Road Blog: Thursday May 05, 2016 - Buffalo, NY
May 5, 2016
We left Michigan mid-afternoon and hit the Ambassador Bridge into Canada under sunny skies and over blue water. Crossing the border into Canada has never really been a problem for this band, but getting back into the US has been a consistent nightmare. Oddly, we were stopped yesterday before we even got on the bridge – by US customs. They wanted to check us out BEFORE we left the US. That’s never happened before. The agents were all in good humor, asking us about the band, and joking around. Once they got a look into our SUV, with every single square centimeter packed tight with guitars, speaker cabinets, drums, and merchandise, they sent us on our way. Canadian customs was quick and painless and we were on our way. They all wanted to know – where is the rest of the band? I guess the concept of a power trio is lost on government agencies.
It took us nearly 5 hours to get from Windsor to Buffalo. It’s mostly a boring drive, but we had the deluxe edition of The Who – Live At Leeds to get us most of the way there. We pulled back into US customs and after we again heard “where’s the rest of the band?” we were allowed into Buffalo, New York, USA. We checked into our AirB&B south of the city and met our host, her kid and dog. It was the top level of a house with plenty of room and all the amenities. We didn’t have much time to hang though, as we had to head into the city for load in.
We navigated the downtown streets and got about a block away from our venue when we hit a massive Cinco De Mayo fest with blocked off streets and cops everywhere. We negotiated with a member of Buffalo’s finest who begrudgingly let us bypass the barricades and park in front of the bar, but we had to promise to park elsewhere after we loaded in. As we carried our gear it quickly became apparent that parking elsewhere would not only be a major ordeal, but was really unnecessary as there was an open spot right there. I put on my best smile and most polite voice and negotiated with the cop to let us stay, and he finally consented, against the will of his hard-nosed lieutenant.
The Mohawk Place is a really cool bar that’s been on my radar for a long time. Buffalo in general has. I’ve never set foot in the city before (driven near it, but never in) and always wanted to play there. It always seemed like a cool rustbelt city, similar to Detroit in many ways – cold, blue collar, rundown but coming back. It was great to finally make it a reality. Marty and the whole staff were really cool to us. Felt like home right away.
We grabbed a quick bite of some mediocre bar food up the street (the Cinco De Mayo Fest was our plan, but the massive crowd made it impossible) and got back in time to see the Blue Rocket Trio’s set. Kick-ass blues, super tight and well-rehearsed. Great guitar tone. We talked to the dudes throughout the night about gear and Buffalo and rock and roll and made good friends.
Next up was the Buffalo Brass Machine – an 8 piece group with sax, trumpets, trombones, tuba and drums. Super fun and rowdy – very New Orleans flavored. They did some originals and covers and the crowd loved them. All super nice younger guys (& gal) who stood front and center for our whole set too!
We were up next and played what we felt was a good set for a medium-sized crowd of very enthusiastic people. Sound was good, the stage was nice, and we were comfortably revved up. After the show we sold a fair amount of merch and chatted it up with lots of interesting locals before loading out to our awesome parking spot and heading back to the AirBB for some rest. Gabe was designated driver, if you’re keeping score. Big thanks to the Mohawk for a great night – we can’t wait to come back!
It was a beautiful morning in Buffalo today. Just a little crisp but sunny blue skies. I got up early and went for a run then settled in to catch up on some work while Patty made bacon and eggs for us. Patty cooks up a mean breakfast with limited resources under less than ideal conditions. It was awesome! Gabe and I chowed down and drank coffee and we all took our time with showers while Leave it to Beaver played on the TV in one room and the Alabama Shakes Pandora channel played in another. We headed into the city where we hit a couple record stores and had lunch at the famous Anchor Bar – home of the original Buffalo Wings. Seemed like the thing to do on our first visit to Buffalo. The wings were good – better than average, but not life-altering. Patty wasn’t impressed with any of it, but Gabe and I enjoyed it enough. Next time we’ll hit somewhere else, but it was worth it. A short, couple hour drive through some back-road hollers and shanty-towns and we’re now in Jamestown, NY for tonight’s show. This is a small city where Lucille Ball was born. We’ve got a nice hotel room and a couple hours to chill before tonight’s show at Mojo’s.