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Reviews > Shows

Published: 2013/05/05
by Ryan Bartosek

Conehead Buddha, the crooked I, Erie, PA- 4/20

There was a collective sigh of relief and overwhelming rejoice amongst a vast conglomerate of music lovers this past February, when Albany, NY jamsters Conehead Buddha announced they’d be touring once again after a 10 year hiatus from the stage and road. For those not in the know, Conehead Buddha had a fruitful career in the jamband scene from 1993 to 2002, as part of the fertile New York jam scene which included the likes of moe., God Street Wine, Yolk, Ominous Seapods, and Moon Boot Lover. Conehead Buddha shared the stage with all of these acts and were staples at such venues as Valentine’s in Albany and even the legendary Wetlands Preserve in New York City.

Needless to say there were a lot of happy people in Erie, PA when they learned that Conehead Buddha would be making a stop at local hotspot the crooked i. This would be the band’s first return to the Gem City in almost 14 years, making this a very special 4/20 for many, who were eager to celebrate this unofficial holiday in style. They would not be disappointed. The room began to fill early that evening, with quite a mixture of people, curious how the band would sound. There were fans in their mid-40s, who had clearly been seeing Conehead Buddha since their heyday. Folks who had been turned onto the band after they had taken a break were eager to see them for the first time, while some had no idea who Conehead Buddha was or what they would sound like. None of these three groups went home disappointed.

The band took the stage and launched into their familiar ska-influenced, pop rock that sent the room into full-blown dance-party mode. The horn section was blazing while vocalist Chris Fisher delivered his uber-catchy lyrics and even had many folks singing along with him. The band was able to stretch out all night and play two full sets that covered all six if their albums from 1993’s Easter Island Vacation to their newly released Present Perfect. The band had the energy cranked up to 11 for the entire night, with blazing versions of classic favorites like “Vinne” while showcasing newer tracks like “Ain’t No Better Way”. The new addition of keyboards to the band’s rhythm section added fullness to the band’s sound, as well as a new instrumental soloist voice. Together with Justin Cross’s fiery guitar work, there was a fresh rock element that drove band’s sound and helped navigate them through sonic landscapes with ease.

By the end of the night Conehead Buddha had before them a sweating mass of fans old and new that had had the time of their lives, eager for the band to come back through town. Clearly Conehead Buddha is geared up for a strong resurgence into the festival scene. Already lined up are spots at Strange Creek, The Gathering at Chaffee’s, as well as a stop at Brooklyn Bowl in New York City. In the current land of jamtronica and newgrass, Conehead Buddha brings a welcome uniqueness that is surely going to win over a whole new generation of music lovers. Prepare to meet one of your new favorite bands.


There are 4 comments associated with this post

Douglas Chaffee May 9, 2013, 13:00:59

All I can say about this article is it is so right on!! I was at this show and also one of those old fans, and Conehead Buddha is BACK!!! And this is so, so good for music lovers everywhere!!! We here in Erie, PA are so looking forward to the return of Conehead Buddha July 27th at The Gathering At Chaffee’s

Jason May 9, 2013, 15:50:04

I am so excited for the return of CHB. Cant wait to see em.

togo May 16, 2013, 15:33:50

I use to see this band playing in the lots of Phish shows and then there was the great time they played in front of the capital building in Albany (Fall Tour 2000, night Michael Ray played with phish). Glad they are back.

Nate Glass May 21, 2013, 11:54:29

Nice review. CHB has been blowing minds for a long time, and during their 10 years off, life was just not as good. No band has made me sweat, jump up and down, and sing lyrics so loud. Theres nothing quite like being with hardcore fans at a show – they know how to do it right. The new album is great, although I have yet to hear the oldie “Move On” be played live since the album came out. I hope the festivals go well and long live CONEHEAD BUDDHA!

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