The White Buffalo At The Belly Up
When one of your favorite artists performs in front of a local crowd full of friends and family of the band, then you know you’re in for a good night. That was the case when The White Buffalo (AKA Jake Smith) recently performed in Solana Beach at the Belly Up Tavern. The performance lasted well into the wee hours of the morning, and it was as if The White Buffalo and his band didn’t want the night to end. The crowd loved every minute of it, and in turn, that night’s performers clearly fed off the energy of an adoring audience.
The White Buffalo defies easy categorization; all you need to know is he’s badass. Deftly blending old-time country, blues, rock, and folk, Smith’s talents are fitting for a title that sounds as legendary as “The White Buffalo.” His voice is simply golden and he has the appearance of a mountain man, staggering in height, clad in flannel shirts and heavily bearded with a long-haired mane. There’s nothing really conventional about Smith’s sound, but it must be said that his voice simply sinks its hooks into you with its deep, rustic, and distinctive quality. A possible comparison is Eddie Vedder but even then one can’t help but feel that association falls short.
The White Buffalo and his band performed a wonderful live show that can only be described as aggressive and intense; simply put, the ballads were left at home and the band decided to turn up the heat and really shine with some of the more rollicking tracks from Smith’s albums. The White Buffalo and his band have survived and spread the word with a self-reliant attitude, and that old-school approach is reflected in the sound and lyrics of Smith’s songs.
It must be said that the White Buffalo has an amazing stage presence, and it partly comes down to his voice, which any singer would kill to have. Wonderfully dark and conflicted themes are touched on in some of his best work. His latest album, entitled Once Upon a Time in the West, is as applicable to modern times as it is to the Wild, Wild West, and while that era may be long gone, its spirit of individualism lives strong in the music and energy of The White Buffalo.
He is currently performing around the West Coast before heading east, so catch him live while you can. You won’t be sorry.