Wednesday, July 05, 2006
For me, Buffalo Tom is the quintessential Boston band. Around since 1987 with nary a lineup change, the trio's continued existence is a testament to hanging in there just for the love of making music with friends. No massive stylistic changes over time, peaks and valleys of popularity, from indies to majors and now on their own, but always three guys playing solid songs. First time I saw them was back in '92 on one of my many trips from Burlington, VT down here to Boston for a good show, and that visit was one of the best: Buffalo Tom, Mercury Rev, and My Bloody Valentine. The stuff from which lasting memories (and ear damage) are made. Got to see BT again just a few months later when they came up to Burlington for Sub Pop's Vermonstress Fest, and by then I'd become well hooked on both 'Birdbrain' and 'Let Me Come Over', and would soon be equally enamored of 1994's 'Big Red Letter Day'. I admittedly lost track of them just after 'Smitten' came out, when they followed it up with both an A-sides and B-sides collection, as well as a long break from playing out.
While Buffalo Tom never actually broke up, they did hit a five year haitus at the turn of the century while singer/guitarist Bill Janovitz and singer/bassist Chris Colbourn worked on solo material and other projects (Bill with his band Crown Victoria, Chris with former Fuzzy singer/guitarist Hilken Mancini). And as a Red Sox fan, Bill has participated in the 'Hot Stove, Cool Music' project, which brings together both area sports-loving and sports-playing musicians on stage for charity. The next one actually takes place at Fenway Park a week from tonight, on July 12th (update - and at which Buffalo Tom will be playing with Red Sox GM Theo Epstein on guitar, as Mark reminded me of in the comments).
It's only recently that Bill, Chris, & Tom have returned to Boston-area stages as a trio, with a few Buffalo Tom shows last year and a string of dates this summer. They played the Paradise a couple weeks back for two gigs, one in the Paradise Lounge on Friday, June 23rd, and one in the larger main room the following night. For you, here's the Friday night set...
Live at The Paradise Lounge
Friday, June 23rd, 2006
07. banter 1
08. Kitchen Door
09. banter 2
10. Bad Phone Call (new)
11. Taillights Fade
12. banter 3
13. Three Easy Pieces (new)
14. You'll Never Catch Him (new)
15. banter 4
17. banter 5
19. (a stab at Little Red Rooster)
21. banter 6
23. banter 7
25. I'm Allowed
26. banter 8
27. Under My Thumb (Stones cover)
28. banter 9
30. Frozen Lake
It was an excellent, energetic night, with songs from all over their discography, although as the band themselves would admit, it wasn't the tightest they've ever been. Whether it was a bit of rust or a little too much beer, I dug it all the same. The crowd was a tad uptight at times, especially for a Friday night; the usual smattering of aging hipsters (aka longtime fans) was filled out by more of a collared-shirt and pleaded pants contingent, possibly some of the mainstream sports-fan crossover crowd that Bill's been picking up over the past few years. Either way, the applause did come generously, enough to get them out for a couple encores. And the night wouldn't have been complete without at least one patented song-ending Janovitz-jump...
There aren't many bands who not only don't mind that there's a baseball game on the bar televisions while they're playing, but actually ask the score inbetween songs (and for the record, the Sox beat Philly 10-2 that night, and again the next day with an Ortiz walk-off homer. BT dedicated their Saturday night set to Big Papi).
They've been teasing fans with songs from, and hints about, their eventual next album, so let's hope there's more solid news of that in the months ahead. Keep tabs on the BT sites linked above, as well as the lovingly maintained Kitchen Door fansite, where you can find a video clip from their second night at the Paradise. And for a fantastic 3-camera live video of 'Velvet Roof' from the same show, check the BT video page. More song clips should be showing up on YouTube sometime soon.
Buffalo Tom heads to Belgium and Holland for a couple of shows this week, then returns to play the Mercury Lounge in NYC on Thursday, July 13th (tix). That'll be followed up with a special acoustic set at Joe's Pub on Friday the 14th (tix).
the fine print: If anyone has an issue with this live set being made available, just say the word (email link on left). Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. Mp3s are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.
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on november 14th, 2008
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