Buffalo’s best music you haven’t heard yet
The Betterdays Independent Music Festival
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
A collection of lesser-known Buffalo musicians put their love for both their craft and the city that helped shape it on display last weekend.
Fifteen unsigned local bands took the stage at the heralded Tralf Music Hall between Aug. 31 and Sept. 2 for the Betterdays Independent Music Festival.
Funded through ESI Events, Betterdays is “a celebration and appreciation of independent, original Buffalo music” according to Bob Kasper, 20-year-old junior music industry major at Villa Maria College and booking agent for ESI.
Kasper served as the event organizer for Betterdays andwas solely responsible for making the show run smoothly. He did everything from setting up sound checks to doing some rocking of his own with his band Fourwalls, which took the stage Sunday night.
After the show started, the Tralf quickly filled with a musical energy that showcased the amazing talent the Queen City has to offer.
Betterdays is so distinctive because of its homegrown roots; instead of a big name band playing at a sold out arena that’s too cramped to move, a more personal, intimate affair takes place.
None of the bands performing feel pressured to have a generic hit single that they feel obligated to play. In fact, most of them aren’t even promoting upcoming albums, but in a strange way, this makes the music all the more heartfelt. These groups aren’t amateurish or untalented in the slightest, but are at the start of their careers.
Even more astounding than the quality of unnoticed bands in the area was the turnout for the festival’s opening. When asked about his motivation behind the fest, Kasper spoke of the need for a locally focused event.
“This is the first act in trying to strengthen the local Buffalo music community,” Kasper said. “[Betterdays is] the first of many attempts to do so.”
The public reception of the Betterdays festival was overwhelmingly positive, and the Buffalonians in the audience were quick to voice their satisfaction with the effort to showcase lesser-known homegrown music.
“There are a lot of great bands in Buffalo, and it’s great that they’re getting exposure,” said Steve Levinthal, a 65-year-old announcer at WNED FM, UB alumni class of 1969 and Buffalo native.
Victory for Poland, a group made up of five teenagers who met at Sweet Home High School in 2010, kicked off the show with a high-octane set that left the audience demanding an encore. Unfortunately, time constraints prevented the young musicians from granting that request. The band wasn’t too broken up about it; they werejust happy to be there in the first place.
“We didn’t expect to ever leave the basement, so it feels really great just to represent the local scene,” said Tylor Colby, 17-year-old guitarist and Victory for Poland frontman.
The quality of the music at this event sounds professional. It was not difficult to envision the same musicians at a much larger venue.
“I feel like a lot of these bands are bands that haven’t broken out yet,” said Kara Forster, a junior nursing major at D’Youville College.
While none of the bands at the Betterdays festival hopped on a tour bus after the show, and none of the bands had their own lyrics shouted back at them by tens of thousands of screaming fans, they did have something that seems to be increasingly infrequent in the modern day music industry: sincerity.
When Colby told the audience at the end of his band’s set that they were the best audience they ever played for, the crowd seemed to recognize the truth in his words.
Every band’s undying passion for music resonated loud and clear for everyone in attendance. A city with a quiet, yet still proud nature such as Buffalo couldn’t contain anything to better encapsulate the spirit of independent music than Betterdays.