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Jeff Miers

Pop Music Critic at The Buffalo News since 2002.


Columns

Dear Cheap Trick: We have to stop meeting like this. I just can’t bear watching as you crush the competition for 30 minutes in front of a half-interested crowd, before some washed-up hair-band takes the stage as the headliner. The announcement this week that you would be handling the warm-up duties for Poison at Darien Lake this summer felt cruel. The flame flickers,…

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The recent arrival of twin Elton John tribute albums "Revamp" and "Restoration" finds popular artists covering the songs of John and Bernie Taupin, setting the stage for John's farewell tour, which stops at KeyBank Center on Sept. 15. I endured both albums to cherry-pick the best for you. Queens of the Stone Age, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" Outstanding in conception …

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Like so many Tragically Hip fans who caught the band on what turned out to be its final tour, following the announcement that singer, front-man and shaman-poet Gord Downie was battling terminal brain cancer, music journalist Michael Barclay had a moment where the poignancy of the situation overwhelmed him. "It was at one of the Toronto shows" in August of 2016, recalls …

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After a solid reboot of Rockin' at the Knox in 2017, the Albright-Knox has stepped things up for 2018, with the announcement that Beck will headline the July 16 event on the grounds of the art museum. This year's show marks the first time Beck has played the region as a headliner in nearly two decades. He performed a much buzzed-about opening set for U2's "Joshua Tree" …

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Lake Street Dive, "I Can Change" Gorgeous. A blend of soulful pop, folk, elements of indie rock, and sublime singing. Chris Cogburn/Ingebrigt Haker Flaten/Bob Hoffnar/Henry Kaiser, "Las Montanas de Excesos" Some forward looking, exploratory instrumental rock music that borders on avant garde free-form, but boasts passages of striking beauty. Avoid if you don’t…

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I've wanted to get into yoga for the past several years, but I just can’t deal with the pants. They look like something Richie Sambora would have worn, circa 1986. The hair-metal haberdashery conflicts with the Eastern philosophy at yoga's heart in a manner that I find off-putting.  Laziness and lack of motivation, of course, have nothing to do with it. Still, I've had …

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Nietzsche's is the longest-serving original music-friendly venue in Buffalo, and the only club that has offered live music seven nights a week from its opening in 1984 to today. The club has been a major hub for the local music scene for decades, but here are a few things you might not know about the venerable Allentown institution. It wasn't love at first sight When…

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Angelique Kidjo, "Born Under Punches" The African singer celebrates Talking Heads' "Remain in Light" album by taking it back to its primary rhythmic influences. Full album drops June 8. Jack White, "Boarding House Reach" The early reviews for White's latest have been unkind, but the broad stylistic variety being criticized is what makes "Boarding House Reach" …

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We watched it on what felt like a repetitive loop. To the point where we could quote the dialog and I only needed to gesticulate wildly, a la Jack Black, yell "Motorhead! What is wrong with you people!?!?" and my son would crack up. "School of Rock," the 2003 film directed by Richard Linklater and starring Jack Black, was one of my son's earliest obsessions. He was 4 wh…

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David Byrne chose to end his recent sold-out audio/visual/theatrical celebration at the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts with a deeply moving take on Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout." Fans might have been expecting a run-through of a favored Talking Heads hit to wrap up the show on a high note. Instead, they got a rhythmic roll call featuring the names of …

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My friend Bruce Eaton, producer of the Art of Jazz series at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, was poking fun at me in a good-natured way when he sent me an email with a link to a story claiming Buffalo as one of the most concert-rich populations in the country. He wrote: "Hi Jeff – Interesting, given the widespread belief that Buffalo often gets bypassed by tours (translatio…

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Meshell Ndegeocello, "Ventriloquism" Eerily intimate, gorgeously arranged R&B hits from the 1980s and '90s. As good as modern R&B gets. Dungen/Woods, "Myths 03 EP" Sweden's Dungen and Brooklyn's Woods team for some of soul-stirring psychedelia and progressive indie-rock. Roxy Music, "Manifesto" How this album has spent 30 years sounding a few…

Columns

This whole "Bruno Mars is guilty of cultural appropriation" thing has got me thinking. And the more I think, the madder I get. Last week, cultural commentary site the Grapevine released a two-part video documenting a roundtable discussion on Mars and cultural appropriation. One participant was YouTube commentator and activist Seren Sensei Aishitemasu. She went off on Ma…

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You'll get no second chance to make a first impression. Or, as they say in the world of journalism, "Don’t bury the lede." Such a maxim certainly applies to popular music, a form of art where one competes for the attention of listeners awash in a continuous flow of new information, and in many instances, where one answers to a group of masters who have spent most of the…

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Ruby the Hatchet, "Planetary Space Child" A real head-trip in the sprawling, heavy psychedelic mold, this New Jersey outfit's latest full-length starts with a masterful slab of interstellar overdrive. Pearl Jam, "Can't Deny Me" Rush-released last weekend, the first single from Pearl Jam's forthcoming album is a sneering power-punk anthem for the resistance. …