Practice for the Tony Benefit

I spent yesterday evening practicing with The Buddhahood ahead of the upcoming Tony Cavagnaro tribute, and I’m starting to get really, really excited about the show.  Apparently, I’ll be playing Through the Veil with Nate Coffey, Peet Mugnolo, and returning BuddhaHoodlum Evan Stuckless.  There will also be an impressive coterie of percussionists with an array of instruments on hand for this, the last song of the Buddhahood set.

Apparently, I’m bringing my gong as well.  You know a show has to be good if there is to be a gong involved.

The practice space was a very crowded room last night, with musicians of every stripe in various states of performance – from passive audience member to active performer, and points between – as we cycled through all the different songs that will be played for the show.  Of course, Zydeco becomes more and more a part of what the Buddhahood does, and there promises to be some amazing Zydeco sound for the show.

But as I sat there on the couch, tapping away at my dumbek and listening to the general music making, I was struck by what is probably the single most important component of what the Buddhahood brings to the Rochester music scene: the genuine sense of a musical celebration in which the audience is only an audience to the extent that they’re not directly involved in playing.  So many of us who are fans of the band and also musicians have a tendency to just jump on stage and start jamming with the band.  There is a sense of a kind of “Stone Soup Music” in every performance, with the momentary brilliance of a community, inspired by the band at its center, adding all those flavours into one great, big pot.

Last night’s practice session differed only slightly from your average Park Avenue Festival show, with artists from musical lands all over the map taking part.

And speaking of the Park Avenue Festival, this past year’s performance by the Buddhahood was happily recorded for posterity, and guess who’s got his mitts on a pair of freshly-mixed CDs of that show? You know it.  I’ve not had a chance to really listen to the tracks, yet, but I’m told the coming artwork for the cover is really amazing.  Stay tuned!

The difference between this upcoming tribute and the PA Fest performances, aside from the sadness of saying goodbye to a dear friend of all of us, will be one of scale.  And the scale of this show is going to be amazing.  I keep saying it, but I’ll say it again: if you’ve not had a chance to find out what the Rochester groove rock scene has to offer, this show will be a fantastic primer to one of the most vibrant communities in our city.  In these days of escalating Ticketmaster prices for national acts, it’s worth reinvesting your time where it’s appreciated.  Who knows?  You might even find yourself on stage with a shaker in your hand!

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.