The Rockin Buffalo Saloon
West Seneca, NY
November 25, 2016
Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by SheWolf
Every great metal band has a beginning. Before there was Black Sabbath, there was Earth. Before Death, Mantas. Before Obituary, Xecutioner. And before Buffalo produced the musical abomination that is Malevolent Creation, there was Resthaven. 30 years ago, Resthaven formed in Buffalo as a cover band, playing classic stuff like Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden. Within a year they changed their name to Malevolent Creation and began writing their own blistering tunes that would help change the extreme music landscape. Unfortunately, Malevolent Creation disbanded back in late September and we don’t know at this time when they will resurface. However, Resthaven still lives and plays a few gigs a year, usually in the Buffalo area. We were lucky enough to catch one of these legendary shows on Black Friday, had to drive 6 hours to be there but it was absolutely fucking worth it! Hey Buffalo, INCOMING! Prepare for a classic metal assault!
The Rockin Buffalo saloon is this great metal bar in West Seneca, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. You walk in the place and the bar is on your left, tables on your right, stage is straight back. The building is long and the stage is good sized for a bar, about 3 feet off the ground but spacious enough for a 6 piece band to throw down and be able to move. Sound quality is excellent and FUCKING LOUD! Lighting was good, my wife had no problems taking pictures. Room with the stage is large, never felt cramped and plenty of room for moshing even though there was none tonight. Vibe of the place is cool, I really dug it, lots of touring metal bands (Deceased, Morpheus Descends to name a few) come through here and local bands play here all of the time. Capacity is around 250 people and I’d say we were close to full for Resthaven.
Resthaven is composed of Brett Hoffman (Malevolent Creation) on vocals, Jim Nickles (Hellcannon, former Malevolent Creation) on guitar, Rob Barrett (Cannibal Corpse, former Malevolent Creation) on guitar, Bob Hall on guitar, Kevin Peace (former Hellcannon, Vile Vindiction) on bass, and Mike Valenti on drums. So basically, this is like a death metal supergroup that plays 70’s / early 80’s (only up to 1983) metal covers of stuff they grew up on and were influenced by. So, if you dig Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden (and if you love metal and don’t know or like these bands, stop reading now!) you’ll fucking love these guys! They play faithful adaptations of the classic tunes and Brett lends his legendary lungs to the proceedings! Great stuff!
Resthaven came on at 10, even though they were the opening act for a glam band called Wicked, you would have never known it, virtually everyone in the Rockin Buffalo was there to see their local heroes. The band tore into “The Mob Rules” (IF YOU LISTEN TO FOOLS, THE MOB RULES!) and immediately the place was electric with headbanging and singing! Brett commanded the stage just like he does with Malevolent, intense with lots of emotion and power. The only difference is that his vocals were clean! The triple guitar assault of Jim, Rob, and Bob was an impressive array of riffs and solos that blended together perfectly. And the low end was handled deftly by Kevin and Mike in lockstep with each other, holding it all together. Before we knew what hit us, we were getting an amazing version of Priest’s “Heading Out to the Highway” which would bring a smile to the face of any metalhead! Things were off to a killer start!
Brett is the man! My Mount Rushmore of death metal vocalists is Brett, John Tardy, Martin Van Drunen, and Glen Benton, yet and here is Brett singing Priest and Maiden clean, able to hit high notes and hold them! Brett is self-taught and originally modeled his vocal style on singers like Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio which is rare for a death metal vocalist and it is part of what gives him the superhuman ability to hold notes, whether they be clean singing or growls. His performance tonight was incredible and at times was just a bit away from his death growl. The intensity and the power was there, I felt at any time he could have easily dropped things a few octaves and hit us with PREMATURE BURIAL!
Set was a superb mix of essential early 80’s metal, my faves were “Electric Eye” (Is this more appropriate today than ever before or what?!?), “The Trooper” (the guitars fucking SMOKED on this one!), “Wrathchild” (killer vox by Brett!), “Parasite” (I only like Kiss when someone else covers it!), and “Hellbent For Leather” (brought the house down!). Brett held some amazing ultra-long notes at the ends of “Parasite” and Motorhead’s “Iron Fist”, his Malevolent trademark that no other human can do! Each guitarist brought their own style to the material. Jim’s fluid playing on “The Hellion” and effortless shredding on “Electric Eye” was killer. He was also featured on “Shock Me”, more of a rock song that showed his versatility. Bob’s smooth playing on “Over The Mountain” honored Randy Rhoads and Rob shined on the Maiden material. I could have listened to these guys all night!
If you have the opportunity to catch Resthaven, they are a must see! I’m hoping the gigs will become more frequent and will begin to expand outside the Buffalo area! YOU KNOW ME, EVIL EYE, YOU KNOW ME, PREPARE TO DIE!
- The Mob Rules (Black Sabbath)
- Heading Out to the Highway (Judas Priest)
- I Wanna Be Somebody (W.A.S.P.)
- Over The Mountain (Ozzy Osbourne)
- Wrathchild (Iron Maiden)
- Hellion / Electric Eye (Judas Priest)
- The Trooper (Iron Maiden)
- Parasite (Kiss)
- Killers (Iron Maiden)
- Iron Fist (Motorhead)
- Neon Knights (Black Sabbath)
- Shock Me (Kiss)
- Hellbent For Leather (Judas Priest)