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Viva Vivaldi -- and vive le difference. The Viva Vivaldi concert Nov. 6 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church showed that this Baroque-focused festival, now in its 38th season, dares to mix it up now and then. In a change of pace, it featured two big-league "Vicarious Visionaries" -- Johann Sebastian Bach, and Ludwig van Beethoven. The Beethoven took up the entire sec…

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NIAGARA FALLS – Steely Dan has its own place in music history, for no other group has so successfully married the sophistication of jazz harmony to the song-oriented strictures of pop, rock, funk and R&B. From its beginnings in the early 1970s through the present “The Dan Who Knew Too Much Tour,” which stopped by the Seneca Niagara Casino on Friday, the band has…

Music

Brody Dolyniuk is the master tribute artist. He stood in for Freddie Mercury at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s tribute to Queen. He also stepped into Mick Jagger’s shoes. Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall, he sat at the Steinway, donned flashy glasses and sang the bittersweet ballads of Elton John. This BPO Rocks concert was as close as you could get to Sir Elto…

John Lennon pleaded with us to give peace a chance. The music the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus are performing this weekend show that it’s not that simple. Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote his “Dona Nobis Pacem” as a plea for peace in 1935, as the Nazis were advancing and war was looming. Meanwhile Paul Hindemith, in Germany, was experiencing the same desper…

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In 2016, Indie Rock is an attitude more than anything else, and has all but lost any connection to its original definition, as a sub-stratum of alternative music featuring unsigned or independent label artists. Two of the four bands comprising Monday’s Spring Fling concert package at First Niagara Center are signed to major corporate labels. No one really cares. At one t…

Music

From behind the plum-colored, sky-high Asbury Hall curtains, Joan Baez, lone and lean and of enviable, angular cheekbones, meandered onto the stage. The waiting audience applauded at the sight of her, quickly rising to their feet. “Coffeeshops, 1958, Cambridge,” were the first of her several spoken words conjuring her rich, folk past and that would skewer the topsy-tu…

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NIAGARA FALLS – Rock stars, particularly longtime rock stars and ones who aren’t named Springsteen, can be a bit robotic. It’s not their fault; try playing a hit song for two or three decades and make it seem fresh. Fans don’t mind; they’ve been listening to those same songs for those same decades. But a dose of discomfort doesn’t hurt anyone – not the fans,…

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Much like the entertainment at a striptease club, the music at a Rihanna concert is somewhat incidental – it’s part of the whole presentation, but it’s far from the main attraction. On Wednesday evening at First Niagara Center, the main attraction sold sex with the help of a six-piece band, a host of dancers and a tastefully extravagant stage show. At times, Rihanna…

The Buffalo Chamber Players are settling into their first season as the ensemble-in-residence at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, offering up their usual mix of interesting programing and varying lineups. On the whole, this is a very good thing, with musicians drawn from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and a pool of other talented local performers. That said, there are t…

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Blake Shelton was imploring his Buffalo crowd to sing along when he tossed in a little motivation. “If I read a bad review tomorrow,” he said, “it’s all y’all’s fault.” Here’s that review. And the verdict: Both Shelton and his five-digits crowd of newly anointed backup singers inside First Niagara Center get a double thumbs-up, flying-colors, cool-cliché…

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There was a “Pops Party” scheduled for Saturday night in Kleinhans Music Hall. If you arrived early and had a special ticket, you could celebrate Happy Hour with Colleen Williams and Bobby Jones at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner at 6:30 and a concert featuring the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Pink Martini. The initial festivities were essentially a fundraiser with…

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Mexican-American culture took the stage Thursday night as the Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Carlos Moreno danced and Los Lobos played music. The resulting concert was a whirl of color and sound, rhythms echoing back and forth among dancers and musicians, as each ensemble told tales in its own way, working in tandem sometimes and by themselves at others. Los Lobos has been…

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Tal Wilkenfeld is a virtuoso bassist with serious jazz, rock and fusion credentials who was playing with the likes of Jeff Beck, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Krantz by the age of 23, and has spent the years since working with artists as diverse as Todd Rundgren, Ryan Adams and Macy Gray. But when Wilkenfeld, now 29, took a break from her opening slot on the current Who tour t…

Music

John Morris Russell, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal pops conductor, is still pretty new here. But already, a few truths are emerging. If you don’t think you’ll like the concert, you will. If you’re psyched for the concert and know you will love it, it will be even better than you anticipate. Finally, it’s a good bet that Russell will send you o…

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Before Bruce Springsteen released “The River” in 1980, he and his E Street Band were part of the underground, cult artists on the cusp of the big time. After “The River,” which formed the core of the stellar set Springsteen & E Street performed before a full house Thursday in First Niagara Center, all bets were off. Springsteen went from being the guy loved on…