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NORTH TONAWANDA – Last summer’s free concert along the Niagara River at Gratwick Park was such a hit – about 12,000 people attended for Buckcherry – that this summer the city plans three Sunday shows for the series called Niagara River Rocks: June 9, July 14 and Aug. 25.

Already, one alternative San Francisco band, Primus, known for recording the theme song for the “South Park” TV show, “rambunctiously” announced it will open the series June 9, in spite of the promoter’s efforts to keep the news a secret for now.

“Anytime we put an offer in, we forbid them to put it on their sites,” said Kathy Paradowski, who coordinates the Labatt Canal Concert Series and now the North Tonawanda concerts sponsored by Cornerstone Federal Credit Union.

Word of the show leaked out online anyway, but Paradowski would neither confirm nor deny the plan.

“We’re still in the process,” she said at a Common Council workshop meeting Tuesday evening. She said she will reveal the summer lineup sometime this spring.

“I don’t think she tells us the bands just in case we don’t like them,” joked Council President Richard Andres.

The Council is expected to grant formal approval in a vote at its meeting next week.

The rock concerts will feature nationally recognized bands, Paradow- ski said. Local bands that play original music will be considered as opening acts, she said. While the July and August shows are set for about 4 p.m., the June 9 show may be later, so it’s dark enough to accommodate a light show that the band in question will feature, Paradowski said.

“We think the venue in North Tonawanda is absolutely beautiful,” she said after she left the workshop session.

Last summer, boaters anchored their vessels in the Niagara River to watch the show. Robert Welch, administrative assistant to Mayor Robert Ortt, counted about 70 boats at one point in the evening.

“It was a breathtaking scene,” he said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the Council heard about a proposal for a new boat tour operator this summer. Niagara River Cruises would include stops at Gateway Park, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Niagara Falls and Tonawanda, said Andres. The new boat business, which will come up for a vote at a meeting in the near future, would be a welcome attraction, he said.

“I think that will be another feather in our cap,” said Andres.

email: mkearns@buffnews.com