The Funeral Home in Buffalo, NY is one of those places that every city should have but very few do. In a time when venues overcharge promoters making underground shows less than feasible the Funeral Home was a viable option for DIY shows and tours. The shows held there over the years haven't been the run of the mill mainstream shows and the crowds there certainly aren't of the ilk found at your larger venues. At many of the shows it is common to find kids from the Bird House (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/magazine/06Squatters-t.html?_r=0)
These kids (late teens to mid twenties) are often homeless travelers who hop the trains from city to city with little to no money and when they arrive in Buffalo they know they can have a brief escape at a Funeral Home show. Other regulars at Funeral Home shows are the punks, hardcore kids, fans of extreme metal...the loners, the people society looks down upon but here at these shows at this place these people had a home where they could be among like-minded people and be a part of a group.
Inerds at The Funeral Home in 2011; photo: Brian Pattison
Initially the Funeral Home was almost exclusively a punk venue doing a maximun of 1 to 2 shows per month. They knew they had something good that was less than legit so they wanted it kept low key. As more people and bands were exposed to the Funeral Home more promoters wanted to do more shows and more diverse shows there. It now became a place for the barely existing metal scene to have a rebirth. At a time when legitimate clubs were not options for death and black metal bands the Funeral Home was the perfect option for bands like Nunslaughter, Acheron, Cardiac Arrest, Mutilation Rites and many others. These shows brought new life to the scene in the form of new audience members and new bands.
Nunslaughter at the Funeral Home in 2011, photo: Brian Pattison
While the metal scene was having a resurgence thanks largely to the existence of the Funeral Home the punk and hardcore scenes continued to flourish because of that same entity. The "punks" viewed it as much more than just a music venue, it was a home, a hangout, a meeting place. Vegan cookouts, film night (with films projected on the big screen behind the stage), metal night (with various local metal personalities spinning cd's and vinyl of varying metal formats), the annual Halloween show (bands dressed up and performing as other bands with the crowd encouraged to come in costume) and other such events were put together to bring people together in a safe environment.
Exhumed at The Funeral Home in 2012, photo: Brian Pattison
While mainstream venues rarely make improvements to their establishments the Funeral Home became the exception to that rule. Under the direction of Clint Carr the residents (renters) of the Funeral Home began fixing up the place. Walls and ceilings were repaired, long vacant rooms were cleaned up and made useful again and safety hazards were removed. When tragedy struck regulars such as Mike Bird and Tony Lorenzo it was the Funeral Home that was among the first to step up to collect donations to help them out. To outsiders it appeared as just an illegitimate venue, but to those in the know it was much more than that. It was a home and everyone who went there was part of a big family no matter what scene they were a part of.
Deceased at The Funeral Home in 2012, photo: Brian Pattison
Now, sadly, the Funeral Home is in jeopardy. Currently it is in a state of limbo thanks to a city-wide crack down on illegal parties. The Funeral Home residents were given tickets for violation of the cities noise ordinance (even though the volume outside the club was barely noticeable) and another fine for holding live music performances without a permit and told if they held further shows there they would be arrested. In the spirit of the old school the metal and punk scenes are working together with the residents of the Funeral Home to bring it back. Yard sales, benefits and such are being done in order to raise the funds necessary to bring the building up to code so that they can then apply for the proper permits to make the Funeral Home a legitimate venue and community center. The underground needs places like the Funeral Home and you can only wish your city had such a place so please help us save ours...http://funeralhomebuffalo.blogspot.com/