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Monday, April 18

Review: Buzz Universe - 4/15/11 - Beachland Ballroom - Cleavland, OH

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Words:Chris Matthews
Photos:Michael Stein of www.michaelsteinphotography.com

Buzz Universe came all the way from New Jersey to Cleveland’s own Beachland Ballroom in support of the Macpodz on Thursday, April 15, 2011. The lead up to the show brought a lot of excitement from the Cleveland based fans as this was the second time Buzz Universe made the trip to town. The crowd, light and typical for a Thursday night in Cleveland for regional bands was determined to dive into a musical experience that promised an eclectic blend of rock, jazz, Latin and world grooves. Locals Tyrohill warmed up the crowd and then it was time to see what Buzz Universe was all about.
Buzz Universe lined up the Beachlands expansive stage and kicked off the night with “Another Way” which set the tone for the rest of the night. Right off the bat, they showed off their three, four and five part harmonies with each member building a pyramid of intricate vocals. They went from well organized verse and chorus to world groove and improve jam from each player.
The crowd was impressed with the unique variety from Brian Ciufo as he changed from baritone, alto, soprano sax, then to the flute, all the while adding in his vocal parts to round out their wall of sound. Rosie Lazroe on vocals and Meredith Bogacz on violin set up at the forefront of the stage and delivered an alluring, charismatic performance. Greg McLoughlin on bass and Dave Migliore pushed the group with tight rhythm and thoughtful, intelligent vocals and Alex Garay pulled it all together as the centerpiece of a well arranged ensemble. Each song lended itself to a varied style that kept everyone dancing and eager to hear what was coming next.
The fourth song of the set was Caballo Viejo, a Latin influenced piece which featured Alex Garay on lead guitar and vocals and was a huge hit and a special surprise. Special guests, members of The Macpodz Ross Huff on Trumpet and Nick Ayers on percussion stepped in and enhanced an already solid start to the Buzz Universe set. One detail that was clear and evident was that they were enjoying themselves, and the collaboration of special guests was an experience that the band treasured as much as the crowd.
Being that The Beachland Ballroom show was only the second time that Buzz Universe had come to Cleveland, there were new fans of the band in the crowd. They were glancing at each other with a raised eyebrow and a nod of the head as to say “these guys are exactly what they advertised!”…”A tight band with the freedom to not be defined by one musical genre, the ambition to have no musical limits, and the opportunity to embrace the world's musical evolution and bring it to the stage."
Buzz Universe proved they belong at The Beachland Ballroom with the big boys! Good music is Good Music and they demonstrated that they knew what that means. Cleveland will be lucky to see more of them and I for one cannot wait to see them again.