This past weekend in Buffalo, NY the second annual Cobblestone Live was put on by the famous venue Buffalo Iron Works. The weather remained sunny for a majority of the weekend, besides a little drizzling for 15 minutes during Saturday afternoon. There were four stages spread across the Cobblestone District, one set up on both Illinois and Columbia St.’s, one inside Iron Works, and one inside Lockhouse Distillery. Some of the food highlights of the weekend were the Lloyd taco truck, Barely Edible crepe truck, and the free tacos from Breezy Burrito Company, although those were VIP-only.
The festival featured both local bands and national bands alike, such as Cold Lazarus, Space Junk, and the ever-growing groove rockers Aqueous for the former, and Andy Frasco & The U.N., Turkuaz, and Los Angeles natives Chicano Batman. The lineup also showcased some international bands, bringing Broken Social Scene and The Sheepdogs down from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. One of the first impressive sets of the weekend came from Madaila, the Burlington-based psych pop group that all were all dressed in the same turquoise t-shirts with an “M” insignia on the front. The band brought their “A” game playing song after song of their upbeat, synth-driven pop. The much talked about Chicano Batman took to the Illinois St. stage next, impressing many festivalgoers with their genre-bending soul music and frequent instrument swaps between band members. It was very clear that frontman Bando Martinez was putting his heart and soul into this performance, leaving a lasting impression on the members of the audience.
Next up were local favorites Aqueous with their first set of the weekend on the Columbia St. stage. The groove rockers busted out covers of both parts of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” by famous psychedelic rockers The Flaming Lips, as well as the debut of an original tune, “Say It Again,” which was a highlight in the near-perfect set. Lead guitarist Mike Gantzer also debuted his new Paul Reed Smith guitar at this set, seemingly enjoying the new but familiar sounds he was drawing out of the instrument. Following Aqueous, Brooklyn-based funk group Turkuaz took to Illinois St. with their always-astounding tunes. The band opened with their classic “Chatte Lunatique,” immediately raising the moods of the audience up while telling their bodies to get down. The group also played some of their bigger hits such as “Percy Thrills, The Moon Dog” and “Nightswimming,” which were featured on their recent live release 040717. To close out the first night of the fest, Nashville-based jazz funk band Dynamo took to the stage inside Iron Works and laid down some fiery versions of their original tunes. They had the whole venue packed and grooving, energizing the late night attendees with their funky yet soulful grooves and positive stage presences, especially the captivating Emoni Wilkins on vocals.
Local intellifunk jam group Cold Lazarus kicked off Saturday with a remarkable set on Illinois St., waking up the Cobblestone District with their groovy, reggae infused music. The band started rather recently, just at the beginning of 2017, when guitarist Adam Gould, bassist Gavin Patierni, and drummer Marc Scapelitte came together for a new project, only to find they had instant musical chemistry, later adding keyboardist/saxophonist Drew Minton to the mix. Another local group known as Space Junk took to the Iron Works stage a little later in the afternoon, bringing their jamtronica-esque jams and progressive sound to the venue. Guitarist Matt Fantini and keyboardist Cary Meehan were melodically locked in, while the rhythm section of bassist Will Thompson and drummer Kevin Rogers kept the grooves tight and funky throughout the set. Their set was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend. Down on Columbia St., madman Andy Frasco and his band The U.N. brought their soulful blues rock and bottle of Jameson to Cobblestone, putting on one hell of a show. Frasco made sure to incorporate the audience into the show as much as possible, getting down into the crowd several times throughout the set to have the crowd play a game similar to “follow the leader” a few times, help him crowd surf to his bottle of Jameson, and lift him up in a chair Bar Mitzvah style, dancing around him in a circle. The group brought out Mike Gantzer of Aqueous for an original tune and a brief version of AC/DC’s classic “Thunderstruck,” as well as performing a few instrument swaps that led to a spectacular guitar solo from drummer Andrew Avila.
Aqueous performed their second set of the weekend on the Illinois St. stage on Saturday afternoon, jam-packing the hour and a half with jammed out versions of some heavy hitters, especially their classic “Skyway.” The set also featured a spot on cover of Paul McCartney’s James Bond theme song “Live and Let Die,” which had the crowd rocking out in the warm weather. Following Aqueous were the Canadian The Sheepdogs and Broken Social Scene, on the Columbia and Illinois St. stages respectively. The Sheepdogs featured a classic rock and roll sound, while bringing a bit of Canadian flavor to the music. Their set was comprised of mostly originals, but was closed by a song by “the greatest American rock and roll band,” (their words), “Ramblin’ Man” by the Allman Brothers Band. Broken Social Scene had an indie rock sound and surprised a lot of festivalgoers, rocking out as a collective group of musicians on the Illinois St. stage. Closing out the fest was Michelangelo Carubba’s Birthday Super Jam, which was comprised of Carubba, Mike Gantzer and Dave Loss of Aqueous, Craig Brodhead of Turkuaz, and Freekbass, the internet sensation that has mastered the art of playing bass. The supergroup also featured Shira Elias of Turkuaz and Ernie Chang of Andy Frasco & The U.N. for several songs. The set featured mainly covers, most importantly stellar versions of “Life in the Fast Lane” by The Eagles, “Vultures” by John Mayer, which Carubba surprisingly sang on, prompting Mike Gantzer to complement his voice, and a Freekbass-led version of “Fame” by David Bowie, which was the highlight of the set.
Cobblestone Live was a huge success that featured lots of fantastic local, national, and international bands, as well as an alpaca farm that had attendees raving. Hopefully the festival will return in 2019, bringing more music and great food to the residents of Buffalo. Check out the photo gallery below for a taste of what happened over the weekend.