'Hard Rock at the Falls' brings live music to Old Falls Streetby jmaloni
by Joshua Maloni
The Hard Rock Café is taking advantage of the newly opened Old Falls Street, presenting six free music events within the strip this summer. "Hard Rock at the Falls," Niagara County's newest free concert series, boasts five national headliners and a special performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Susan Swiatkowski, sales and marketing manager for Hard Rock Café Niagara Falls USA, called the schedule "an eclectic mix of live music" at a press conference held Tuesday at the restaurant. The concert series runs seven consecutive Saturdays, from July 3 through Aug. 7. Each show begins at 6 p.m. (rain or shine).
The lineup includes:
- July 3 - Gord Downie, with opening acts Joshua James and Alison Pipitone. Downie, the lead singer of the Tragically Hip, is touring with his side project, The Country of Miracles. Fireworks will be fired off following this concert.
- July 10 - The English Beat, with lead-ins Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and Floozie. One of England's first ska bands, The English Beat is known for songs "Mirror in the Bathroom," "Save It for Later" and "I Confess."
- July 17 - The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra plays the Music of Pink Floyd. The BPO will perform songs from the classic Pink Floyd album "Dark Side of the Moon."
- July 24 - Soul Asylum, with The Incurables, DoDriver and A Potter's Field. After a brief hiatus, Soul Asylum ("Runaway Train") is back and touring with new music from the album "Silver Lining."
- July 31 - Lou Gramm, with local acts Free Henry!, McCarthyism and eXit! Gramm, the former lead singer of Foreigner, is touring with a band of his own. As a solo artist, the Rochester native scored a hit with songs "Midnight Blue," "Ready or Not" and "Just Between You and Me."
- Aug. 7 - Tonic, with support from Ryan Star, More Than Me and Ten Cent Howl. One of the '90s most successful post-grunge, alt-rock acts, Tonic is back together and touring again. Frontman Emerson Hart and co. recently released their fourth album, the eponymous "Tonic."
Opening act More Than Me is a finalist in the 2010 Hard Rock Calling Festival in London. The band has the opportunity to perform with Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Pearl Jam between June 25-27. The winner of the contest is determined by fan vote (visit http://battle.ambassadorsofrock.com now through June 6).
The Hard Rock welcomed '80s rocker Eddie Money for its first outdoor summer concert in 2008, and drew more than 2,000 fans. The series expanded to three live shows in 2009.
Sponsors for the 2010 concert series include the City of Niagara Falls, Empire State Concerts (and promoter David Taylor), Old Falls Street and the Seneca Gaming Corporation/Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Music is Art.
"We are proud to work with a host of amazing partners ... in order to produce this series," Swiatkowski said. "It is only because of their support and commitment that we are able to present such world-class entertainment for the thousands of Western New York residents and visitors alike that attend these concerts. And truly it helps revitalize our downtown corridor."
The Hard Rock Café is located at 333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls. For concert series VIP ticket packages, visit Ticketweb.com.