One of the true gems of the Western New York region is Artpark. There is always joy once the late spring/early summer arrives as that means the concert season is about to get underway. This beautiful park overlooks the Niagara River gorge, on the international border between the United States and Canada. This year, Artpark celebrates its 50th season! The opening show for 2024 was blues sensation Gary Clark Jr. along with newcomer Abraham Alexander.
First up was newcomer Abraham Alexander. Alexander just learned how to play guitar only 10 years ago. In this short time frame he has carved out a nice niche for himself. Due to his work and dedication over that time period, it lead him to releasing his first record last year called 'Sea/Sons.' His soulful blues style is very different from other blues players. He exudes a strong dusky voice and unique phrasing when he sings. He delivered a very interesting 35-minute set that included originals "Déjà Vu,” and "Knee Deep." The latter was written about his last memory of Greece before he moved to the United States when he was 11 years old.  The showstopper of his set was when he played the Chris Isaak classic "Wicked Game." Alexander did his own take and breathed a new life into the song. I was impressed by what Alexander delivered in his short set.

READ MORE: [PICS] Hozier Opens 2024 Concert Season at Darien Lake 

Headlining the night's festivities was Gary Clark Jr. He released his 6th studio effort on March 22, 2024, called 'JPEG Raw.' It's been almost 10 years since I have seen him perform at Farm Aid and this would be the 3rd time I've seen him overall (the 1st being at Club Infinity in Williamsville, NY back in 2011). So, I'm familiar with Clark going back to his club days. He has always been a terrific player with a voice that is also distinctive in nature. That voice, along with his guitar, incorporates a soulful funk with a side of blues rock mixed in. The setlist really focused on the new album as he played 7 tracks off of it. What should be noted in this set is he was having some technical difficulties with his guitar not working on "The Healing." After the song's completion, they tried to swap out the guitar cord thinking that would fix the issue. It didn't and Clark Jr. took center stage singing the entire song acapella. At the beginning of the next song they ironed out whatever the issue was and the set was back on track. During "Habits," He thanked Artpark for being such a beautiful special place. He also gave the audience "Mad Love" and appreciated them in more than words can say.  I believe the feeling was tenfold back!

[PIC] Gary Clark Jr. At Opens 2024 Concert Season at Artpark

Gallery Credit: BackstageAxxess, David "Gus" Griesinger

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