This year’s Canal Concert Series features something old, something new, and some things that are blue, including a new major sponsor.
As reported last month, the new beer in town on Friday night will be Labatt’s, the original sponsor of the series when it began in North Tonawanda in 2001. Instead of Coors and Molson, beer drinkers will have a choice of all the major Labatt’s products and some microbrews are promised on tap as well.
This year’s lineup features the return to Lockport of Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who played the series in 2008, Eddie Money, who appeared in 2009, Rik Emmett who appeared in 2010 and Tea Party who played the series last year.
New to Lockport, series opener Gov’t Mule, Big Wreck, Theory of a Deadman, 54-40, and George Thorogood. Only one opener was officially announced, The Sheepdogs, winner of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Choose the Cover” contest last year.
A few people attending the press conference speculated that the Gov’t Mule show could be largest show in the history of the series, especially with the Sheepdogs on the ticket. Gov’t Mule is one of the most popular jam bands on the circuit and features Warren Haynes, who is also the lead guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band.
George Thorogood played the Artpark series last year to an enthusiastic crowd and Theory of a Deadman played a show at The Town Ballroom last month. That show received universally good reviews.
This year’s lineup seems to stick to the same formula that has made the series successful, featuring a healthy dose of Canadian bands, some classic rock and a top-notch jam band.
The other thing that is new is year; Labatt’s will be giving away a Lime Green Camaro emblazoned with the Blue Light Lime logo. The winner is scheduled to be announced on Labor Day weekend.
Mayor Mike Tucker is pleased with the lineup and said he was looking forward to seeing Eddie Money and Rik Emmett again. “They both put on great shows when they were here last time,” Tucker noted.
When asked whether Lockport will follow suit with other concert series and charge for admission or for a premium pit area, Mayor Tucker replied that the series will remain free.