What is it about Great White Buffalo? It’s the kind of music that acts like the perfect tonic for rabid politics and sour television news. GWB is an L.A.-based indie band that is very much in touch with their inner Kings of Leon, and even U2. Guitarist Stephen Johnson picks leads from the same ethereal songbook as does the Edge, meaning that his performance tends toward the melodic and simple. It’s a hook-fest, Great White Buffalo music, and played with an earnest intensity that critics call “grit pop.” A blogger once named Great White Buffalo as one of ten L.A. bands to know.
“No,” says Rich Carrillo, “the name’s not from that Ted Nugent song. Our singer’s sister came up with it.” After he joined almost a year ago, Carrillo says the songwriting moved away from “trying to make that big arena sound to just playing what we like. The sound became more organic. Less contrived.”
The alt-rock quartet played Noise Pop in San Francisco and the Jubilee Music fest in L.A. earlier this year, where every one of their songs was a winner. On their way up to the festival circuit, where they now perform more often than not, GWB played, by their account, every dive bar between O.C. and L.A. That, says Carrillo, is where the band gained a following.
There’s also a San Diego link: back when Carrillo lived here and was trying to be an actor and I was trying to be a photographer, our paths crossed frequently. I remember him mentioning that he played drums, but I paid no attention. He did, however, know Dynamite Walls, a local band that turned out to be the source of many Reader stories for me, going all the way back to when Steve Serrano was their drummer. Son of Carlos Serrano (aka Lambchops from the Shelltown Horns), Steve now manages Great White Buffalo.
The Hollerin and Royal Campaign also perform.
Great White Buffalo: Bar Pink, Saturday, June 29, 9 p.m. 619-564-7194