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06/11/1997 Our Lady Peace, Cool For August, Puzzle Gut (Buffalo, NY @ The Tralf)

By Eric | June 11, 1997 11:59 pm

This show is ground zero, my first real concert. Looking back on it, the whole thing was a pretty good introduction, and I couldn’t have done much better both band and experience-wise!

My friend Christine from my high-school co-op program was the person that gave me copies of Naveed and Clumsy (and Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” for that matter) and her mother was nice enough to drive us (plus another one of Christine’s girlfriends whose name escapes me) down to the Tralf and pick us up. I remember walking into the venue, as since we got there fairly early, and there was hardly anyone in there. It didn’t fill up much when Puzzle Gut started either. They were a punk band, and besides the bass player giving the girls all sorts of creepy looks, my only other takeaway was their song “The Cow“, because, come on, a song with the chorus “I like the cow” repeated over and over is gonna stick in the memory. I actually owned this CD for a little bit, but it truthfully wasn’t all that good, and I traded it back in. Their half-hour came and went.

Cool For August was up next. They were a 5 piece from the Atlanta area, had gotten in with Matchbox 20 (who were getting huge at that point), and their bass player Andrew Shives was originally in Fear Factory(!!). Lead singer Gordon Vaughn was obviously influenced by Peter Murphy (of Bauhaus fame) both in looks and sound. I was impressed by these guys, and ended up later finding their only CD “Grand World” and enjoying it quite a bit. The crowd had sort of filled in by this point, but not so much that Vaughan’s stage-dive attempt was a smart move. He dove off to the right of where we were standing, and I don’t recall anyone really catching him. Ouch. None the worse for wear, he soldiered on with the rest of the set. I’d end up getting to see CFA again a year later opening for Creed, and I’d actually know the material!

So after two bands, I was feeling pretty good about my concert experience so far, and didn’t have to wonder where all the people were, because true to form everyone piled in during set change right before OLP took the stage. We were pretty much right up front, dead center (sound familiar?), and I thought everyone would just kinda stand there, keep their space, etc. Can you say “naive”?? Once the band came out and Supersattelite opened the show, it felt like all hell broke loose! Knowing what I know now, it probably did get a little pushy (OLP shows always ended up being this way for some reason), but nothing outrageous. However, skinny little 17-year-old me wasn’t quite prepared for it. Anyway, both the crowd and I eventually calmed down, and settled in for a damn good show. I distinctly remember thinking going in, “I *like* this band”, but after Raine nailed the note (you know, *the* note) in Car Crash, I was completely sold and it turned into “I *love* this band”. We got a little extra, as we essentially got to hear Clumsy twice – Mike Turner’s guitar cut out right at the beginning of the song, so the crowd had a big acapella sing-along for the first 2/3’s of the song, after which they got Mike fixed up and they ran through the song proper. We even got a cover of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows”, which the band recorded for the The Craft soundtrack.

Not only did I leave with one heck of an experience, I also left with the now-legendary (to me, anyway) OLP Eclipse shirt, which I’ve faithfully worn to every subsequent OLP show I’ve attended! And the cherry on top? A couple years later, while trolling the old Super Flea on Walden Ave. in Buffalo, one of the vendors had a ton of bootlegs on cassette, including this very show. I own a copy (albeit of pretty suspect quality) of the first concert I ever attended. Not too shabby for a first time out. Little did I know it was going to lead to such prolific concert attendance in the ensuing years!

OLP Setlist:
Big Dumb Rocket
Superman’s Dead
Car Crash
Automatic Flowers
Clumsy (twice)
Let You Down
Tomorrow Never Knows


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