This Weekend | Buffalo Tom at The Sinclair


[T]here are quite a few amazing Boston bands that shaped the sound of my younger days, but no other band has truly represented what I would soon come to define as “my style” of music more than Buffalo Tom. I can always find a song of theirs that represents a specific moment in my life, be it extremely happy or downright sad, and throughout the years the trio has continued to release album after album of time defining rock n’ roll. Now it is not my intent to simply wax nostalgic about what Buffalo Tom has meant to me all these years but I do want to lay the groundwork down as to my appreciation of nearly three decades worth of music and why I am excited about their weekend stint at The Sinclair in Cambridge.

In 1988 the guys released their debut self-titled album, with the help of a certain Dinosaur Jr front-man by the name of J Mascis, on the legendary Fort Apache record label. Filled with excellent guitar-driven tracks like “Racine” and “Sunflower Suit” the album quickly hit regular rotation on college-rock radio stations across the country. J Mascis also lent his production work to 1990’s Birdbrain, an album that kicks into high-gear right away with Tom Maginnis beating the drums like a man possessed on the title track and keeps up that intensity with songs like “Skeleton Key” and “Fortune Teller,” which became fan favorites at live sets and also showcases some stellar guitar playing from lead-singer/guitarist Bill Janovitz.

Released in 1992 Let Me Come Over is Buffalo Tom’s transitional album. When I ask fellow fans of the band for their favorite BT record this is the one that comes up most often. It is likely because Let Me Come Over sounds most like Buffalo Tom to people and the songs contained within are filled with nervous energy and heartfelt longing. Chris Colbourn’s opening bassline in “Staples” sets the tone for this introspective album which twists and turns through the quiet despair of  “Tailights Fade” and “Frozen Lake,” and the carefree recklessness of  “Velvet Roof” and “Porchlight,” with the ease of a band coming into its own.

The rest of the nineties would see Buffalo Tom’s star rise that much higher with the release of what would come to be known as their breakthrough album, 1993’s Big Red Letter Day. It is one of their most successful records to date and introduced them to a whole new fanbase after an appearance on the teen-tastic TV hit of the decade, My So Called Life, in 1994. The band benefits from this exposure and the release of Sleepy Eyed in 1995 is well received by a both old and new-found fans alike. 1998’s Smitten closes out the decade and would be the last release by the band for quite a while.

After 9 years away the band returns with 2007’s Three Easy Pieces, followed by Skins in 2011 which was released on their own label Scrawny Records. Both albums gained positive reviews from critics and fans alike who were happy to have the trio back after all those years. There is even word on the streets of a new album in the works! I cannot giveaway my source on that tidbit of news but let’s just say it is from a highly credible informant. If this album does come to fruition you can be assured you’ll read about it here.

So there you have it folks. I hope that I have successfully translated my appreciation for Boston’s one and only Buffalo Tom and that these words have inspired you to grab your favorite album of theirs and give it a listen. Perhaps it has been a while since you have seen them live as well. To remedy that all you will need to do is head on over to The Sinclair in Cambridge as the guys have two headlining shows this weekend. Tonight (5/10) the fantastic band Sleepyhead open the show and Saturday (5/11) Mike Gent (The Figgs, Candy Butchers, The Gentlemen) and his new band The Rapid Shave kick the rock n’ roll off in glorious fashion. FYI Saturday’s show is sold-out but you still have a shot for this evening’s show and tickets/info can be found on the venue’s website.

Listen to the fantastic song “Mineral” from Let Me Come Over above and keep tabs on any and all Buffalo Tom news on their Facebook page