that would have made his 22-song set more authentic would have been the sticky-sweet whiff of Aqua Net hairspray (dubbed “Aqua Cement back then, it the secret ingredient of many a sky…