Jeff Spevak

Bat McGrath died Tuesday night, in much the same way as he wrote and sang. With no drama, no fuss, quietly, at his mountainside home in Tennessee with his wife Tricia Cast, all on his terms.

A member of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, the 73-year-old McGrath was diagnosed with cancer on Dec. 12. A suspicious colonoscopy result led to the discovery that the cancer had spread throughout his liver. With treatment, it was estimated McGrath might have another 1½ years to live. But these procedures would seriously compromise his quality of life, and McGrath and Cast made the difficult decision to decline treatments. A decision, they were told, that would leave McGrath with mere months to live.

Jeff Spevak / WXXI News

Watching a guy regurgitate a string of razor blades doesn’t necessarily ruin a beautiful September evening in Rochester.

Plasticiens Volats

It is immigration of the most-fearful order. A caravan arriving at East Main and Chestnut streets, proceeding to Parcel 5, the gravel lot off East Main Street, with loud sounds and bright lights alerting Rochester citizens – women, men, children and dogs – to turn their faces to the sky and witness weird creatures, their facial features bulging, bulky bodies darting this way and that in a threatening manner on the whim of the breeze, herded by men and women speaking a foreign language…

Fifty years after Jimi Hendrix’ “The Star-Spangled Banner” brought a close to the three days of rain, mud and 400,000 people that were Woodstock, those sounds and images remain as iconic symbols of an era of peace, love and civil unrest. Rochester plays host to one of many tributes to the 1969 event with Woodstock ROCs, an outdoor concert Friday, August 9,  at Lovin’ Cup Bistro and Brews, 300 Park Point Drive near Rochester Institute of Technology in Henrietta.

The premise is two guys sitting across a table from a guy who’s found “a bag.” The dialogue is dry film noir, with amusing, non-sequitur detours. Who these guys are, and what is in this bag, we don’t know. And we never find out over the course of the seven-minute film. All we know is, when the bag is opened, something in it gives off a yellow glow.

Yep Roc Records

The legacy of New York City’s CBGB and, here in Rochester, Scorgies, is being celebrated at The Rockin’ Rochester Weekender. Music with a sense of its own history as 14 bands gather on Friday and Saturday at Photo City Improv Comedy and Music, 543 Atlantic Ave. #2.

Rounder Records

As many folks are aware, the Netherlands is totally cool with your recreational use of marijuana. Denmark? Not so much. And here was Mikaela Davis, driving the rental car on her European tour a couple of weeks ago, with guitarist Cian McCarthy in the passenger seat, when they were waved over at the Danish border by the cops.

Martin Kaufman / WXXI

Minding history

The centuries haven't been kind to humanity. There really isn't a lot we need to relive about the past. Except the music. 

Backed by an acoustic trio of guitar, bass and piano, Rochester International Jazz Festival favorite Catherine Russell overlooked no detail in mining the 1920s, 30s and 40s Friday night at two packed shows at Temple Building Theater. 

Josh Saunders / CITY Newspaper

Old-school cynicism

What do you make of a romantic ballad that declares, "There's no true love, there's only routine?"

Yeah, nailed it.

Jason Milton / WXXI

The music-noir trio VickiKristinaBarcelona tames the beast with beauty.

The beast in question is the gruff, hardscrabble world of Tom Waits. The trio charmed the Rochester International Jazz Festival last year, returned to Rochester for a show in January at The Little Theatre, and was back at it Tuesday at Geva Theatre Center's Wilson Stage.