Why Buffalo rocks

The best concert venues Buffalo has to offer


Need the lowdown on what venues are worth checking out in Buffalo? The Spectrum has broken down some of Buffalo’s best, as well as what shows you can catch sometime soon.

Many of Buffalo’s concert venues have longstanding historical significance within the city’s music scene, while others have recently emerged. Whether it’s a small and intimate venue like Mohawk Place or a stadium-sized and loud venue like the First Niagara Center, the Queen City is brimming with music culture. Either way, it’s always good to get away from campus and see the various music scenes that Buffalo has to offer.

Town Ballroom

Location: 681 Main St.

Distance from South Campus: 15-minute light rail ride from South Campus

Upcoming shows: Rival Sons and special guest Monster Truck on Oct. 11 and Breaking Benjamin on Oct. 17

This venue is a stalwart of Buffalo’s current music scene. Despite Town Ballroom’s larger capacity of 1,200 people, it is known for hosting intimate concerts. This reputation gives their concerts a mixed feel – a larger venue’s crowd and a smaller venue’s atmosphere. Town Ballroom has grown exponentially since its foundation in the ’40s as a restaurant and nightclub. Today, the Ballroom brings in a diverse crowd of artists, from underground indie rockers to jam bands or dub-step artists. Town Ballroom is one of the most active venues in Buffalo.

First Niagara Center

Location: 1 Seymour H Knox III Plaza in Downtown Buffalo

Distance from South Campus: 20-minute light rail ride

Upcoming shows: Lots of Buffalo Sabres hockey games, Bob Seger on Dec. 17 and Kissmas Bash on Dec. 19

This arena is one of the most well known venues in the city. It’s where the majority of the high-profile national acts come to perform. Once you add in the lightshows, backup dancers and deafening noise from the crowd, concerts at this venue become productions. The center can hold about 19,000 people at its maximum capacity, making this venue the largest, by far, in Buffalo.

Mohawk Place

Location: 47 E Mohawk St. in Downtown Buffalo

Distance from South Campus: 30-40 minute car ride

Upcoming shows: Brief Candles and Supergoner on Oct. 10, CPX and Flatbed on Oct. 11

This tiny dive bar is one of the oldest music venues in Buffalo and was influential in shaping Buffalo’s underground music scene. Attending a concert at Mohawk is special because the venue gives off an ancestral air – it’s intimate, friendly and casual. By booking national acts and countless local and regional acts, the venue has gradually become the unfaltering supporter of Western New York’s budding musicians. The bar, which can host a couple hundred people at most, was closed in 2013. This year, the bar was re-opened, and continues to support the small, local bands of Buffalo’s music scene.

Tralf Music Hall

Location: 622 Main St.

Distance from South Campus: 15-minute light rail ride

Upcoming shows: Return for Roswell and the Campanellas on Oct. 11 and the Stanley Clarke Band on Oct. 17

Originally the “Tralfamadore Café,” the Tralf Music Hall is part Buffalo’s music history. First in the form of a restaurant, then a jazz club and now, a rock ‘n’ roll venue. The Tralf has a capacity of only 450 people. This smaller maximum delivers a concert experience that’s more intimate than Town Ballroom. This site is small and private but it is just as exciting as a larger venue for experiencing a concert. It’s is a favorite for the more alternative crowd of Buffalo, bringing acts of indie rock, jam, folk and alternative genres.

Waiting Room

Location: 47 E Mohawk St. in Downtown Buffalo

Distance from South Campus: 15-minute light rail ride

Upcoming shows: X Ambassadors and Jamie N Commons on Oct. 10 and Authority Zero on Oct. 11

This venue is one of Buffalo’s great up-and-coming music halls. It opened in 2013 and has steadily been growing in popularity and musical variety. The Waiting Room has hosted top acts from genres including rap, folk, rock and pop. The mid-sized venue can hold about 500 people and is, without a doubt, Buffalo’s most promising fledgling music hall. The venue feels much larger than it is because of its overall aesthetic.


Location: 44 Prime St. in Downtown Buffalo

Distance from South Campus: 20-minute light rail ride

Warm sunshine, delicious food and good friends usually accompany the concerts here, creating epitome of a summer concert in Buffalo. Although the summer concert series is over, there’s still plenty going on near the harbor like the Canalside Ghost Walk Friday night. If you’re new to UB and have yet to check out this part of the city, you’re missing out.

The concert venue is located in broad, open space by the Canalside Harbor, is the site of Buffalo’s free summer concert series. The free-spirited atmosphere of Canalside combines the best of an open, large-sized concert in an arena with the casual feel of a lazy summer day. At any given concert, you can go to the front of the crowd and go crazy, or you can hang back and lounge on the lawn.

In Buffalo, you can choose to have whatever concert experience you want, which makes the Queen City music scene so special.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com