Started from the bottom

Bands from Buffalo play to impress in hopes of making it big


It’s no secret that only a small percentage of bands are signed to a major record label and move on to becoming the “next big thing.”

This does not discourage local bands Pentimento, Maritime Law, The Traditional and Rust Belt Lights from leaving their hearts on the stage every time they perform.

“The fact that you can stand up on a stage in front of a crowd of people and perform music that you love is great,” said Joe Konze Jr.*, the guitarist for Maritime Law. “I think the reason so many kids in Buffalo want to start bands is because of Pentimento, Every Time I Die, The Traditional, Cedar Kites and Rust Belt Lights. They’ve shown that if you enjoy your music, so will others.”

There are dozens of local bands in the Buffalo area – often created from existing friendships – that want their chance at making it big. It sounds more simple than it is to pick up instruments and create musical sounds, forming a defining sound can take years to perfect.

Pentimento and Rust Belt Lights have been around since 2011 and 2008, respectively, and have put out multiple EPs.

Pentimento is preparing to go on tour with Say Anything and Saves The Day, two signed and established punk-rock bands. Rust Belt Lights is preparing to play FEST 13 Halloween weekend in Florida and team up with The Traditional for a show in Buffalo.

Bands that have found their start in Buffalo showcase their talents at local venues such as Mohawk Place, Town Ballroom, Waiting Room, Tralf Music Hall and The Forvm. Groups can play sets of their own creation or cover artists they admire in musical taverns scattered throughout Buffalo.

Local bands play three or four times a week at The Forvm.

Many of the resident bands fall under the alternative rock genre. Groups such as Cedar Kites and The Traditional specifically call themselves an emo-indie combination on their Facebook pages, while solo artist Casey Bolles describes his music on his page with a variety of adjectives, like “emo” and “soft grunge.”

This variability helps set the bands apart from one another even though they fall under the same general musical category.

For small and local bands, gaining a musical following can be a daunting task. Without a huge budget or professional manager, they will often start by creating a Facebook page and inviting friends and family to shows. From this, they can only hope to grow by posting about shows, creating flyers and advertising in local papers.

While some bands don’t have the money to advertise, some students at UB love rock and are eager to hear the newest bands on the scene.

“I listen to alternative rock, so I would definitely pay to go see a band from around here play, even if I didn’t know them,” said Corey Hollister, a sophomore chemistry major.

Whether it’s alternative rock, country, rap or pop, attending the show of a local band can be an opportunity to expand music taste and find new artists.

*Joe Konze Jr. previously worked as an editor for The Spectrum