So I looked at Facebook the other day and saw that a video I had posted three years ago was showing up in my feed.

By Buck Quigley

It was from the start of the Covid lockdown. I was singing a song, like a lot of performers were doing in the absence of live gigs. Trying to be entertaining, I guess, to an audience trapped at home and glued to screens.

As I watched, I grew sad, thinking about what an incredibly strange time it was.

It felt like it may as well have been a transmission from another planet. But then, it was a pretty different planet for a while there. If aliens had discovered us during Covid, they would have met some fiercely antisocial people.

They’d have been like “Captain’s Log: No one on the ship can understand why these humanoids built millions of entertainment venues everywhere. They rarely leave their dens, and spend up to 90 percent of their waking time alone, watching Netflix.”

Now that venues are back open and running, I’ve been playing gigs and going out to see live music more than I have in a long time. I’m appreciating it more than I have in decades.

I’ve seen a bunch of great shows at Sportsmen’s Tavern, including Leroy Townes and Peter Case; as well as the John Prine Tribute and the Pine Dogs reunion show—which were both sold out.

At the Cave I caught John Lombardo and Joe Rozler doing their highly entertaining duo treatment to rare musical nuggets you forgot you knew. A House Safe for Tigers and As We See It showcased their original tunes. Earlier in the month I had a great time at the Girls Just Want to Have Fun night put on by the Buffalo Music Coalition.

I headed over to Hertel Avenue and caught a fun show by Matt Smith’s Nervous System and Roger Bryan at Revolution Gallery. I made it down to Nietzsche’s to catch Thee Isolators with the Fox Sisters at Nietzsche’s. All great bands.

Now, I know that some of you have been disappointed (to put it mildly) about the astronomical prices for some big name concert tickets lately. I mean, I like Bruce Springsteen, but I’m nostalgic for a time when the characters in his songs could afford to see one of his concerts.

The cool thing is that Buffalo is currently home to a lot of great musicians and a lot of great bands who are knocking it out in a bunch of venues around town. I’m blown away by the number of young musicians in particular who are developing their sound and approaching everything with such enthusiasm.

A “scene” is often born in a small, unassuming place. The NYC punk scene of the 1970s coalesced in a tiny Country and Bluegrass Bar (C.B.G.B.s for short). It was in large part a reaction to big, overblown, overpriced and overcompensated musical acts who’d moved on to stadiums and had lost touch with reality.

There’s no better time than the present to check out our burgeoning Buffalo music scene and add your energy to the mix.


Editor’s note: In the spirit of Buck’s column, here’s a live and local session with Matt Smith’s Nervous System, the first episode of the new Live From Black Rock series. 

The Editor

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