Saturday, 8 November 2014

Buck 65 at the 100 Club: The chirpiest heartbreak you ever did see

I'll keep this short and sweet as Buck 65's place as ShadowPlay's All Time Favourite Artist is well documented and firmly assured*. A surprisingly chipper Richard Terfry was on fine form at London's historic 100 Club this week.  

A short chat at the merch stand prior to the gig confirms he remains the affable, charming and funny soul we've come to know and love over the last two decades (well, one in my case. It was heartwarming to find he remembered my favourite ever interview at the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham with him in 2004). On seeing Buck at The Garage in Islington last year I wondered whether his forthcoming album would be his Blood on the Tracks, documenting, as it does, his break up with his wife. 

Terfry had come back from tour to find a note saying 'don't forget to feed the cat' and his wedding ring. And indeed the record, Neverlove is a cathartic effort ('That's the Way Love Dies' and  'Love Will Fuck You Up' are standouts) but still with Buck's inimitable perky style ingrained within it. It combines his usual hip-hop/folk style with his popiest edge yet and, in all but a couple of cases, is complemented well by a series of female vocalists. What's more, it's his best outing since 2003's celebrated Talkin' Honky Blues, mixing clever wordplay, some well worked duets and effortless changes in tone. 

Before the set, he tells me he's had to talk a lot about his split from his wife in conducting media interviews for the new album. It's been like a psychoanalysis session, he explains. Indeed, he sought help for panic attacks experienced after his divorce. 

But his 100 Club performance displays little of this torture. Dressed in a sharp suit, Buck is his usual playful self, making quips about laundry and culminating his set with a dance suggesting there's an explosion in his crotch while singing about having cake and sex on his birthday. There's snatches of crowd favourites including Indestructible Sam and Roses and Bluejays and ultimate classics including Centaur and Wicked and Weird are given full run outs. He largely steers clear of the more mournful songs from the album and uses his duets with Tiger Rosa to muck about and encourage her to spank him with her belt. He drifts off to remind us he's a great scratch DJ then nips back to the mic to tell a funny story about a girl downing a glass of milk. 

Buck 65, whether in his guise as a radio host or simply as Richard Terfry, a man who has been through a lot, remains one of the most talented musicians on the planet. With his latest offering, he's also reminded us he remains one of the most musically relevant. 

*Oh ok, yes I failed to keep it short and sweet.

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