Bands and the Bills

Review by Jack Seewagen

Music and sports both have the unique power to bring people together, and that is what I witnessed in Buffalo two Sundays ago. That afternoon, a local do-it-yourself concert was held at an abandoned industrial lot to get people hyped up for the Bills vs. Chiefs game that night. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the people that put the show together, including Buffalo locals Ashford.

A year ago, the ongoing pandemic completely shut down the local music scene.

“Obviously, we couldn’t go out and play gigs while everything was locked down” said Ashford’s guitarist and singer, Nathan Kohler. Not playing shows wasn’t the only problem. “We couldn’t even get in the studio to record the record we were working on.”

Recently, the local scene has been rebounding thanks to most pandemic restrictions being lifted for those who are vaccinated.

“Now that it’s a little looser, it’s nice to be playing shows again” Kohler explained.

While the pandemic is still around and people have to be careful about themselves and others, the local scene is enjoying this return to normalcy. This was made clear by Kohler when he said, “Everyone has been craving live music” and “we got hit hard, but we’re gonna bounce back harder.”

The events of the past year and a half just goes to show how the idea of not giving up in the face of adversity is a defining trait of the do-it-yourself music scene.

“DIY is like the coolest thing ever” said Ashford’s vocalist and guitarist, Trevor Balbierz. No stranger to setting up shows, Balbierz said, “It’s amazing seeing how many people you can get packed into whatever space you fit a PA and band in.” Even after the pandemic, DIY shows are still raging in abandoned lots and college basements across the country.”

“The Buffalo scene is just one giant community” said Ashford’s drummer, Alex Gennaro. He expanded by saying, “Everyone’s sort of connected” and “we love to just get together and have a good time.”

Another integral part of the Buffalo community is the Bills, who were the theme behind the entire show.

“We’re definitely all Bills fans,” said Kohler, and this was made evidently clear by the number of people wearing Bills gear – both in the crowd and playing in the bands. “It’s all just in the spirit of Buffalo” Gennaro added. “We all just thrive off each other.”

The show was enjoyed by all who made the journey to attend, and the day was made even sweeter when the Bills cruised to a 38-10 victory that evening. Balbierz was never in doubt of the result, as he stated, “When Ashford plays on a Sunday, the Bills don’t lose.”

It is clear to me now that the local music community and the football team they love and support are deeply intertwined.

What You Need to Know:

The do-it-yourself music scene is where local bands are 100% involved in scheduling, making a lineup, promotion, merchandise, setting up, and, of course, playing a show.

The bands that played this show included Carpool from Rochester, Ashford from Buffalo, Summerbruise from Indianapolis and The Weather Might Say Otherwise from Fredonia.

The show was played at the Wastelands, an abandoned industrial lot located on Tonawanda Street in the Black Rock area of West Buffalo.

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