The Scream Bus Tour featuring Markus Schulz, KhoMha and The M Machine stopped in Buffalo on April 12, 2013 for the third stop on the bus tour and to say it was an experience would be an understatement. The event was held in the Grand Ballroom which is inside of Statler City, a large 19 floor hotel that was built in 1923. The hotel portion has been closed for nearly 30 years with the lower floors just seeing new life within the past few years thanks to developer Mark D. Croce. The Scream Bus Tour was the first event of it’s kind to be held in the Grand Ballroom and based on how the night went it won’t be the last.
The only thing I had planned for the day was to check out the setup early in the afternoon, meet some friends for dinner and then dance the night away once the doors opened later in the night. What really happened was getting a behind the scenes experience of the nearly nine hour setup along with wandering around parts of the hotel with Markus Schulz and KhoMha and then driving them to Niagara Falls along with Adina Butar.
I’ve worked with the promoter in the past, Factory Nightlife, so I had arranged to arrive at the venue early in the afternoon to be a fly on the wall to write about the setup process right through to the end of the night but they needed an extra hand so I was put to work. I helped move LED panels, wheel crates back to the storage area, carry in the co2 canisters for the confetti canons and label the wires running from the decks to the soundboard. What if I accidentally put two on the end of one chord and three at the other end and the sound was all messed up? What if I dropped and broke an LED panel and screwed up the whole wall? What if I tripped over a laptop cord and busted someones computer? I’ve done all of these things before and more but those thoughts crossed my mind with a tour of this size, no pressure!
After getting a little dirty it was time to head to another room where Markus Schulz and KhoMha and their crew were finishing eating lunch when out of nowhere and a random speaker in the room some Frank Sinatra started playing. The music encouraged everyone to go check out the rest of the building since stories had spread of it being haunted so curiosity was peaked. We went up a pitch black stairwell and into some hotel rooms that haven’t been used in over 30 years. There wasn’t any electricity for lights, just sun light through the windows and flashlight apps on our phones. It was like going back in time especially in a room with what appeared to be an old switchboard. The film crew had joined them at this point as well to film the after lunch portion of the day so hopefully parts of that make the final cut of the tour documentary.
After wandering around the venue it was time to drive them to visit Niagara Falls! You would think that a DJ ranked #13 in the world and his small crew would ride in the comfort of large comfortable SUV’s but they had no complaints getting into two small Honda Civics for the ride. The only request for the drive was heat! Spring had not yet arrived in Buffalo. It was just a quick trip to check out Niagara Falls, take a couple pictures and then get back to the venue for dinner and sound check before the doors opened.
As the crew was finishing the construction of the stage there was also a charity event running from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm using the entire floor that would become the dance floor at 10 pm. It was a bizarre situation to see the room go from business professionals singing karaoke to ravers dancing up a storm. The nearly 14 hours that I spent at the venue sure did make me appreciate everything that goes into these events a whole lot more.
The charity event was over and cleaned up and it was now time for sound check which had been scheduled for 9 pm but things weren’t quite ready yet. Markus Schulz arrived and patiently waited to make sure everything was good to go and stood back watching the venue workers get the floor setup finished. There was a sense of urgency to get it all going but no panic from everyone, just patience in getting everything finished properly. The CDJ’s were plugged in, the sound was tuned, the LED panels were tweaked, wires were covered up, crowd microphones were taped down and the thumbs up that everything was a go was finally given a few minutes after 10 pm and time for the doors to open.
The M Machine went on around 11:30 pm after a local by the name of Jesse Aaron warmed up the crowd. I had heard a number of tracks by The M Machine but never a full set from start to finish. There were some people that seemed a little surprised by the dubstep sounds they played at times but they fit in well of warming up the crowd for Markus Schulz. The M Machine had people jumping at times but overall set the mood with some electro/industrial like groovy beats before the slaying was to start.
When the clock finally got to 12:30 am the room was ready for Markus Schulz. The fast paced two hour set didn’t waste any time jumping into the unicorn slaying sounds of Romper and Loops & Tings early in the set. Hearing Romper live and loud makes it even better in person. It’s great hearing it through your headphones or speakers but in a club it’s a monster of a tune, can’t wait to hear it at a festival. The same could be said of the New World Punx remix of Binary Finary’s trance classic 1998. That’s another track that completely fills the room. Live Forever featuring Aruna by Ferry Corsten was another track that stood out in the set. The stalker anthem, Nothing Without Me had the entire room singing along as did Scream with the voice of Ken Spector and everyone singing “I can’t scream any louder” at the same time. Markus also played the new remix of The New World which was the only tune I recall that he also played in 2010 when he was last in Buffalo. The two hour set was filled a lot more tracks that had everyone dancing up a sweat. This was a set that will be remembered by anyone who was in the building. There’s a recap video at the end of this article.
The original set times had listed Markus to play until 3 am but at 2:30 am he picked up the microphone and thanked the crowd, stated it had been a long two years since he had been in town and then handed over the stage to KhoMha. This was the first time that the time slots had been changed up on the tour and I didn’t hear any complaints from the crowd. KhoMha closing the night instead of opening was a real treat.
KhoMha didn’t waste any time having the crowd KhoMhatized for the last hour and a half until the lights went on at 4 am. The dark and dirty bass lines that come from the tracks that KhoMha plays are what works crowds into a frenzy. Tracks he has produced like Dusk Riddles, Dejavu and Vapour are tunes that will move a dance floor every time. Two other notable tracks that were played were No Saint Out of Me by Orjan Nilsen and the classic iiO Rapture. After his set he came down to the barrier for those still waiting around and took pictures, signed autographs and was genuinely appreciative of all the love given to him by those on the dance floor. It’s easy to see why Markus has taken him under his wing and brought him along on the tour.
The day and night was an amazing adventure. It was a pleasure handing out #SchulzArmy Down the Rabbit Hole We Go bracelets to others that I met throughout the night and all of the pictures taken with the Schulz Army flag. Thanks to Factory Nightlife, Statler City and the entire Scream Bus Tour crew for a great day.
Here’s a recap of the two hour Markus Schulz set from the night:
In a recent UStream broadcast the Buffalo show was discussed by Markus Schulz and The M Machine:
Watch the whole UStream broadcast here.