By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Even before they agreed to sign on to the current tour, Janovitz, Colbourne, and Maginnis talked at length about the perception their participation might give. "As a band, especially after you get into a few records, you start to realize there's a lot of money out there to be taken in this indie-rock-meets-the-Gap world," he says. "And so we do discuss a lot of this, and it's a combination for us A it's not always just one way or another. And we've learned, too, that we've got songs to sing for all kinds of different people. We've never been a real punk-rock band, in almost any sense of the term. We're huge fans of the Kinks and Rolling Stones, and it's reflected in our music."
Bob Dylan, too, when you consider the new album's "When You Discover," with Janovitz's rattling guitars and observational lyrics turning the song into a less acerbic take on "Like a Rolling Stone." Janovitz can be biting and he can be funny. In the case of "Sun Dress," also from Sleepy Eyed, he can be both, singing, "I don't need to read about myself in other towns/don't want to hear all you have seen or what you've found," and "This time of year I want to breathe/but I just sneeze/and the sunshine is killing me by degrees." (About that "reading about myself in other towns" line -- ouch!) And while the band, especially Janovitz, sends the Sleepy Eyed catharsis-o-meter into the red zone on the midtempo, cauterizing "Sunday Night" and "Crueler," they show equal aplomb on bracing, likable rockers such as "Souvenir" and "Tangerine."
In fact the whole album brims with a palpable immediacy, and Colbourne concedes that Buffalo Tom wanted a less produced sound than they sought on its predecessor, [big red letter day]. "We tried to record this record very live," he allows, eliminating, as he puts it, "the studio-guy element, getting the ringer to come in." Accordingly, Janovitz added some organ, piano, and harmonica, and Colbourne some cello and harmonica, but with the exception of the harmonica (Dylan again!), those instruments hover discreetly in the background, with the band functioning as a tightly wound power trio.
Whether Buffalo Tom can convey that sound by seizing the attention of a packed house (or shed) of Live fans and not letting go during a 40-minute opening set remains to be determined. Regardless, Colbourne seems unworried. "I remember some of my favorite gigs of all time with Buffalo Tom were very early on when we had about 30 minutes to play, the first of three bands at [New York's] C.B.G.B.'s or in Boston when we were playing on a Tuesday night. And, boy, you can hit your stride pretty quick. This is almost a stadium, versus a club, of course, and you have other elements. But when I go to see a concert, even when it's one of my big heroes, like Bob Dylan or whoever, after about 45 minutes I tend to look at my watch."
Buffalo Tom performs with Live and Big Audio Dynamite at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 30, at the Miami Arena, 721 NW 1st Ave; 530-4444. Tickets cost $24.