Old School Punkers Rock The Town Ballroom

NOFX fans packed The Town Ballroom in Buffalo Thursday night, many of them younger than the twenty-five year old band.

Fans sported facial piercings and black clothing and hairstyles ranging from mohawks or spikes to the classic emo bowl-cut.

Ontario punkers Ceremonial Snips opened the sold-out show followed by The Toronto-based Flatliners. The Flatliners signed last year with Fat Wreck Chords, the independent punk label founded by Mike Burkett of NOFX in 1991.

Chris Cresswell, The Flatliner’s lead man on guitar, performed as the crowd erupted into an awkward mix of skanking and slam dancing, some skank dancers shuffling off after a few slams too many.

Cresswell, backed by Scott Brigham on guitar, John Darbey on bass and Paul Ramirez on drums, spoke about a recent trip home to Toronto. After a brief stop at a local Tim Horton’s, the band headed to the border where they were pulled over by customs for inspection, “They didn’t find any drugs,” said Cresswell, “but their dog ate Jon’s bagel.”

Minnesota-based Dillinger Four appeared next. Vocalist Patrick Costello did everything he could to keep the audience’s attention, from fellating the microphone to invoking the name of Joe the Plumber, but the crowd began chanting “NOFX” only fifteen minutes into the Dillinger Four performance.

Band mates Erik Funk and Bill Morrisette on guitar and vocals, and drummer Lane Pederson also shared the stage.

Much of the audience remained in Town’s bar during the set, watching the Buffalo Sabres defeat the band’s home team Minnesota Wild on the big screen.

Security was beefed up considerably before NOFX took the stage. A total of seven bouncers lined the barrier, prepared for the enthusiastic crowd surfers who lunged for the stage.

NOFX Front man and Fat Mike (Mike Burkett) joked that guitarist “El Hefe likes playing here even better than selling oranges” but he was “lonely because there are no Mexicans” in Buffalo.

The band, including founding member Eric Melvin on guitar and drummer Erik Sandin, played a mix from their considerable play list featuring both older music and songs from their latest CD, released in November 2007, “They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live”.

NOFX next heads to Baltimore and Richmond before beginning their European tour.

Originally appeared in buffalo.com


Bedouin Soundclash Headlines Reggae Lineup at Town

Town Ballroom featured a wide range of musical styles this past Saturday night. There was something for everyone, from old school punk fans to lovers of reggae, R&B and ska.

Wolf Tickets, a Buffalo punk band opened the evening. The group has been performing together since 1992. Chris Malachowski led the vocals and played guitar. Russell Bickert backed him on drums and Mike Snyder on bass.

A couple of teen boys began slam dancing, much to the dismay of a flock of young women in sundresses and cardigans, but the boys gave up when no one else would  join them.

Wolf Tickets played “Long Walk” from their soon to be released record, Here Comes the Hell. They finished the set with, “Down at the Casbah Club,” a reggae inspired number that served as a great segue into the next band, The Great Train Robbery.

The Great Train Robbery has been part of the local music scene since the 1980’s. The band is difficult to categorize – their sound seamlessly blends jazz, reggae, R&B and ska.

They have a large local following. David Watts is the lead vocalist, David Malia plays guitar, and Naheem Shabazz the trombone. Vincent Fossitt awed the crowd on both tenor and alto sax assisted with vocals. Rodney Chamberlain rocked the bass and Andrew Case played drums.

The venue really came alive when Bedouin Soundclash took the stage. An Ontario band, Bedouin Soundclash formed when lead singer Jay Malinowski and Bassist Eon Sinclair met at Queens College in Mississauga.

The band opened with “Until We Burn in the Sun”, a hit from their 2007 album Street Gospels, and went through a wide range of their play list, much of which the audience knew well enough to sing along.

Malinowski smiled throughout the entire performance, jokingly prodding the techs at one point, “Turn down the lights a bit, it’s like high school talent night”

Malinoski introduced “Rude Boy Don’t Cry” from their 2004 album Sounding A Mosaic with a shout-out to rude boys everywhere. “Rude boys” were originally street toughs in Jamaica, but in recent years, the term has come to include fans of ska.

Malikowski joked that one of their biggest hits, “Walls Fall Down” was about crossing the US-Canadian border.

They closed the set after eleven with 12:59 Lullaby which most of the audience sang as well.  The song gained a lot of exposure when it was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Contact The Town Ballroom at 716- 852-3900 or see their website at www.townballroom.com for information on future shows.

Originally appeared in buffalo.com