Take a History Lesson From The Larkin Plan [BUFFALO BAND OF THE WEEK]
The members of The Larkin Plan have something special up their sleeve. Peter Burakowski (vocals, guitar), brothers Mike Milazzo (guitar), Dave Milazzo (bass) and Chris Milazzo (drums), and Mike DiGiacomo (keyboards, saxophone) tie in Buffalo's history and their hope for our city's bright future into each of their songs.
The indie rock group has been well received since forming in May 2012, and the members are working hard to share their music with Buffalonians. You can catch a free acoustic set from the band from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Reimagine Furniture (732 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo) during the BALLE Conference's Elmwood Village Cash Mob tonight (June 13).
I spoke with Burakowski about the band, their influences and their future plans.
It’s really interesting how you focus on Buffalo’s history in your music. Are you all history junkies?
I’m the most into it in the band, and everyone else has interest here and there....We have a song cycle about the Pan American Exposition, the shooting of McKinley and the aftermath. We also have a bunch of songs about Buffalo’s waterfront history, which was a very colorful place when the Erie Canal was in operation. It was a very live and bustling scene. Buffalo’s history gives a lot of opportunities for songwriting, and we also have a lot of songs that tie Buffalo’s past to the optimistic future.
What has the response been to your music? It’s so different from what you normally find in Buffalo.
As a band, we’re not trying to have a gimmick -- it’s just stuff that just comes naturally to me lyrically and the rest of the band. It just happens that the songs kind of go in that direction, and people have been responding well to it so far. I tend to see things in terms of layers and in terms of what has come before and what the future of our city is. These are the kinds of things that when I’m talking with friends that resonate with me and come out when I'm writing songs. I want people to respond to the emotional part of each song and to then have the layer of some storytelling to it. It’s kind of like the back door into sharing these stories with Buffalo. I want you to first feel intrigued by it and enjoy it, and then on the second listen, you get the whole story of what’s happening.
What musicians inspire you?
I feel like in some ways we take out a page of what the Decemberists and Sufjan Stevens do. I really got into Sufjan's music when "Illinois" came out. I was really impressed by his ability to be both over-the-top and orchestral but also stripped down and simple on the same album. So I really liked the idea of that and weaving in scenes from history. Those types of things really resonate with me, and it kind of opened the door to me to consider more of what I weave into songs. I've only done a little bit of it, but it inspired me to take the things I’m interested in in a non-musical sense and find ways that they made sense to weave into songs.
If you could go back to any moment in history what would it be?
I would find it really interesting to go back to Buffalo at the turn of the 20th century, around the time of the Pan American Exposition, to see Buffalo during its first wave of greatness. There was so much wealth in Buffalo. They were building all the mansions up Delaware, the Albright Knox Art Gallery, the history museum, and Buffalo was a bustling seaport. It would be interesting for me to see the city with twice the population that we have today. I find that to be a fascinating time. We're lucky today that we have some of the artifacts from then, and by that, I mean those buildings. It would be interesting for me to see them in their first wave and to see the type of people that were leaders of our city at that date and decided that those were the types of things that they wanted to put their time, energy and money into.
What's next for The Larkin Plan?
We're playing another set on Friday, June 21, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. during the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Kayak Tour. This free tour with free kayak rentals begins at Canalside and travels up the Buffalo River, stopping at River Fest Park and ending at Mutual Rowers Park. At each of those three locations, The Larkin Plan will play a special mini, all-acoustic set of original songs about Buffalo's waterfront. Advance registration is required. We also plan to record an album at end of the summer or the beginning of fall. Over the past few years, we've accumulated quite a bit, and we have, without question, enough for a full-length album and another EP on top of that.
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