HomeAll About Buford: No Room In Your Bag For Regrets

clgeiger's picture

May 14, 2005

The final concert given by a band as the members gear up to walk their separate ways is often the most poignant. The Band had their Last Waltz, Led Zeppelin had Swan Song Cher and Celine Dion well, they have both toured countless times to say goodbye and keep turning up again like bad pennies.

As far as Swan Songs go, on May 14th, local band All About Buford had a night at the Appalachian Benefit Coffeehouse in Natick Massachusetts filled with well wishers and fans from around the region.

Newcomer and Natick resident Liz Hanna warmed the crowd. Liz brought her own songs and newly released CD to the show and gave a great performance. Many of her songs were painfully sad; the type of sad that a young, talented, blonde girl probably shouldnt have knowledge of in this day and age. They were delivered in flawless voice with clear confidence and pride in craftsmanship. Her keyboard playing echoed a style similar to that of a mellow Ben Folds (although she stated after the show she was unfamiliar with him) and she shows great promise as a performer and songwriter.

All About Buford is a Boston-based cappella powerhouse named after a large, red/white bi-color Persian cat belonging to band founder Amy Malkoff.  Founded in 2000, the band often featured the vocal pairing of Amy and Taunia Soderquist on cover tunes by local singer/songwriters, and songs written by the members of the band. Amys style was often more along the lines of folk singer (with class, not twang) and Taunia played the role of Jazz Diva.

The ladies werent the only vocal focal point in the band. Shah Salmi brought an R&B   power-pop sound tinged with Malaysian flair. And he did a better Michael Jackson dance than Michael Jackson himself can do.

Whenever one of the three were taking the lead, the background harmonies and vocal instrumentation was provided flawlessly by the other two. Having three leads was like having three different bands at times. One could count on hearing show tune standards and disco classics on any given night.

Adeel Pandith initially provided the vocal percussion duties but left the band and was replaced with Wes Carroll and Ben Jackson.

All About Buford was unique in its presentation. Sometimes the band could be seen as a quintet with Wes and Ben sharing the beatbox role, often freeing Ben up to lay in a wicked bass part while Wes drove the rhythm. Other times Wes remained on the West Coast and Ben was in the mouth drummers seat.  

Visually, All About Buford was never a band that looked like they belonged together in the sense that Hollywood or pop culture would like. Shah was shorter than Amy and Taunia. Hardly the physical role of a lead male in a band. Ben and Adeel are bothwell, rather lanky. Wes is a math tutor / beatboxer with a cute little soul patch under his limber lower lip, he doesnt necessarily look like a mouth drummer, but more like that aforementioned lead vocalist rock guy that some might expect. Amy has a head of red curls like the fires of hell, and Taunia sports a short, sassy, startlingly blond do that screamed Hoochie Mama.

None of that matters.

This band wasnt about the look. All jokes about the Backstreet Boys aside, this band was never constructed around an Abercrombie & Fitch look, or who had the best hair (Amy, hands down). This band was about the sound, the blend, the harmonics and the beat.  In a day and age of manufactured MTV flavor of the month talent, All About Buford was a masterpiece that P. Diddy could never put together if he were going to Make The Band.

Shahs sultry moves and vocals were a blast to behold. Amy and Taunia combined forces to hit notes and hit places in hearts that few vocal teams could reach. Ben beatboxed his way into the hearts and minds of many a crowd by mixing his beats and singing lead vocal on George Michaels Freedom and his own Cool Kidz.

This performance was bittersweet in many ways. The audience was treated to trademark anecdotal tales from the band members, outlining how when they travel to Connecticut they invariably see someones naked back-end out in public, and it continues to take them by surprise. Amys sunburn and Taunias car trouble were brought up as topics of humorous discussion. But the jokes didnt fly as fast and furious as shows past. As a last performance, their song choices were some of their greatest hits, including Taunias heart-stopping rendition of My Funny Valentine, and Shahs Summertime from Porgy & Bess. 

The song that seemed to sum up the entire night was a cover of GrooveLilys No Room In Your Bag, where Ben took the lead vocal over a recorded loop of his beats. The refrain says:

"You make a choice, you make a call
You may rise, you may fall
You will pay for what you get,
But you got no room in your bag for regret."

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Shah, Taunia and Ben will continue to perform as Vote For Pedro while Amy and Wes will be joined by Jason Harrod and Jaime Babstock to carry on the mission of All About Buford. Each band will bring different colors to the a cappella and greater Boston music scenes.  As each member of the band goes down new and exciting paths, and as Liz Hanna begins testing the waters in the wider performing world, there is indeed no room in any of their metaphorical bags for any regret.  It seemed a fitting piece to perform, and is fabulous advice to each person who graced the stage that night or sat in the audience to soak it in.

Christine Geiger

Christine Geiger is a graphic designer in Georgetown, MA. She and her husband Doug have two children, Jessica and Geoffrey. She has been writing online for several years.