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Friday, 20 May 2016

A View From The Back Of The Room: Buffalo Summer

Buffalo Summer, Florence Black & Staticland; Sin City, Swansea

A day before it was unleashed on the general public Neath's own classic rockers Buffalo Summer staged a little shindig at Swansea's legendary venue Sin City, to launch their long awaited second album. The record called Second Sun is officially released 20/05/16, so the show was geared to giving fans a flavour of the album, along with some favourites and hand picked supports making for big rock an roll party. The gig was an early doors affair with the first band coming on stage only 30 minutes after the doors opened, the opening act were a very late announcement and sealed the deal for me on the night meaning that a set off on the reasonably short but infuriating journey to Swansea for the show.

Staticland

Into the venue and as I said bang on 7:30 the three piece of Walking Papers/Missionary Position men Jeff Angell (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Anderson (Keys) and Post Stardom Depression (Angell's other project) drummer Joshua Faunt took to the stage for what was their first show ever in this form. Happily the relative roughness of the set was to it's advantage as the blend of alternative rock and modern fuzz filled blues would not be as effective if it was cleaner sounding, the band's debut album comes out the same day as Buffalo Summer's so I couldn't tell you any of the songs that were played but what I know is that they played with a lot of swagger and take no prisoners attitude, Anderson is probably the key element to the sound underpinning the fuzzy swirling guitar playing of Angell perfectly with organs, keys and plenty of bass pedals giving Staticland more scope than the guitar/drum combo's of The Black Keys and White Stripes. There is an element of that sound to Staticland with Angell cutting the shape of Jack White on his guitar, vocal and styling (the whole band were suited and booted) playing off-kilter guitar riffs and searing blues based solos while propelled by Anderson and Faunt who managed to continue drumming even as the kick-drum was being repaired. Despite this being the band's first show the talent an experience of all three men shone through leaving those that had turned up early greatly appreciative of the Seattle native's debut show. 8/10

Florence Black 

Due to the early nature of the show and the impending doom of a club night coming after the show within sight it was a brief switch over and Merthyr Rockers Florence Black took to the stage and really ramped things up with high octane hard rock that was part Grand Funk, part AC/DC full of massive, ragged, unhinged riffage and powerful, frantic, gritty vocals from Tristan, thumping heavyweight, distorted bass from Fozzie and sledgehammer tub thumping from Perry. The band rocked through songs from their EP and then disaster the amp blew up leaving Tristan's guitar soundless, the young band took it in their stride with Fozzie and Perry doing a bit of drum and bass set with an impromptu drum solo thrown in until there was life, the song was restarted and we were off and headbanging again. Florence Black had very healthy and vocal following in the room and this was thrown into madness with the bands furious cover of Budgie's Breadfan which came in at the climax set as the penultimate number. This is the first time I've seen Florence Black but they will be repeat viewing for me as the are a great live rock act. 8/10

Buffalo Summer

Then it was time for what we were all hear for, to see the Neath rockers launch their second album in fine style. The record is their first major label offering, produced by Screaming Tree's Barrett Martin and their set drew mainly from the second record playing nearly every track from it, mixed in with some classics. The new stuff sounds a bit more accomplished and has a more varied sound with some funk, country, blues and other elements thrown in to the bands already Zep-like stew. The setlist kicked off with three from the new one with Into Your Head stomping in first announcing the intent for the rest of the night with a classic rampant rocker before early boogieing with with Heartbreakin' Floorshakin' getting the asses shaking early, Buffalo Summer have always had the groove many other bands struggle with, the trio of new songs was rounded out with Make You Mine which has a big singalong chorus and sat alongside the head banging March Of Buffalo and Truth From Fable both of which come from the debut record, the latter driven by the walking bassline of Darren King and the pace setting drumming of Gareth Hunt, the older songs were more recognised but this was about the new stuff and As High As The Pines started a run of tracks from Second Sun, As High As The Pines has a rocky stomp which blended well with the swampier bluesy Levitate both of which show the guitar skills of Johnny Williams who channels Page with every riff and solo.

The funky twosome of Little Charles and Priscilla is where Andrew Hunt was able to showcase another side to his voice before the blues tinge kicked back in on their first single Neverend and Bird On A Wire. The band were really playing their asses off on that stage, your eyes are drawn immediately to King who jumps around the stage wildly, nearly always within inches of destroying his bass, himself or another band member. Garteh is locked in behind the kit beating the power of the band, Williams cuts a steady form but manages to cast magic with his six string, so too does Andrew who's hair covers his face while he belts out every word. Back to the debut for the final part of the evening with Horse Called Freedom, Rolls On Through and the foot-stomping modern classic Down To The River coming in rapid succession before the night was wrapped up with Money from Second Sun that was a song that would have converted you to the new record if nothing else did. This album launch was a tipping point for the band, on the eve of their second album they seem on the precipice of greatness, with a live wire live show and now a glut of top quality songs Buffalo Summer could become the latest band to really break through. 9/10 

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