Never underestimate the value of a generous scalper. This past weekend, my preexisting trip to Buffalo, New York took a wildly serendipitous turn for the better when a pit-stop to Canalside found us running into the local alternative radio station’s annual music festival known as “Kerfuffle”. While we wandered the harbor side faintly listening to the opening acts, an unusually trusting scalper crossed paths with the group I was with. The fortuitous encounter resulted in a fantastic deal, and suddenly our group was strolling into 107.7/104.7 Alternative Buffalo’s live event of the year. The scorching afternoon did not disappoint, with a slew of alternative acts making the sweaty Buffalonian landscape their own in respective style. As I do with every festival I attend, below is a short list of assorted awards that I feel are well-deserved by particular artists.
- Best Overall Performance – Bob Moses
As the only artist on the festival’s setlist that I was unfamiliar with, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical of Bob Moses. “A middle of the concert solo filler? Psh…heard that pedestrian story before,” I mistakenly thought. As I sat on the lawn biding my energy for upcoming artists, a focused, intense, and piercing drummer steadily ate away at my stubborn eardrums until I was thoroughly locked onto the mesmerizing group. Lead singer Tom Howie started repeating the indicated words “You (x5) don’t (x11) fall (x5) far from the tree now” as if to dangle a metronome in front of my face and hypnotize me into a conscious limbo. Song after song, Bob Moses built their set into an unforgettably magnetic performance, attracting crowds with a fascinating force that is tough to explain by simply listening to their studio adaptations.
- Best Individual Song – “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand
There’s an everlasting magic about a single song that overshadows a band’s entire image. Franz Ferdinand will never bee able to escape their fate as “That band that plays ‘Take Me Out,'” and as a viewer, I was totally alright with that. At the end of every song in their set, you could hear faint whispers of crowd members audibly thinking “When are they going to play it?” After nearly an hour of waiting, the unmistakable guitar riff churned through the crowd as if to pump steroids into it’s familiar dive-bar exemplified-self. Singer and guitarist Alex Kapranos replayed the opening chords several times over as if to satisfy that waiting period, showing that he understood why the crowd had amassed to it’s largest number yet for his band’s set. The only oddity was that they didn’t close with “Take Me Out” as if to send a message that one song will not define their being for the rest of their existence.
- Best Cover Song – “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin – performed by OK Go
Amidst a frankly underwhelming performance, OK Go asked if any of the audience members had been to England before. When a select few patrons raised their hands in drunken excitement, lead singer Damian Kulash started saying “Well this next cover is by a little English band…” Anyone and their mother could have predicted that Kulash was sarcastically talking about either The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or Led Zeppelin, and that assumed wisecrack was as accurate as it was rewarding. Kulash was valiant in his Robert Plant impression not only in voice but in spirit, provoking the crowd’s participation during the waning “Oh’s” to make a 40 year old song seem like it was just released last week.
What good is a review without a little something to show for it? Due to the lack of a complete setlist posting online (as sad and reliant as that may sound), below is a makeshift playlist of all my favorite studio songs by the artists that played at Kerfuffle.