Wednesday, 27 October 2010

308 BUFFALO TOM, Puressence, Bristol University Anson Rooms, Wednesday 1 November 1995

Off we go for another helping of Reading Festival 1995's Top Band, Buffalo Tom, a Boston trio maturing nicely with a fabulous new LP "Sleepy Eyed", which is currently topping my 1995 fave LP poll. We drove down for 8, finding the place deserted! Have Bristolians no taste at all? (Perhaps, I mean they support Bristol City FC...)

Anyway, the place filled up for support Puressence, who despite looking like identikit Manc post-baggy types, a little out of date, actually sounded like early Pale Saints in a padded cell with Talk Talk (imagine that, if you can...). The vocalist's falsetto, if not his unnecessary sneer, impressed, but the set, nice and haunting early doors, tailed off notably.

The place filled up (finally!), but I still had elbow room down the front waiting for the entrance of The Tom, while their roadies decorated the stage in red satin, and set up multitudes of sports trophies over the speakers! Very odd!

Still, The Tom themselves were tremendous; a varied but always dynamic set, drawing from "Sleepy Eyed" and their mighty back catalogue in equal measure. Vocalist Bill Janovitz, outstanding in olive and orange, was a passionate, raw visual focus, and Chris Colbourn's more laid-back, soulful offerings provided relief from the intensity. "Velvet Roof" and the excellent "Tangerine" were two titanic amphetamine rushes of energy and power, and highlighted a splendid set which, encore and all, was 1 hour 20 minutes long, but seemed less than half that. Their self-effacing modesty and genuine delight at the crowd's enthusiasm served to enhance their reputation as well. Supreme stuff from undoubtedly one of the top rock bands currently operating today!

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