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Infamous Music Venue is Back in Business

Move over nostalgia, it’s 2020 and we’re ready to create new experiences at an iconic music venue. If you haven’t heard, The Showplace Theatre made a comeback and is running head first into the New Year, boasting big name acts such as Ying Yang Twins, Bret Michaels, and 80s glam band Slaughter.

According to Showplace Theatre owner Joe “Roxbury” Breidenstein, the venue started as a movie theatre in 1911. The late Peter Goretti purchased it in 1993. At that time, Goretti transformed the space into a music venue and ran it until he passed away in 2007. While Goretti was running it, national acts such as the Goo Goo Dolls and Tragically Hip graced the stage. Fast forward to 2009 when Breidenstein purchased the building and kept its legacy as a music venue alive.

Breidenstein said Pat Sullivan leases the building from him and has contributed exciting shows to the roster. Sullivan has owned multiple clubs and has been a part of Buffalo’s rock scene for years.

Breidenstein made it clear that he doesn’t lease the venue to just anyone. “Pat and I had to find the niche for the building and we’ve came a long way. We get a lot of requests for weddings and bachelorettes, but we haven’t entertained them,” he said.

Both Sullivan and Breidenstein were ecstatic when talking about the up and coming music scene in the Black Rock area. “That area is now the new music district,” he said, mentioning the major contributions of Dwane Hall, owner of Sportsman Tavern.

“It’s the new Allentown of music,” Breidenstein said.

Pat Sullivan on the left, with Joe Breidensteinon the right, featuring Benny the Butcher
Throwback marquee

According to Sullivan and Breidenstein, the stigma towards Black Rock needs to be eradicated. “It’s a misunderstanding, and people need to wake up.  People should feel safe should coming out here. Check out the area and make your own opinion, don’t go off what you hear in the streets,” Breidenstein said.

Sullivan credited the city for its efforts towards the revitalization of the Black Rock area, mentioning the opening of Thin Man and Tappo on Chandler. He said Showplace adds to this resurgence, aiming to be a live music venue featuring national recording acts.

Buffalo’s Black Rock always felt like its own entity, and that’s probably because it was.  In fact, Black Rock used to be a village and competitor of Buffalo. In the 1820s, Buffalo and Black Rock competed to be the western terminus of the Erie Canal – a competition Black Rock lost. Regardless, Black Rock continued to thrive.

As Sullivan put it, “Things have changed. Chippewa has changed, Allentown is the new Chippewa, and Elmwood took over. The city is pushing hard for the revival of Black Rock. We have a major college four steps down; Sportsmens Tavern has been around forever. We’re getting high-end restaurants and breweries. Go to Thin Man for a drink and Tappo for food, then come down to the show and have a great time.”

Showplace Theater of Buffalo

1065 Grant Street | Buffalo, New York 14207 | (716) 877-2200 | Facebook

Photos courtesy Showplace Theater

Written by Sara Ali

Sara Ali

Sara is a freelance writer living on Buffalo's West Side. She works full time in human services, part time in freelance, and is currently working towards her endeavor to create a nonprofit focused on telling the stories of the refugee and immigrant communities.

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