Tom Fenton and Jim Iarocci used to hold a weekly reggae jam inside Nietzsche's, back in the early-to-mid '90s. These were wild, fun, warm-vibed nights, even if they were Tuesdays.
Back then, marking last call on a weeknight didn't seem like such a big deal. Particularly when you could listen to Tom, Jim and friends killing tunes like "Steppin' Razor" and "Night Nurse." Musicians could bring their instruments along and sit in with the band, and so many did.
For me, these were formative, educational musical experiences. Reggae, after all, is all about subtlety, and finding your place in the ensemble sound, nailing the groove. It was scary, too, 'cuz if you're playing with guys like this, you'd better be on your game. If you weren't, you knew it, and quickly.
Those Tuesday night bacchanals have faded into the past, along with the ragged flannel shirts, scuffed Doc Martens, and ability to stay up all night every night that were de rigueur back in the day. But Fenton and the Dreadbeats have, for the past nine years, been honoring the king of reggae, Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley, with an annual celebration of the man's music each winter. In these annual gigs, the spirit of those long-gone reggae jams lingers on.
On Saturday evening, beginning at 9 p.m., Fenton & the Dreadbeats will join forces with Buffalo reggae royalty Neville Francis & the Riddim Posse, for the ninth annual Bob Marley Night at Nietzsche's. More information is available at 886-8539.
The Gibson Brothers, hailing from the little postage stamp of soil known as Ellenburg Depot, N.Y. -- located northwest of Plattsburgh, near the Canadian border -- front one of the most exciting ensembles in modern bluegrass. Siblings Eric and Leigh Gibson channeled their early love of the genre's heroes -- among them, the Louvin Brothers, the Delmore Brothers, the Blue Sky Boys, the Everly Brothers and the Stanley Brothers -- through their own particular style of harmony singing, and then married it to the airtight ensemble interplay and serious musicianship that mark the form.
The result? Seven albums of killer bluegrass that have managed to make some serious commercial noise and bend the ear of scribes from Billboard to No Depression.
The Gibsons are currently on tour in support of their latest release, "Iron & Diamonds." They will play in the intimate environs of our own Sportsmen's Tavern on Wednesday evening at 8.
The Trews, with guests Son of the Sun and Turn It Up, head south from their native Canada for a gig inside the Town Ballroom next Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets for this all-ages show are $13 in advance, through Tickets.com or the Town Ballroom box office.
If you need to get your classic '70s R&B on, here's your chance. Ray, Goodman & Brown, with guests Old School Boys and Desire, will play two shows inside the Tralf on Thursday. The early show starts at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Doors for the late show will open at 9:30 p.m., and the band will take the stage at 10 p.m. Tickets are $30, and can be found at the Tralf box office or through Ticketmaster.
The Tudor Lounge hosts Kindergarten Crush, Cry the Union Forever, and Standing Audition on Saturday at 9 p.m.
Mohawk Place is presenting Roger Bryan and the Orphans, with Unwelcome Guests, Fences Make Good Neighbors and Tracy Morrow & the Magi Chippie, on the club's front-room stage, next Friday at 10 p.m. Admission at the door will be $5.