The White Buffalo @ Brighton Music Hall 11.19.13

by Cara McGrath (Graphic Design), published December 6th 2013

photos by Cara McGrath

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The White Buffalo put on a very entertaining and energetic show at Brighton Music Hall on November 19. Though it was a Tuesday night, the performers and those in the crowd treated it like a weekend, if not a holiday. Jake Smith of The White Buffalo tours solo and acoustic more often than not, and sure, Smith’s voice and guitar alone are more than enough to impress a crowd; that is how I became a fan in the first place. However, with only one brief opening acoustic set to compare to his recent Brighton show, my expectations were blown out of the water when he performed with his bassist and drummer.

Smith played the first song of his set by himself, and one more (“Wish It Was True”) in his encore about an hour and 45 minutes later. But to have bass and drums supporting him for the majority of the night was definitely what made the show so memorable. The trio’s performance as whole, which was so impressively energetic and unified, was what allowed for such a remarkable and standout evening. The liveliness overall was incredible; a cymbal was knocked down in the heat of “The Whistler” and a guitar string was broken and swinging at some point between “Oh Darlin’ What Have I Done” and “Joe and Jolene.” These minor incidents did nothing to set the band back.

The trio is currently touring to support their 2013 album Shadows, Greys, & Evil Ways, which has gained more attention than any previous White Buffalo album. Therefore, the band played many of the new tracks at the show, including “When I’m Gone,” “Joey White” and “Set My Body Free,” along with the aforementioned “The Whistler” and “Joe and Jolene.” These definitely got the crowd dancing. Though the new album is fantastic, it seemed as though the old songs, such as “10 Til 2,” “Into the Sun” and “The Pilot,” were what people were shouting for. Ultimately, there was a fair split between new and old. Since The White Buffalo is still fairly unknown, clearly almost everyone who came to Brighton was a big fan and seemed to enjoy both the new and old songs played.

This recent show at Brighton was the White Buffalo’s first full-band performance in Boston to date. It was also the first time they played their newest album’s closing track, “Pray To You Now,” for a crowd. It was a standout part of the show. The trio closed out the evening strong with “How The West Was Won,” a fan favorite from the 2012 release Once Upon A Time In The West.

Seeing Jake Smith perform solo is absolutely worthwhile. His voice is so strong that it echoes through the venue and sounds identical to, if not better than, his recordings. However, it was pleasantly surprising to find that his band is so musically talented and in-sync live as well. Their energy brought Smith’s out even more, and made for an excellent concert.

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