Tuesday, 17 November 2009

744 BUFFALO TOM, THE FIGGS, The Paradise, Boston Massachusetts, MA USA, Friday 25 April 2008

I'd flown over for the Big Dipper reunion show (see gig 745), so this one was a happy coincidence! Amazingly, I'd not seen Mike Gents' "day job" band before, so I determined to get there early and catch their set. However, the "T" journey took over an hour, which left me sweating on getting there for the scheduled 9 pm start! Luckily, as I'd discovered, bumping into new Figg Scott Janovitz on my arrival at 2 minutes to 9 (!), that they'd delayed their set. Whew! Chatted to SJano, the former Dragstrip Courage mainman who was off later that evening to play in the WBCN Rumble Finals with his new band The Great Bandini, and also barman Bill Guerra, former Bleu and Senor Happy guitarist, before Gent led the Figgs on at 9.15.

I'd picked up on the prolific Figgs before even coming to Boston, loving the jumpabout modish pop of their "Low Fi At Society High" CD. Since then they'd cranked out about a million or so CDs, some great, some slightly less so, and Gent had marked time with the more Stones-ish rock stomp of The Gentlemen, along with the back row of the wonderful Gravel Pit. The Figgs, however, were a solid and established proposition "live", and put on an energetic and edgy performance. Although a lot of their set material was more low-key than I'd prefer, when they rocked out they did so with a vim and vigour few can match. A bit of "Hot Stove All Star" reprise was enacted as Bill Janovitz joined Gent onstage for a rocking stomp through "I Can Feel The Fire", which fired the set towards a roaring climax, with "Regional Hits" and "Static/Disco", allowing Gent to introduce bandmates Pete Donnelly, a brilliant bassist, and elastic limbed hyper drummer Pete Hayes.

In the interval I ran into Lucky Jackson, an enthusiastic Mike Gill, and also had a fun conversation with "mine host" Corin Ashley's friend Corey, who upon realising I was from the UK told me all about his friend's recent trip, not realising I was staying with said friend!

Took as best a position as I could in this sell-out and very enthusiastic home-town crowd for Buffalo Tom. Kicking off at 10.15 with "Treehouse", "Summer" and a jagged, strident "Velvet Roof", they delivered an absolutely superb home-town performance of power, bleeding-raw passion and intensity. In contrast to their Islington show last December, they were "on it" from the outset, with as healthy a performance as I've seen them deliver. An early "Taillights Fade" bled with emotion, "Larry" was brilliant as ever, and a surprising "When You Discover" was a strident, passionate highlight.

I chatted to Pete Hayes at the merch stand at the end of the Tom's set, but back in for encores "Tangerine" and "Soda Jerk", capping a supreme 1 1/2 hour set. Grabbed a taxi back after a great gig... little did I know it would only be a small starter compared to tomorrow night's main course...

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