Walk The Moon Rocks The Kerfuffle Stage Alternative Buffalo Boasts An Amazing Kerfuffle Line-Up
BUFFALO, NY- Buffalo has never really been a city that many would consider to be a hotbed for music. Surprisingly enough though, bands and artists always make the time to come through and play to the excitable crowds the little city has been known to harbor. Friday night seemed to be the perfect opportunity for the people of Buffalo to come out in droves to the canal-side to catch some killer live music, and they did just that in record numbers. The streets and park lining the beach side of Lake Erie were jammed packed as fans came out early to support this year’s Kerfuffle lineup.
For Alternative Buffalo, this Kerfuffle was a massive win considering they were able to secure big names in the indie/alternative scene such as Walk the Moon, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and the Head and the Heart on the bill. Some excitable newcomers to the industry made an impact Friday as well such as Matt Maeson, Houses, and Bishop Briggs. Friday easily saw not only the best lineup, but the best of what Buffalo had to offer in terms of crowds as many came out to watch the action unfold.
Although Matt Maeson and Houses certainly gave fine performances to kick off the day, the intensity definitely kicked up a notch when indie pop darling Bishop Briggs made her Kerfuffle debut.
The English-born, LA-Based singer songwriter has garnered quite the large fanbase over the last couple of years which was shown when she came running out on stage to an eruption of sound from the surrounding crowd. Briggs certainly made the most of her 20 minute set, as she danced around and displayed energy that was mirrored back at her from the hundreds of onlookers. Briggs played mostly her new material, including some songs that she had yet to release.
With so many female artists that share a similar flare and style that Briggs does, Billie Eilish for example, it really isn’t that hard to understand why she has seen such a steady rise in popularity. Closing out her set with the track that shot her into mainstream fame back in 2018, Briggs seemed to have the entire festival grounds singing “Like a River” along with her. After Briggs’s set ended and the crowd had settled down, the anticipation was almost palpable for the next attraction: Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Although they were slotted for an early set and not as a headliner, Catfish and the Bottlemen easily had the largest and rowdiest crowd of the day. The four-piece band from the UK has been a staple in the alternative rock scene ever since the release of their debut album, The Balcony, which was released back in 2014. Although their popularity somewhat dipped after they took a break from touring and releasing music for 3 years, Catfish and the Bottlemen have easily made a triumphant return with their third studio LP from early this year titled The Balance.
Led by their suave frontman Van McCann, Catfish blew the figurative roof off the harbor as well as several eardrums. Given that they only had roughly 25 minutes, the lads definitely left everything out on stage and gave it their rocking all.
Opening with the first track of their latest album, “Longshot” easily got the crowd’s blood pumping as McCann ripped a couple heavy chords and strutted around stage with an infectious bravado. When they struck up the chords to “Kathleen”- Catfish’s most recognizable song and the same track that put them on the same popularity tier as The 1975 and the Arctic Monkeys back in 2014- there was so much energy coming from the stage, I thought that the ground was going to crack.
Seeing the horde of teenage fangirls absolutely tear up the GA was both amusing and sort of frightening at the same time. McCann and company returned the gesture by playing a collection of deep cuts from their earlier work with just as much emotion as the fans screaming and cheering before them. To close out their set, Catfish played another classic, “Cocoon”. After Catfish ended their set, nearly half the crowd from the GA took a “beer buying break”. The Head and The Heart certainly had big shoes to fill after such a pounding performance.
It would have been tough for any act to follow Catfish and the Bottlemen’s adrenaline fueled performance, but the six-piece Seattle collective The Head and The Heart’s gave a solid outing. Even guitarist, Josiah Johnson, admitted to the crowd how impressed they were with Catfish’s set.
One of the two headliners of the night, The Head and The Heart seemed to take some time to warm up at the beginning, taking long transitions between a couple of their first tracks, slowly getting the audience to fall into their groove. By their fourth song, the crowd started to get more engaged with the band and their performance. This proved especially true when they played “Lost In My Mind” from their critically acclaimed self-titled debut from 2011. It was the perfect song for many to raise their lighters in a perfect silhouette as the sun gradually set on the horizon.
It also seemed to help when frontman Johnathan Russell complimented the crowd’s enthusiasm and said how much he “fucking loved” people from Buffalo after playing here once before. From there, Russell and his group played a mix of more songs from their list of their four LP’s, including songs from their 2019 release, Living Mirage.
Always keeping a consistent mix of indie pop to traditional folk to spice up the latter, The Head and The Heart was more of calming set for Friday’s Kerfuffle. It was more about the atmosphere and enjoying the sunset as their sound echoed throughout the outer harbor. Overall, The Head and The Heart was able to salvage their performance that was slightly dry at the beginning. Like I said before, it wasn’t necessarily their fault all things considered. It was a nice change of pace as many got to enjoy the music, drinks, and overall calm.
With three of the main attractions all wrapped up, the time had come for the most anticipated act of the day to come out swinging: Walk the Moon. Easily the most recognizable name on the bill with several crossover hits to date, Walk the Moon beat out Catfish and the Bottlemen for the day with the largest and loudest crowd of the day.
Cutting the house music and hitting the lights abruptly, the theme to Disney’s The Lion King written by Elton John begin to blast over the speakers as Walk the Moon made their way out from behind the stage. Having seen them once before a year earlier, Walk the Moon’s infectious and playful performances are always fun to behold. After the guys had taken their respective positions, frontman Nicholas Petricca jumped on a raised platform as Walk the Moon opened with one of their most popular tracks, “One Foot”. In a matter of seconds, the entire GA was transformed into a radiant dance party as glow-sticks and inflatable donuts were thrown around in abundance.
With Petricca dancing around the stage along with bassist Kevin Ray and the rest of the gang, this performance really encapsulated what a Walk the Moon concert is all about: having fun. My favorite moment had to be when the guys covered The Talking Heads’s “Burning Down the House”. A cover that retained the original elements of what makes that such a classic banger while also adding a more pop aspect to the mix.
Another somewhat surprising/enjoyable element of Walk the Moon’s set was when they played their last song before their encore. Their song “Headphones” was accompanied by a short snippet of Led Zeppelin’s recognizable harmonica solo from “Kashmir”. Definitely one of the last things I would have expected to hear at a Walk the Moon concert but it was nonetheless very satisfying.
As an encore, Walk the Moon finished out the night with their most nostalgic and long-running favorite for many, “Anna Sun”. Such a modern day pop classic with sweet harmonies and easily danceable beats, it was a great way to close out a perfect performance and also wrap up Kerfuffle’s best outing to date. If Alt. 107.7 continues to find talent along the lines of this year’s lineup for their 2020 Kerfuffle, no doubt it will continue to be another smashing success.