The Scene: Bearded and tattooed men filled into the Gothic Theatre last Saturday night for a dual-headlining show with rowdy rockers The White Buffalo and Chuck Ragan & the Camaraderie. The beer went down like water but the crowd energy didn’t quite reflect it. The thirty to fifty year old crowd was focused on the music and despite a band sponsored Instagram contest, not a single phone pierced the dark room. Based on White Buffalo shows past, I had my papers in order should I not make it out of this one alive, but it turned out that wasn’t necessary.
The White Buffalo: With an Eddie Vedder growl and a deep South barroom energy, Southern California’s The White Buffalo delivered a killer set. Jake Smith and the boys were given the first spot and a fifteen minute shorter set time in the split headliner. The room was surprisingly calm despite the loud and raucous chorus of songs like “The Bowery” and “BB Guns & Dirt Bikes,” and it was no fault of the band, who brought the catchy Country inflected Rock ruckus I came for.
Drummer Matt Lynott drove a manic beat and pumped energy into the trio’s tight sound while Tommy Andrews thumped a steady bass line, paced the stage, and hollered into Smith’s mic when needed be. The night wasn’t all hellraisers, they also hit some more peaceful gems like the heavy -hearted “Into The Sun” and “Love Song #1,” a song he said was written for his wife.
In what I had promised my friend would be a “wild and sweaty show,” I was a bit let down to see the full room nonchalantly bobbing to a top notch performance from the band. It occurred to me that Chuck Ragan may have been the main draw, but later I saw little more enthusiasm for his set. Don’t get me wrong, both sets were by no means bad, but after absolutely wild shows from The White Buffalo the last two times I saw them, I came to the Gothic expecting that same reckless abandon.
“Ya’ll excited for Chuck Ragan?” asked Smith to somewhat of a small cheer from the full theater before closing the set with my favorite White Buffalo tune, “The Pilot.”
Chuck Ragan & the Camaraderie: I’ll admit, I saw The White Buffalo was playing a show and assumed they’d be closing the night out. That wasn’t the case and while I didn’t do my homework on Chuck Ragan, his brand of Folky Rock could appeal to any fan of The White Buffalo. The band brought extremely high energy on stage. The raspy voiced Ragan, hair flying, tapped into his Punk roots and let loose. The music was remarkably similar to that of The White Buffalo, but the addition of the fiddle and pedal steel gave an extra dose of Country to the mix and it sounded great. Despite another round of great music and stage energy, the crowd continued to listen attentively but without the enthusiasm I thought it deserved.
The night went on and my interest faded due to unfamiliarity. I left the the venue a few songs early and cabbed into the night with energy left to burn in other places but very satisfied with two solid sets from The White Buffalo and Chuck Ragan.
Stage Presence: A-
Set/Light Show: B