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Rock Is Alive and Well: King Buffalo


King Buffalo is a three-piece band that formed in 2013 out of Rochester, NY. They are self-proclaimed heavy psychedelic, desert, blues, stoner rock. Their songs are trance-like and hypnotic in an atmospheric sense. 


Their first full-length album is called Orion, which was released in 2016, and delivers their genre in such an effortless, confident piece of work. The songs are like rolling thunder and cascade in such a natural way. They have a continuity that captures the listener throughout the album. They are visions of desert dancing on a dark peyote trip. Their newest EP, Repeater, is true to their sound, yet has furthered their intricacies in songwriting, not to mention killer guitar riffs. 

As a newer band, their potential is boundless. Their work has already set the bar high, and have developed wide fan base. They are currently on a U.S and European tour with the band, Elder, among others. There is a community of sludge/doom rock that includes bands like Earthless, All Them Witches, Spaceslug, Acid King, Sleep, Electric Wizard and much, much, more. Some of these bands have albums up to 10-years-old. The genre is contemporary but often flies under the radar of the mainstream. The majority of these bands put on skeleton rattling live shows, and have a strong, penetrating presence. The style draws inspiration from simplistic 1960s rock sensibilities fused with nihilism and metal. These bands inspire a range of head bobbing to moshing with everything in between. The shows are quite a spectacle, not because of the band’s theatrics but because of the passions of the audience.


In a recent Rolling Stone article, they speculate that large rock concerts as we know it are ending as Baby Boomer rock stars retire and the market begins to narrow. They used Ozzy Osbourne and Elton John as examples of large acts embarking on final tours. They speculate that the successors of music stardom and musicians of the next generation lack the ability to fill a stadium as their forbearers did. It does not take much to see that the concert industry will survive, even if on a smaller scale. Who needs overpriced tickets and beer, anyway? There is a basic human need for music, and there is a reason so many are still drawn to the analog band. There are many bands like this capable of easily selling out small to medium venues. Maybe the current music industry will catch on and create a sort of modern rock revival. This particular genre that King Buffalo belongs to fulfill the needs of the listener, and captures the concertgoer. There is also an abundance of bands in relation that are also good, and easily accessible. Media is good for artists when it is used right, and right now the internet and social media are a valuable source for music and listings for live shows. Even if a live show is small, it can be a truly enriching experience. If King Buffalo is in your area in the next few months, GO SEE THEM. Get your mind blown, and your being full and satiated with loud, raunchy tunes.


It is a farce to say that rock is dead. Its sensibilities are alive and well in many subgenres and communities that have a rich musical tapestry. It can be found when it is looked for, and the definitions of rock expanded beyond Axl Rose and Bon Jovi. More and more youth are looking to rock again and there are bands there to deliver. It is a hopeful time for the genre rather than a mournful one. 


King Buffalo Live