After the success of its first cacophonously named Kerfuffle summer music festival in 2014, the radio team at Alternative Buffalo knew there was enough local interest to accommodate an annual winter holiday sister show, dubbed “The Kerfuffle Before Christmas.”
But set around a Yuletide occasion that boasts 12 days, a single night of Fenders, drum machines and hook-laden millennial rock has proven insufficient to those juggling the mayhem of the season. The answer to this issue: Three crazy nights of Kerfuffle, starting Nov. 30 inside Buffalo RiverWorks.
“This year, we really wanted to offer up a few different dates, as in years past we have had station listeners either not in town, busy with family, or not able to attend the single nighttime event at [KeyBank Center],” said Nik Rivers, program director at 104.7/107.7 Alternative Buffalo. “This year with three nights, hopefully everyone that wants to go to a show will have an opportunity to come and enjoy a night of TKBC with the Alt Family.”
Featuring nine different but complementary alt acts—AJR, Barns Courtney, Bishop Briggs, Borns, Cold War Kids, Jimmy Eat World, lovelytheband, New Politics and Saint Motel—the party’s due to exude the same skinny-jean vibe its established since its advent, but served up in digestible portions on Nov. 30, Dec. 6 and Dec. 17. And for those used to the sometimes-distant feel of the winter event's usual KeyBank Center backdrop, this year will bring a new benefit with the closer confines of the shows’ new home on the banks of the Buffalo River.
“After three years at KeyBank, we at the station all felt that we really wanted to bring the feeling of the summer show to TKBC,” said Rivers. “That’s where RiverWorks entered the picture. The venue is a much better fit for a multi-act alternative show, as the fans should get a much more up close and personal concert experience.”
But who are the bands ready to engage in this intimate holiday extravaganza? They’re an appropriate cross-section of the sound and style that have typified Alternative Buffalo’s output since debuting on local airwaves in 2013.
Here’s an introduction to each.
Night One – Nov. 30
No strangers to Kerfuffle occasions of all seasons, the Brooklyn gang—consisting of Danish-born David Boyd (lead vocals, guitar) and Soren Hansen (bass, keys), and New York local Louis Vecchio (drums)—has proven to be a welcome addition to multiple Buffalo-set parties. Armed with the amplified bounce and infectious hooks revealed on its self-titled debut in 2010, the trio's percussively perfect for the reconfigured alt rock revue.
Song to stream: “One of Us”
Song to scream: “Everywhere I Go (Kings and Queens)”
As bold and searing a voice as there is in modern music, the hard-working path of the Scottish-steered Briggs has led her from the Los Angeles club scene to pulsating tracks like radio favorite “River.” Her delivery is one of hard-edged emotion that's uncompromising, and likely to leave an indelible mark on those uninitiated to her passionate product.
Song to stream: “Wild Horses”
Song to scream: “River”
A certified up-and-comer armed with material off the wild September release, “The Attractions of Youth,” the UK-born singer/songwriter’s explosive style melds well with his night’s aforementioned pair. Already familiar with hoards across the Atlantic or fans of MTV’s “Teen Wolf”—which has featured his single, “Fire”—his material should provide a poignant introduction to Alt Buffalo's holiday extravaganza.
Song to stream: “Golden Dandelions”
Song to scream: “Fire”
Night Two – Dec. 6
Jimmy Eat World
A little something for the Generation X set, the Phoenix quartet went from cherished emocore act to mainstream radio favorite, based on the strength of its reassuring “The Middle” in 2001. Though that song remains its most indelible Billboard moment, the Jim Adkins-fronted act has remained heroes for those first and forever touched by its brand of incendiary guitar rock.
Song to stream: “Bleed American”
Song to scream: “Sweetness”
Another TKBC veteran, the Grand Haven, Mich. native Garrett Clark Borns has wowed crowds across Coachella, Lollapalooza and all points between with a brand of glittering indie fare that’s both artistically mesmerizing and made for commercial consumption. You’re welcome, Southwest Airlines.
Song to stream: “10,000 Emerald Pools”
Song to scream: “Electric Love”
There’s music that can elicit dancing, and there’s music that demands dancing. The latter is delivered by L.A.’s Saint Motel, a Kerfuffle-familiar collective whose catalog of cuts shakes legs and swings arms, sending both into collective akimbo. Their work is the percussive pulse of the party, which should do well to set the table on Night Two.
Song to stream: “Benny Goodman”
Song to scream: “Move”
Night Three – Dec. 17
Cold War Kids
Part indie brilliance, part key-accented alt-pop, and part anthemic rock, this California band has have dipped into all three phases since forming in 2004. But its amplified excellence within these corners—with tracks like “First” or “Hang Me Up to Dry” exalted by the soaring vocals of Nathan Willett—is what’s made the band a must-see throughout its still shape-shifting career.
Song to stream: “Miracle Mile”
Song to scream: “Love is Mystical”
Inspiration to all who have dreamed of self-made indie-pop stardom, New York City-bred brothers Adam, Jack and Ryan Met have exploded across YouTube with the homemade single “I’m Ready” and this year’s full-length, “The Click.” The latter features a cameo from Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, possible indication that the trio’s rise has just begun.
Song to stream: “Sober Up”
Song to scream: “Weak”
The Mitchy Collins-led trio boasts a synth-aided sound compatible to indie-pop festivals or a Molly Ringwald-inspired dance party. Unmistakably influenced by the pulse of the '80s and its modern acolytes, the West Hollywood outfit updates this vibe with its own swaying and snapping imprint.
Song to stream: “Coachella”
Song to scream: “Make You Feel Pretty”
Who: The Kerfuffle Before Christmas: A Three-Night Concert Event
When: 7:15 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 6 and Dec. 17. Doors at 6 p.m.
Where: Buffalo RiverWorks, 359 Ganson St.
Tickets: $35 per show