Live Review : The White Buffalo – 02 ABC, Glasgow

The band t-­shirts sported by the crowd is usually a good indicator of what one can expect from the gig itself, but when you’ve got Slipknot next to Monster Truck, and NWA next next to The Exploited, then it’s a bit of a head scratcher. Not many artists will bring in a crowd as varied as fans of nu metal,blues,rap, punk. Also in abundance, throughout the crowd, is a plethora of Sons Of Anarchy paraphernalia, ranging from t­-shirts, bobble hats (on the hottest day of the year so far, really?), and leather biker vests with the SAMCRO logo. Hard to believe that it’s all for an imaginary biker gang in a work of TV fiction. The connection being the deep, mournful music over so many key moments from the hit show, including the Emmy nominated ‘Come Join The Murder’ from the finale, provided by Jake Smith, aka The White Buffalo. A recording artist since 2002, so not exactly an overnight sensation, but with the attention that Sons Of Anarchy has brought him, The White Buffalo is now in the enviable position of having many gigs on this tour upgraded to larger venues due to phenomenal demand. Tonight’s gig being just one example. Current album, ‘Love And The Death Of Damnation’, is a breath of fresh air that seems to have resonated with many people, and when the band stroll on stage with no fanfare or fuss, the reception is deafening. Keeping it simple, with just himself, bassist, and drummer (introduced as “The Machine”), Smith kicks off his debut Scottish gig in a low key manner before slamming into ‘Dark Days’, opening track from the current album, and the place erupts. Playing acoustic guitar with ‘rock meets blues with a punk attitude’ takes some doing, but The White Buffalo pulls it off, and the power and intensity coming from the trio onstage is ferocious. Not only immense in stature, but Smith has a deep baritone voice to match, and this has led to comparisons with Eddie Vedder. In some instances, the comparison can be heard, but personally, I feel Smith has a deeper, warmer voice. His songs deal with the darker, harder edged aspects of life, autobiographical or storytelling on an epic scale, who knows, but a lot of us like to think that we have some outlaw in us, and this is the perfect soundtrack. Smith mixes it up with cherry picks from the current album, that most people will be familiar with, as well as earlier tracks, that some might be hearing for the first time. ’Love And The Death Of Damnation’ is represented by ‘Modern Times’, ’Home Is In Your Arms’, ’Go The Distance’, ’Chico’ (which Smith describes as a tale of “a drug deal gone fucking wrong”), and an incredible version of ‘I Got You’, which features on the album as a duet with Audra Mae, but tonight Smith was flying solo.
Older tracks, ‘When I’m Gone’, ’Love Song #1’, and ‘The Whistler’, are all highlights, but the loudest roar of the evening is naturally for ‘Come Join The Murder’, which surprisingly is played mid set and not as an encore, but perhaps that would have been too obvious. A powerful and melancholic track that seems to be moving on up as a popular choice for a funeral song, guys are hugging their mates, and strangers fistbump each other in a drunken bromance. It truly has a profound effect on the male species. For many, this seemed to be a gig an eternity in the making, such is the SOA following, and The White Buffalo himself was very humbled by the fact that the gig was upgraded to a larger venue, saying “This is my first time in your city and your country,and for so many people to show up..that is unbelievable…we WILL be back”. The tour continues with dates in London and Birmingham, before landing at Ramblin’ Man Fair. Then it’s over to Europe for a jaunt round Italy and Germany. Do yourself a favour, and go check out what the metalheads, old punks, rockers, and rap fans alike in the crowd were so anxious to witness. You will not be disappointed. Review: Dave Stott Images: Ritchie Birnie

The White Buffalo full Flickr album

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2 comments

  1. Been a fan of Jake since 2003 this is what music is all about ,no bullshit just completely honest 1st class musicanship that you never ever tire off best gig I’ve been too in 20 yrs and I’ve been to quite a few ,first class review cheers till the next time ,but can we wait that long ?

  2. I couldn’t agree more. An excellent show and something that little bit special. I reckon he could get a whole new following from Ramblin man this weekend.

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