Buffalo Tom @ The Acadamy: Loud, Fast And Out Of Control
Buffalo Tom frontman Bill Janovitz took a broad stab at his dual Marshal amplifiers, twisting his volume knob past eleven as the Boston trio tore their current single, “Summer,” to post-punk shreads. With eardrum-splitting deftness, the band ripped through nearly twenty songs in just over an hour, drawing heavily from 1993’s Big Red Letter Day and their recently released Sleepy Eyed.
Bassist Chris Coulburn struggled to match Janovitz’s rush of distorion-frenzied guitar, motioning for volume throughout the brief set and assaulting the under-capacity Academy audience with rib-crushing bursts of rootsy bass. Drummer Tom Maginnis slammed his sparse kit oblivious to the uproar, driving the thirtysomething outfit through “Sodajerk,” “Kitchen Door” and the strobe-soaked proto-punk stomper, “Tangerine.”
Janovitz, looking something like an Irish-Catholic Elvis with his beefy red chops and wing-collared, sky-blue polyester shirt, carried the show with his squelching feedback and eratic outbursts of Husker-style guitar noise. Stumbling across the trophy-strewn, Christmas-lighted stage with Townsend-inspired madness, he came perilously close to crashing into his mammoth stacks throughout the show.
The relative calm of the tremelo-drenched “I’m Allowed” [“Waited for an answer/ But I waited twenty-four years”] and “Tailights Fade” was short lived, the band leaping into “Birdbrain,” “Sun Dress,” and Coulburn’s “Clobbered” with nary a moment’s breath in between. Ringing ears found relief as — after a significant wait — Buffalo Tom returned for a “really depressing” encore suite of Sleepy Eyed’s “When You Discover” and Big Red Letter Day’s “Anything the Way.”
Coulburn and Maginnis were long gone as Janovitz lingered in the wings alone, still coaxing feedback from his guitar before trapsing awkwardly off stage. Ten year veterans of the loud, fast, sloppy set, Buffalo Tom’s scruffy garage rock is better for the wear.
Beantown opener Jennifer Trynin set the Gargantuan sound precedent early, revealing in her trio’s din despite the audiences apathy. Trynin — shredding ears and breaking strings — plowed through Cockamamie’s caustic rock ballads “Fists and Fossils,” “Would/Could See You Again,” “Everything to Me,” “All This Could Be You” undaunted.
This review first appeared on Rolling Stone Online