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?

The other day, I was in the northern part of Niagara County handling some business. I was near Olcott Beach, on the shore of Lake Ontario, so I decided to stop and see the shoreline. There has been much news recently about high water levels along the shores of this Great Lake, so I thought I’d take a look. I did notice a difference, but Olcott is largely on a cliff so the effects were visibly at a minimum. As we are all aware, waters from Lake Erie flow down the Niagara River to Niagara Falls, and into Lake Ontario.…

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It is well known that Buffalo has some of the finest architecture around. But beyond the grand structures the city is known for, our neighborhoods too have benefitted from the tastes and wherewithal of previous generations. They left behind countless homes with the beauty of a bygone era, not easily replicated by today’s building standards. In Parkside, many of the homes have been preserved, brought back to life, or lovingly handled with care by residents with a passion for the Olmsted era architecture. This neighborhood pride is in full display on Sunday May 21 as the Parkside Community Association (PCA)…

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One of the great joys of being a part of the entertainment scene is crossing paths with a seemingly endless supply of talented artists. My specialty has always been with musicians, but every now and then I come across other types of artists along the way that truly intrigue me. This was the case with Erico Ansuade, whom I met a few summers back, as he and Slyboots founder Griffin Brady were performing at an outdoor gathering at Larkin Square. I was on a ‘scouting mission’ that day, which usually includes vino and some good friends. We weren’t sure what type…

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I recently met with Drea D’Nur to chat about her upcoming concert – ‘The Spirit of Nina Simone’ – taking place on February 24, 2017 at Kleinhans Music Hall. “I’m doing a whole Nina Simone week,” says Drea. “I’ve had this vision for about two years. I’ve just been afraid to move on it.” Drea was so energized by the developments, she shared it with me before we even sat down. The vision behind “Nina” includes original art exhibitions in coordination with the Buffalo Public Schools, and a collaboration with the Ujima Theatre for this exciting project. The entire process in under development…

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Those of you who know musician David Kane know he is a super nice person with an eccentric taste for creative music. He has constantly been creating interesting original music for decades, and his most current effort, Night Slaves, fits in nicely with the rest of his body of work. Now David and his accomplice John Toohill (Night Slaves) will be releasing their second cassette this Saturday at Mohawk Place. While discussing the project, Toohill says, “It seems I usually do everything in life up to my eyeballs. I’m working on three other active musical projects besides NIGHT SLAVES. Night Slaves…

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Los Angeles based punk pop group No Small Children have been together for a number of years now. The trio, originally from the Boston, Massachusetts fancy themselves as “rockin’ chicks by night, school teachers by day”. Both accounts are true. Reflex Productions and Stay Grindin, Inc. have collaborated to present these rockin’ chicks at Buffalo Iron Works this Wednesday, August 10 for a 9pm show. Tickets are $15 advance, $20 day of show. The group just recently landed a cover version of the title song to the new ‘Ghostbusters’ soundtrack. I recently spoke to guitarist and vocalist Lisa Pimentel about…

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Probably one of the more difficult paths for ambitious and talented young people is stepping in with the shoes of a parent who has achieved notoriety first, along the same path. For 16 year old bass player Declan Miers, his path was made a bit steeper by virtue of his dad, Jeff Miers being one of the leading music journalists in the region, and a pretty good musician himself. That steeper climb isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have been keeping an eye on Declan for about a year now, and there has been plenty of buzz. But the reality…

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It has been well known for some time now that Buffalo is in fact a great music city. In recent years, our city has been attracting top notch performers in all genres which, in a previous era, may have skipped our city altogether, as we were rediscovering our purpose and our greatness as a community. Those days today seem like a distant memory, as our music scene is also experiencing this magical renaissance permeating through our waterfront, downtown, and moving full speed ahead into our historic neighborhoods and beyond. Last year, Reflex Productions was proud to bring in the Pat…

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The Smith Theatre, Shea’s black box theatre, has been used for many different types of functions, among them fashion shows, local theatre, and hospitality space for major productions performing at Shea’s. On June 30, Reflex Productions welcomes NYC based trumpet player Jumaane Smith to the theatre, adding professional jazz performance to its many uses. Jumaane Smith, born and raised in Seattle, graduated from The Juilliard School in 2005 and has remained in the New York City area working as a professional musician. He has also studied privately with Wynton Marsalis. Smith has toured and recorded with Michael Buble for the past…

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Gateway Harbor Park in the Tonawandas has been a place for recreation and family based events for generations. Since 2002, the not for profit organization Tonawanda Gateway Harbor, Inc. has hosted live entertainment events on Wednesdays along the North Tonawanda shore. I recently spoke to Rick Falkowski about how the events have evolved, and what they are adding to this year’s concert series. “We started the Gateway Harbor concert series in 2002 to provide entertainment for the baby boom generation,” Rick says. “Sort of what Thursday at the Square was before they started booking national acts. We have always kept…

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