We’re eager to make our establishment a community gathering place, so we’re always hosting new music and entertainment in our venue and at The Geneseo Riviera. Check here often for bios of each of our acts, as well as reviews of performances and more.
Ali Handal – @ Fanatics Pub Saturday, March 24th
Moved early on by wise and resilient women, singer/songwriter Ali Handal wore out Carole King’s Tapestry album. As a cat-obsessed six-year-old (some things never change), Ali honored her initial musical heroine by naming her very first kitten “Carole.” Over the years, the sweet melodies and lyrics penned by musical sages King, Dylan, Lennon and McCartney captivated her. She had an epiphany when, as a teenager, she heard Led Zeppelin for the first time. Completely mesmerized by Jimmy Page’s seductive guitar riffs, Ali quit her piano lessons to pick up the guitar.
Now based in Los Angeles, Ali unleashes sultry, groove-filled songs upon live audiences, setting the stage ablaze with fiery guitar passages and soulful lyrics delivered by her powerhouse voice. She holds her own among the ranks of fierce female performing songwriters like ani difranco and formidable guitarists such as Jimmy Page. Music Connection magazine describes her as “earthy, natural, real and loaded with talent…a singer/songwriter with something to say… a gifted artist who brings insight and intelligence to her art.” When asked about her music and stage presence, fans simply say “badass.”
Chris Beard (the Prince of Blues) – @ Fanatics Pub Tuesday, March 27th
Chris Beard is a world class modern Blues guitarist, with a unique and compelling voice. Using his dynamic combination assertive vocals and his exciting guitar. Following the 80’s model of Stevie Ray Vaughan which features a combination of traditional blues, high-energy guitar playing, and a contemporary edge, Chris Beard is able to traverse the recent blues past and propel his audience into the future.
Early on , Chris Beard learned one essential detail about the music he plays: play it live. Since he first stepped on stage, Chris creates musical art unique to that moment in time. True to all artistic creations, Beard’s art is powerful enough to share his intense emotion release with audiences or listeners who takes the time to hear what Chris plays. This is the core of pure blues.
Gangstagrass – @ The Geneseo Riviera Saturday, March 31
Bluegrass and Hip-Hop may sound like an odd combination, but don’t tell that to Producer Rench, who birthed the fusion in 2006, with Gangstagrass. “There are a lot more people out there with Jay-Z and Johnny Cash on their iPod playlists than you think.” says Rench, who had previously made a name for himself as an in-demand Brooklyn country and hip-hop producer and singer/songwriter. He should know – he’s toured the country with a band of bluegrass pickers and hip-hop emcees to the delight of standing room crowds everywhere.
John Primer – @ Fanatics Pub Tuesday, April 10th
Chicago Blues Legend
John Primer has undisputedly helped build the sound and style of Chicago blues as we know it today. The echos of tradition bellowing from the birthplaces he played such as: Maxwell Street, Theresa’s, Checkerboard and Rosa’s Lounges, pulse from every chord in his fingers today. John Primer is a Chicago Blues Living Legend.
John’s father died tragically in Mississippi when he was young. When his mother found work in Chicago, John soon followed, bringing the sounds and spirit of Mississippi with him in 1963. He then fell for the music of both the city’s west and south sides. Fronting his first band, The Maintainers, he was asked to join and eventually lead the house band at the world famous Theresa’s Lounge in 1974. Over the next seven years, John would play with such blues originators as: Sammy Lawhorn, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Smokey Smothers, Lonnie Brooks and many others shaping the foundations of the Chicago blues to come.
Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads – @ The Geneseo Riviera Friday, April 13th
On “Life During Wartime,” the first single from Talking Heads’ 1979 album Fear of Music, David Byrne famously sang the immortal lyrics, “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco…no time for dancing…” Yet all those anti-fun declarations go gleefully out the window when Mystic Bowie, aka the “Head Dread,” takes the stage, re-imagining and infusing fresh life into TH’s classic catalog with his high octane mix of roots reggae, ska and lover’s rock (aka “romantic reggae”).
Since debuting his musically revolutionary Talking Dreads project live at the High Times Music Festival on the beach in Negril in late 2015, the charismatic Jamaican-born singer and performer has electrified audiences at over 100 shows across North America – spinning the heads of initially skeptical Talking Heads fans, and getting everyone else grooving along to the infectious, joyous rhythms and jubilant spirit of his native island. Considering the success of these events, it was only a matter of time before Bowie – who has lived in the Northeastern U.S. for many years – headed back to his cherished homeland and set up shop at the famed Barry O’Hare Studios in Ocho Rios. He gathered old friends he had played music with since childhood, along with younger musicians, legendary Jamaican artists and other surprise guests to capture all the magic of his live performances on the epic, 13 track recording Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads.
