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Erie County

For country singer Jason Aldean, it may have just been one of about 25 quick “meet-and-greets” he had with fans prior to his Saturday night concert at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.But for R.J. Bastedo, the 18-year-old Gowanda man with Down syndrome who considers himself the world’s biggest Jason Aldean fan, the backstage meeting was the thrill of a lifetime…

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Ten minutes into his electrified Saturday night set, at the outset of “Tattoos on This Town” – one of his several songs about the vast road and wide-open memories – country-western superstar Jason Aldean made a proclamation. But first he expressed gratitude to the opening bands led by Thomas Rhett and Jake Owen. “I’m jacked up, more than usual for this show, I …

Music

It was August 1990 when I first saw the Goo Goo Dolls perform at the old Continental.I’d started hearing about the band while I was still a student at Fredonia State College. Its album “Jed” was being played at house parties and back porch bacchanals when I first got to town. So there was a certain amount of “Let’s see what the big deal is” in my attitude on my…

Music

Country Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, “Bakersfield” (MCA Nashville). Once upon a time in the bad old days of American musical snobbery, Buck Owens was considered the country music equivalent of bubble gum. And that was inside country music’s intelligentsia. No more. The world has not only long since learned to reassess Buck Owens about five levels above where he’d …

Local News

Claudia Hoca, a noted pianist for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, was seriously injured in a car crash last week on the Thruway near Hamburg.Ted Hoca, her brother, said there is “no guarantee she will ever play the piano again.”Irene Haupt, a friend of Hoca’s, said the crash occurred about 11 p.m. Tuesday as Hoca was driving home from the Chautauqua Institution, …

MAYVILLE – If all they had done was read “The Lanyard” and sing “The Sounds of Silence,” Billy Collins and Paul Simon would have left their audience more than happy Friday night.Needless to say, they did much more.Chautauqua Institution’s evening with the two friends – one a wildly popular poet (yes, there is such a thing) and the other one of the greatest si…

Take Main Street, east, through Williamsville, down into Clarence Hollow and out the other side, into Akron, and be careful not to blink, or you’ll miss it.Braun’s Concert Cove is tucked behind an incline on the right hand side of Main Street. What appears to be a humble new concert venue, at first glance, reveals itself as an impressive set-up, with a large two-tier d…

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Michael Colina inhabits several worlds: not only classical music, but pop, jazz and world music. He has worked with musicians including George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. He has won three Grammy Awards, one for Latin music and two for CDs with David Sanborn.Though he lives in Florida and spent a lot of his childhood in Cuba, he is no stranger t…

Band names don’t always identify their sound, image or musicianship. Some borrow from literature (Modest Mouse); others borrow from their grandmother’s name (Pearl Jam) or her favorite song (Deep Purple). But then there are the others, the ones whose name matches their style, power and delivery so accurately that it’s almost too perfect. Hamilton, Ont.’s Monster Tr…

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There are more than a dozen Todd Rundgrens, and the majority of them showed up to perform an at times transcendent set before a throng at Canalside on Thursday. Since emerging at the tail-end of the ’60s, Rundgren has been guitar hero; producer extraordinaire; singer/songwriter of considerable repute; progressive rock icon; audiovisual maverick; power-pop wizard; one-man…

Gusto

We are blessed with plenty of shows from classic acts come summertime in these parts. More often than not, however, those are of the classic rock variety. Not a problem in and of itself, surely. But when I first saw the lineup for this year’s Artpark summer season, I was thrilled to find the teaming of Gladys Knight and the O’Jays on the list. This is classic, and incr…

Music

PopRobin ThickeBlurred Lines[Interscope]3 stars‘‘Blurred Lines” has been out for two weeks now, and is firmly ensconced in the top slot of the Billboard Top 100, giving veteran R&B/pop crooner Robin Thicke his first No. 1 album. Unlike so many of the best-sellers in the pop world of late, Thicke’s smash success seems to be refreshingly unplanned, or at least, not s…

Jamestown’s Smackdab is making a name for itself through the power of its live show. Though I couldn’t make the Blue Heron Music fest this year, the buzz I heard from friends who went suggests that Smackdab tore it up and earned the respect of the crowd with its afternoon set. (Video on the band’s Facebook page backs this up.)Smackdab excels at what might be called a…

Music

Todd Rundgren has been creating restlessly brilliant art at a breathless pace since the late 1960s. Because of his mercurial artistic temperament, refusal to be typecast or reduced to a single idiom, and inability to sit still for too long, Rundgren has been largely denied the massive pop stardom that many felt was his due around the time of the release of the watershed ea…

Art

City of Night, the manic and many-splendored arts festival that seemed to spring up from nowhere last September to become one of the most buzzed-about cultural events of 2012, returns to the Silo City complex of grain elevators and industrial buildings on Saturday night.The improved and more polished event organized by Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo will feature a ve…