Share this article

print logo

Jeff Miers

The News' music critic since 2002, Jeff Miers also compiles the "90 Minutes" series where he highlights things to do in various Western New York neighborhoods. Miers co-hosts the monthly Gusto Vinyl Happy Hour at the Sportsmen's Tavern.


Local News

Nate Kalwicki was freshly graduated from Springville-Griffith Institute High School when he found himself in the Army, serving in Afghanistan. When an Afghan soldier turned on his training corps, Kalwicki lost his right leg. He returned home despondent, his body broken and his spirit not far behind. He felt little hope for his future. Then music saved his life. Ka…

Columns

I’ve been a cheerleader, and often, I admit. But this year, even though my personal calendar is overly stocked with concerts, festivals and club shows I’m incredibly excited about, I’m just not feeling it the way I once did. My past cheerleading was genuine, earnest and offered in good faith. It really all came down to a sense of hope. I hoped that the Buffalo Renais…

Gusto

In 2017, blues vocalist and Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee Patti Parks was invited to Memphis to speak as part of a panel during the Blues Foundation’s annual International Blues Challenge Festival. The symposium, “Blues as Healer,” found the singer sharing her experience of music’s restorative powers, much of it witnessed during her day gig hours as a nurse, and s…

Gusto

The Common Council approved today a permit for the Sportsmen’s Tavern to produce various public events, including concerts, art shows and an open-air market, on a vacant lot owner Dwane Hall recently purchased that sits adjacent to the Amherst Street club. Hall said the first show on the new grounds will be an Aug. 4 performance with Dale Watson, Bill Kirchen, the Lustr…

Gusto

My cup overfloweth, and my iPhone calendar is stuffed to the point of bursting. We’re in for a busy few months, folks. Great shows fill the roster, from the Waterfront to Lewiston to Darien Lake and back. I had a terrible time whittling it all down to a mere 10, which has not always been the case in years past. What follows is a list of gigs I’m most psyched for. I’m happy…

Gusto

The late, legendary Buffalo artist, musician and iconoclast Mark Freeland loved Ani DiFranco. He used her work as a litmus test in our relationship. He viewed me warily until he’d run me through the ringer on DiFranco’s music. How much of it did I know? What did I think of her guitar playing? How many shows had I attended? Did I truly get it? I passed the exam. Freel…

Gusto

I saw the Who with the Clash at Shea Stadium in 1982, on what was supposed to be the band’s farewell tour. (Sorry, mom and dad, I wasn’t really “sleeping over at Trevor’s house” that night. I hope the statute of limitations on this teenage infraction has expired!) I saw the band again at the Glens Falls Civic Center doing “Tommy” in full, on what also was said to be the ba…

Gusto

Last year, Buffalo saxophonist and Nietzsche’s talent buyer Ellen Pieroni launched Lavender Haze Collective, a business aimed at bolstering the area’s music scene, with an emphasis on jazz and jazz-based live music. Seeds for the company were planted when Pieroni first took over as booking agent for the venerable Allentown “live music 7 days a week” venue Nietzsche’s ne…

Gusto

I remember the first time I set eyes on Mary Moser. During the summer of 1993, my band at the time was opening for the Irish group An Emotional Fish at the South Ogden Street concert club known as Impaxx.  A few numbers into the band's set, singer Gerard Whelan paused to acknowledge independent promoter Bruce Moser of Buffalo’s Could Be Wild Promotions, the company that…

Gusto

Why, at times, does the heart open like a lotus flower at the subtle behest of a group of players striking metal strings amplified through magnetic pickups and electrified speakers, hitting skins with wooden sticks, tinkling ivories and intoning melodies through public address systems? Why does a melody and a group of chords combine to elevate the spirit? Why does on…

Gusto

I’m old enough to remember when musicians could busk freely during the Allentown Art Festival. I recall bands performing in the parking lot of the Old Pink on Allen Street one year, though it might have happened in subsequent years, too. Robby Takac’s Music Is Art Festival had its origins during the festival, and so the Franklin Street. block around what was then Tak…

Gusto

It started with a casual commitment to helping secure performances by buskers and acoustic musicians, and has grown over the years into a full-fledged partnership. Robby Takac’s Music is Art is now providing full musical curation for the Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival. And, as anyone who knows Takac will find unsurprising, that will involve a celebration of synergies betw…

Gusto

There’s a scene in Jim Sheridan’s darkly eloquent 1990 film “The Field,” in which Bull McCabe (Richard Harris) stands at the water’s edge with his herder’s crook in hand, screaming “Get back!” at the incoming tide. Harris is fighting the encroaching thrust of industrialization and the consequent decimation of his farm and family life in rural 1930s Ireland, but the them…

Gusto

There are bad ideas. And then are epically bad ideas. Night Nation Run – which bills itself as “The World’s First Running Music Festival,” because, hey, who can believe no one thought of this sooner? – is coming to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor in June. It fits the epically bad idea bill rather snugly. I became aware of this day-glo cynicism-fest – cynical because this is a…

Gusto

When Sam Cooper played a show in the 9th Ward @ Babeville at the end of last year, his bio on the venue’s event page caught my eye. Cooper’s music “is about love, sex, madness, seabirds, the internet, haircuts, bunny-rabbits, and self-help,” it read, in part. “(His) influences include Tom Robbins, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Lucinda Williams, and Roland of Gilead.” He had me …