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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.


Gusto

As "Hamilton" arrives for its local debut, Buffalo News staffers Jeff Miers and Colin Dabkowski along with contributing writer Ben Siegel participated in a sparring match in an attempt to ascertain the true merits of this groundbreaking play’s radical use of music. Jeff Miers: I was suspicious of “Hamilton” before I heard the music. Hip-hop and musical theater make str…

Gusto

Popular music has needed to reacquaint itself with the language of protest for a good while now. It’s in the music’s DNA, particularly in this country, where the field hollers of slaves, the blues, folk music, 1960s rock 'n' roll, '70s soul, and nearly every offshoot of these have been at their most incisive when they attempted to speak truth to power. But the last plac…

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I guess it really was the best-ever year in rock music, though saying as much suggests that nothing great and game-changing has happened since, and that’s simply not the case. But 1968 – man, something serious was up. The idea of repackaging albums and re-releasing them in elaborate box sets to commemorate anniversaries might seem like the final insult, a last-ditch eff…

Gusto

Intention. Music is about intention. It’s not just about the notes. It’s about what the singer is trying to do with those notes. The caged bird doesn’t sing because it wants to be famous. The caged bird sings because it longs to be free. “With Curtis, you get the impression that her innermost feelings are churning into melodies, harmonies and poems that build up unti…

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Here’s a special show that, somewhat inexplicably is flying well beneath the radar. We’ve got some serious musical royalty passing through town to perform an unusual show in an incredibly intimate venue. Billed as “The Rumble Tour,” the event slated for 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Bear’s Den, Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, will feature a performance by what is essenti…

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Singer Ali Critelli has been a fixture on the Buffalo R&B/soul/pop scene for the past 10 years or so, during which time she has worked with a broad range of area musicians, including Robby Takac’s Amungus, as leader of her own trio, and most recently, as leader of a full ensemble that tackles material the singer wrote herself. She’s earned a reputation as a deeply soul…

Columns

“Many of the images in the following pages have become iconic to a small subculture of punks and pioneers who were riding a wave of excitement in music and culture that started in the 70s and continued through the 80s and 90s in Buffalo, NY,” writes Robby Takac in the introduction to the new book, “Underground Buffalo Rock Posters: The Continental and Beyond.” It's a proje…

Gusto

Halfway through Saturday’s sold-out show at KeyBank Center, Metallica guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield took a few moments to address the assembled. “Everyone is welcome, young and old, always and forever, in the Metallica family,” Hetfield said, after calling out a 12-year-old in the front row who was attending his first Metallica show. “And some of us who may look old…

Gusto

According to the Washington Post, Guided by Voices is “the Grateful Dead equivalent for people who like Miller Lite instead of acid.” That’s apt, but I’d add the caveat that anyone who fancies sophisticated production techniques or lengthy song-suites need not apply, for GBV has made high art of a lo-fi aesthetic across the past 35 years, and spread it across more albums t…

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Three years ago, when Phil Machemer opened Revolver Records on Hertel Avenue, success for the new venture was far from guaranteed. Streaming services had all but decimated the world of walk-in, local music retail. In the time since Revolver opened, local stores Spiral Scratch and the last of the once-bustling Record Theatre stores closed. And though a handful of local reco…

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It's hard to blame the rest of the world for remaining largely oblivious to the work of Jackson C. Frank. After all, here in his hometown, the man and his music remain obscure at best, unknown or forgotten at worst. And yet … Stop by YouTube, and you’ll find an all but endless list of singers — young, old, obscure, famous, male, female — pouring their hearts into the…

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The dichotomy at the heart of Johnny Marr’s art was in full display at the Town Ballroom on Saturday night, as the aesthete did battle with the rough and tumble rocker, both of them taking up residence inside Marr’s lithe frame. As the sonic architect behind The Smiths, Marr is in no small part responsible for the creation of alternative rock guitar playing, and all the…

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This weekend, two of the biggest popular music acts of the past 25 years-plus will take over KeyBank Center on subsequent evenings. Conventional logic suggests that love for these acts is mutually exclusive. Hard-boiled Metallica fans are not likely to follow Saturday’s likely tour de force by returning to KeyBank Center on Sunday for Justin Timberlake’s stop on the “Ma…

Gusto

If you’re familiar with rock history and are aware of who the major players, unless you’re heading to Rochester’s Kodak Theatre to see Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul on Oct. 20, I’d better see you at Johnny Marr’s Town Ballroom gig, the guitarist and band-leader’s first appearance in Buffalo in more than a decade. Marr, as co-founder and musical director of t…