Author: Elias Benavides

Elias Benavides

A goofy kid from Buffalo's lower west side who loved to play the guitar and loved live music. Has moved on to sound engineering, stage lighting, anything live music. Now he's writing about musicians on BR too. Why am I talking in the third person?

In response to Jeff Miers’ piece in last Friday’s Buffalo News, I was compelled to pen a commentary on it. This is something I wouldn’t ordinarily do, as I have more important (to me) things to do, but this one struck very closely to my heart. Our babies eventually leave the nest, most likely for better opportunity and success. It hurts, and sometimes really badly even, to see them go. We want to keep them forever, and yet, we want to see them soar, but no one is soaring from mom’s basement. So we wish them the greatest happiness,…

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Many years ago, I met up with my wife at the former Thursday at The Square, where we saw a group called Be Arthur perform. The band was made up of college-age kids from Fredonia State College, and they all played well beyond their years. We were very impressed. Individually, they were just scratching the surface. Over the years, I would do production work for several of these young men in different projects. One of those players is Rocco Dellaneve. Rocco, a multi instrumentalist, really caught my attention with an original group called Forealists, where he was the principal songwriter.…

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As a young lad, I picked up the guitar at age 11, and a whole new world opened up to me. It was then, that I first saw vocalist Jessie Galante perform with her group Actor, at the 97 Rock sponsored Rally in the Alley on Virginia Place. I’ll tell you, she had this kid’s full attention, and it wasn’t just the looks. She was the real deal. But there was more… At the same time, another local group called Talas was making a lot of noise as well, and before you knew it, they were touring with the mighty…

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I was following up on a conversation in preparation for an upcoming event, when the publicist I was talking to invited me to another event with one of her artists who was passing through Buffalo. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the venue, which intrigued me immediately, to be quite honest. As I hit the road Saturday morning, I said to myself, “Let’s do this!” I show up to Imagine Event Center, tucked away in Buffalo’s Black Rock neighborhood, and I was readily impressed even upon pulling in. The venue is compounded by tremendous musical synergy in the neighborhood, with Sportsmens…

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A few years back, I was running the live entertainment for a local music club when the Grace Stumberg Band (GSB) popped up on the schedule. Grace Stumberg (Grace S.) was the lead vocalist, and already paving her own trails at that point. In the group was a young Josh English on drums, Michael Petrino on bass, and an even younger Grace Lougen (Grace L.) on lead guitar. All are terrific players, but there was something a bit different about Grace Lougen. That always stuck with me. Fast forward to today, we find ‘The Two Graces’ on tour with the…

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A few days ago, I was enjoying some vino with my neighbors, when the discussion switched (as is usually the case) to music. They asked me if I was familiar with Drew Azzinaro, and I said “yes”. We spoke of previous engagements that he and I had worked on together, and also his weekly classical guitar showcase every Friday at Daily Planet Coffee. My neighbors have seen this performance a number of times, and raved about it. I had not seen it. I thought about it this morning, and decided to finally check it out, and I was not disappointed.…

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It wasn’t that long ago that the jazz great c performed in Buffalo for the first time in 30 years. That first time back, he asked me “Is the Pine Grill still around?” The reference was to the old jazz house from a bygone era in Buffalo, where the Philadelphia native had one of his first professional gigs right here in the City of Good Neighbors. This marks the 3rd year Pat and his trio make a stop here, and it has become a homecoming of sorts for drummer and Buffalo native Carmen Intorre (more on Carmen in a previous…

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Buffalo based fashionista and entrepreneur Brittany LaBella held her third fashion show in as many years this past Sunday. Hosted at the Adam’s Mark Hotel, this year had a circus theme, complete with popcorn, candy, and creative designs worthy of three rings. The event was hosted by Redd Roxx from WBLK, and featured a variety of entertainment options throughout the evening. These included magician David Jeffers, Buffalo Aerial Dance featuring Erica Cope and Jess BG, spoken word poets, and a cappella group 4 B-Lo, (who by the way sang a beautiful four part rendition of Happy Birthday to Brittany’s mom).…

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This Saturday, July 15, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) will be performing the music of popular video game Legend of Zelda. This concert will surely appeal to fans of the game and music lovers alike. The game, distributed by the Nintendo Corporation made its debut in 1986, and has maintained a loyal fan base for over 30 years, so the concert should draw from multiple generations. I recently spoke to Melissa Herr, the president of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and chorus member. She seemed very excited about this concert. Members of the BPC will be joining the BPO for this…

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The first time I came across Damone was in 2011 at a fire hall while we worked at an Irish music themed event. He was drumming with The Fighting 69th, an Irish punk band on the bill that day. He was in his second year in college. But his musical story goes back to the very beginning. “My mother said I was playing drums in her belly, I was kickin’,” he says. That as it turns out, would be the easy part. “A Miracle really is my middle name”. He would explain how it was not a stage name, or…

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