Worth the Wait: Aqueous Christen New Brooklyn Venue with Fan Favorites and Surprise Sit-Ins
Photos: Zak Radick
Buffalo, NY groove rock favorites Aqueous played their first show of 2022 over the weekend, making their headlining debut at the brand-new Brooklyn Made music venue in, well, Brooklyn, NY. The show was originally set to take place in November, but was postponed twice due to Covid-19 related health concerns. After months of waiting, both the band and their devoted fans were ready to throw down on this chilly Saturday night in the big city and that’s exactly what they did.
The party got started with opening act Chestnut Grove, a five-piece out of Philadelphia, who brought their high energy and vintage rock n’ roll swagger to the recently opened stage at Brooklyn Made. Managed by Wild Adriatic drummer Mateo Vosganian and bolstered by the charismatic “bad girl” energy of singer Dee Gerhart and the powerhouse vocals of drummer James Daniels, the band made so much of an impression that Aqueous guitar player Mike Gantzer decided to join them for their final song of the evening. The first surprise sit in of the night, but it wouldn’t be the last.
After a brief intermission and after months of waiting, it was finally time for the evening’s headliners to take the stage. Consisting of Mike Gantzer (guitar/vocals), Dave Loss (guitar/keys/vocals),drummer Rob Houk and bassist Evan McPhadden, Aqueous made their intentions known from the get go by launching into one of their signature jams right off the rip in the form of the AQ original “Don’t Do It”. Complete with an extended build-up intro and a well-received Phish “First Tube” tease, Aqueous would keep the energy in the room at a fever pitch all night long with an onslaught of fan favorites, including “Skyway,”” Mosquito Valley Pt 1.,” “The Median” and “Second Sight.”
One of the big highlights of the evening, however, was the surprise sit in from Brooklyn’s own Horn Section; the new duo made up of former Turkuaz members Greg Sanderson on saxophone and Chris Brouwers on trumpet, who would lend their talents on a cover of the Steely Dan classic “Peg.” The pair would return later in the evening during “Eon Don” and engage in an impressive musical “call and response” style duel with Mike Gantzer, an exciting exchange that just about blew the roof off the new venue. Aqueous also did abbreviated covers of AC/DC’s Back in Black and an impromptu verse of Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) that had the whole crowd singing along.
Opting to play longer by skipping a set break, the lone encore on the evening was a newer song called “Finding Our Way” which had only been played three other times since it’s debut at the Peach Festival last summer. The upbeat, catchy groove, sing-along chorus, and soaring anthemic peak was a treat for most fans, but afterwards some “impossible to please” types noted the handwritten setlist called for a “Starring Into the Sun” encore. Any way you slice it, this show was an absolute rager and for those who had been holding onto their tickets since November, one that that was well worth the wait.
With their first show of the year and debut performance at Brooklyn Made now in the rearview, Aqueous return to their Buffalo stomping grounds this Friday for another highly anticipated makeup date at the Town Ballroom, finally celebrating what would have been their New Year’s Eve show. The band’s next visit to the Capital Region will be in April when they are scheduled to perform at the Putnam Place in Saratoga Springs, NY with support from exiting Long Island trio Baked Shrimp.
Don’t Do It, Split the Difference > Skyway, Peg*, Mosquito Valley Pt 1 > Back in Black > The Median, Second Sight, Eon Don*
Encore: Finding Our Way
*with The Horn Section