Buffalo Bros. is a bar/restaurant located on the corner of Berry St. University Drive, right off the TCU Campus. In the couple of years it's been open, the place has developed an uncommonly loyal following for its wings, pizza and pub-like homey feel -- it was barely beat out in DFW.com's "Best Damn Sports Bar" poll, losing to Pour House by only 13 votes. Now the owners have thrown their hat into the music venue ring, and so far, they've done an impressive job, showcasing such talent as Sam Anderson, Stephen Beatty, and Friday night -- Keegan McInroe.
McInroe, who rose to local fame with the band Catfish Whiskey, set up in a dimly lit corner of the bar and patiently waited for the Rangers to finish battling with the Red Sox in extra innings (it is a sports bar, after all). Once the Bostonians were sent packing in the 11th, much of the crowd left. With only two days' notice, only the faithful knew about the show - and, alas, sports fans are not always music fans.
That's OK though, because those who stuck around were fans of Keegan from way back; the atmosphere was that of a group of friends hanging out just for the music. McInroe tore into soul-wrenching covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and then Ophelia, by The Band. He played straight on through 'til 2 a.m., with a good mix of originals and songs by Dylan, Mississippi John Hurt, Johnny Cash, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Robert Johnson. Kenny the Pirate even dropped in (if you don't know about the pirate, you don't hang out on Berry enough. Check out www.facebook.com/pages/Kenny-the-Pirate-Fan-Page - you can thank me later). McInroe changed the words of the song he was playing to refer to Kenny -- then broke into an original pirate shanty in his honor.
McInroe's voice has got a serious, gargles-with-Red-Devil-Lye edge to it. It perhaps follows, then, that he draws his artistic inspiration from Jack Kerouac's classic book On the Road.
"It seems obvious, but I don't know that it is," said Keegan "It wasn't to me, I guess.
"When I was reading On the Road, what hit me was that the genius of what he was doing," he told me on Friday night. "He was re-creating that romantic feeling that one gets when traveling and being on the road. He was able to express himself in such a way that the audience, the reader was able to feel exactly what he was conjuring up. Some music is obviously to make people shake their bottom. But when it's done properly, I think it's about conveying emotion ... getting somebody to go to a place (they haven't ben before)."
Keegan McInroe's latest CD, From the Wall & In the City!, is heavily political piece of work that some listeners may find a bit too extreme for their tastes. For example, Come and Take It champions states rights, demonizes the Federal Reserve, and encourages rebellion against, well, the people he holds responsible for the Fed I guess. But at least he shows the fortitude to put his views out there. There's something to offend all sides.
"No matter what you believe," Keegan says of his lyrics, "at some point you have to deal with disagreeing with me."
(The list of musicians that played on the CD reads like a who's who of Fort Worth music:.Matt Skates, Ginny Mac, Darrin Kobetich, Ever Lovin Jones, Travis Dixon, Justin Pate, Daniel Katsük, Trip Mathis, David Wade and Jeff Dazey are just a few of the people involved.)
As for Buffalo Bros, it's still trying to find its niche in the vibrant Berry Street music scene. But it's definitely off to a good start. The food is good and reasonably priced; the staff friendly. With a little more lighting for the artists, the owners might just be able to entice a few of those Rangers fans to stay after the game.