NYS Music’s March Madness: The Final Four

We started with 64 New York bands who have a strong presence and fan base, and are ready to make a name for themselves outside their respective music scenes. These fresh faces are spreading over many genres and all over The Empire State.  After 4 rounds of voting 64 has been whittled down to four. For the sake of March Madness jargon, “The Final Four.”


Throughout this tournament the voting has been the closest that we’ve ever seen.  More than a few match-ups ended up at 51% to 49% splits. Many more ended with a margin of less than 10% of the vote.  It goes to prove our local music scenes are alive and well, regardless of the city or genre.

Buffalo Iron Works, Funk ‘n Waffles, The Hollow Bar and Kitchen, and The Waterhole each sponsored a regional bracket this year and a winner has been named in each of their brackets.


Match-up 1 will be the Iron Works winner: Sly Fox and the Hustlers (blues funk rock) versus the
Funk ‘n Waffles winner: Folkfaces (folk jazz).

Sly Fox and the Hustlers is a high-energy blues/funk band band out of the Capital Region. The band formed in 2010 and has shared the stage with many notable names within their genre, such as Blues Traveler, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robin Trower, and Soulive’s Sam Kininger.  Their latest full-length LP American Gypsy was released earlier this year and is available on their website.

Folkfaces mixes of folk, jazz, and blues into an upbeat blend perfect for letting loose.  The band calls the Buffalo area home and have recently released their single “Institution Blues” off their album Freedom Fries. The band lists a wide variety of influences, from French guitarist Django Reinhardt to American folk legend Woody Guthrie, and the more contemporary Tedeschi Trucks Band.

The second match-up is The Hollow Bar and Kitchen winner: Sprocket (jam) versus The Waterhole region finals give us: Big Mean Sound Machine (Afrobeat/dance)

Brooklyn’s jam quartet, Sprocket, was conceived in late 2011 and didn’t work their way out of the city scene until 2014. They released their debut album Tropical Bushwick last March and have headlined NYC’s The Knitting Factory, Webster Hall Studio, and the Mercury Lounge.

Big Mean Sound Machine hails from Ithaca and tours with more members than the other three Final Four bands combined, a full stage of 13 touring members.  Their unique Afrobeat, dance, funk combination has been together since 2009, but has seemed to be catching fire as of late.  They are currently touring the East Coast.

The Final Four voting begins at 12 noon EST on Tuesday, March 22 and closes at midnight on Thursday, March 24. The Final Round voting begins at 12 noon on Friday, March 25 and we close Sunday, March 27, at midnight. Vote now for your favorites!

Check back for our final two Friday at noon!

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