The monster is growing up. "Monster" Mike Welch was just 13 when a Blues Brother named Dan Aykroyd dubbed him "Monster Mike" because of his guitar skill. That was six years ago, and now Welch has matured into a blues master. "Catch Me," Welch's third album, showcases his blossoming blues sensibility, with a strong dose of rock 'n' roll. Mike Welch performs Saturday at 10:30 p.m. in the Lafayette Tap Room, 320 Pearl St.
SCENE'S BIG FIVE
1. The Toasters: Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Showplace, 1063 Grant St. The Toasters are known as the "kings of two-tone ska." That means the band adds some juice to ska music with some hardcore and punk sounds to whip up a party atmosphere. The Toasters have been around about 15 years and always put on an energetic show.
2. Merl Saunders: Sunday at 8 at Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St. Saunders, a piano player, is a veteran rocker who has placed with the likes of Jerry Garcia.
3. Simon and the Bar Sinisters, Bobo: Saturday at 11 p.m. in Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. Simon and the Bar Sinisters come from New York with a combination of surf, punk and rockabilly sounds. Bobo, featuring George Tutuska, plays original rock.
4. Buffalo Song Project: Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St. A host of local talent, including Mike Oliver and Go, Dog. Go!, Nimrod Wildfire, Michael Meldrum, Jim Celeste and Cathy Carfagna play their music.
5. Sneaker Ball: Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Shea's Performing Arts Center Grand Lobby. Buffalo Music Hall of Fame band Party Squad performs in the annual Sneaker Ball fund-raiser for Shea's.
BIG BEAT STORY OF THE WEEK
Buffalo's Goo Goo Dolls may have an outside shot at an Academy Award nomination for the song "Iris," from the movie "City of Angels." The song has already been nominated for two Grammy Awards but is considered a long shot for the Academy Award song nomination. "Right now, it looks like an Alanis Morissette song off the 'City of Angels' soundtrack could get the Academy Award nomination," said a record industry source. Despite that fact, the Goos' "Iris" is the number most identified with "City of Angels."
AROUND AND ABOUT
Alternative rock pioneer and former Replacement Paul Westerberg has a new album coming out next month. . . . More legal problems for rapper Old Dirty Bastard, recently arrested after an alleged shootout with police in New York City. . . . Bill Perry plays his hot blues guitar tonight at 10:30 in the Lafayette Tap Room. . . . Cabalyst and 3 Days Old perform original music Saturday at 11 p.m. in the Continental, 212 Franklin St. . . . Top 10, Jan. 22, 1993: "To Love Somebody" by Michael Bolton.
Blondie is back. The band, featuring singer Deborah Harry, made its mark during the late '70s and early '80s with such hits as "Heart of Glass" and "One Way or Another." The group has reunited and has a hit single, "Maria." A tour is expected this spring. . . . Dave Davies, a member of the Kinks and brother of the band's singer Ray Davies, starts a solo tour later this month. . . . Scene quiz: Who said, "I can't take it anymore; I have wasted my life"? Was it Mick Jagger, Johnny Rotten or Anthony Hopkins? Answer: Actor man Hopkins. . . . Girlpope plays original rock Saturday at 11 p.m. in Nietzsche's. The Red Gills also perform. . . . McCarthyizm plays its brand of pop and rock every Saturday at 10 p.m. in Havana, 660 Main St. . . . Top 10, Jan. 22, 1970: "Venus" by Shocking Blue.
Bruce Springsteen, Sir Tim Rice, Bobby Darin and Peggy Lee will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June. . . . Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records who gave Elvis Presley his first big break, will appear Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The hall is holding special events throughout January to honor Elvis. . . . God's Children rocks out Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Hard Rock Cafe, 333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls. . . . Tom Stahl plays his own music Monday at 8:30 p.m. in Nietzsche's. . . . Top 10, Jan. 22, 1961: "Rubber Ball" by Bobby Vee. . . . The Paperboys play Celtic rock Thursday at 10 p.m. in Mohawk Place. . . . This week's words to live by, courtesy Kurtis Blow: "Brakes on a bus, brakes on a car/Breaks to make you a superstar."