When I hear the name The White Buffalo, I picture things like the The American Old West, Native Americans, and of course, bison roaming the plains. The man Jake Smith, aka The White Buffalo, is a big, bearded guy, and I think that type of imagery suits him. I could picture him sitting in an old saloon, strumming his guitar and playing to a room full of frontier types.
TWB played his first show in Sacramento last Friday night at Old Ironsides. His baritone voiced folk-rock brought a wide range of people out to the show, form hipsters types to an older crowd – I’d say there was more of the latter. When I first heard his songs, it reminded me of the solo work that Eddie Vedder did for the Into the Wild soundtrack, but with less banjo; very earthy, very personal. He’s been riding some buzz for a few years now and has built up a dedicated fan base; one woman and her friends had come from Placerville to see the show, and model Angela Lindvall recently mentioned his music in October’s Allure magazine (my subscription to Allure just expired, otherwise I would tell you what she said).
TWB was friendly with the audience and bantered frequently, at one point asking the crowd to buy merch so he and his band could have some gas money. He played songs from both the EP and full-length he has out, The White Buffalo EP and Hogtied Revisited. The show was a crowd-pleaser, and chants for an encore came immediately after the set was finished. After going off stage and taking a few swigs of beer, TWB came back on and played a song, solo, and then the other band members joined him for the last song of the night, an appropriate cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’.
Opening band Prieta was impressive as well. Vocalist/keyboardist Alex Ayers easily sounds like Chris Cornell, and the band puts their own Southern rock spin on a tight classic rock/Led Zeppelin sound. Everyone seemed to really dig them, including the front row full of girls. They’re playing at Cesar Chavez Plaza next Friday for Concerts in the Park.
The Kelps kicked things off for a sparse crowd around 9:30pm. These three guys appeared to still be in high school but that makes their mature sound that much more impressive. They won over the crowd with their driving bluesy rock and soulful vocals and performance. Now if only they would trade the white t-shirts and khakis for some real rock n’ roll gear.