Concert Review: Buffalo Tom Stampedes the Troubadour


Last night, I found myself back at Los Angeles’ Troubadour—my seeming home away from home.  On this uncharacteristically chilly night, I was there to see Buffalo Tom, an Boston-based band who just released their 10th album, Skins. I had given the album a few good listens, and dug the solid rock feel, so I was excited to see the band live. I walked into a crowd of, if I may be blunt and enviably (read: obnoxiously) young, old folks, that seemed really stoked to get out of their minimal grey office buildings and into a (relatively) grungy and dim lit club.

Now, old folks, for most, will generate images of hunchbacked, bespectacled people hobbling around on walkers—rest assured, this was not the case (though I would’ve given mad props to said bad-ass, hard rocking geezers).  However, given the crowd of 18-early twenty-somethings that usually frequent this venue, it was an odd sight to see.  Granted, I’m sure this population of—gasp! people mostly over the age of thirty?!—is a regular occurrence, and I’ve just been attending all the wrong shows and live in a sad little bubble of young’uns.

ANYWAYS!  Buffalo Tom hit the stage to a wild applause, and gave a memorable and heartfelt show (which hilariously began with a few bars of Oasis’ “Wonderwall”).  They brought a very 90s alt, post-grunge, Foo Fighters feel, with singer Bill Janovitz hitting plenty of big, powerful, red-faced, vein-popping notes backed by energetic, riff-rock-y major chords.  At times, the band reminded me of Weezer; now and then, Foo Fighters; sometimes they had the smiley feel of Barenaked Ladies; and occasionally they recalled a less ambient, more garage Airborne Toxic Event (read about recent Airborne Toxic Event stuff here).  It was a fun trip back to the nineties (their first [self-titled] album was out in 1988), while still remaining firmly rooted in the present thanks to interjections of songs from the new album, Skins, which has a decidedly more modern feel.

Buffalo Tom was delightful to watch, and I dug that both Janovitz and bassist Chris Colbourn sang lead vocals on different tracks; it provided some great variation, and Colbourn’s voice was different but enjoyable—reminiscent of Jim James’ of My Morning Jacket.  They also provided plenty of on-stage banter, talking to the crowd about living in Boston, and feeling “physically old but still confused, trying to figure it all out”, and touring since the late 80s (I wasn’t even born then…whoa…). For however old they were feeling, they certainly didn’t let it show: left their hearts on stage and played a hell of a rocking set.  I was the comparatively serene one as I stood in the belly of a rowdy crowd of thirty-and-forty-somethings mouthing all the words and yelling at the band to SING THIS SONG or (in response to the living in Boston question) SOMERVILLE I LIVED IN SOMERVILLE. YEAAAHHHH.  It was so funny to see all these married, child-raising, SUV-driving, tax-paying adults whose usual excitement consisted of looking forward to wearing a funny t-shirt on casual Friday, out drinking, rocking out, and reliving their youth to the sounds a revitalizing band they loved then and can still love now.


Catch Buffalo Tom’s next show tonight in Portland at the Doug Fir Lounge (read other reviews from this venue here) at 9pm (doors open at 8).  Tickets are $20. 21+
Go here for more info/tickets.

And if you can’t make that, they’ll be in Seattle at Chop Suey on Friday the 20th.  Doors open at 9, tickets are $15 adv and $17 day of show.  21+.
Go here for more info/tickets.

Both of these shows will be with The Heavenly States!