BUFFALO, N.Y. - Bigger just might be better for The Badlees.
The regional favorites performed at the biggest show of their career Thursday, opening for rock legends Robert Plant and Jimmy Page at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium.
Opening their set with "Angels of Mercy," from their new nationally released album, "River Songs," vocalist Pete Palladino looked right at home on center stage at the 17,000-seat arena.
Charismatically capturing the essence of the song with his mannerisms and expressions, Palladino handled the role of front man on the big stage as easily as he has for years at area clubs.
Although many fans were still trickling into their seats as the Badlees hit the stage, warm applause echoed through the building after the first song — likely coming from Pennsylvania fans who made the journey north.
"Nothing Much of Anything" followed, and again the group appeared unfazed by the large stage, sound system and audience.
"We're from a tiny little town in Pennsylvania called Selinsgrove," said Palladino, before the group performed the instrumental piece, "Grill The Sucker."
The group's current single, "Fear Of Falling," was next. Currently climbing up several hit singles' charts across the country, the song comes off particularly well when performed live. With guitarist Bret Alexander on mandolin and Palladino on harmonica, the acoustic-based song also showcases the band's outstanding harmony vocals.
As the Badlees played, the seats continued to fill, and each song that followed was met with greater response. Palladino thanked Plant and Page for having them at the show, just before the group launched into "Bendin' The Rules," one of the most dynamic songs from the new album.
An intriguing tale of a family's struggle to find and finance a cure for the ailing son's illness, the song sounded fantastic booming off the big stage. The hard-driving Springsteen-esque instrumental jam at its conclusion displayed the more powerful, electrifying side of the Badlees and was clearly the show's highlight.
The set ended with the regional smash, "Angeline Is Coming Home," and judging by this performance, "home" for the Badlees might soon be in arenas just like this one.