Gigs at Bush Hall always remind me of slightly ramshackle wedding receptions, with the sparkling chandeliers, the grand piano casually covered in the corner, the ornate architecture – there’s a laid back civility to the proceedings at shows in the old music hall, and it proves the perfect backdrop for Buck 65‘s return to London.
The Wallbirds kick off the evening with their upbeat brand of alt country pop. It’s quite a spectacle to behold, as the three piece wake the venue up with loud, brash but catchy country rock, with their drummer even dancing and stamping on the stage instead of using his minimal drum kit. Their set is short but sweet, an enjoyable introduction to this quirky but promising act.
Richard Terfry, better known as Buck 65, takes to the stage after a short movie about all the historical happenings from 1957. Sliding onto stage in a cap, dark glasses and chequered balaclava you can’t help but wonder if it’s really Buck, but as he leans into his turntables, flicking his hip out with a wiggle, it’s clear it’s the man himself. He throws himself into a track from the new album, and it’s only after this that he pulls off his disguises and smiles wryly to the crowd. The reason for the glasses, he admits, is that he doesn’t know the lyrics yet, but he feels self conscious reading them….so for every new track he dons glasses, to hide the fact he’s glancing sideways at his lyric sheet.
Second track of the night is the much loved ‘Wicked and Weird’, and it’s reassuring it’s not all going to be about his new album ” I don’t want to play all my new stuff…cos you don’t really know it….and neither do I” he grins. ‘The Centaur‘ and heavy ‘2-6-3‘ kick the night up a gear, but his banter in between tracks is almost as good as the tracks themselves. “I looked up what exciting things happening in this day in history…and it’s kinda…boring” he deadpans. “But tomorrow! Tomorrow in history is BIG, so I’m going to prepare you.” It’s half gig, half history lesson, with a smattering of a dance lesson pushed in. (we learn how to dance Buck style tonight, with the open the curtains, waggle your fingers, close the curtains moves…)
Buck 65 shines with smaller audiences, feeding off the energy and the cat calls. The new material is accessible and catchy, harking back to the ‘Talkin’ Honky Blues‘ era, there’s a comical element to lyrics, which are emphasised by Buck’s dancing enactments. He mocks himself relentlessly and banters incessantly with the audience, telling of how that now infamous Kerrang interview lead to the rapper El-P proclaiming he was going to kill him. As fate would have it, they’re on the same bill in Paris in a few days, so as Buck shrugs “I’m dead!”
Despite the threat of impending death, there’s a undeniable glow from the stage, and he coyly reports that despite having his heartbroken a year ago, he’s found love again. If this is what love’s done to Buck65, long may it last. A welcome return to form from the innovative and exciting Mr Terfry.