Double Rock Fun at First Niagara with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company (CP’s Fri. 7/19/13)

1) First Niagara Pavilion hosts two kick-ass classic rockers tonight, the venerable Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company. Over the years, Skynyrd has tragically lost many members. Although  it’s always nice to see the original band members, as the years roll on, it’s not always possible. Skynyrd still possesses a powerful nucleus of core members that include Gary Rossington (guitar), Johnny Van Zant (vocals), Rickey Medlocke (guitar), and longtime drummer Michael Cartellone. The thing that I look for in older bands with new members is if they can faithfully reproduce the songs that they are best known for. Lynyrd Skynyrd does that! With new members, bands sometimes get fresh energy and produce new music that works. Skynyrd has done that as well. The band has a new studio album out now, Dyin’ Breed. One last cool thing about Skynyrd is that they’re not pretentious about their successful songs. They will play them because that’s what their fans (myself included) want to hear. Their song Free Bird is a legendary rock anthem, up there with the likes of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Tonight’s set will include “Free Bird,” and possibly “Gimme Back My Bullets,” (“Bullets” in this song refer to the marks on industry record charts to denote fast-rising songs),  “That Smell,” and “Searching.” Bad Company rode the charts with songs “Bad Company,” “Feel Like Making Love,” and “Rock and Roll Fantasy.” Bad Company’s lineup features three of the four original founding members, Paul Rodgers (one of rock’s best vocalists), guitarist Mick Ralphs, and drummer Simon Kirke. 7 p.m. 665 Rt. 18., Burgettstown.

2) Several of Pittsburgh best rockers are teaming up for a show at Stage AE, The Clarks and Bill Deasey. The Clarks rose to fame on well-crafted songs with good visual lyrics strong lead vocals (Scott Blasey), talented guitar riffs (Rob James and Greg Joseph) and a thundering drumbeat (Dave Minarik, Jr.). Some of their most popular songs over the years are “Penny on the Floor,” “Cigarette,” and “Better Off Without You.” The band has been intact since the late 1980’s. They met and formed the band as undergraduate students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (I.U.P). They’ve even appeared on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman. A new album, Feathers and Bones, the bands first in four years, is in the works. Deasy is  a successful Pittsburgh and national singer/songwriter whose band, The Gathering Field had a nice hit with “Lost in America” in the mid 1990’s. He’s also created and sang a national promo for ABC’s  Good Morning America in the early 200o’s. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.

3) It’s a good time to get the blues! Why? The Pittsburgh Blues Festival  features the best local and national blues acts. There’s fun for the whole family with food and merchandise vendors, a KidsZone with arts and crafts, and blues and games for kids. Now in its 18th year, the Pittsburgh Blues Festival is the primary fundraiser for the Pittsburgh Food Bank each year. Today’s lineup includes Miss Freddy & Blues Faze ( 5 p.m.), The Slide Brothers (6:30 p.m.), Youngblood Blues Camp (8 p.m.), and Big Sam’s Funky Nation (9 p.m.). Experiencing the blues can be a good thing. Come on out, have some fun and support the Pittsburgh Food Bank, who help so many! Gates open at 4 p.m.Through Sunday. Hartwood Acres Park, Hampton and Indiana townships.

4) Good Fridays at the Warhol is a weekly party at the museum, featuring art exhibits, music, and cocktails in the high temple to Andy Warhol’s numerous talents. Half-price museum admission. 5 – 10 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Shore.

5) The Allegheny County Summer Concert Series continues tonight at South Park Amphitheater with country band The Stickers. 7:30 p.m. Free. Near Brownsville and McCorkle roads.

6) Summer Sounds Concert Series continues with some great music as well. Singer Jesse Dee  belts out some  blue-eyed soul. Dee and his band will perform roots and rhythm music with a heaping helping of horns. Pre-show music is by Ryan Egan, starting at 6:15 p.m. Free. St. Clair Park, 135 N. Maple Ave., Greensburg.



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Rick Handler

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