Supporting Local Music From The First Note

Have you ever thought about where your favorite famous musician started before they played in arenas around the world? Probably not. Chances are, at one point, every artist you can think of was playing a show to a handful of people rather than a sold-out crowd.

It’s easy to forget that once upon a time, one of the only ways to discover musical artists was by going to the local music venue. There are some amazing talents hidden away in small and big towns alike with dwindling options for places to play their music for other people.

The local music scene has been near and dear to my heart for quite a few years now. One word to sum up the scene is, family. I have experienced different music scenes from all over and this seems to be a common theme. Here in Buffalo, we are blessed to have such a tight knit music community.

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I am a professional music photographer and work with many of the bands here in Buffalo and sometimes in the Rochester area. Local music is very important to me and is one thing in life that keeps me going. I love capturing the truest of emotions on stage. That is something that cannot be recreated. I’m in it for the long haul, to make a career of this.

Music is a powerful means of connecting people. It bridges linguistic and cultural divides, and is a vehicle for identity and expression like no other.  Music has the power to do this, no matter where you come from or your background.  Music, is one thing that brings all walks of life under one roof.

I also love that no matter which genre of music I’m covering, we all treat each other with a sense of community. I see many musicians from different bands on their off night come support their brothers and sisters as they play locally. I’ve seen just about every vantage point in the music scene. I’ve been the band girlfriend; witnessing the countless hours and money artists spend writing and recording, trying to make a name for themselves. I’ve seen the local promoter putting in their own money, working to find artists who fit the same bill; taking chances on bands that nobody knows exist, hoping to possibly just break even.

Buffalo is one of many communities that suffers when a local venue closes. Venues are struggling financially and are on the fence about whether or not to continue providing live music. We take this for granted.  To keep local music alive, it’s as simple as supporting the artists and the venues by buying a ticket to see the show or buying something from the venue; a beer, coffee or dinner. Sometimes venues will also dedicate a portion of the night’s bar revenue to the bands, making this a win-win situation.

Musicians are a healthy part of local economies. When we support them, we are supporting a number of business owners and employees, including the local bars and venues, screen printing companies, record labels, record stores, even the food trucks on the street outside the venues.

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If the music is something that tickles your fancy, consider purchasing the artist’s CD or a t-shirt. Musicians are often not getting paid their worth from venues and many end up losing rather than making enough money to cover  expenses. Many artists have the burden of working tirelessly to expose their music, most on penny-pinching budgets. Wearing a band’s t-shirt, listening to their music or even mentioning the music to friends is a simple way to continue your support long after the live music has ended.

Live music has a power that can last long after a single performance. Lyrics and tones pull feelings from you that you have never experienced. The energy of a live show needs to be felt. Bands and artists pour their hearts and emotions into their live performances, and while the crowd is feeding off that energy, the band is feeding off the crowd.

Checking out a local show is a much more intimate experience, and there’s no corporate music nonsense involved, meaning you’re truly hearing what the artists want you to hear.  These guys and girls on stage have day jobs just like the rest of us. They can be the girl from the coffee shop serving you your daily medium coffee, two cream and a muffin or the plumber who helped fixed your busted pipes on an emergency night call. Some of us are doing this for fun and some are striving for stardom. Regardless of what each individual`s motive is, support is what keeps it going.

We must also extend our hands to local bands that took that leap of faith and decided to take their music on a weekend or a month-long tour to play with bands local to those cities in hopes of spreading their name.

I`m happy to see fellow music lovers offer the courtesy of their homes to those traveling bands so they don’t have to spend money that can be used elsewhere on hotels or forced to sleep in their vans in the frigid or scorching weather.

The bottom line is, don’t stop enjoying internationally known bands, just make some time to go to a local music venue and support the ones who are starting from the ground up, where their lyrics are true and haven’t been touched by 30 hands. Who knows, you may even be watching the birth of the next great star!

Below is a gallery of local artists. These photos span the course of a couple years. This is the face of our music scene.

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