Sorry about that diatribe on that Band of Horses show review, guys. It was the culmination of everything I hate about going to big shows coming together in a perfect storm of ignorance and selfishness. It won’t happen again. Probably.
And why would it when I got to go to a great show on Wednesday night, featuring Chicago’s Whisker Music, Champaign-Urbana’s New Ruins and Avi Buffalo!! It was a great night of music, made even better by the fact that people decided to stay home instead of enjoying some awesome music.
Whisker Music surprised me a bit. Eric did a nice interview with them a few days back, and he was talking them up to me before the show, but I wasn’t getting it. Once I heard them play, I had a better understanding. They have a nice bluesy/folk-pop with an edge kind of thing going on that was really nice. Check them out if you get a chance. Still not convinced? Check out Eric’s review of their EP.
I had never heard of New Ruins before the show. I had a chance to chat with Avi before they went on, and he said he was really looking forward to hearing them because they had been described as goth/country. I would definitely lean the emphasis toward the country on that one. They weren’t bad. Not as good as Whisker Music in my opinion. Mostly I was disappointed because every song sounded the same. I didn’t check out their recording, but I imagine it’s a better statement of what they are — or what they’re trying to be — than the live set.
The lead singer had a good voice, and some of the lyrics were pretty interesting. They had a new drummer for the show because their usual guy couldn’t be there. Before they started, the singer announced that they were performing with a guy that doesn’t normally play with them. I thought that was kind of crappy. “Hey, if the show sucks it’s because this guy doesn’t know what he’s doing!” That’s how I took it anyway. So I can’t recommend New Ruins right now, but maybe in the future.
While Avi was setting up, I spent a little time walking around trying to find a good spot. While I was ambling, who should I spot but Wilco‘s Nels Cline! He was hanging out, talking to some folks, so I didn’t bother trying to talk to him. Not that I could have… I probably would have soiled myself. (Probably not. I would have played it all cool, and then soiled myself later).
We know from my interview with Avi earlier in the week that Nels and Wilco have been very influential in their music. And it didn’t take long to see at least one similarity, Avi is nearly as twitchy and frenzied while playing guitar as Nels. It was impressive. Really impressive.
On the album, I think it’s easy to dismiss the instrumentation because there’s a lot of other stuff going on. When he’s able to display his musicianship for people to see, he really gets into it. I tried to get some video of his hands, because they were flying all over the place. I don’t know if it came out very well, but I hope you get to witness it for yourself some time. It’s amazing.
As far as their actual show goes, I liked it. I thought they played a fairly short set, but when you only have one release I don’t know what you can do. A couple of slower, sadder songs didn’t make the setlist. I was personally upset that “Jessica” didn’t get played, but that’s OK. I’ll see them again and maybe I’ll get lucky.
Avi Buffalo’s tour is coming to an end soon, and then it will be a while before they get back out on the road. If their show at Schubas was any indication, I’m guessing it will be worth the wait.
- Avi Buffalo hails from Long Beach and is: Avi Zahner-Isenberg (guitar/vocals), Rebecca Coleman (keyboards/vocals), Arin Fazio (bass) and Sheridan Riley (drums).
- Their self-titled debut is available on the band’s website for $9.99 (mp3s), $12.99 (CD) or vinyl ($14.99).
- For more Avi Buffalo, check out my interview with lead singer Avi and my review of their debut LP!
Avi Buffalo performing “Five Little Sluts”
Avi Buffalo performing “Time on You”
Avi Buffalo performing “Remember Last Time”