My mostly regular report of items on my pop culture radar screen.

Things you need to know about.


MG3 Fundraiser at Maxwell’s 4/19  7PM 

Don’t tell me “There is nothing to do in Syracuse.”   “There is no arts culture here.”

You are so wrong.

There is something to do almost every night of the week, I have personally walked out of one venue after a great show, and into the venue literally next door, to hear the end of another great show, all on a Sunday.  A Sunday!

There is almost TOO MUCH to see and do in this town.

And you can’t tell me we don’t have world class artists right here in Syracuse.  They’re right under your nose.

Melissa Gardiner’s mind-blowingly excellent jazz trio MG3 is world class.  Don’t believe me?  Check this out.

Are you starting to get the idea?

MG3 have been selected as FINALISTS for the International Jazz Competition in Bucharest.   This is a big deal. Like Melissa this is the REAL DEAL   Melissa (Trombone and Vocals) and her bandmates, William Delisfort(Organ) and Byron Cage(Drums) will be representing Syracuse alongside bands from around the world on the international stage and YOU can help them get there.

Melissa is the driving FORCE (accent on the word “force”) behind so much music here in Syracuse.  She runs the Sunday afternoon open jazz jam at Funk n Waffles which in my mind is the best way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon in this town. .  When she’s not hosting that or playing as part of Grammy winning  Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in NYC, she’s bringing New Orleans vibes to CNY with Second Line Syracuse, and of course you have seen her on stage with countless other local artists.  Haven’t you?

Come on out to Maxwell’s on Thursday 4/19 at 7PM for a fundraiser/party to send this band off in style.  Come have dinner or drinks and enjoy a top notch band showing what they can do.  (suggested donation $10/$20)

Also, you can still donate on their Go Fund Me Page.

Look, it is incumbent upon all of us as arts lovers, art producers and art supporters  to be able to support our artists so they can do what they do IN Syracuse and not have to leave town.  MG3 is the kind of band we should be telling EVERYONE about, they are Syracuse Product.

We should be shouting it from the rooftops.   So come on down to Maxwell’s and see what I see.  Come see a bad ass jazz outfit in a cool ass little restaurant in the heart of our city on the rise.  Support your locally sourced artists.

Wouldn’t you rather be there in person than come here next week and read about me telling you how great it was?

This has all the makings of one of those special nights.

I’m not going to miss it, will you?

Netflix will still be there when you get home.


Root Shock – Many Paths

I know, I know, John’s writing about Root Shock again.

Yeah, I am.  Get used to it.  Look, I’m not going to go on and on about my love for what these people do and the positive vibe they create, you can read that all over this site,  I’m just telling you they have a fantastic 5 song EP just out and like their debut album it perfectly captures their vibe, energy and message.

Get their CD here.

You can also get it at gigs and it’s on all the streamers too.  As you know , Root Shock are special to me,  and maybe you too.


The Slackers w/s/g  The Action! and FLOTUS – Lost Horizon 4/25 7PM

I was lucky enough to catch NYC ska stalwarts The Slackers the last time they came to town for a Sunday show at Funk, they are at the Lost Horizon this time and I would mark this show as a “must see”, singer Vic Ruggiero likens their sound to a cross between rock steady and street corner NYC soul.  I tend to agree.    The Slackers put on a spectacular live show that I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t enjoy and who doesn’t love ska?   I’ll be on the legendary Lost Horizon dance floor for this one.  My pork pie hat doesn’t seem to fit anymore but I will put SOMETHING together.

Openers are local favorites The Action!, who play their own brand of ska and party music, they are a hell of a good time.  Also on the bill are newcomers FLOTUS.  I am hearing great things about this super talented foursome and I can’t wait to check them out.  Be sure to get there early!


New Wave – Dare to be Different

Back in the ’80s Long Island’s cutting edge station WLIR, along with Boston’s WFNX, Los Angeles’ KROQ, Baltimore’s WHFS and (my favorite) Toronto’s CFNY were playing music that no other stations would touch and in doing so broke more new ground than people now seem to remember.  This great documentary now running on Showtime and soon to be on Amazon takes you back to that era, that music and (tragically) all that hair.  A movie that needed to be made, 80’s music gets a bad rap these days and it shouldn’t .  Part of my justification in my Throwback Turntable series is to dust off some of that old stuff and listen with new ears.

If you were around in that era, you have got to see this movie.   It will take you back faster than any  DeLorean ever could.


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