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#StillTalking: Elias Benavides

If you’re going to create a live music series, there are a lot of different components that must be fleshed out. It’s not as easy as enlisting bands and having them play for an audience. There’s the stage to consider. Then there’s the sound, the lighting, and various other technical components. Setup alone can be back breaking work, not to mention the threat of Mother Nature, who might or might not whip up a thunderstorm (if the concerts are held outdoors).

I’ve worked with musician and stage/sound/lighting aficionado Elias Benavides on numerous events, and can say, without a doubt, that he is one of the best in the business. Watching Elias work is something to behold. The sheer amount of equipment that he lugs around (sometimes with the help of family members) is daunting. Watching him unload the sound and lighting equipment, it’s hard to imagine that he can fit that much stuff in his van. Then there’s the task of getting the equipment back in the van – it’s like a Rubik’s Cube, where every single inch of space is utilized. It’s these types of behind the scenes seemingly minutia actions that make sound and stage engineers so invaluable.

When developer Rocco Termini put the feelers out there, looking for a technician to handle the live music for Thin Man in Chandlerville, Elias was an obvious first choice. Whether it’s a 90’s brunch, or a full fledge concert, live music is finally back “in the air,” with a healthy line-up of top notch bands playing indoors and outdoors, in both small intimate capacities and large festival scales.

I’m of the belief that being a musician himself, Elias is able to predict the needs of the bands well before they even go on stage. Knowing the live music landscape of WNY also helps. Having a “Rolodex” of musicians’ names at one’s fingertips is an added bonus. It takes years, even decades, working alongside the performers, to develop a rapport. Now, these musicians and bands will have a chance to play at a plethora of events, thanks to a live music vision that is being curated by Elias.

“We’re putting together a lot of different performance areas,” Elias told me. “The Tappo Day Club (the pool club) starts up this month. The bands and DJs will play on top of shipping containers; the stage is already built.”

“Then we’re building a patio stage across the street from Tappo (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday performances), with jazz, rock, funk, etc.,” Elias continued. “Guests will sit on the Tappo Restaurant patio and watch the bands play across the street – it’s like a dinner concert setup. We also do the themed-brunches on Sundays – we had a Harry Potter brunch and the staff got all dressed up as characters from the books/movies. We had a Grunge Brunch too. We’re always changing up the themes. I’m excited to say that we will soon announce the summer concert series – a ten-date summer concert series that will be held in the street, starting in July (on top of a hydraulic stage). All sort of acts will play – we were going to do some national acts, but we maneuvered to local acts due to covid capacity limitations. Eventually we will move on to booking national talents, in years to come. At this point, we’re getting some operational experience under our belt, by putting together a professional crew that can handle all of the different moving parts. The most important thing is that we’re playing a lot of fun music and keeping everybody happy.”

Elias Benavides is the live music production manager for Tappo/Thin Man’s concert series (Tappo Events) in Chandlerville, as well as a Buffalo Rising contributor. Visit the Tappo website to find all of the live music performances, as they are announced.

Written by Newell Nussbaumer
Photography and Edited by Devin Chavanne
Produced by Jessica Marinelli

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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