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The local hardcore-music scene in Buffalo stays afloat amongst the waves

Asst. Arts Editor

Published: Monday, July 1, 2013

Updated: Monday, July 1, 2013 21:07


Aline Kobayashi, The Spectrum

Broadway Joe's, located on Main Street near UB's South Campus, is a lasting member of the Buffalo hardcore music scene family, hosting shows for local and visiting bands.


Aline Kobayashi, The Spectrum

The Waiting Room, located on Delaware Ave. in Buffalo, has emerged as a new venue and saving grace for a hardcore music scene in Buffalo that has struggled to stay alive with the closing of several venues.

Sheets of loose-leaf paper smudged with eraser marks occupy part of the wall in the cramped basement. A full drum kit, a few guitars and stacks of amps enclose the already small room even more.

“All right guys, let’s practice the new one we wrote,” said Ryan Ridley, guitarist of local Buffalo hardcore band A Breath Alive, as drummer Rob Campbell tapped absentmindedly on his cymbals.

The Buffalo arts scene is a consistent attraction for many. The music scene in The Queen City has a rich history, with many locals signed to major record labels such as rock act The Goo Goo Dolls and metal band Every Time I Die.

In the last few years, Spring Fest and Fall Fest have primarily centered on rap/R&B and techno acts. What some incoming students don’t know is that there is a prevalent music scene in Buffalo outside of the bubble that is UB. There are indie bands like Sweet Apollo, pop-punk bands like Breckenwood, and hardcore-metal bands that contribute to Buffalo’s diversity.

But keeping this music scene alive and thriving is currently a problem, according to local show promoter Nick Sallee.

“There are times in this scene when everything goes into negative territory with trash talking other bands, venues closing and some shows just not making enough profit,” Sallee said. “Buffalo’s music scene is constantly fluctuating, but it can be so much stronger with more support.”

Sallee’s biggest competitor is After Dark Entertainment, one of the largest and most well-known promotion companies in Western New York. After Dark has booked countless musicians ranging from heavy-metal band After The Burial, to punk band All Time Low and everything in between. While Sallee is fairly new to the music scene, his passion for the scene and the people in it are strong.

Some shows don’t pull in the attendance that he needs to make a profit, which can have a negative effect on the bands as well as Sallee. Bands won’t make a second trip to Buffalo if they aren’t pulling in enough money from ticket or merchandise sales.

“If money wasn’t such a huge factor, I’d pick a show of 50 people who each stayed from the first band to the last and bought merchandise over 150 people who left three bands in with no merch,” Sallee said. “The heart of the crowd outweighs the number.”

Regardless of a crowd’s passion, attendance is the most important aspect of a show. For local bands, the more people that show up, the more fans they will have. For venues, the more people that attend a show, the more money they will make.

This past year, Mohawk Place and Club Infinity closed. Losing these venues lowered the morale of the scene. Xtreme Wheels is also no longer partaking in their partnership with After Dark. After the loss of these venues, The Waiting Room emerged on Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo in April.

“I think that the scene is making positive strides lately with the new venue and bands like My City, My Secret getting national attention,” said Rick Kielma, guitarist for The Creator, The Architect. “My City and Dennis Ferry from After Dark are helping the other locals form connections with touring bands and more fans.”

As a frequent attendee of local shows, it’s likely that faces will become more familiar with each visit to Broadway Joes or The Waiting Room. These people become close to one another and start interacting outside of shows. It’s common to hear people speak of the Buffalo music scene as a family. James “Peach” Kociencki, bassist from The Creator, The Architect, is currently serving in the military and has been able to reflect on the music scene with the time away.

“There are certain bands and groups of people that make others feel welcome and want to attend shows, and then there’s some people who speak negatively about certain bands or people because they aren’t heavy enough for them,” Kociencki said in an email. “Family is welcoming no matter what, and right now, the scene is a little divided.”

My City, My Secret, a local band that has worked with Caleb Shomo of Beartooth and Attack Attack! and is managed by Shawn Spann of I, The Breather, is one of the bands consistently mentioned. They landed a feature in “The Bands You Need To Know” section in Alternative Press magazine this month and have received both positive and negative responses from people in the music scene. Regardless of how they’re received, My City, My Secret continues their positive outlook on their music and in interactions with their fans.

“Our main goal is giving back to the city that built us,” said bassist Eddie Fibich. “We’ve been fighting since day one to get the scene back on the map and we take the time to befriend other locals. Buffalo has a ton of untapped talent and we want to help in any way we can to restore the scene to its former glory.”

