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The Box Tops @ Seneca Niagara Casino

The Box Tops

The Box Tops

Only in Memphis in the 1960s could a band like the Box Tops have emerged. It was a town all about music, still in the shade of the long, long shadow of Sun Records, Elvis, and the host of rock and country greats on the imprint, while also serving as the American southeast’s qualified hotbed of soul and R&B. Where better for a young band to put together the ideal rock and soul amalgam? Whether or not that was the goal of the Box Tops, it’s what happened. Initially under the strict studio guidance of noted writer/producer Dan Penn, the teenage band rocketed to international stardom with a clutch of blue-eyed soul classics. How a teenage Alex Chilton—whose singing voice later, with the immortal power pop outfit Big Star, took on a honeyed melancholy—managed that deep, scabrous, gravelly and soul-perfect vox that lifted a song like “The Letter” above the pack at AM radio, we may never exactly know. The unique legacy of the Box Tops has something to do with the fact that they easily fit alongside English beat bands like the Beatles, American pop groups like (their frequent tour mates) the Beach Boys, and the Motown and Stax soul sounds without ever owing anything to one of them. You simply can’t deny songs like the pleading soul stomper “Cry Like A Baby”, the stirring gospel-tinged “Soul Deep,” and the sublime bubblegum psychedelia of “Neon Rainbow.” It goes without saying that Chilton himself is something of reluctant rock royalty, so WNY lucks out to have a rare one-off with him and the band. Consider this Friday’s (Nov. 27) show as one ideal post-Thanksgiving rock and soul extravaganza with a set of classics and maybe even a few surprises.
donny kutzbach

Bears Den Showroom at the Seneca Niagara Casino, 310 Fourth St., Niagara Falls | 8pm.|$25 & up at all Ticketmaster locations
299-1100 | senecaniagaracasino.com