Date: April 18th 2014
Opening Band: Jonny Two Bags
It’s kind of rare these days when all three bands of a show are excellent! Jonny Two Bags from Social Distortion (Cadillac Tramps/US Bombs/Youth Brigade as well), The White Buffalo and Chuck Ragan and The Camaraderie were all outstanding last night at Irving Plaza in New York City.
I was filming an acoustic session with Jake Smith of The White Buffalo in the dressing room for a future episode on Before The Concert. So I missed the first song from Jonny Two Bags but glad I saw the rest of his set. Jonny recently released his solo album Salvation Town, which was released on Isotone Records. I’m not familiar with Jonny’s solo material yet so not sure what he played but I dug it. His sound was a mixture of Americana, Country and rock and roll. Later in the set, Chuck Ragan joined him and the rest of the band on stage for a song. It was great seeing punk legends on stage together, playing Americana music of all things.
The White Buffalo were up next and since he was co-headlining with Chuck, he played an hour set and I was more than happy about that. For whatever reason, I never heard of Jake Smith and The White Buffalo until this tour was announced 2 months ago. Their music has been big with the TV series Sons Of Anarchy on FX. I never saw the series yet (I know I know) but looking forward to seeing it soon. But as soon as I heard “Wish It Was True” from The White Buffalo, I was immediately hooked and got all of the band’s albums. I also really wanted to film them for an episode of Before The Concert so everything worked out last night. Got to see the band play for the first time, met Jake and the rest of the guys in the band and filmed Jake! Not a bad night if I say so myself.
Jake, Tommy and Matt took the stage and their music blew me away! Hearing Jake’s voice is awesome on the albums but it’s another thing to hear it in person. I always like to describe it to people as a cross between Richie Havens and Eddie Vedder. The band itself is a little bit rock and roll, a little bit country, and a little bit folk but overall, just plain awesome! I was telling my wife, they seem like a band that would be playing clubs in the South or Midwest behind barbed-wire fence and people throwing beers at them like The Blues Brothers.
They started off their set with “When I’m Gone” and then went into a great one, “Oh Darlin’ What Have I Done.” “Every Night Every Day” is off of Lost and Found EP and that was played as well. I particularly enjoyed that tune because it was sped up from the album version. Many of the songs seemed faster to me. Once Upon A Time In The West and Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways were both heavily represented but sadly “Wish It Was True” wasn’t played. Thankfully “BB Guns and Dirtbikes” was played since that’s my favorite song from The White Buffalo. Jake the guys got some help from Chuck Ragan on harmonica for that one. Other highlights for me include “Good Day To Die,” “The Whistler,” “Don’t You Want It” and “The Pilot.” “The Pilot” was played last and it was incredible to hear. Besides BB Guns, that was my favorite from his set. The band left the stage on such a high, that I wish they came back out for an encore or two. Sadly that didn’t happen. The White Buffalo is a band that I will be seeing live every time they come to town now. They were just simply, fucking awesome!
Chuck Ragan finished the show last and continued on with the high from The White Buffalo’s set. Some TWB fans left the show early but whatever, it was their lost and they missed another kick-ass set. I saw Chuck and his revival tour last year at Irving Plaza and that was great to see. This year, he showed up with some of the usual suspects like Jon Gaunt & Joe Ginsberg but with a few others as well.
Chuck’s new album Till Midnight is his best album to date and plenty of the songs were played last night including the awesome single “Something May Catch Fire,” “Non-Typical,” “Bedroll Lullaby,” “Revved,” and “Vagabond.” Obviously I loved hearing all of these but definitely hearing “Something May Catch Fire” was a highlight for me. “Bedroll Lullaby,” which was originally recorded for a buddy for his short film called “It’s Better In The Wind,” sounded excellent as well.
Some of Chuck Ragan’s earlier stuff was played as well like “Nothing Left To Prove,” “Nomad By Fate,” “The Boat,” and “Rotterdam.” The last song he played for the set was “Meet You In The Middle” and was probably my favorite song by Chuck for the evening. The song was played a lot faster than how it is on the album so that’s why I probably enjoyed it the most. The show was getting late and I didn’t want to be stranded at the PATH station forever, so I didn’t get to see the encore. I heard he played “For All We Care” and another tune. I was bummed I didn’t get to see the encore but the entire show was perfect for me. All three bands played incredible and really wish they come back soon to play. I’m sure Chuck will tour in the Fall when it’s a great time for salmon fishing.
Here’s some of the highlights from the show. Be sure to visit SkaPunkPhotos.com for all the photos.
Jonny Two Bags
The White Buffalo
Chuck Ragan and The Camaraderie