Any family has times of falling out and disagreement, and the music scene family is no different. Fights break out in mosh pits, and Facebook disagreements litter newsfeeds, but these people aren’t disbanding from the family; some band members prefer having constructive criticism while others believe there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

“Everyone has different tastes and that’s fine, but if someone is hindering the scene with negativity, they need to get the hell out,” Kociencki said. “Not everyone likes the same music but bashing certain genres is childish.”

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Tue Jul 2 2013 02:26
It is nice to see someone trying to help the local scene by writing about it in a positive manner. The problem is by only featuring bands with whom the writer is friends in every article that she writes the writer is inadvertently doing more harm than good to the local music scene. As a reader I have seen little to no information about the whole scene or the many bands that populate it. Rather the articles have been limited to a handful of bands that are generally similar in genre. Seeing this as an outsider is actually quite depressing. I was told before deciding to go to school in Buffalo that it is a college town with a vibrant music scene. Where I am from a "vibrant music scene" means more than five bands that play similar music. While I originally looked towards student publications to learn about cool local bands and new music I may have never heard before, I was quite disappointed to find that the writer of this article would only feature specific bands with a specific sound. I went an entire semester believing that I had been fooled to believe that there was good music here in Buffalo with a lively scene and many venues. I would continue to think this way today if it hadn't been for a friend I made who informed me that the writer of this article was an incredibly biased writer who actually covered little information about music in Buffalo. I was dragged out to see odd acts at Nietzsche's, to enjoy eclectic music at Buffalo's Infringement Festival, to see incredible talent play at the Music Is Art festival, and many other wonderful musical experiences. I have even found myself at some of the shows where the writer would be and later read an article about the show or about the bands I saw. I was always surprised about the lack of writing she would do about some of the other incredible bands I had seen at those shows who put on exciting performances and offered something new musically that was both creative and enjoyable. I'm Happiest When, Come Honor, Nelson Type, Water Torture, Marie Antoinette, It's A Dinosaur!, Head North, Gretta Moire, Pentimento, Rhinoceros, The Tins, and so many other awesome bands I have seen; where is the write-ups about these bands? There are a ton of other bands I didn't even mention that I have seen of whom I can't recall the names. It is disappointing that a reader from out of town is willing to say more about the local scene in a publication than the writer who claims to cover the local music scene. Broadway Joe's and The Waiting Room are not the only venues that have shows with local bands. What about Nietzsche's or Asbury Hall? The Goo-Goo Dolls, Every Time I Die, and Cute Is What We Aim For, are not the only national acts that call Buffalo home. Ever hear of Ani Difranco or the late Rick James? AfterDark covers more bands than heavy metal, pop-punk, and everything in between. They are responsible for the Outer Harbor Concert Series which features a slew of classic rock, indie, electronica, hip-hop/rap, R&B, etc. I can appreciate some of the bands that are frequently covered. This is not to discredit them or the earnestness of the writers desire to help the local music scene. But I think the writer needs to seriously rethink her approach on helping the music scene in Buffalo. If it hadn't been for a friend who opened my eyes, I would have left Buffalo to attend school in another city that I thought would have a better music scene. On-campus events are not enough to keep me interested in my location choice for my education. I am sure there are plenty of other people who chose UB not just for education, but also for what were were told about Buffalo beyond the misconceptions of it being a miserable and dying city. I am sure there are plenty of other students who may not be as fortunate as I when it comes to experiencing the local music scene first hand.
Mon Jul 1 2013 19:26
This story is a joke, and proves that favoritism is still alive and well.
These cloned bands all just use the author to get their name out there some more. Who cares anyway? It's not like this is the Times or AP or anything. It's a college newspaper lol
Mon Jul 1 2013 18:34
It's good to know that the bands that are friends with the author get the attention they deserve. I'm glad that the biggest band in the scene helping one band out counts as helping everyone out. This is the kind of story that makes our scene great.
Mon Jul 1 2013 18:21
Bands in our music scene need to step up if they want to be heard. They need to make the connections to be showcased. I believe it's what makes a band stand out. There is a TON of talent in this music scene, however, much of that talent goes unnoticed because people EXPECT to get noticed and expect it to be handed to them on a platter.
Mon Jul 1 2013 17:26
Wait, why is this mostly about MCMS?
They don't even play that many shows around here.
What about the dozens of other bands that play the low turn out shows all the time?
Why can't they be showcased in an article about this "family"?
Mon Jul 1 2013 17:21
This article seems to be written to showcase one band, and the other bands that suck the MCMS dick.
Why don't you write about some actual talent, and not just carbon copies. Fail way to showcase the scene.
Mon Jul 1 2013 17:02
So many grammatical errors and run on sentences. This is a joke, right?

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