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Machine of loving grace

With the recent passing of Pink Floyd founding member and keyboardist Richard Wright, it seems like a good time to indulge in an evening of Floydian fun, of the tribute band variety. The Machine is often touted as the finest of the Pink Floyd repertory ensembles, and fans point to the group's ability to faithfully re-create the structures of Floyd classics, while also employing an improvisational acumen where appropriate. The result is a bit like hearing Pink Floyd as a jam band, which is a very cool thing.

The Machine will perform inside the Bear's Den at the Seneca Niagara Casino at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday.


Romeo at midlife

Thirty years ago, back when you could flick on the radio and catch something both worthwhile and brand-new, I heard a voice that clicked with me, instantly. Always a sucker for the whiskey-and-velvet vocal touch -- a taste honed by years of listening to Rod Stewart, when he wasn't lame -- Steve Forbert's "Romeo's Tune" couldn't miss. It was so addictive, so catchy, such a smart update of folk music traditions. And it had that killer Roy Bittan/E Street Band-style piano figure, bouncing around Forbert's gorgeous vocal and romantic-idealist lyrics.

Forbert's "Jackrabbit Slim" was his second album, and it became a big hit on the strength of "Romeo's Tune." It was the only really big hit Forbert would get, too, although "Say Goodbye to Little Jo" almost got there, and "I'm In Love With You" should have been a major contender. Forbert never stopped, whatever his commercial fortunes might've been, and now that he's 52, he seems to be in a place he's wholly content to inhabit. Getting a hit can't be a concern anymore, so getting on with the business at hand becomes its own reward.

Toward that end, Forbert has been releasing albums like a man on fire, "Strange Names & New Sensations," his latest, being the 11th since 2000. My favorite of the bunch is the 2002 release "Any Old Time," which finds Forbert covering his favorite Jimmie Rodgers songs, something he does quite well.

Now, Forbert will pass through town for the first time in I don't know how long. He'll perform inside the Village Meeting House, 5658 Main St. in Williamsville, at 8 p.m. Saturday. The show is being presented by the Buffalo Friends of Folk Music, and it promises to be an intimate evening with one of the true, all too often unsung, greats. Call 684-2362 for ticket information.


Gig picks

Plenty of must-see shows in the clubs this week, starting with the much-anticipated C.O. Jones Family Reunion celebration inside Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.) at 10 tonight. The funk-tastic ensemble will be represented in all its glory, but the evening is also a bit of a party for the Schulz family. Keyboardist/songwriter/C.O. Jones leader Dave, vocalist Gretchen and percussionist Robert were all inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony inside the Tralf on Thursday evening, and all will perform with C.O. Jones tonight. Expect to be treated to the talents of Jerry Livingston, Geno McManus and Tommy Z as well.

On Saturday, Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.) brings back a perennial favorite, blues-rock guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Joanna Connor, and her band, for shows at 9 and 11:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door for this one.

Also on Saturday, ska-punk legends the Mighty Mighty Bosstones play the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) beginning at 7 p.m.


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