A Scene in Atrophy

My fellow Metalheads;

I know I’ve been MIA, as I’ve been busy with school things, work, and the 5 vests I have been responsible for (and cats- can’t forget the cats).  I mentioned a week or so ago that I had some things simmering on the backburners, and I think they’re just about ready for consumption. Get your bibs out and a roll of paper towels; this might get a little messy.

This was originally titled “2015 State of The Scene Address”, but it turned into less of an article about what’s going on in this city and much more of me spilling out my emotions. Either way, I’m pretty sure you’re still going to read through my garbage.

Right now, all I have to say is, holy shit, Buffalo. Holy shit.  I’m more disappointed now than I was when I finished all 202 episodes of the X-Files on Netflix in just over a week. And I started writing this before I learned that a certain tour was owed a huge chunk of cash (and some loser kid in an opening band walked off with the cash from his band’s ticket sales.)

I had originally intended to have this massive and epic show review for you, but I ended up (half-willingly) not seeing half of the show. And I’m not about to give you half of a show review, because that’s just silly. So, instead of chilling out with a couple beers after an overly crap-tastic week, I chose to run around like the proverbial chicken-without-its-head.  Without any kind of warning, Mike and I were running a ship without a proper captain while water poured in through a gaping hole on the side of the hull.  At that point, who else was there? At least Mike has done his time as a Buffalo metal scene promoter, so he actually (kind of) knew what he was thrown into.  But, up until then, I had never been one of the “behind-the-scenes” people; I’m not at a point where I even know where to start with shit like that and the logistics of shows are still completely beyond me. And, let’s be real for a minute here- all I wanted to do was show up and make some fucking tacos (that came from money straight out of my pocket) for the bands and kiss a little ass, because someone has to at least look like they give a shit.

So, as far as I was concerned, Mike was allegedly going to be the door guy anyway for a bit, and if I still needed to hack up veggies for tacos, that shit was covered. But neither of us foresaw him being out there for over two hours without any idea of who was where and when they were coming back.  And then things continued to spiral.  I learned about this little storage space behind the stage that I’ve never even noticed before. And, of course, the door was locked and the next band’s things were behind said door. Sans key to unlock said door, the tour manager tried everything from knives and screwdrivers and my own house keys, only to no avail. Those who say violence doesn’t solve anything have clearly never had to deal with something like this before.

There were no cases of water for the bands and the beer fridge was empty. And a little more appreciation for what Mike and I did would’ve been appreciated (along with a little heads up). I had been up since 10pm the day before, and if it wasn’t for energy drinks and cigarettes I would’ve lost my shit from stuff like that alone. But I didn’t, and I got to enjoy who I was there to see.  And thank fuck for another sick as shit show the next day.

However, it is now after the fact that I think I’d rather have had the show cancelled than have to see something like that happen again. Actually, I think the show shouldn’t have been booked to begin with. In an almost nonexistent death metal scene, booking this tour was not only too ambitious, but in essence completely insane.  But, I am obligated to give a ton of credit to Joe Tonaus for stepping up when the original promoter decided to shit the bed. Clearly, no one else had the balls to keep the show going. And I think if you had a good time there, you owe him at least a big thank you and a solid pint of beer.

The local(s) and promoters were expected to sell over 200 tickets before the day of the show (to cover the tour package’s cash guarantee). One has to admit that is completely unreasonable, especially since the other local dropped off.  A few dozen tickets were sold before the show, and a handful of people paid at the door, but the tour is still owed quite a bit of money.  Now that I am over the events of that night, this is what breaks my heart the most. The touring bands deserve to at least get paid without question- this is their livelihood and their income.  I am heartbroken because I know this town will never see a half decent national tour again after this, and you know those fucks at After Dark and The Waiting Room won’t touch a death metal show because they don’t bring in the hipster/br00tal 20-something year-olds of their targeted demographic.  I am heartbroken because I know how much love myself and others put into this scene, only to watch it go nowhere. I am heartbroken because I just want to see this scene thrive. I am heartbroken, mostly, because shit like this isn’t going to make a difference and that’s the absolute fucking worst.

This all being said, on behalf of whoever, I am sorry. I am sorry tour managers, touring bands, local bands, and most of all, the metalhead patrons, because without them, our scene would be completely obsolete. I am sorry, everyone, because the Buffalo metal scene has failed you, and will continue to fail you. Not enough people care enough to turn things around, thus forcing the scene into a perpetual state of suck. But I am not entirely hopeless; I hope that one day before I kick the bucket the scene here will be rejuvenated. And maybe, just maybe, this is the kind of thing that lights a fire in someone. Buffalo, I hope you prove me wrong, and I hope change is coming.

Oh, and my tacos were fucking delicious, by the way. In case you were wondering.

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