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WHO: The Thirds Annual Reunion
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St.
TICKETS: price here
INFO: 886-8539
They're the three kings of Buffalo guitar: Charlie O'Neill, Joe Head and Jim Brucato (left to right). Together, they were called the Thirds. And every year, in an epiphany that music fans have learned to anticipate around holiday time, they reunite to follow their own star.

Quite a unique star it is. Because of their peculiar charm and virtuosity, the Thirds (which also at one time included Doug Yeomans, an equally towering guitarist) won a large and loyal local following. The group sang a world of songs, everything from Crosby, Stills and Nash ("Love The One You're With," of course, but a host of others, too) to Crowded House (both "Don't Dream It's Over" and the lesser-known "You'd Better Be Home Soon"). Thrown into the mix were the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, James Taylor and who knows who else.

Their huge repertoire is one reason that when the Thirds reunite Wednesday in Nietzsche's at 8:30 p.m., it'll be an occasion to remember. But there are other reasons, too.

One might cite individual talents: O'Neill's blues guitar virtuosity, for instance, or Brucato's gritty singing, or Head's choirboy voice (every year on Christmas Eve, he sings at Midnight Mass in St. Louis Church). The best thing about the Thirds, however, is the alchemy that develops as, without glancing at each other, they play and sing perfectly in sync. Whether they're singing Civil War songs or '60s peace protests, they're amazing. Catch them if you can.

-- Mary Kunz

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