When I sat down to write about the local music scene this week, I had every intention to write about Donna the Buffalo’s show at The Spinning Jenny. They are a great band that has been entertaining audiences for a long time and it is exactly the type of show I want to see more of in the Upstate. They would have been perfectly suited at the Handlebar, would be right at home at Asheville’s Orange Peel, and should attract one heck of a crowd at The Spinning Jenny.
But I’ll get back to them in a minute.
As I was listening to Donna the Buffalo I took a glance at the iOnGreenville calendar to see who else might be visiting the Upstate and I ran across That 1 Guy at the Radio Room Saturday night. For whatever reason the name sounded like someone I should be familiar with so I checked out his website and then found myself screaming to my wife in the next room that she needed to come listen with me. Yeah, he’s that good.
My first impression of That 1 Guy is that Tom Waits and Les Claypool had a baby and maybe they dropped it but that’s okay. I actually don’t know how the science of that would work but it is 2019 and we have to be supportive of such things. The point is that this guy is a one man show with a homemade instrument he calls a Magic Pipe along with a saw, drums, and electronic effects and the result is some beautifully bizarre music I suddenly cannot get enough of.
Before he was That 1 Guy, he was Mike Silverman – a classically trained jazz bassist studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He eventually became a sought after percussive bassist but found himself wanting to pursue a solo career so he built his own instrument, The Magic Pipe, an odd tower of pipe, strings, levers, and pedals. Armed with his Magic Pipe, he is now playing 150-200 shows a year as That 1 Guy, wowing people at festivals and listening rooms across the country. He even collaborated with Buckethead as The Frankenstein Brothers and played bass on Tom Wait’s Orphans album if that is any indication how far from the mainstream his sound resides.
This is the kind of under the radar show that Greenville needs more of. For my listening tastes there is no way a show like this should sneak up on me like it has. A guy as inventive and weirdly creative as That 1 Guy should be at the top of my playlist and, well, now he is thanks to The Radio Room. There’s no way I am missing this one Saturday night.
Now, back to Donna the Buffalo.
First of all, there is nobody named Donna as the name was a misheard version of “Dawn of the Buffalo” and the band decided they liked Donna better. The two original members, Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear, have been recording and touring as Donna the Buffalo since 1989 with their eclectic blend of everything from old time fiddle to rock, funk, and zydeco. In that time they have played with the likes of The Avett Brothers, Jim Lauderdale, Bela Fleck, Rusted Root, and hordes of other talented artists.
Donna the Buffalo is currently touring in support of their first new album in five years, Dance in the Street. The album was recorded with legendary producer and engineer Rob Fabroni, best known for his work with Bob Dylan, The Band, and The Rolling Stones. Nevins and Puryear shared the songwriting efforts on the album, with each track alternating between the two of them for the perfect balance of talent and collaboration we have come to expect from Donna the Buffalo after all these years.
Normally when I see two shows like this on my calendar, it comes with a sense of conflict. Which one should I go to and which one should I tell my friends about? This week, though, the decision is an easy one – check out Donna the Buffalo at the Spinning Jenny in Greer and dance your Thursday night away. Then get some rest on Friday because Saturday night is going to get weird in all the right ways with That 1 Guy at the Radio Room. This is a great weekend to be a music lover in the Upstate, you guys.
Donna the Buffalo w/ The Gary Douglas Band @ The Spinning Jenny, Thursday, 8pm
$18 in advance, $22 day of sale
That 1 Guy @ The Radio Room, Saturday, 9pm (no opening act)
Preview more shows around town at iOnGreenville’s Live Music Calendar