buffalo 08

Review by Tony Rogers (Switch to

I was lucky enough to catch Kauai and this show and the progress (traced thru the boots as well) has been huge. In fact, I have never seen a better nite of the rhythm section since Ive been grazing in Toddland-PP played (and looked like somewhat) very Dale Crover like on the heavier stuff; RH had a flatter Fender sound that worked so well in this heavier context. The crowd dug it to death. All the way up to the Chuck Berrry back to basics solo where it all ends up on Man Up, the crowd stayed attentive and into it-In fact, on Man Up, the dancers appeared as they did in Kauai. A nice smattering of oldies set things up nicely and I, for one, love the new arrangement of LF. I know some people wonder why he's doing covers, so what?? They rock. TR said this first tour was to play the whole of the album-the way he said it, it made me think what may change in the winter-time or even in Europe. You guys keep us in loop over there! Sorry but I couldnt deliver another addition due to equip trouble, but we have a few already-we'll see what pops up. Bardo is clearly the new gtr showcase on the album. I did get to talk a second to JG after the show, he remarked how much work it was to play such heavy music. The new kids (Matt and Rachel) were jumping around onstage and could almost as times seem to be as young as Todd (at 60! ...remarkable).

As for the venue, I got there a bit late and it was like trying to discover a secret. No sign, up a flight of steps in a steel/glass structure at the end of main street, nice place but packed to the gils (300-350?)...I saw only Lynn (Veggie) (her her husband) from Toddstock, but I saw Robin and Rick from our longtime crew-doing the same as me...getting that end of the tour buzz..its always best to hear the band at the end if you can.Sound system was on, mistakes were non-existent, TRs voice was rested-couldnt have been a better nite to see the show. I will get around to commenting on the tunes themselves when I do my page on the boot action, but rest assured this band is confident.They have put their own imprint on the tunes and I think its a good move to include a live document in the album release package. I have been lucky enough to have heard the album and there are definitely places the band and the sound has "flowered" the tunes. Most of the tracks, especially Bardo has really gotten signficantly better/expanded by the live deal. The only newer tune that may not have benefitted by repeat playing is Courage (great tune) -the early versions from Kauai and Oshkosh reveal a more punchy, almost funky/popping bass line that now is played more legato. That being said, the album version also sounds a little more like a demo than the others, so Im not sure (im never sure about anything, you know) where they are going with that. It is hard because it is so unlike the others that color the nighly mood in a much heavier, muscular mode. I digress, but the show is truly a triumph on all levels. Make sure if you get a chance, you see this version of the band. The perfect mix of youth and almost youth (youth in the mind) make this a treat. Going to be interesting to see what changes with the setlist come in Europe. Finally, a tip of the hat to Jesse Gress-he just keeps on playing in his brilliant unassuming way-tour after tour-playing impossible parts, incld parts that were never meant to be on gtr, singing and keeping fresh kindling on the Toddfire-Ive said it before but Ill say it again-there are the musicians that have played with Todd and then theres Jesse-on a whole other level. Love this album, love this band-go buy 100 copies if you can! Ah...that was nice......I was ready to burst, feel a lot better now.......can you please pass the ....uh....how bout the mustard instead?. ...tony rogers

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8/01/2008 - The Tralf - Buffalo, NY

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