For her first AMJ live assignment, we sent intern Emily out to the Buzz Hungry show at the Caledonia…
BY EMILY BUNN
On Saturday night I made the long 4-mile drive from my apartment to the Caledonia Lounge with my roommate Sarah to see Buzz Hungry play their first show in 15 years. I was excited, to say the least. David Barbe, the vocalist and guitarist for Buzz Hungry, happens to be my music business teacher. They had 3 bands opening for them and all the bands had very different sounds, which was a nice change from the usual lineup of all similar-sounding bands.
We arrived around 9:45 to an empty venue. So, naturally, we paid our entry fee and went around the corner for a drink. By the time we made our way back to Caledonia it was just after 10 and the first band had started, which happened to be David Barbe’s son’s band Velocirapture. Even from outside the building I could tell their music was heavy on the guitar and they used quite a lot a reverb. The instruments kind of drowned out the vocals throughout their set, but not in a particularly bad way. On one or two songs the bass started up first, which automatically made me a fan. I’m a sucker for a good bass line! Overall, a great way to start the night. Then the Drunk Tennessee Fan arrived.
He seemed to bring with him quite a few frat guys and their counterparts. Or, ya know, one of the members of New Madrid had a few supportive friends. Their sound was drastically different from the rough sound of Velocirapture. They incorporated backup vocals and at times three and even all four members were singing together, which was awesome. New Madrid’s music was more upbeat and the crowd bounced around and really seemed to enjoy the music, as did I. Drunk Tennessee Fan was really into it.
Up next was the last opener of the night—Grass Giraffes. They were by far my favorite band of the night. Their songs were fun and the way they switched up vocals—not one complete lead vocalist—was great. All the members looked to be all different ages. Sarah and I got a kick out of their bassist. He was rather stoic throughout their entire set. He seemed completely unphased by everything while his band mates bobbed along to the music. He got the job done though, so you go bassist dude!
Finally, it was time for Buzz Hungry. There was a huge change in the crowd. A lot of the people that had come in for New Madrid left and there was an influx of middle-aged people who were reluctant to stand close to the stage, as Barbe was quick to point out. I think it’s great that people who were fans of Buzz Hungry in their prime returned to support the band 15 years later. I have to say that it was odd, but also pretty awesome, to see my teacher up on stage playing his guitar and singing into a microphone.
They started off strong, but during one of the first songs a rather inebriated fan decided to mess with Barbe’s mic stand, which messed up his guitar setup. Barbe was quick to call the guy out, choosing a few choice words to spew at him, before attempting to shrug it off and continuing with the show. It took quite a few songs before everything was restored back to normal, though. On one song there was a fill of just the bass and drums, which I loved. It was a great way to bring the instruments that are usually just provide the beat in the background to the forefront.
To have been away for such a long time, all three members of Buzz Hungry had no problem letting loose onstage and fitting back into their roles as musicians in a band. At one point the bassist who was taking on the vocal duties messed up the lyrics, but then just laughed it off. It was great to see that they were genuinely having fun.