On December 13, Broadway Joe’s Bar and Grill became ground zero for one of the most inspiring and beneficial local metal shows our local music scene has witnessed in years. The purpose of the show was to raise money to help longtime Buffalo music scene supporter, Brian “Butch” Hulin spoil his kids this Christmas. Life has been very hard for the Hulin family as of late. Brian’s two children, Peighton (5) and Lincoln (2), have a rare form of Cerebral Palsy called Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia. As a result of this unfortunate illness, they have been in and out of hospitals since birth, and the financial toll on the family has been devastating.
Recently, local promoters Jeff Wacker and Nick Sallee, decided to team up and put together a benefit show to help the Hulins’ cause. Brian has gone out of his way to support his local music scene for decades, and as a show of gratitude for all he’s done for his local promoters, bands, and venues, Jeff and Nick put together a killer lineup of bands, pulled in several donated merchandise packs from larger out-of-town acts for a giant raffle, and ended up raising nearly $2,000 for Brian’s children between door cover charges and sold raffle tickets.
It was a very emotional night. Each time Brian took to the stage to announce the winner of the next raffle in between bands, tears filled his eyes as he repeatedly expressed his heartfelt gratitude and thanks to everyone in the room. And in the aftermath of every riveting speech he gave, his words were immediately followed by a deafening ovation from the crowd. It never got old, even when each band that took the stage that night expressed their own immense gratitude for even being asked to play such an important event.
What made this show even more special was the incredibly diverse lineup of heavy acts on the bill.
The night kicked off with Lily Among Thorns. They are a heavier rock band with clean female vocals and some screamed male vocals. They had their own uplifting speeches about inspiring hope in between songs, which were well-received by the already emotionally invested crowd.
The second act, a Rammstein cover band from Rochester called Mutter, named after the title track on one of Rammstein’s best-selling albums, captivated the crowd transporting them back to the late 90’s, particularly with an energetic cover of Rammstein’s timeless single, “Du Hast”, from the album, Sehnsucht.
Afterwards, The Creator, The Architect delivered a hard-hitting performance of well-timed breakdowns and catchy melodic choruses, complete with an excellent dynamic between their two vocalists.
Well-known black metal artists, Hubris, followed and completely leveled the building with speedy tremelo riffs, punishing blast beats and an overall message of no-nonsense thrash and gore. The black metal tyrants of Buffalo were also dressed to impress after having applied what is known as “corpse paint” to their faces, conveying a purist vibe, reminiscent of the orignators of their genre in Northern Europe (for fans of Emperor, Mayhem, Immortal etc…).
Amputecht took to the stage next, giving a flawless performance of multi-layered progressive metal, with catchy melodic vocals, the occasional crushing breakdown, and intricate progressive guitar work (mathrock with great hooks, for fans of Animals As Leaders, Intervals).
Subsequently, Throne of Wilderness took to the stage with their folk metal ways and practically stole the show. They had the best crowd response of the night by far and treated everyone in attendence to skillful bagpipe playing, tasteful synthesizer parts and beautiful woodwind instrumentation, layered carefully and expertly over heavy melodic death metal riffing. The drums were handled by Eareckson Murray, another longtime supporter of the Buffalo music scene. Eareckson also handles guitars and vocals in local thrash metal band, Cain, as well as booking and promotions for local shows. He’s another key player in our music scene, whose hard work and dedication have been responsible for many successful and memorable shows.
Then, when the dust settled and the soothing sounds of bagpipes faded into the distance, there was It’s A Dinosaur! They are a heavy progressive metal band, with all the crunch and brutality you’d come to expect from a band with such a name, but they also bring with them catchy vocal and guitar hooks, the likes of which remind me of the lighter side of The Dillinger Escape Plan.
Aspired Infliction followed the Dinosaur boys with their own special blend of melodic riffing and crunchy breakdowns, along the same lines as European melodic death metal pioneers, At The Gates, and American metal bands like Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage. Their set was highlighted by their signature “Ghetto Giveaway”, during which, guitarist Jason Hylkema tossed a Hot Wheels Star Wars playset out into the crowd.
By this time, the crowd was dwindling and those who were brave enough to linger on were getting extremely restless. It was time for a serious energy boost and Murder City Outlaws were more than happy to deliver. They have a New York City hardcore/punk vibe meant for the masses, complete with the occasional classic rock feel. Kenny, Jeff and Brian from MCO truly go out of their way to cater to people of all musical tastes and never stop until every last person in their audience is having fun.
I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Help finished up the night at around 1:30 am and played to a small intimate crowd of their diehard fans, including the members of Murder City Outlaws and Aspired Infliction. They played an impressively energetic set, considering the several hours that had passed before they were finally able to take the stage, but those who stuck around were pleasantly revitalized with catchy metal tunes from their popular EP, Hard Truth/Forced Unity. Tony Dipaolis (vocalist) from Aspired Infliction took the mic from Government vocalist, Tom Bieler, several times and helped keep the crowd motivated right up until the end.
By the time all was said and done, the Hulins couldn’t have been happier with the amount of support and love their music scene had graciously given back to them for the sake of their children’s well being. Needless to say, the Hulins are bound to have the holiday season they deserve this year, and their benefit show truly inspired everyone in attendence, ensuring that events of this nature are bound to occur within our scene many more times in the future.