A Sunny Thursday With Fitz And The Tantrums

Noelle Scaggs and Michael Fitzpatrick or Fitz and the Tantrums perform at Canalside on the Buffalo waterfront. Photos by Chris Chapman

BUFFALO — It’s a sunny Thursday and you have nothing planned. Have you taken a look at what’s going on at Canalside?

For those that have been paying attention, you know that the old site of the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium has been transformed into quite the gathering place for people in and around the city and region. The facility is a blend of waterfront boardwalk and relaxation on grassy areas. Visual and performing arts meet at the park, and history and modernity come together.

A trip to Buffalo on June 14 served as the perfect trip to see what can be done when the night is perfect and national act Fitz and the Tantrums were on stage at the venue. Yep, that Fitz and the Tantrums. The band that can make your Hands Clap. A quick trip to Consumer’s Beverages to pick up the $5 ticket started the trip out. Yes, a $5 ticket is all you need to get into the shows for the Summer Series. Don’t worry, though. If you buy at one of the Consumer’s Beverages outlets you’ll be in possession of a free drink ticket. That means your $5 investment can equal a $6 beverage.

If you go up early enough, the opener for the night takes the stage at 6 p.m.., and the weather is nice, a fish and chips dinner at Charlie’s Boat Yard with a nice drink may hit the spot as you look over the marina and into Lake Erie on the Outer Harbor. A meal on the deck cannot be beat on the Buffalo waterfront.

The show started off with Mikky Ekko, a blend of R&B and hip hop that really impressed. His vocals were well-balanced and hardened to the old school R&B sound. While he has been around in the music business since 2012, I have a feeling we will hear more from him soon, and in a big way.

Mikky Ekko performs at Canalside, opening for Fitz and the Tantrums.

Fitz and the Tantrums took to the stage with their normal high energy sound and dance. For those in the front half of the crowd, where everyone was standing, the sound was flawless and the energy on and off stage was solid. For those that were looking for a bit more of a relaxing atmosphere toward the back, the wind does what it does and bent the sound but never enough to make it sound too bad.

In terms of relaxation at Canalside during the shows, it may sound like an oxymoron to go to an alternative rock show and be able to sit and enjoy yourself in close enough proximity to the stage to still enjoy the music. Canalside has a couple cobblestone roads that run through it. The first is at the stage front. The second is the line of demarcation between standing and sitting for concert-goers.

Take your folding chairs and your blanket. Pick a spot and set it up. No one is going to bother your site. You can sit in the folding chairs (done that for the BPO in the past) or lie on a blanket to catch some rays as the sun sets. The one thing you cannot do is brig in your own food or beverage. Not to worry. Canalside has thought of the perfect way to keep everyone happy. Visit one of the several food trucks that line the back of the venue. Need a drink? Looking to hydrate? There are tents in a couple locations just for that. Make sure to buy your tickets before you get in line for food though. At $1 a ticket, the food really isn’t expensive, especially with a $5 admission price!

The lineup this year still has some great shows for a variety of genres. It’s well worth the trip for a good show and maybe great evening.

Remaining lineup:

June 28 – Umphrey’s McGee

July 7 (Saturday) – Vanilla Ice

July 12 – Arrested Development

July 19 – Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Beth Hart

July 26 – Father John Misty

Aug. 2 – Dark Star Orchestra

Aug. 9 – Headstones

Aug. 17 (Friday) – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Lowest of the Low