Tuesday night 28th May saw us all stuffed into Tommy’s new van (OK, OK, it’s actually incredibly spacious) and race over to London to play a gig at The Buffalo Bar in Islington. It reminded me of a smaller version of The Cellar with incredibly steep stairs leading down to the darkness below… We were greeted by a very friendly soundman and started unloading the van for sound check. Huck and the Xander Band, Tom and I, Billy T’rivers and the Wild West Retirement Home and a chap called Sweet Bread, the only London based artist on the bill (who it turns out went to school with my brother; there's no escaping Oxford!)."
Tonight was a PinDrop night and Seb was a very charming and witty host. We had a great turn out for a chilly Tuesday night. Tom and I opened but due to a rather razorblade throat (actual medical term) I could only pipe out about 3 songs before my vocal chords gave up. The audience were very forgiving and remained attentive throughout my raspy songs and the barman kept filling up my glass with hot water and lemon. Sweet Bread played an interesting set of what I can only describe as medieval folk. Funnily enough, when I think about his set I can't help picturing him in a knight's robe... too much information. Billy T’rivers. Well what can I say? I was mega excited to finally see them live as I had booked them for an ATP the following night after seeing one of their videos. A wonderfully thick country/American style with 3 part harmonies to match. Their songs were warming and upbeat and made me want to jig around the room. Billy, the front man, busted out a few very heartfelt solo numbers in the middle of the set which had impact on the silent room. They are an incredibly talented and tight band who are soon to release their debut album so make sure you check them out in Oxford soon.
Huck and the Xander band took to the stage to headline and you may think I’m biased but it was a truly magnificent set. I’ve seen Huck build these songs from acoustic fledgling works-in-progress on his guitar into powerful stories with a full band behind him and not to mention some brilliant song writing. Jamie’s riffling guitar lines get stuck in your head and I haven’t stopped humming the melody to a Sufi from Dixie. Huck gets into character for each song, snarling at the audience and hollering his lines. At times he is almost operatic and if you caught him at the Candy Says single launch gig at St Barnabas a few weeks ago you would have been mesmerised by his surprising church appeal. Despite the different setting the same qualities come through, clear crisp lyrics and some unsettling but strangely pleasing tones. Sometimes having musician friends can be annoying. They can often be late, overly self-critical and arrogant, wear ridiculous trousers and insist on getting you drunk when you have to get up very early in the morning. But the wonderful thing about knowing them is that you are incredibly privileged; you get to see them develop into something and someone else (which is hopefully a great musician). For some people it’s a long process, and for others it just gets better and better. This gig blew me away and as I sat there sipping my hot water and lemon I really felt like the audience were blown away too. Huck started to blast out Xander the Great and as the crowd hollered in glee the barman waved his kettle at me (not a euphemism):“one for the road?“ he grinned.
Our next gig can be found here.