By John Benson
Proving you can’t judge a band by its name, Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo is from, well, naturally, Pittsburgh.
“It’s been brought up before,” said drummer Josh Allday, a 2003 Austintown Fitch High School graduate who now calls Pittsburgh home. “It’s a constant question we get.”
While the moniker is tied to a word game, other questions the band has been getting of late involve its sound, which bassist-guitarist Bryan Hat said draws inspiration from the Grateful Dead and The Misfits. This may be the first time the two polar-opposite bands have ever been referenced in the same sentence.
“We get a lot of wide comparisons, and we draw influence from all over the spectrum, from The Doors and MC5 to Gogol Bordelo and The Hold Steady,” Hat said. “As far as The Dead, a lot of it comes from my playing. Stylistically, it’s very liquid. I’ve been told I’m reminiscent of [Jerry] Garcia, whereas The Misfits has to do with [guitarist] Q, who has sort of a punch-you-in-the-face vocal style. We actually joke that he punches the guitar until it makes the sound it’s supposed to.”
Continuing the boxing analogy, Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo has a variety of punches in its arsenal, evident on the act’s debut EP, “Buffalo Making.” This includes “Breakup Song,” which evolves from a ’50s-esque ballad to a high-speed punk-rock assault. There’s also the ska-sounding “Better High.”
Such diversity is nothing new to Allday, who years ago while still living in Youngstown was the drummer in psychedelic, progressive instrumental act Aieon.
“That’s when I left and came to Pittsburgh to attend the Art Institute,” said Allday, who is also a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers Drum Line. “I kind of stayed because I got involved with Mike Stout, the protest singer, and with Verity’s Lie. That was a wedding cover band. It’s a kind of a funny story. I was sleeping on a buddy’s floor and needed a place to keep drum equipment. They asked me to join the band. I said if I could store my equipment at their house, that I was in.”
Today, Allday is all in for Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo, which makes its Youngstown debut Saturday at Cedars. The drummer said he’s looking forward to bringing the Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo sound to his hometown.
“I think we’ll fit in perfectly because we are so vast in our styling,” Allday said. “We appeal to a wide spectrum of audiences, and Youngstown likes to have their music stay fresh.”