The crowning jewel of this music filled weekend had to the Saturday (June
16) portion of The Pan-Americanarama Festival held at The Mohawk Place.
This years event, the 5th annual, showcased numerous local, regional and
national acts on stages set up inside the Hawk and an outdoor stage on
a closed Mohawk Street.
Starting late due to inclement
weather, the show still clocked in at over 10 continuous hours of music
and didn’t end, at least outside, till 12:30 a.m. Sunday. Inside the music
played all night. Due to prior commitments we arrived during the third
act, a set by Mike Callahan and Mortal Combine. This Elmira
band played straight ahead rural roots-rock to the still arriving crowd.
Roll from Ann Arbor, MI. entertained us next with an interesting solo
set of his own penned songs.
Buffalo State graduate and NYC
resident Karen Hudson was on next. Instantly winning over the crowd
with her Angelic looks and voice
to match, she performed her songs to the accompaniment of herself and Orville
Davis on the guitar. With song writing abilities to rival Lucinda
Williams and a voice that’s pure, she should be headed for much greater
things. Easily one of my favorite sets of the day, she returns for a singer-songwriter
showcase at Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.) on July 12. Check her out she is
that good or go to www.karenhudson.com
for more information.
Beer fueled roots-rockers
from NYC, The Hangdogs, kicked things up with their own style of
original music. Previous visitors to The Mohawk, these guys put twang to
some sweet melodies for a rocking thirty minute set. A return trip for
another show is warranted. Neil Cleary, another NYC Alt-country
writer, was next. Playing original and covers he received a nice response.
Local favorites The Red Gills
lit up the stage next with an inspired
set. Jammin’ and twangin’ their way through a fine set that finally had
the crowd dancing as the sun made it’s first appearance of the day.
The band definitely got the party going with an up beat energetic performance.
The New Hampshire band Say
Zulu proved to be a pleasant surprise. Although I wasn’t too familiar
with their music prior to the show, they were very good and had the crowd
chanting their name at the
end of the set.
Another highlight of the day
came courtesy of Scott Carpenter and The Real McCoys. Hitting the
stage as the sun began to set, they squeezed every ounce of sweat
out of the crowd who now surrounded the stage. Their performance upped
the ante for all the bands to follow. The crowd loved it and gave a thunderous
ovation at the conclusion of their set.
Our hosts, the Steam Donkeys, were next. They started their set
with their classic “Pothead” complete with smoke machine. Some took this
as a call to arms as the sweet smell of ganja soon filled the air on Mohawk
Street. Their 30-minute set of originals ended with the now famous “Mystery
Train Medley.” Trashabilly kings and local vets The Irving Klaws
fired up the crowd with their unique
brand of twangabilly garage rock. Complete with a drummer who played standing
at his kit resplendent with a super hero cape and mask.
As the cool night air
approached it was time for the Cleveland based-band
Just having returned from a European tour they were primed for some
State side fun and their second home of Buffalo proved a good place to
have some. This Punkabilly band delivered a raucous set. Prancing, playing
and turning Mohawk Street into their own Punk hoedown. Ripping through
originals and a cover of the Steam Donkeys song “Hannah” they lit up the
night just like the long-horned cattle that was projected on a nearby
building. Their set ended with the great guitarist Charlie Quill from
the Steam Donkeys showing us what a guitar festival is all about with some
mighty fine playing.
Besides the outside bands we
caught Eric Royer’s one-man band, to hard to describe here, you
have to see him, and Cathy Carfagna and
Dave Meisner playing
an acoustic set inside the club.
In addition to the outstanding music, vendors filled the street with food,
T-shirts, CDs, etc. Food included jambalaya, barbecue beef sandwiches and
chicken fajitas done on a smoker and hot-dogs for the timid of stomach.
Special mention to Chef Marty Boratin who kept us fed all day with
home made baked beans, salads and grilled eggplant or portobello mushroom
sandwiches that were simply out of this world! Chef Marty would kick the
Iron Chef’s ass. Adding to the event was a hot dog eating contest and the
Americanarama-mama 2001. Emceeing the festivities was the, up for the
task, Mr. Cliff Hanger.
Finally, thanks to all
who helped make our day so enjoyable. First and foremost is Pete
Perrone, owner of The Mohawk Place, for his dedication to music and
Buffalo. Our hosts Buck Quigley and all the Steam Donkeys and all
the other great bands we chatted with, also Dave Staba, Marty for the food
and Joe from Indigo for the help in getting the whole thing on tape. Here’s
to looking forward to next year’s Americanarama Festival. Below are some
cool sites to check out: www.mohawkplace.com
for both Scott Carpenter and the Real McCoys and The Steam Donkeys www.cowslingers.com