Live Review: Avi Buffalo at First Avenue
Kicking off Thursday’s show at 7thStreet Entry was the current Afternoon Records roster member, Souix Falls, South Dakota’s We All Have Hooks For Hands. With six members harnessing the band’s folk-infused indie pop, it’s impressive the guys can keep all of their ramshackle, riff-heavy songs from completely disintegrating. They instead charge and cascade; and the three-guitar threat mixed with the trumpet reminded me of something like Cap N’ Jazz on steroids. Their hooks were huge and the high-pitched lead vocals made for a really energetic and youthful performance. They even a broke out a surprisingly tolerable, fun version of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”
Next up was the female-fronted local act Total Babe. Having never heard them before, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the young, wide-eyed lead singer Lizzie Carolan. But they didn’t disappoint. The band balances Carolan’s soft, twee vocals against riff-heavy instrumentation much in the vein of Belle and Sebastian. Well-crafted melodies and carefully-placed chillwave-esque jingles made them a very pleasurable listen. I can see why they are on some many people’s radars. Although I kind of wish they would have opened as far as the overall flow of the show. We All Have Hooks For Hands would have been a nice precursor to the surging power of Avi Buffalo.
Anyone that has kept up with indie blogs in the past year knows one thing about the new Long Beach, California band Avi Buffalo: “Holy shit! They are all so young. OMG.” Yeah, it’s no secret that the three members of Avi Buffalo aren’t even old enough to drink – and they wore those bold “X’s” on their hands on Thursday night proudly. But on the only side of that realization is that – in the words of Wayne Campbell – they can fucking wail. After seeing them perform, it’s not surprising that Avi alone was able to pull off his songs live as a one-man show before forming the full band. With at least a half dozen pedals at his disposal, Avi himself was a wall of sound held together by the strong rhythm section. The most impressive thing about the songs they played – all of which were from the band’s debut self-titled record – was how much more flushed out and jam-heavy they were. Avi creates incredible sonic waves of sound while also taking time to meander into big, screeching solos. At times, the small Entry seem too small of a venue and at other times it was just right. I was wary if Avi would be able to pull off his high-pitched vocals live, but he hit nearly every note and his voice remained clean and direct. The band has been riding on their debut since April, so they should be releasing new music in the near future. But it was nice to see the debut flushed-out after having soaked in the songs for months – even if the set clocked in at about 45 minutes.