Last Friday, I managed to pull off a marathon, making it out to Darien Lake to catch the Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour stop (it was pretty great!), filing my review and then high-tailing it to Allentown to catch Fishbone in Nietzsche's.
I was exhausted, but passing up the opportunity to catch such a significant American alternative band in an intimate setting just did not seem like an option. I figured I'd catch maybe the end of the second set or something, but lo and behold, after (miraculously) finding a decent parking spot on Allen Street in front of the Old Pink, I made it to the door of Nietzsche's just as Angelo Moore, Norwood Fisher and Co. tore into their second song.
Nietzsche's was sold out, and the joint was literally hopping, as Fishbone's funk-soul-punk-ska-rock stew was splattered all over the walls of the venerable concert club. The band played its collective heart out, and the whole thing -- the excellent live sound, the power of the band, Moore's ability to split time between sax and frenetic vocals without seeming to need to pause for a breath, the crowd surfing -- felt beautifully surreal. Nice job, denizens of Clubland, in welcoming this all-too-often-overlooked powerhouse of a band to our town.
That night drove home a significant point regarding the massive upswing in concert activity in the region this summer. In addition to the Beach Boys and Fishbone shows, the Sam Roberts Band and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals played the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf that night, while Gov't Mule and the Sheepdogs reportedly slayed 'em out at the Labatt Canal Concert Series in Lockport. It hurt to miss any of these shows, but man, what a great problem to have!
This week looks to be more of the same -- an incredibly wide variety of shows competing for our attention. Tonight might be a good time to hit the clubs in Allentown again. At 6 p.m. today in Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar (253 Allen St.), Joshua Assad, guitarist with revered gypsy-jazz ensemble Babik, will play in the early happy hour/dinner slot. Assad recently shared the bill at Duke's with his mentor, guitarist Stephane Wrembel, so you know the guy has the goods. Stick around after Assad's sets to catch an impressive triple bill headlined by Pennsylvania's Cabinet -- a roots-folk-bluegrass-jam collective -- and our own Funktional Flow and the Evil Things.
Sleigh Bells -- the Brooklyn-based duo of guitarist Derek Edward Miller and vocalist Alexis Krauss -- arrives for its highly anticipated headlining debut at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). The band's latest album, the ominously titled "Reign of Terror," is quite a piece of work -- a startling marriage of the ethereal and the overwhelmingly raw and loud. Seeing Krauss in action should be a real treat. Tickets are $20 today, but the price goes up to $24 Saturday, so save yourself the money and grab 'em now from Tickets.com. Class Actress and Jel will open the all-ages show.
Guillermo Izquierdo and the Corrections play a rare gig this week, with friend John Lombardo (10,000 Maniacs/John & Mary) helping out. Events kick off at 9 p.m. Saturday in the Sportsmen's Tavern (326 Amherst St.).
Also at 9 p.m. Saturday, Wolf Tickets preside over a bill that also includes the B-Side Bastards, Jen Unbe and Societal Rot in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.).
Sunday is "Dead Day" at PapaBear campgrounds, adjacent to Buffalo Soldier, Main Street in Newstead. Sirius Grateful Dead Radio host and Dead historian David Gans will be on hand to speak and perform, along with the Little Mountain Band and Sonic Garden & Friends. The festivities start at noon. Advance tickets are available at Terrapin Station on Hertel Avenue. Now get out there!