Those who say that music is dying are wrong. The business side of the industry may be floundering, but boil it down to the fledgling bands and the mid-level groups who make their living hitting the road to play clubs and small venues with $25 tickets, and it’s still a lively industry.
And everyone needs a soundtrack to life. If you can’t live without one, SXSW is Mecca: the Promised Land of music where rock, pop, country, jazz, blues, Americana, punk all coexist side by side. You can stumble between a great band, a shitty band and two that are mediocre, and then unexpectedly find the act that changes your perspective and becomes the one you follow religiously for years to come. Boise's Muffalo, who played a spot on Wednesday night, might be one of those latter acts.
Unfortunately, Muffalo suffered from a terrible slot in the schedule. The Ale House sounds cool, but it’s hidden off the main strip in an alley and is about as big an alley dive as you can get. Inside, there was plenty of space, but poor lighting and shitty sound—combined with a hidden venue—put Muffalo at a disadvantage from the start. Nevertheless, they stepped up and knocked it out, venue be damned.
The band's amped-up garage rock went straight for a sucker punch and kept at it. I could see these guys pairing up with Meat Puppets for a nice regional run. Raw, earnest, yet not self-important, this is straight up rock and roll. Color me impressed.
Gary Hizer is the music editor at Urban Tulsa Weekly and a self-professed music geek who will trade sleep and food for a great song and a stiff drink with the band.