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Looking for some spooky, socially-distanced fun? Local JP band to play Halloween concert

JP-based band Dred Buffalo hasn’t played in front of an audience in months, but they will finally get a chance to put on a show next Saturday evening, complete with fog machines to set the spooky mood. 

The band, which got together in January of last year, will be playing a small, socially-distanced concert on Halloween at Wenham Street Cinema, which operates out of JP resident Matt Shuman’s garage. 

The band consists of bassist Paul Curran, who is also the letter carrier for the Forest Hills area, Alerisa Rose on vocals, Chase Cavacco on guitar, and Davey Dreyer on percussion and backup vocals. 

Curran told the Gazette that he describes the band as “a bog rock band influenced by intrinsic blues and new age funk, just doing what we feel in the moment.” 

While the band plays covers of songs by classic rock artists such as Led Zeppelin and Jefferson Airplane, as well as the Beatles and even Elvis, lately, they have been really focusing on original songs as well.

After going through several band member changes over the past two years, they have finally settled on these members and have been working hard rehearsing new tunes.

The band said that while the pandemic has put a damper on playing many live shows, it has also helped them focus on their repertoire and creating new music.

Curran said that Dred Buffalo has been building a “silent momentum” while in quarantine and have been able to write new songs that they can’t wait to share once it’s safe to play shows regularly again. 

The four members live together in Jamaica Plain, which they say has been immensely helpful in being able to rehearse. They even have their self-titled debut album set to release next month, with nine original tracks.

Curran said that there are eight more “on the board, and even more in our heads.”

The name Dred Buffalo comes from a dream of a friend of Rose’s. She explained that her friend had a dream that he was running and being chased by a witch doctor in a mine shaft with a big rock falling behind him. Written in neon lights behind the smoke were the words “Dred Buffalo,” which she immediately thought would make a great band name.  

Curran explained that the concert came to be because he noticed on his mail route that Shuman has chalk available for people to write on the garage door. The prompt was something to effect of “what do you like most about JP?” and he wrote “Dred Buffalo” on it one day. 

Shuman said that he didn’t know what that meant, but he and his partner were out to dinner one day and their server mentioned being in a band called “Dred Buffalo,” so he decided he had to look them up on Instagram.

“Everyone in our neighborhood already knows him,” Shuman said of Curran. Shuman, who operates the Wenham Street Cinema out of his garage area at 23 Wenham St. said he was concerned about holding a concert in his neighborhood for several reasons, including safety issues due to the pandemic, as well as noise concerns from neighbors.

He said that he spoke with the neighbors about having the concert, “and the response was overwhelmingly positive.” Dred Buffalo will be playing on top of the garage on Halloween from 6:00pm-7:30pm,  a time he felt would not be too disturbing to neighbors. Masks and distancing will be required for attendance. There’s “lots of support” for the concert, and “everyone is so desperate to get out,” he said. 

Kendra Hicks, who is running against City Councilor Matt O’Malley in next year’s council race, will be announcing the band, Shuman said. 

“It’s going to be wonderful,” Rose said. “Please wear a costume.” Since people will be required to wear masks, the most creative masks will be awarded a free download of Dred Buffalo’s new album, a t-shirt, and other merch, she said.

“We’re just really excited to play again,” Rose said. “Kids don’t have much of a Halloween this year,” and she said that the band is “excited to promote ourselves to the community; to get to know people.”

Curran said that some people along his mail route know he’s in the band, and he might even drop a CD in some mailboxes once the album comes out.

“We’re really excited to play,” Rose said, adding that the only person they’ve played for recently is the occasional friend who comes to the apartment.

“I’m excited to be a part of this ongoing art renaissance that is coming out of the whole world right now…Dreyer said. 

Curran added, “this Halloween show, we hope to bring jams and good times through rock and fog machines.”

Dred Buffalo’s website is still in the works but you can follow them on Instagram @dredbuffalo.

Lauren Bennett: