GREAT THINGS are happening in the clubs around town this weekend. For starters, those who like to combine a little social consciousness with their entertainment are in luck.
Sunday, Jacobi's in Lackawanna hosts its 4th Annual Patio Party to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Western New York. Live entertainment begins at 7 p.m. and continues all evening. A buffet is served at 9 p.m.
Eight of the area's top bands will be on hand -- Southbound, Rapid Fire, 5 Speed, Airplay, Town Express, Bermuda Triangle, British Boys and Lady Fire.
The entire evening with the show and buffet costs $3 at the door. Jacobi's also has Patio Party T-shirts at the bar for $5. Wearing a T-shirt Sunday means free admission to the party.
All of the money from both the door and the T-shirts -- every penny, they say -- goes to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Saturday, the Cabaret on Franklin Street presents Thelonious Monster, a Los Angeles-based groove combo. Bob Forrest, the band's ringleader, has put a strong personal stamp on the group's latest album, "Stormy Weather."
Born out of wedlock to a 15-year-old mother whose parents "quietly adopted" him, Forrest was led to believe that his mother was his sister and that his grandparents were his parents. Not surprisingly, he joined his family's ranks of alcoholism while he was still a young man.
His struggle with his personal demons is strongly reflected in the music of Thelonious Monster.
"I thought to stop drinking would be the end-all of my problems," he said, "but it wasn't. 'Stormy Weather' is about being mad over these things and realizing it doesn't matter what you're mad at. It's about pointing fingers at people and realizing you should be pointing them at yourself."
The music is an outrageous concoction of punk, funk, blues, rock and mutant jazz. Nevertheless, it has been widely praised by such publications as Spin, Musician, Rockpool and the Los Angeles Times.
Consorting Angels opens for Thelonious Monster. The show starts at 11 p.m. This weekend marks the opening of a couple of new clubs in the area. One is called Wise Guys and it's located at 3500 Main St. at the rear of University Plaza. That is the site of the old 2001 Club.
Wise Guys takes up only half the space of the old club but that is nothing to scoff at. The new club still has three separate dance floors, each with its own light show. That adds up to more than 1000-square feet of dance floor.
Wise Guys officially opens this evening, an event extended through Saturday. The band Dragonfly is providing the music.
After this weekend, the club opens every Wednesday through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., with live music on weekends. On Sundays from 7 p.m. to midnight, the club will host a young adult party for those between 14 and 19 years old.
The highlight of the first young-adult evening Sunday is a lip sync contest with a grand prize of $500. That will be a regular Sunday feature.
Niagara Falls is the site of the second new club. Buffalo's Comedy Trap on Hertel Avenue is branching out to the Comfort Inn directly across from the Rainbow Center Mall.
Making the debut for a new comedy club is a major responsibility for any self-respecting comic. The honor falls to Bill Rutkoski, a favorite of Buffalo crowds. Judy Gold shares the bill and the irrepressible Airborne Eddy will be master of ceremonies.
Don't worry about Buffalo's Comedy Trap. It still is going strong. Headliner this weekend is Roger Kabler, described as "easily the best new act of the year and getting better by the minute." Banker-turned-comic Chip Chinery shares the stage with Kabler.