By JASON HARPER
Buffalo Saints. Now there's a band that takes me back. The first time I saw 'em was in early 2004. The next time after that that I saw 'em was election night 2004, when America re-elected George W. Bush. The band was playing the election results watching party at Davey's. Lead singer and guitarist Tommy Hoskins was then and still is now one of the finest voices in Kansas City music -- his bleating tenor equally suited for pop as for twang. Joining him were Nate Harold on bass, Ryan Johnson on drums and Mike Alexander guitar -- a country slinger before I ever knew him as an Architect or Gadjit. The Saints, in those days, were as dedicated to flannel western shirts and catchy hooks as any band ten or fifty years older, and their music was crisp, catchy and smoky like wet mesquite on the fire.
Or something like that.
See, I'm drunk -- that is to say, quite drunk -- and I've just got home after seeing the Buffalo Saints' last-ever Kansas City show, nearly four years after that terribly, unforgettable day in '04. Last night's Record Bar show, plus a September show in Lawrence, and that's all she wrote for remaining members Hoskins, Harold and Johnson. No more "Walking the Dead" or "She's Off Her Rocker" or "50-50" -- that one with the chorus that could knock Farrar off his pommelhorse: "My HEART'S been spli-ii-ii-it fifty-fifty, whiskey and gin."
A toast to the best, poppiest Kansas City alt-country band that never quite was.
The good news is that Hoskins intends to go ahead with his songwriting and his sangin' -- after a couple years' break to 'stablish a family and raise up a kid -- and we'll be hearing from him soon.
Long live the BuffSaints.