Thursday, July 9, 2009

Show Review: Avi Buffalo @ The Echo, 7/1/09

Kicked off the month of July last Wednesday with somewhat-local indie rockers Avi Buffalo, or Avi Buffalo Music. You might remember them from this LA Love entry, but if not, here's the Cliff's Notes version: 4 high school students from Long Beach, CA play awesomely crafted [and sometimes long-winded] songs about love and life with a perspective you might never have thought possible from an 18-year-old songwriter. I can't help but find some kind of ironic humor in a song called, "I'm Getting Too Old For This," but Avi's delivery is so sincere that the only way you'd know they were so young is by looking at them.

Most of the house had cleared out by the time Avi Buffalo was ready to play, which is just the bad luck of getting the post-headliner slot on a weeknight, and not a reflection on the band at all. It's a shame more people didn't stay, because this was a great show.

I was much more impressed than the last time I saw them at the Echo, back in May when they had the Tuesday night residency. That night they'd played a set of all-new material with a much more experimental bent, but tonight they were back to their old selves. They played my 2 favorite Avi songs, "What's In It For" and "Where's Your Dirty Mind," and even stuck around for an encore performance of "Summer Cum." I don't have an mp3 of "I'm Getting Too Old For This," so I'd forgotten how good it was, and Rebecca Sheridan's Nord Electro keyboard washes were perfect.

I love how focused and serious these guys are mid-song, and Avi's humble little comments between songs. Unless they're getting into a crazy loud balls-to-the-wall instrumental ending, not one of them is big on showmanship or calling extra attention to themselves. And they don't really have to be, because the music speaks for itself.

Avi and Rebecca's vocals were in top form, and it's really cool to see a band with male/female vocal harmonies that aren't your typical indie rock duet, where you can easily pick out the low and high ends -- rather, the two voices together are like listening to one voice, both in a higher register but with Avi's howl-like falsetto resting on top. The effect is almost ghostly, and one of the coolest things about Avi Buffalo.

I was endlessly impressed by Wednesday's set and totally glad I stuck it out til after midnight. If you're in the LA area, you should try to catch them at one of their many local dates in July and August, starting with the Silverlake Lounge next Monday night.

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