The last time we took a timeout to talk about a smaller venue getting chewed out for this or that by would be patrons, Broadway Joe’s Bar and Grille was the subject at hand. This time around, we’re going to take a stab at Tonawanda, NY’s one and only “Stamps…the bar”. There have been a lot of complaints going around social media about the place this week. Some stemmed from a debate that arose from a conflict of shows on the night of September 22nd (Abigail Williams/Today Is The Day at Broadway Joe’s and Godflesh at The Tralf), and some that have been brewing since local metal promoter Jeffrey Standish first started pumping out underground metal bills from Stamps, like candy on Halloween night.
In the case of the people vs. Stamps…the bar, the defendant has been developing a bad reputation due to the following:
- It’s too small.
- It’s too far.
- There’s no food.
- There’s no soundboard/ on stage mic setup.
- The acoustics suck.
- The place only attracts “stupid shows” and “stupid bands”.
- It’s just not worth a shit.
I think the bottom line is this: Based on my personal experiences at Stamps, if you have a problem with going to shows at Stamps, then you just have a problem going to shows. I’m also willing to bet that a lot of the same people badmouthing Stamps, are the same people who complain about how dismal our music scene is becoming.
I’m going to break down our defense of Stamps into two categories:
- The band’s perspective.
I’ve only played this room once, but I’ve gathered enough to have a solid case here. First of all, if you haven’t played Stamps yet and you’re hesitant about the size of the room vs. adequate gear space, please note that this venue has a back door that leads directly into a storage room, specifically allocated for band gear. On the other side of this storage room, is a short staircase leading directly onstage. It’s pretty damned convenient. In the realm of sound, I think the acoustics in this room are solid, but you’re going to want to be mindful of cab and drum placement, since there is no soundboard and you’re just putting your center vocals through a PA (unless the situation has changed). If the situation hasn’t changed, just don’t make the same mistake I did (playing guitar) the last time I played there. I thought it’d be a great idea to play off stage with my bass player, with my cab right behind me on the floor, while my other guitarist and his cab were on the stage over our heads. The sound was so uneven and distorted (our fault entirely) that I wanted to just take a timeout in the middle of the set to move things. But I was pretty hammered and on a roll, so laziness won that round. Anyway, placement is key. Just do a good sound check before your first tune and you’ll be fine. I love the acoustics in the room. The dance floor is a little narrow, but there’s an area for a pool table off to the side with a short divider in front of it. This extra space gives the sound more room to spread around.
Here’s a heads up:
Chuck Rose (event coordinator/bartender) also goes out of his way to take care of bands with certain accommodations. I won’t list specifics in case circumstances have changed, but you can expect a class act with some real professionalism regardless.
This fucking guy!
2. The patron’s perspective.
If you’re a supporter of the scene and you already frequent places like Broadway Joe’s or Rockin’ Buffalo Saloon, let me ask you three questions. Do you like cheap drinks? Do you like music? Do you enjoy a friendly staff? Stamps combines these three things very well, just like all the other smaller venues people have been complaining about lately. I think Stamps is an ideal place for smaller metal or punk shows. They cater to many audiences, but as we are a metal blog, I’m going to keep it metal for the sake of this argument. As for the food issue, sure there’s no kitchen there, but there are several places to sit down and eat or get snacks within walking distance (Colosso Taco, 7 Eleven). Furthermore, any frequent show goer (as in shows of this caliber), should be used to stopping elsewhere for food either before the show, after the show, or in between sets if you have the time and the place allows reentry. As for location, if you think this venue is too far of a trip and you live in the Buffalo area, then you probably just don’t want to make the effort. Stamps is about 20 minutes from downtown Buffalo, like many established music venues, and doesn’t require a chartered plane or boat with a rugged Indiana Jones looking guide to get to. However, if you’re from the southtowns like me, then you know traversing to the northtowns for the occasional show can be a hassle. Gas and time are worthy factors when deciding on a show, but if you really want to support a band, I don’t think the hassle is too great.
Well, that about does it. I’ve said my piece. For those of you in the scene willing to give this place a shot, or are planning a return visit, here’s a show I think you’d be interested in seeing at Stamps in the near future:
And don’t forget to follow Stamps on Facebook to keep up with any and all future events. Click here.
Thanks for reading, Metallers! Stay tuned for more from our vault of impending goodies!