Monday, March 11, 2013

The Continental Reunion Party 2013

            Let’s not try to use too many clichés, such as gathering of the tribe, reliving old glories for one more night, or getting together the old gang again.

            That being said, the Continental Reunion Party 2013, celebrating what many would say is Buffalo’s classic punk/new wave club formerly located at 212 Franklin Street downtown, will be held Friday, March 15, at the Town Ballroom, 681 Main Street, Buffalo. Doors will open at 8 p.m., and the bands and DJs will start right away (ahem). Bud Redding, Hard Management and Mammoth Recording Studio are producing the Continental Reunion Party 2013, which will foremost be an evening of fun, friends and great music.

Tickets are available at, or The Town Ballroom box office, (that’s where I bought mine) open every day from 12 noon till 5 pm.  The cost is $10 presale, $20 the day of show.

The show will feature these legendary Buffalo bands: The Fems Fatale (former Fems members-plus), the Irving Klaws, Terry Sullivan (featuring music of The Celibates), The Old Toys, Nullstadt, Funk Monsters & Woman, and Bobo. New bands Garda and Rustworm will also perform, satisfying the crowd’s need of new music.

The following original Continental DJs will also perform:  Andre’ Frazier, David Hall, Ken Cox, Arca Tek, Matt Hatten, Karl S, and Oldskool, and the futuristic Nekrotique. The bands and DJs are intended to cover the spectrum of the club’s eras, from 1980 till closing in 2006.

            I was able to ask Redding several questions; Bud is one of the people who may have seen every side of the Continental short of ownership, having been a fan, onstage performer, DJ, booker and virtual manager, and he took some time from arranging the show to answer.

KJH: How did the idea for a Continental reunion come to be? Were you surprised at the interest?

BR: The idea of a Continental reunion has been being floated around for awhile, and there were some half-hearted attempts to do it, but I wanted to do it right, and to really recreate the vibe from the club (i.e., needed a venue that could simulate the upstairs/downstairs feel), The Town Ballroom was the only venue in town that would work. I wasn't surprised at the interest in the show; I thought that if it was done right it would succeed. Facebook and this Continental page that Jennifer Shanley Clark started made it possible. I have tried hard and timed this to make it work.

KJH: Why do you think the Continental holds such a strong spot in many people's hearts after so many years?

BR: Good question - tough question. The club was so much for so many people, all with different reasons; music, friends, music, DJs, bands, friends, the staff (Marty, Dale, Mikey, etc), the variety of music (punk, wave, electronic, metal, grunge, weird...) and the girls and guys! It was a great place to hook up. I met my wife there, grew up there. It was the first club that many people snuck into with fake was the birthplace of the Goth scene in WNY...girls dressed sexy...boys dressed like girls...the music was different and usually felt like Buffalo...we went there even when it was snowing like a bitch.

KJH: You make what I think is a smart point of noting that there were people who were upstairs, dance and DJ-oriented fans, there were downstairs people, mainly there to hear bands, and that many people moved back and forth between the two. Why did this come about?

BR: To me, this was the best part of the club, and what set it apart from all others. The alternative scene had two diverse parts - Dancing to the music from London, NYC, Berlin, and other points, plus the local original alternative bands. The layout of the Continental made that cool, fun, different, and exciting. (Owner) Bud Burke supported the local scene to the max, brought in some great touring acts (999, Billy Idol, The Bangles, etc.) and pushed the DJs to bring new music to the upstairs. When I started booking the bands (around 1990, I tried to do the same thing - I was very selective about touring acts, but tried to really push and nurture the local scene...I brought in KMFDM, Pigface, and a few others, but concentrated on local and regional stuff, or bands out on their first tour that would fit at the club. The DJs always brought in great new music and many people came just to dance. I loved (when I wasn’t working) to go back and forth between the two scenes, as I was both a local musician and a DJ. If it got boring downstairs, you went upstairs, or visa-versa. The stairs were tough at 3 am!

KJH: Between DJing, playing onstage, booking and virtually managing the Continental, you did just about everything there. Was there anything you didn't do or didn't want to do, and what did you take from it? Was it difficult to lessen your role there?

BR: I do not like to brag, it's not my thing, but I know I was the only person to play in a band, book the bands, and DJ at the club. And yes, during a tough time at the club, after Bud Burke died, I did kind of manage the place. The only thing I didn't do was schedule the bartenders and order the liquor! There was nothing that I didn't get to do that I wanted to, except for buying the place...if only I had the cash! When I left the club, they owed me a LOT of money (which I never got) and I was working 18 hours a day for a local NHL team as the Building Services Manager - doing major concerts like Metallica, Neil Young, Justin Timberlake, Rush, Phish, etc, as well as getting the arena ready for 40 NHL games, indoor soccer, lacrosse, and wrestling events...I really didn’t have time to go to the club, and only stopped in there on the rare occasion...I did miss it, but was so busy that it just didn’t matter. In 2003 I bought some new recording equipment and got back into the local music scene. (Bud sings, plays keyboard and write songs for Cowboys of Scotland.)

KJH: How far away are people planning to come from for the Continental reunion? Are there people you were surprised to hear from? What should people expect?
BR: There are people coming from California, Texas, NYC, Connecticut, and Florida, and that is just the ones I know of!! Yes, there were a few surprises in that list - I am so excited and grateful that people are going through so much to come to this party!! I am planning on making a donation to the Wounded Warriors Project after the event, so all this enthusiasm and support is much appreciated!! People should expect music, friends, drinks, the beautiful people, and a few surprises!!! (Just like the Continental!!)

(In addition to everything else he did, Bud Redding is a United States Marine Corps combat veteran.)

The band and DJ schedule is:

Band Schedule (Town Ballroom Main Stage)
8:00 pm – Garda
8:45 pm - BoBo
9:30 pm - Old Toys
10:15 pm - Nullstadt
11:00 pm - Terry Sullivan (With a Special Performance by The Celibates)
11:45 pm - Funk Monsters & Woman
12:30 am - Irving Klaws
1:15 am - The Fems Fatale
2:00 am – Rustworm
DJ Schedule (Town Ballroom Banquet Room)
8:00 pm - DJ Karl S
8:30 pm - Paul Hojnowski "DJ Oldskool"
9:00 pm - Matthew Maingley "DJ Matt Hatten"
9:30 pm - DJ Ken Cox
10:15 pm - DJ David Hall
11:00 pm - Andre' Frazier "DJ Brother Dre"
11:45 pm - Amy "DJ Nekrotique"
12:30 am - Jeff Naughton "DJ Arca Tek"
1:15 am - DJs Andre', David, and Bud
2:15 am - Jeff Naughton "DJ Arca Tek" till close...

            I’m not going to turn this post into a maudlin, here are my memories post; that will be saved until the reunion itself and my review of the show. But I will thank Bud Redding for his cooperation, as I did so many times over the years at the Continental, and mention that it is no coincidence that my wife, Val Dunne, and I spent so many years at the Continental, shooting and writing about bands, drinking and living our lives.

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