Buxton in Kansas City [Concert Review]

by oz on October 1, 2012

At SxSW 2012, I caught Buxton at the New West Records showcase and was amazed. I’d spent considerable time with their album, Nothing Here Seems Strange, and quickly became enamored with their smart, eccentric alt-country sound. The album did nothing to prepare me for their live set, however. The album is quirky, subdued and steeped in folk, but the band that takes the stage is more brash. This is a rock band.

They took the stage at The Riot Room in Kansas City last night to a small crowd. Selfishly, I loved it. No lines for the Boulevard Reverb Imperial Pilsner I was drinking and no lines for urinals. Those that joined us for the Sunday night show were let in on a little secret – Buxton is incredible. The five-piece ran through a blistering set that ended much too soon and the set list included one cover (can’t remember the song or artist), which was the only weak point in the night. Their original material includes meticulous attention to details, bursts of explosive energy and poignant songwriting.

Buxton started the night with “Boy of Nine,” which was a little surprising. If there’s a single on the album, that song is it and I expected it later in the evening. I think the reason for its early entrance is because Jason Willis is itching to put down the mandolin to show his prowess on lead guitar. This guy is pure joy to watch. They followed up with “Fingertips” and the crowd was introduced to what the next 45 minutes had in store. Great songs, great energy and impeccable guitar from both Willis and Austin Sepulvado. One of the highlights of the night was “Tarzan and Jane,” a song not found on Nothing Here Seems Strange. Lead singer Sergio Trevino works through the lyrics while Sepulvado offers up some honky-tonk guitar with Willis working in some surf-inspired riffs. The end result is something that crosses genres and highlights each band member’s musicianship.

There’s little on YouTube that captures their live set – I did my best to grab one below. If you see them in your town, don’t miss the opportunity to see them. They are hitting the road again in mid-October with Frontier Ruckus. I’ll be at their show at Record Bar in KC. See a full list of dates here.

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