Johnny Rawls – @ Fanatics Pub Tuesday, April 17th
Johnny Rawls was born in Columbia, Mississippi in 1951 and raised in Purvis and Gulfport, Mississippi. He acquired an early interest in music when hearing his grandfather play the blues guitar one Christmas morning. He began playing professionally while still in high school with such stars as ZZ Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and the Sweet Inspirations. In the mid-70's, Johnny went to work for OV Wright as Wright's band director. After Wright's death in 1980, Johnny led Little Johnny Taylor's band until 1985, when he began touring as a solo artist and made his first solo recording under the Rainbow label.
Adam Ezra Group – @ the Geneseo Riviera – Saturday, April 21st
It’s difficult to impart the roots-steeped, road-trippin' essence of the Adam Ezra Group into a single word, but frontman Adam Ezra nonetheless keeps one in mind as something of a mantra: community. To the musicians at the heart of AEG, community is epitomized by a belief they all share, one that has long doubled as a mission statement for the group: namely, that making music together is itself a form of grassroots organizing, capable of nothing less than changing the world.
Ray Bonneville – @ Fanatics Pub Tuesday, April 24th
Ray Bonneville is a poet of the demimonde who didn’t write his first song until his early 40s, some 20 years after he started performing. But with a style that sometimes draws comparisons to JJ Cale and Daniel Lanois, this blues-influenced, New Orleans-inspired “song and groove man,” as he’s been so aptly described, luckily found his rightful calling. Born in Quebec, his family moved to Boston when he was 12. He served a year in Vietnam as a Marine, struggled and overcame drug addiction, earned a pilot’s license in Colorado, then moved to Alaska, then Seattle, and Paris and New Orleans. But it took a close call while piloting a seaplane across the Canadian wilderness to make him decide it was time to get busy writing songs – gritty narratives inspired by a lifetime of hard-won knowledge set against his gritty, soulful guitar and harmonica playing.
He’s since earned many accolades, including a Juno Award for his 1999 album, Gust of Wind. His post-Katrina ode, “I Am the Big Easy,” earned the International Folk Alliance’s 2009 Song of the Year Award, and in 2012, Bonneville won the solo/duet category in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge. He has guested on albums by Mary Gauthier, Gurf Morlix, Eliza Gilkyson, Ray Wylie Hubbard and other prominent artists, and shared songwriting credits with Tim O’Brien, Phil Roy and Morlix, among others. Slaid Cleaves placed Bonneville’s “Run Jolee Run” on his lauded 2009 album, Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away.
Popa Chubby – @ The Geneseo Riviera Friday, April 27th
Popa Chubby, born Ted Horowitz, has been hard rocking the blues in his fierce and soulful way for more than 25 years. Over the course of a career that dates back to 1994, he has been a force of to be reckoned with on the guitar, and his tempestuous, soulful playing has never been more powerful. An imposing figure with a shaven head, tattooed arms, a goatee and a performance style he describes as “the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motörhead meets Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson,” Popa Chubby is an endearing character who is one of the genre’s most popular figures.
His career has always been about moving forward and carving a place for himself in the imposing terrain of the music business, overcoming odds to continue growing and maturing as a creative force. He has built a constantly increasing base of fans across the world, where in many territories he is a star. A native New Yorker, Horowitz’s first gigs were in the NYC punk scene as a guitarist for what he reflects was a “crazy Japanese special effects performance artist in a kimono called Screaming Mad George who had a horror-movie inspired show.” Right from the start
he was immersed in rock ‘n’ roll as theater, and learned from George and others playing CBGB’s at the time that included the Ramones, the Cramps, Richard Hell, whose band, the Voidoids he joined that rock ‘n’ roll should be dangerous. He reflects, “Musicians like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols weren’t just bands. They were a threat to society.”
The Blues however was the foundation of his playing style. He recalls, “Since I’d grown up on Hendrix, Cream and Led Zeppelin, when I started playing blues in New York clubs I understood that the blues should be dangerous, too. It wasn’t just from playing in punk bands. Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters were dangerous men. They’d cut or shoot you if they thought it was necessary, and Little Walter packed a gun and wouldn’t hesitate to use it. That danger is a real part of the Blues and I keep it alive in my music.”
Popa Chubby is his own man for better or worse. He reflects, “I’m living in a wild time, and that is where the inspiration is drawn from. There are my issues, but the picture is much bigger than me and my situation. Everything is breaking down in the world. The lines are being redefined. We all need something.”
The THE BAND Band – @ The Geneseo Riviera Saturday, April 28th
The THE BAND Band is the most musically satisfying tribute to The Band on the scene today, bringing the music of The Band alive with authentic, true-to- form renditions of their extraordinary repertoire. From hit songs such as "The Weight," "Up On Cripple Creek," and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," to deep cuts from their classic albums (Music From Big Pink, The Band, Stage Fright), to their historic collaborations with Bob Dylan, The THE BAND Band delivers with the passion and commitment for which The Band was renowned. Experience the power and excitement of The Band’s legendary concerts, as famously documented in the Martin Scorsese film, The Last Waltz.
