Road Rash & Punk Thrash

Photo by Chelsea Van Houten - http://instagram.com/chellyvh

Photo by Chelsea Van Houten – http://instagram.com/chellyvh

This past Friday the Waiting Room in Buffalo experienced a surge of high-energy music as part of Mad Caddies’ “Dirty Rice: North America Tour 2014.” Presented by After Dark, the Southern California ska-punk band was joined by two of Buffalo’s own three-piece bands hailing from the basements of its own DIY music community. Doors were pushed back to 7:30 from the initial 7:00pm, but once they opened a steady crowd flooded in with excitement and anticipation.

Photo via seventhirtyseven.bandcamp.com

Photo via seventhirtyseven.bandcamp.com

Seven Thirty Seven started the night off full-swing with a steady string of originals with a few ska-centric covers strewn in to keep the audience engrossed with some familiarity. One such cover featured a special guest in the form of Mike Smith, drummer of Accidentals, who provided co-vocals for Rancid’s “Roots Radicals.” Next up was On The Cinder, self-described melodic punk rockers and residents of one of the city’s basement venues. The energy with which Seven Thirty Seven started out the night continued on as the trio pounded out hard-hitting melodies and vocals non-stop.

After two solid sets by the home team, Mad Caddies took the stage to deliver what they have been delivering since the mid-90s: fast-paced songs to make even the most green concert-goer want to move around. Mad Caddies is one of those bands that have been a huge part of the ska movement for over a decade, holding their own and thriving alongside more publicly-recognizable names. Even if you think otherwise, I can guarantee that you have heard at least one of their songs before. For me this was “Road Rash,” a song from a compilation CD I have had for 8 years and one that I have consistently sung along to without ever making the connection. That is until they played it live on stage that very night. They ended their set strong, and when called back on for an encore, the band delivered by playing three more songs to an overwhelmingly exhilarated crowd.

Say Hello to the Mad Caddies! - Photo Via www.examiner.com

Say Hello to the Mad Caddies! – Photo Via http://www.examiner.com

I am relatively a newcomer when it comes to bigger venue shows. The majority of my music experience in Buffalo has been strengthened in basements plus a few bars. But as I start going to these larger events, I am starting to notice some curiosities. For starters: even with a set door time, large groups of people would shuffle in hours after the fact, missing large portions (if not all) of the opening acts’ sets. One explanation is concert-goers specifically come to see certain bands/headliners. Yet, with a ticket price of $15 pre-sale and $17 day-of, this does not seem like a relatively cheap decision, and in my opinion only takes away from listening to what local talent the city has to offer. Another thing I happened to notice is that even though the opening acts played fast-paced, catchy songs that crowds normally move to, not a lot of people actually did that and instead chose to stand in place. I joined in with the skanking and dancing along with maybe, at most, eight other people, but it seemed like many of the other patrons either did not know how to nor want to join in. I am not sure if this held true to Mad Caddies’ set as I was at the back of the crowd during their time on stage, but it was rather odd that, even without a lot of dancing, people were reluctant to even get close to the stage. Then again, I am used to hot, cramped basements full of sweaty people dancing and moving all together in unison, so obviously the environments will be completely different and something I will get used to in time.

With all that said, Friday was a fantastic show and the lineup chosen was killer; each band had their own aesthetic and style, but their sets complimented one another’s and flowed rather smoothly. Both local acts played solid and Mad Caddies finished the night on an explosive note. With two of their CDs “Dirty Rice” and “Keep It Going” in hand, I retired back home completely exhausted but very excited to become more acquainted with the Mad Caddies.

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