“Stamps…the review”: Another Underappreciated Venue In a Dwindling Scene

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.

samuel-l-jackson-ezechieleWell, allow us to retort.

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:

  1. 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:

ls

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.

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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:

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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!

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5 thoughts on ““Stamps…the review”: Another Underappreciated Venue In a Dwindling Scene

  1. Yeah man I don’t think these people realize how devoted we are to this shit either … for instance yeah we don’t have a soundboard and what not setup … but we will soon …. why ? Because chuck spent the past year or whatever finding and saving scrap metal so we can buy one … people don’t think about shit like that … like do you know what this place used to be ? Do you realize chuck and his brother and friends built that stage in their own free time ? … you wanna complain about our shit … ok let’s see you do better

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  2. Also when u said you … I didn’t mean YOU .. as in the writer of this article … great job man and thanks for having our back !

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  3. Jezuz Krist, When I lived and gigged in Manhattan, fans came from New Jersey, Long Island and upstate to go to shows. This required a one hour drive if there was no traffic and a bridge crossing toll, and a good half hour to park.
    I’ve been in Buffalo 3 years and the music scene does not suck, its the lazy, whining, cheap fucking losers that suck.

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  4. I’d rather have 30 venues like Stamps, Broadway Joe’s and Rockin Buffalo, than only have the few places with higher end shows like Waiting Room and Town Ballroom, that have strictly controlled ticket policies and demographics.

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  5. If anyone really wants Stamps, or any place; or anything for that matter, to be better, then put in some time. I spent every day off for a few months volunteering to build the stage; primarily with the gracious help of my father. The stage was crowd sourced, or to borrow from Operation Ivy, a gathering of people funded this stage. There were several shows where they collected donations, which paid for the materials. I put in many hours and my 60 year old father did as well so consider that when you want to idly complain about something not being ideal. If you are complaining rather than contributing then you are being ungrateful for the work and time others have put in. In truth you’re not helping anything; rather you are making things worse by filling the air with the stench of negativity.

    So if you think the acoustics suck for a metal show talk to my brother (Chuck Rose). Set up a metal show fundraiser or whatever kind of fundraiser, buy some studio foam, or better yet reuse some old shit that will suck up some of the sound so the onstage acoustics are better (I’ve played up there I know how loud and jumbled the sound can be). If there isn’t enough dancing room for you get some friends together and volunteer to remove the divider wall (I fully intended to do this with the stage project, but I only have so much time and energy) and someone who shows up early can help my brother move the pool table before a show. Don’t be afraid to help out or contribute; Talk to my brother he’d be happy to facilitate you putting your creative energy into Stamps to make it a better place.

    By the way, from downtown the Delaware bus takes about 35-45 minutes, and it will drop you off three blocks from Stamps. Read a book, write a song, or think about how YOU can make things better rather than just about what’s wrong.

    Peace and Love

    -Eric Rose

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