Buffalo Killers @ Kilby Court 05.28 with The North Valley

Posted June 6, 2014 in
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Buffalo Killers
No buffalos were harmed in the making of this review. Photo: Scott Beseler

The Gabbard brothers were in town the other night, with the percussion accompaniments of Joseph Sebaali, presenting Buffalo Killers to the wonderful world of Utah. The SXSW darlings rocked the night away with local openers The North Valley and properly kicked the summer off with the warm fuzzy glow of rock tunes.

Kilby Court was in good form, as usual, and people were actually wandering about the court, instead of huddling around the fire. Another unusual item of note regarding fans of these bands was the lack of heads buried in cell phones. These were friendly people and hopefully that was from good moral form, but I suspect frequent puffing and drinking trips out to the car took the edge off. I actually spent a bit of time with a bunch of comedians during the show so even between bands, entertainment was provided. The North Valley started off the evening with that final bit of guitar feedback that lets everyone know the rocking has now begun and the groovy herd moved closer.

Now the best way to describe the vibe of the night would be to combine every summer road trip you’ve been on, into a ‘70s rock haze. These were my “Green songs” as a kid (or occasionally, always). These songs have a way pulsing through your head in a way you just closed your eyes and slowly swayed your long unkempt hair back and fourth. I still have long shaggy hair as an old dude so they let me participate in evenings of this nature by a less presentable default. I also tend to dress professionally at these concerts to offset said, frightening mop and maintain journalistic dignity amongst the groovy herds. Interviews go better when you don’t look like the guy driving the van. However in hindsight, the driver of the band is usually a splendid person to interview. Stories of treacherous follies abound once you’ve bought them a few drinks.

The North Valley came out and rolled and rocked in a way where I was not let down. The songs felt like craft store decorations that you stare at while drinking in your kitchen. The moment you finally decide to “Live, Love, Laugh.” “Drink Alone” was an impressive song that evening; a healthy balance of catchy, sweet and sad all at the same time. I suggest it to all SLUG readers—the best part is, they’re locals. Thank you to The North Valley for representing us so well.

Buffalo Killers had released an album in 2012 that actually riffed on prior mentioned craft store-kitsch phrasings—Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. Buffalo Killers were on tour here presently this evening, supporting a delightful new album called Heavy Reverie (The Black Keys approve). Buffalo Killers stepped out onto to the stage dressed like they actually swung axes for a living and perhaps rocking your balls off was, you know, a side project. Then lead singer Andrew Gabbard howls into the microphone like it took his last dollar and you think to yourself, “Nope… definitely not loggers.”

The Ohio based rockers formed in 2006 and they have a sound like The Black Crowes splashed with the energy of Tom Petty when he was taking the good drugs. Then all of a sudden they’ll rock out like Black Sabbath and you think to yourself, “My brain can not handle a proper description.” Songs like “Get It” and “Dig On In” really got the crowd into it and swaying back and fourth in the makeshift garage became the dance move of the night.

With a name like Buffalo Killers it’s important to mention that no buffalos were hurt during this event. It’s just a clever name and in no relation to buffalo abuse; though I do believe a part of one was eaten afterward by a certain SLUG writer. (Who could pass up such a well-placed coincidence). At one point in the show I even saw some Utahn dancing, but such High School Musical moves were a tad off in the environment. God bless the poor bastard because the crowd did not approve.

Staring at “Flannel Black Sabbath” as they went into their song “Sandbox”; the crowd popped to once again. The evening finally drifted out of my mental grasp. People were actually bumping into each other and Buffalo Killers started dropping some serious tuneage on the Utahns. The true testament of any band is its ability to have range and the Buffalo Killers are very at home on the range (oh yeah… nailed the cheesy mastery on that).

The evening concluded and the Buffalo Killers wished the Utah world well. The audience shuffled out of the court and returned to their ‘70s road trip. However, this Coloradan (and recently converted Utahn) has been rocking both these bands ever since, so thank you for putting on an awesome show. Best wishes to everyone involved.