Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yonder Mountain Buffalo

Starting a few weeks back, Buffalo began its "Thursday in the Square" concert series. It's pretty cool. Every Thursday starting at 5pm, several gianormous beer trucks and a sound stage encircle Lafayette Square in the middle of downtown Buffalo. Usually two, sometimes three, bands play and the concert is free. It's always a wild mixture of getting-out-of-good-downtown-job types, suburban 30- and 40-somethings, bikers, homeless people off their meds, teenagers trying to score beer, and fans of the band up near the stage. The space is large, and if you are genuinely interested in the band and want to hear/see them, you have to be close to the stage. I haven't attended yet this year, and many times I just hang in the back with my friends and meet up with people and drink and chat and people-watch. I have seen some good shows, though, or at least snippets of good shows.

I'd say that usually about 5,000 to 8,000 attend each week. For real. Attendance surges for big names--Pat Benatar was a TOTAL clusterfuck with estimates of 25,000 people or something--and there are several places to go out after the Square wraps up around 9pm. The only costs are parking and booze. Oh, and maybe your life since downtown can get a little tricky come nightfall. I wish this wasn't so because Buffalo DESPERATELY needs an image make-over and being in any city is always interesting from a historian's point of view (a topic I'm sure will be part of many posts and I continue "writing" the history of this beleaguered city).

Tonight is Yonder Mountain String band. Not so sure how this will go over. I've heard comments here and there that this year's lineup is very "jammy" and "hippie," and this is expressed as a negative. I, of course, smile and think "awesome!" Bright colors and happy people converging on the city's DMZ is surely a good thing. But, alas. I think if the AC/DC cover band playing at the corner biker bar played instead, much of the audience would be tickled pink to be back in black. It's a tough crowd around here.

I'm not sure I'll go tonight but I've already started to listen to Yonder on my iTunes to get ready for today's Diss writing. My proposal is finished, and yesterday got better as I slowly but surely disentangled the snarls in my brain. I taught some piano lessons then watched some friends play volleyball (I'm a sub on the team and was ready to play but all players showed. Maybe next time). Wednesday is looooong gone, so I'm ready to get cracking at portions of Chapters 2 and 3.

I'm noticing that thinking about my Diss and listening to Yonder feels slightly odd. When contemplating the history of Buffalo as I will today, country/bluegrass is NOT an easy connection to make. Maybe I will go tonight to test my hypothesis about the reception of Yonder in the Buff. I haven't worn tie-dye in a while (well, ok, in three days.....) and my patchouli will fit right in. Maybe I'll discover some long lost loves of this musical genre in Buffalo and can add yet another chapter to my Diss??!?!!? Whoa, Nelly....ok, now the caffeine is kicking in and I need to think about what I'm writing today before what I'm DOING later today. One step at a time here. Better get crackin'. Yee-ha!

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