12/30/2008

Molson Canal Concert Series

Posted by MJ

(Image - Molson Canal Concert Series Security - Lockport NY Jun '08)
The LUSJ is giving the Molson Canal Concert Series #2 on its Top 10 of 2008 list. There were a few good threads on this topic on the LUSJ forums which have since reached their expiration date and are no longer around.
Initially there were many posting about grid lock and ticketing sprees due to lack of parking, drug dealers from the other side of the Harrison Complex taking over from the south, Urban Tower residents taking over from the north, among many other exaggerated pessimistic premonitions which all failed to come true.
I was there for the first show, Lou Gramm, and was initially concerned about the turnout until things really picked up by the time he went on as the main act. Two contributing factors I could see were Lockport being a rather unknown location and that the concerts were being held on a day when a majority of people work until 5pm. My initial feelings were the concert should have stuck to Sat evenings creating "day long" atmosphere possibilities and that the Moslon Concert Series website could have done more than showing a picture of a moving truck announcing a move to "unknown" Lockport. A picture or two of the venue could have gone a long way to initially selling the series here.
The Friday nights grew on me as the series went along. I've always enjoyed trips to Thursday in the Square in Buffalo but it always carried the downer of knowing that I had to return to work the next day. This series made for a very nice "Friday Night Happy Hour" experience. Being a 4 block walk from my house was a great bonus. As the series went on I noticed that 97 Rock would highlight the performer that night as their "Artist of the Day" and promote the show.
Through out the series I was amazed by the variety of people attending. Families with kids in strollers, kids on shoulders, teenage kids, the 20 somethings, middle agers, and the elderly were all present and any that I had the opportunity to strike a conversation with had nothing but good things to say. The police/security presence was always noticeable but never felt over bearing. Locating vendors one "long block" away over on Elm seemed to be too far to gather them a lot of traffic. If they could be found some space on Locust or the lot on the other side of it both the vendors and the concert goers would both make out. Subdelicious seemed to do very well located just across from the east entry next to the stage.
I was able to attend Lou Gramm, Nazareth, Riders on the Storm, REO Speedwagon, and Jeff Martin. Lou Gramm has lost a bit of his voice but the rest of shows had above average sound quality for an outdoor venue that was not designed for acoustics. The only show I could hear from home was the Riders show and it was only if I put my head out the window and focused on it.
I look forward to next summer's shows. This will be the second year of a three year agreement to host a minimum of 8 shows per summer. LUSJ reported that the Charlie Daniel's Band has been shown to be confirmed for the 14th of August. His website confirms this as of now. I'm not to familiar with most of his work but I shall see how good Devil Went Down to Georgia sounds live.
Overall I found it to be a very positive experience. And at a rough cost of $0.50 per resident per "free" show in city tax money, quite the entertainment value and promotional tool.
When industry boomed, thousands of people mulling around Main Street was an
everyday thing. Suffice to say, it’s been a while since “busy” and “downtown”
went into the same sentence routinely

This is way over simplified. Mass demolition urban "renewal" blunders, lack of regional planning, etc had a lot more to do with the massive decline of DT activity than the loss of some industry. There is also no reason it can not be planned back in and recreated if residents truly want to see it happen again. Those are topics for other days. ;)

2 comments:

Liz said...

Do you know who the booker is for this series? Seeing as how I'm now a Lockportian, I'd love to get my band on as an opening act...

MJ said...

Kathy Paradowski though I will admit that I do not know where you would contact her. I don't see any contact info on the Molson Series site.

What is the name of your band? What genre do you play? Where have you played?

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