The White Buffalo – aka singer/songwriter/guitarist Jake Smith – played the O2 Ritz in Manchester, England on 16th July as part of his European tour.
Support on the tour, including this date, came in the form of the band L.A. Edwards. Their set consisted of nine songs, six of which were from their latest release Out Of The Heart Of Darkness.
Although Luke (L.A.) Edwards had a few comments to the audience answered by silence, the set was well received. The reaction from the audience would have made a casual observer think they were already fans. This was only contradicted by the lack of people in the crowd singing along. There is something of Jackson Browne in their music, and highlights of the set were Hi Rite Now, Surrender and Day I Die – a song dedicated to the mother of the three brothers in the band. It’s fair to say since the main act’s fans were wooed by them – if you’re a fan of The White Buffalo, you should check out L.A. Edwards.
The White Buffalo arrived on stage to a warm welcome, with members of the audience clapping and shouting. Jake’s voice is somewhat reminiscent of Leonard Cohen, Stephen Merritt of Magnetic Fields, Rob Goodwin of The Slow Show, and maybe a bit of Colter Wall.
His set was full of songs from his back catalogue. With 18 songs plus an encore, it was a little surprising to only have four from his latest release – 2022’s Year of the Dark Horse. The band’s guitarist was in great form – the energy he put into every song was impressive, not appearing to flag even at the end of the set. The drummer wasn’t much different – one of the toms falling at the end of the set, such was his enthusiasm.
There was very little audience interaction at the start, with most songs seamlessly moving from one to the next. As the interaction increased, so did the audience’s enjoyment. Even for someone with no previous knowledge of The White Buffalo, the show was entertaining. The music was well played, and the enthusiasm from the band was contagious.
From C’mon Come Up Come Out (from the latest album) onwards was where the levels stepped up, and it was obvious the back catalogue was going to be investigated by this reviewer.
If you like your music on the Americana side of country, and are partial to a gravelly voice, you won’t be disappointed by The White Buffalo’s live show.