For many years I’ve been a big fan of the music scene that orbits the West Berry/University corner in Fort Worth. I met my wife at the now defunct Hop, and for 25 years I’ve watched bands launch off of this neighborhood and grow to become local legends. The loss of The Moon Bar recently was a near-fatal blow, and while we still have the Cellar, and The Aardvark, it seems a little quiet these days. On Memorial Day, however, Buffalo Bros. on University held its third annual Wingstock --a celebration of peace, love, wings, and glorious music.
Right off the bat I noticed a few changes from last year. There were tents to hide from the sun, and the patio now has a roof. Like last year, there was a big stage at one end of the fenced-off parking lot, and legendary sound guru Dre Edmonson was running sound. I found a stool on the patio and listened to Ryan Stone and Austin Patton open the show with some tasty acoustic music.
Next up was Vanilla Face Jones, one of my favorite new acts. Last time I saw them (also at Buffalo Bros), they were a little rough around the edges but showed great potential. Those rough edges are more polished now, with the addition of Morris Holdahl on guitar and Ben Napier having moved over to provide percussion on a Cajón. With Katie Robertson still providing vocals and keys, they did some soulful classics and a few originals.
After that, Fish Fry Bingo hit us with their bizarre hillbilly jug-band hip-hop. Just when you think these guys couldn’t get any weirder, they did a song “quoting” a bald eagle. Spoiler alert – the quote consists of SCREEEEE, while making a talon hand sign. If you get it, you can’t help but love these guys. Almost as entertaining is watching the people in the audience who didn’t get it stare at the stage in disbelief.
After we were done with the eagle noises, the Buffalo Bros crew started bringing out huge platefuls of wings for the wing-eating contest. Each contestant was given a platter of wings, carrots, celery and only had three minutes to eat as much as they could. The plates were weighed before and after the contest, and the winner was the one who inhaled as much weight as possible. Who knew watching people scarf wings could be so entertaining?
Back to the music, Dazey Chain took over next, and amazingly Justin Barbee was still with them --- after getting married Sunday night (congratulations to Justin and Kathleen). I once saw Dazey Chain pack The Moon so far past capacity that you couldn’t fit another drunken frat boy in there without stacking them vertically. They delivered their trademark blend of soul and funk flawlessly, and this time there was plenty of space and a much better crowd.
Closing the night out, we had the psychedelic rock powerhouse The Hanna Barbarians. Jeff Dazey even blew sax for a song, and I couldn’t think of a better way to finish out a great day of wings and live music.
Buffalo Bro’s is a small act venue on most days, and while I wish they had a stage and lights they have shown a commitment to local music beyond just hiring the occasional singer/songwriter. It's not going to be a replacement for The Moon, but what’s not to like about a place where you can get great pizza and wings and listen to live music?