Steve Forbert – @ Fanatics Pub May 6
On February 3, 2017 singer/songwriter Steve Forbert’s joyride of a new album, Flying at Night, will be available in the U.S. as an import. The set was officially released last October in the U.K. Recorded as a collaboration with Forbert’s longtime friend, multi-instrumentalist Anthony Crawford, Flying At Night is a pleasure from beginning to end.
“My booking agent in England asked me if I could possibly come up with a release to precede last year’s Fall UK tour,” says Forbert. “I completed nine unfinished songs that span several decades—a couple from way back before I left Mississippi, one about my post-rehab life in a culture of alcohol advertisements, one about a rare hour of downtime I had while on tour in 1988 with Edie Brickell and the New
“Anthony Crawford and I have worked together off and on since he guested on my album The American in Me (Geffen Records, 1992),” says Forbert. “As producer of Flying at Night, he ran free with the tunes, adding whatever he wanted from his home studio toy box—lead guitar, bass, drums, fiddle, and mandolin.” Crawford, a recording artist in his own right, has toured with Neil Young, Steve Winwood,
and Dwight Yoakam.
Steve Forbert traveled to New York City from Mississippi in 1976 and played guitar for spare change in Grand Central Station. He vaulted to international prominence with the folk-pop hit, “Romeo’s Tune,” during a time when the singer-songwriter era had all but ended and Talking Heads, Blondie, and other New Wave and punk acts were moving into the public consciousness. Still, critics raved about Forbert’s
poetic lyrics and engaging melodies, and the crowds at CBGB’s in New York accepted him alongside those acts.
Too Slim & the Taildraggers @ Fanatics Pub May 8
The Hi-Risers with special guest Mark Bradley
The Hi-Risers play energetic, song-oriented rock’n’roll. Formed in 1997, the founding members are Greg Townson (vocals, guitar) and Todd Bradley (vocals, bass). Jason Smay joined the band on drums in 2002. The band has recorded six CD’S, “Panic”, “In The Spotlight”, “Lost Weekend”, “That Rock & Roll Beat”, “The Fine Art Of Making Mistakes” and their latest “Once We Get Started”. They also collaborated with Kaiser George (leader of The Kaisers) on the recent release “Transatlantic Dynamite” and Eddie Angel (Los Straitjackets/The Neanderthals) on “Eddie Angel Meets The Beatles.” In addition, they’ve contributed recordings to numerous compilations.
The Hi-Risers have played to enthusiastic audiences in a wide variety of venues, including upscale niteclubs, country joints, blues clubs, punk dives, and outdoor family oriented festivals. They’ve toured the US frequently and have been well received in Europe. Although The Hi-Risers consider themselves a rock & roll band, you will also hear rockabilly, rhythm and blues, country, doo-wop and surf in their music.
Todd Bradley and Greg Townson began their musical partnership nearly twenty years ago. In addition to playing hundreds of shows together and releasing two records with The Essentials and The Salamanders, they’ve recorded with Rock’n’Roll Hall-of-Famer Hank Ballard, jazz legend Bill Doggett, James Brown’s bandleader Pee Wee Ellis, and soul great John Ellison. On stage they have backed up everyone from Bo Diddley to Delbert McClinton. They have shared bills with such diverse acts as NRBQ, The Ramones, and many, many others. Todd and Greg’s recordings have been reviewed favorably in Billboard, Guitar Player, Option, Cool and Strange Music, Blue Suede News and many other music publications.
The appeal of the Hi-Risers is probably best expressed by a bar patron who, after hearing the band for the first time, declared “you would have to be a total jerk not to love this band!”
James Armstrong @ Fanatics Pub May 29
Born into a musical family in 1957 in Los Angeles, James Armstrong had blues music in his blood from the very start. His Mom was a blues singer, his Dad played jazz guitar. Armstrong formed his first band in the 7th grade, and by age 17 he was touring the country.
James would start making waves on the local California blues circuit by his 20s, becoming the youngest member of Smokey Wilson’s band. In the 1980s, James was a founding member of the band Mama Roo and received his first recording contract for Crescendo Records.
In the early 90s, James got plenty of exposure from his musical influences, including Albert Collins, and Sam Taylor. Shortly after that, he was discovered and signed by HighTone Records owner Bruce Bromberg, who had discovered and signed Robert Cray and Joe Louis Walker.
Armstrong was about to tour with his critically acclaimed first album, Sleeping with a Stranger, when tragedy struck. The events surrounding a home invasion left Armstrong without the use of his left hand and arm, including permanent nerve damage. This threatened to end his career forever; but thanks to the support of friends, fans and the blues community, Armstrong came back two years later with a second album, Dark Night.
What Armstrong lost in the tragedy he gained in “a whole new respect for the music itself, the power in slow blues, how the silences between the notes are as important as the notes.” Armstrong also turned his efforts to perfecting his songwriting, vocal and slide guitar skills, all the while developing his gift for turning hardship into song. The results were a third album, Got It Goin’ On. The CD garnered two Blues Music Award nominations for “best blues guitarist” and for “best song of the year” with “Pennies and Picks.”