>> Buffalo, New York’s up and coming venue The Rec Room has become a hot-spot for music lovers to see spectacular performances by well-known indie artists from across the nation. Hosted by Alternative Buffalo 107.7, SHAED’s ‘You Saw Them First’ performance at this intimate locale was packed with fans both old and new, excited for the opportunity to see the offerings of this dedicated group of musicians. The night kicked off with an other-worldly set by Buffalo natives Space Cubs, giving a monumental performance spear-headed by frontwoman Suzanne Bonifacio’s unparalleled stage presence. Urging the audience to move towards the stage, Bonifacio took the gap in the room into her own hands, and courageously leaped out into the crowd, showcasing her artistic prowess and fearless command of her craft. If you have not had the chance to view this electronic powerhouse perform live, keep your eyes peeled for their next performance. As an amalgamation of Bjork, Aphex Twin, and something entirely unique in their own respect, Space Cubs is a project that deserves close attention from both local listeners and national fans of experimental electronic tunes.
The lineup on Friday night was filled with a diverse representation of genres, moving from Space Cubs’ electro-sonic soundscapes to the blues-inspired rock and roll tracks of Buffalo locals Johnny Hart and the Mess. Building on the energetic atmosphere established by the first act, Johnny Hart and the Mess jumped onto the stage and immediately exemplified the distinct style that each band member brings to the musical outfit. Donning a cowboy hat, snakeskin boots, and a leather vest, lead guitarist Tyler Wright engaged with the crowd through his fiery riffs and effortless guitar solos, receiving high levels of praise from the audience. Skewing the rock and roll genre with a modern twist, Johnny Hart and the Mess performed a set of approachable tracks which put a grin on the face and tap in the feet of audience members from all ages and musical backgrounds.
The set changes between each band were brisk and efficient, leaving little time for anticipation to build as fans maneuvered their bodies towards the front of the room for the final act. SHAED’s signature neon purple triangle lit up on the stage, and twin brothers Spencer and Max Ernst entered the room followed by vocalist Chelsea Lee. Captivating the crowd and receiving the audience’s full attention, Lee provided some backstory on the self-titled release off of their latest EP ‘Melt.’ Describing the creative dissonance that she has experienced in her personal life, Lee offered a graceful explanation to pair with an enchanting execution of the single, singing the lyrics “Now you're beggin me to smile, but I can't fake / Thought the point was to create." Briskly leaving the stage and returning for an encore with their smash alternative hit “Trampoline,” the crowd swayed and sang along to the single’s undeniably catchy chorus and ended the night begging the band to play another track.
If you’re looking to get into an electro-pop project that is genuinely invested in giving back to their fans, SHAED should be number one on your list-- or at least very close to the top. Sitting at the merch table for over half an hour after the show ended, Lee’s dedication to her audience translates seamlessly from her on-stage interactions to her off-stage conversations with her fans. When the crowd became a bit rowdy and tried to take selfies with Lee on-stage, the vocalist simply smiled and started to pose for the pictures, effortlessly keeping the positive energy alive for her listeners. It’s a rare opportunity to have the chance to interact with a group of musicians who are gaining national notoriety at such a rapid pace. When the acts on these lineups make it big, you can give a huge thank you to Alt Buffalo who gave you the opportunity to shamelessly boast that you, in fact, saw them first. So, if you missed out on last week’s performance, be sure to tune in to Alt Buffalo on 107.7 FM or follow the radio station on Instagram (@altbuffalo) to ensure that you won’t miss out on gaining some of these priceless bragging rights in the near future. <<