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Little bit country, little bit rock’n’roll: Trailer Choir, consisting of two guys, a gorgeous gal and a four-piece backup band, affably zipped through more than a dozen tunes during their hour-and-change show on a sweaty Aug. 29. The singing trio stuck mostly with Nashville-flavored numbers, with detours into the catalogs of Steve Miller and, of all people, Gloria Gaynor, although blonde songbird Crystal Hoyt’s take on “I Will Survive” was as fiery as the afternoon’s heat. Big Vinnie Hickerson, all 380 pounds of him, lived up to his nickname, as he constantly shook his backfield in motion with his “Curly Shuffle” routine and even belly-flopped across the stage during their hit “Rockin’ the Beer Gut.” And fellow singer and occasional guitarist Marc Fortney kept up his end of the threesome’s emotional bargain with its audience. When Hoyt finished her disco solo, Fortney said with good humor, “She’s hot. . . and she’s under contract!” PHIL D. RAPPER PHOTOS
New York State Fair concert promoters can’t seem to book any new country acts to headline the Grandstand, this year returning Tim McGraw for his fourth appearance on Friday, Sept. 3 and Rascal Flatts—if you want to call them country—for the fifth time on Saturday, Sept. 4, both at 7:30 p.m. Even the duo Montgomery Gentry, the undercard for McGraw, is a rerun, as is Rascal Flatts’ opener Kellie Pickler, both having been supporting acts on the big stage in recent years.
Aside from the popular country acts at the New York State Fair’s Mohegan Sun Grandstand, other nights will usher in sonic attacks ranging from classic rockers to tween-age girls in scream mode, and that’s just during the fair’s first week.
Aerosmith officially christens the Grandstand run on Thursday, Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m., with tickets priced at a gasping $84 and $94. Lead vocalist Steven Tyler, recently appointed to the judicial bench of TV’s American Idol, keeps powering this band into its fifth decade. The rock icons are followed on Friday, Aug. 27, 8 p.m., with the instant return of Comedy Central ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, who handily filled the Grandstand in 2009. Tickets are $40 and $45.
Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul headline the inaugural Sterling Celtic Rock Festival
They say as one festival closes, another opens. For the town of Sterling, the completion of the annual Renaissance Festival last weekend makes way for a rousing celebration of Celtic music and dance Saturday, Aug. 21, and Sunday, Aug. 22. The Sterling Celtic Rock Festival, pairing international touring bands and traditional Irish and Celtic dance, is a new venture presented by Empire Attractions. Six bands and several dance troupes will be featured on four stages.Eileen Ivers: “It’s amazing what tunes touch people. You can’t fake it with Celtic and Irish music.”
The Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival kept music fans hopping and bopping throughout last weekend’s impressive sonic slate. It seems like every musical genre took its turn in the spotlight, too. Saxman Chris Vadala (top, right) got the party started on July 29 with a swingin’ set alongside members of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the evening perked up when Nancy Kelly (bottom, right) stopped by with her enthusiastic vocals.
Grooves of an international flavor turned up on July 30, with the Latin-tinged Salsa Son Timba and the dance troupe La Familia de la Salsa (top, left) offering plenty of kinetic chemistry that got the crowd into boogie mode (center, left). The Four Freshmen (center, right), who could be heard harmonizing during a downtown rehearsal at Clinton Square earlier in the afternoon, showed off their commanding vocals as well as their instrumental skills during their nighttime gig with the Central New York Jazz Orchestra, which included Bret Zvacek (opposite page, below).
There was aural action way from the main stage as well. The World Beat Pavilion tent held the rockabilly musical mayhem of The Headers (bottom, left). And the Can-Am Jazz Band, featuring Rochester musician Jon Seiger (opposite page, above), kept the Mardi Gras Pavilion tent rocking into the night.
After 12 years, four full length albums and approximately 1,300 live shows, Steepwater drummer Joe Winters figures he and his bandmates have a pretty solid bond. “After all these years, everybody’s found peace being musicians,” Winters says. “We love doing this, and in the long run, our records have gotten better and our live shows have gotten better.”
Winters and the rest of the Chicago-based Steepwater band will bring their tight, blues-kissed sound to the Dinosaur-Bar-B-Que, 246 W. Willow St., on Thursday, Aug. 5, 9 p.m. There is no cover.Stillwater: Chicago-based bluesers make a Dino Bar-B-Que pit stop on Thursday
When you’re in a mellow mood and close your eyes to sit back and listen, jazz can take you for a ride in your mind as the improvisational nature of the music allows your thoughts to bop and riff along with the groove. Back in the day and henceforth, to indulge a cocktail of live jazz, hordes of people would strut the sidewalks of Harlem and other cities ’round the country, ‘round midnight, to see artists like Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Eric Dolphy and their brothers in instruments since.Jackiem Joyner: Home-grown tenor sax wizard will be distinguished during the first Jazz in the City on Thursday.
But in August, in Syracuse, jazz struts to the people. That’s because the annual Jazz in the City weekly series kicks off this Thursday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m., in the parking lot of Dunk & Bright, 2648 S. Salina St., with a performance by The BlackLites with special guest Jackiem Joyner. This traveling four-concert series that takes place every Thursday in August is set up so that every side of this city—North, South, East and West—gets their own installment of a neighborly atmosphere with some good tunes providing the backdrop; admission to all concerts is free of charge.
If the sticky summer heat has you yearning for something sultry, raw and a bit dangerous, then don’t miss Brooklyn blues rockers Cavalier Rose on Thursday, July 8, 7:30 p.m. Performing outdoors at Vernon Downs Casino and Hotel, 4229 Stuhlman Road, Vernon, the quartet that formed just last winter will open for legendary rock act Joan Jett and the Heartbreakers.Wrecking Crue: Vince Neil will rock out Thursday at the Market Block Party. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO
Do you believe in magic? We do when we’re young. And sometimes we can revisit a magical time, place or mood as adults.
It feels a bit like that for fans of a 1970s Central New York country-rock band, Cross Creek, reuniting for a free July 4 show in Cazenovia. Six members, including two from out of state, will be on stage together for the first time in 11 years. And on the grass in Lakeland Park will be dozens of middle-aged fans who first heard these guys when they and we had darker hair, lots more of it, and the freedom of being about 20.
So much is already going on this holiday weekend, so here’s another gem to add to your to-do list. The Big Black Horse and Cherry Tree Festival, featuring bands, food and fireworks celebrates America’s independence on Saturday, July 3, with a rain date of July 5. Part of the show at Little York Lake features bands that are playing to help raise funds for Eye Bank and Sight Restoration, which performs optical transplants and researches possible cures for blindness.Colleen Kattau: Kicks off this weekend’s Big Black Horse and Cherry Tree Festival Saturday at Little York Lake.