Molly Hatchet headlines series
Story and Photos by Karen Carr Keefe
Senior Contributing Writer
The “Thursdays on the Water” concert series has launched its sixth annual lineup with a splash.
Highlighting the series on Aug. 17 is national act Molly Hatchet, a Southern rock group whose popularity and commercial success soared during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Niagara County Legislator Jesse Gooch announced the lineup Thursday at Gratwick-Riverside Park, the home of the eight live performances scheduled from July 13 through Aug. 31 this summer.
Gooch, who has directed and promoted the concert series from its inception, said, “Our humble beginnings started out as a little backyard party, concert, that started out years ago when I was in high school.”
“The person to blame for my passionate love for concerts is my father over here,” he said, pointing to his dad, Jim Gooch, who said he started bringing his son to concerts at about age 9 or 10.
The elder Gooch had earlier told the Tribune/Sentinel that camping and concerts were a staple of family life that really caught on with his son in a big way, making him proud.
Jesse Gooch said that, although they may have started off small, by the third year of the current concert series, they went all in, got a bigger concert stage and bigger production.
“We really built the team,” he said.
With more and bigger sponsors, support from the City of North Tonawanda and signing on bigger bands, Gooch said, “It really evolved and grew to what it is today.”
Surrounding Gooch behind the podium for the announcement were North Tonawanda Mayor Austin Tylec, members of the Common Council and Assemblyman William Conrad, as well as some members of the local rock bands. Also on hand was longtime popular “97 Rock” DJ Carl Russo, who will emcee the series. Russo said he was excited and pleased with the lineup.
The format has the opening act from 7:30-8:30 p.m., then the headline act from 9-10 p.m. The waterfront festivities also include food, craft and artisan vendors, plus an after-party at the Village Inn, 869 Oliver St.
North Tonawanda is happy to host the concerts along the waterfront, Tylec said. “We have fantastic artists coming here. … The amount of people that get involved and utilize Gratwick Park, utilize our waterfront – it’s quite incredible. We can’t be more fortunate or excited to have Jesse back.”
Gratwick-Riverside Park is the venue for the “Thursdays on the Water” concert series that kicks off July 13.
The lineup is:
•July 13: Opening act: Prestige World Wide; headline act, Dave Matthews Tribute Band
•July 20: Blood sugar, sex, magic (Red Hot Chili Pepper tribute band); Tiny Music (Stone Temple Pilots Tribute)
•July 27: American Doors (tribute to Jim Morrison & the Doors); Strictly Hip
•Aug. 3: Seventh Sign; the debut of the Deep Purple Tribute Band, “Deeper Purple”
•Aug. 10: Rick Zachary; West Of the Mark Prime Project
•Aug. 17: Peacemaker; national Southern rock band Molly Hatchet
•Aug. 24: WNY’s Biggest Dance Party with DJ Rosario (The Best ’90s dance music); Nerds Gone Wild
•Aug. 31:The Remake; That ’80s Hair Band
North Tonawanda Mayor Austin Tylec addresses the crowd at the news conference announcing the lineup for “Thursdays on the Water.”
“97 Rock” DJ and concert announcer Carl Russo addresses talks about “Thursdays on the Water” at a news conference on June 15.