Review: 2019-02-06 - Buffalo Iron Works - Buffalo, NY
I flew into Buffalo late Wednesday afternoon, leaving my wife and kids behind on a beach vacation in Florida. A nasty winter storm had just moved through the area and the city was covered in a half inch thick glazing of ice. My Uber dropped me off at the downtown Marriot shortly after 6 and by 630 I was scarfing wings and pizza with a tasty IPA at the bar with Brett and Wes who had driven up from New England together. After our meal we made the 5 minute walk over to the venue shortly after doors opened and were delighted to find the place fairly empty leaving us ample space to set up shop wherever we pleased for the night.
The Iron Works was deep and narrow with a long bar that stretched the length of the venue from front to back along the left hand wall as you entered. The beer selection was decent, and the crowd seemed to be fairly young and mostly local. There was a small upstairs area with a few tables but we never ventured up that way. I was on a mission to champion the rail and Brett was set up to tape for the evening. The opening act although polished, fell flat for me but they succeeded in warming up the crowd well enough and by the time Spaff took the stage, the place had filled in nicely and everyone was feeling comfortable. I loudly expressed my desire for something dark and dirty and settled in for the set, surrounded by Spaffamily.
The band had played the first 3 shows of the tour without any repeats and tonight would follow suit. Hot right out of the gate they dialed up Todd's Tots, one of my favorite composition pieces. Flawlessly executed with a monster peak, it was easy to see the band was feeling it already. Red started up the second song with some dark, haunting keys and I began to get excited.... Here was the darkness that I was craving.... They kicked into The Sneaker Pimps Six Underground. Jordan's raspy vocals fit SO well on this tune and the band was feeling it! What followed was a stellar 30 minute jam that moved through multiple sections and peaks, a true gem with both Brian and Red taking turns leading the band. A slick, slinky segue into Mind's Unchained brought us all back down to earth and before we knew what hit us, the 3 song first set was over and we were all regrouping by the bar for a refill.
The band returned after a short set break and launched right into When It Falls, a newer song that debuted less than a year ago and had only been placed in a second set once so far. It usually follows the same standard format, but this version went DEEP! Whether it was a happy accident or by design doesn't really matter, cuz the jam that ensued was incredible with Red largely leading the way with waves of synthy goodness. The transition into Red's Jam was amazing and they played a solid version of their instrumental standard, patiently crafting the jam and bringing us all on a journey. As they picked up the tempo, Brian stomped on the distortion pedal and the band vamped up and slammed into Weasel. Cam kept the band in high gear, driving them through a few sections before slowing the pace and landing on the beautiful Palisades. The slow, mellow vibe of the first part of the song permeated the room and we all swayed and smiled in bliss, thankful for a little bit of a breather. It wouldn't last... It was brought up to dazzling heights and Brian absolutely laid waste to our souls with a crushing solo before Cam settled back into the Weasel groove and got the dance party started up again. By the time they hit the final peak, we had seen a 5 song continuous set and the place was going nuts. The band exited and entered again for their encore, a cover of the Dead's Eyes of the World, with Red masterfully handling the vocal duties.
Without using hyperbole or trying to juice it up too much, I have to say this was my favorite Spafford show I have attended so far. The venue, the crowd, the vibe and, of course, the performance by the band all just felt perfect for the moment. It was a special evening for sure, and it would serve as the perfect appetizer for our 3 show run through Syracuse and Philly.
"I loudly expressed my desire for something dark and dirty."
this would make the world's most bad-ass epitath.
great review, brother. love your ability to find the perfect adjectives for the energies and frequencies generated by these hombres
The vibe in that place was special. A bar show on Wednesday night in Buffalo....and it was the best rock show that happened that evening anywhere. Their performances are consistently spectacular and this one is just a great show from start to finish.
Great review my dood! Can’t wait to do it again.