Tonawanda News

September 3, 2013

MUSIC NOTES: Indoor concert season kicks off with a bang

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of the summer concert season which means that it’s time to start seeing your favorite artists indoors. One of the disadvantages of having so many artists routed through the area in the summer is that inevitably there is a time when there are two or even three shows in town worth seeing on the same night.

This fall is shaping up to be an interesting one, and I’ll highlight a couple of my favorite venues that I don’t get to visit much during the summer, The Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda and The Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls.

Between the two venues, you can see tribute bands for The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Genesis and Queen. I know many people aren’t fans of tribute bands, but done well, it’s still great to hear great songs performed live. When I was 12 years old I remember my father taking me to see a production of “Beatlemania” and I really enjoyed it.

The Riviera has some cool shows coming this fall, starting Sept. 11 when The Glenn Miller Orchestra performs there. My father was a huge fan of big bands, and before rock and roll acts dominated the live circuit, the big bands were the groups that toured the country.

On Oct. 18, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin will be at The Riviera. I am a longtime fan of Mary Chapin Carpenter and will certainly pursue an interview to preview this show. They are scheduled to perform as an acoustic duo.

The Riviera is also hosting Sinéad O’Connor, who will be at The Riviera on Nov. 12. O’Connor is supposedly a distant cousin of mine, and I would love to solve that mystery before she comes to town.

They are also hosting country legend Loretta Lynn on Nov. 14. If you are a fan of country music then you must see Loretta Lynn, she has such charm and grace.

If you have never been to a show there, The Riviera Theatre is a majestic theater with a great staff. Tickets for their shows are available on the Riviera’s website,

The Rapids Theatre always gets a huge cross section of artists, many of them on the rise, but their first show of the fall season features two legendary performers, Blondie and X, both of whom have not performed in the area in quite some time (at least as far as I know, but my readers have proven me wrong before). The show is Friday.

Billy Talent and Hollerado will be at The Rapids on Oct. 6. I am not familiar with Talent, but I will never forget seeing Hollerado in Lockport; they were fantastic.

That same week, Five Finger Death Punch and Escape the Fate will be performing at The Rapids on Oct. 9, and later in the month on Oct. 17 The Rapids will host the 25th Anniversary of Danzig. That should be a great show.

If you haven’t been to the Rapids, it is a great place to see a show as well, with high ceilings and a New York City feel. Unlike the Riviera, they have a full bar. Ticket information for the Rapids’ shows may be found on their website,

Thom Jennings writes a weekly column on the music scene for Sunday Lifestyle. Email him at