The Buck & Evans comedy quartet came to town with some skits, stories, jokes aplenty and threw in some outstanding music to boot.
Well that will be a first for the band but I feel a bit under pressure as they kew there was a reviewer in the venue tonight so I was thrown all sorts of material which would have been good enough for the Edinburgh fringe but I am mostly going to stick to the music(is that a huge sigh of relief I hear?).
The band are back promoting the album that is out, but not really out. “Write a Better Day” has been played constantly by myself since I bought it at the last show in Glasgow last year and it is a damned shame that this is not widely available as it is a beautiful album but as much as I can sit and listen to this again and again it is live where it comes to life.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf8yY3GDSX8&w=560&h=315]
At that last show in Glasgow we were promised an acoustic set prior to the normal set but due to technical issues this did not go ahead but the band did not forget their promise and for the first three songs of the set tonight we got part 2 with about a years gap…but boy was it worth it.
As Chris Buck took to his stool with the acoustic guitar and broke into “Screaming” the crowd were mesmerised. I had brought three friends along tonight who had not heard of the band before and I met a good few people who were also new to the band and I just loved watching their amazement at the show they witnessed.
This song was quickly followed up by two stunning renditions of “Treat Me Right” and “Change” then it was onto Chris’s trusty strat but before we got to the next song we got some chat. Now this divides a lot of people, some like it, some hate it but everyone has an opinion and mine is for the chat. I recently saw Joe Bonamassa and although there could be no fault with his playing he spoke just once the whole evening and it left me a bit cold. I also am not a huge fan of just the singer talking all night but with this Welsh group everyone pipes in and the outcome is hilarious. It is just a group of people talking to friends they don’t see that often.
¾ of the band travelled from Wales to Glasgow in the van and there was obviously issues as we were told stories of driving the whole way dealing with diesel fumes and the strange thoughts that provoked. I do have to let the band know that Diesel and being out of your head is not unknown around these parts as myself and many of the people in the room of the same age were brought up drinking diesel before it was banned in Glasgow pubs. Just to let you know Diesel is a drink and is more commonly known as snakebite and black but I am sure the effects would be the same as a dodgy van exhaust for 9 hours.
The one member who managed to avoid this torture was Bob Richards on Drums. The Twisted Sister fan and olive dodger decided to fly and I cannot blame him as any time I make the opposite journey to watch the rugby and the guys are all going by coach I am booked on a flight and not having to deal with a bunch of hungover ex players for 9 hours on the way home. Unlucky for Bob he has been given all the crap jobs because of his choice…I just had to do shots as punishment.
Now that the banter had subsided( And Bob was wondering what he had to do next) the band slip into “Slow Train”, a song that I knew a few here tonight came on the basis of and they were not disappointed. Undoubtably my favourite track on the album and something special live. This is the
band encapsulated in one song, The beautiful blues, that angelic voice and guitar work that is spellbinding. It is the latter part of the song that I hit a moment of de javu. As Chris came to the front of the stage I was transported to the early 80s. I was in the Glasgow Apollo. Chris with his denim jacket, Strat and with the lights shining through his hair took me to my very first blues show and to a man that I measure all guitarists by in Rory Gallagher. The two men separated by three decades could have slipped into each others shows. This is how highly I rate this young player.
Next up was “Going Home” and again that guitar owns the stage and the hearts of everyone here. There is a much bigger crowd here tonight and that is purely on word of mouth and one video and no matter how many were here tonight it is not enough.
With the song “Common ground” the vibe changes slightly and Sally Ann Evans takes on her Stevie Nicks persona as this song could be Fleetwood Mac in a second. Another stunning song and another string to the bands bow.
Another favourite from the album is “Fix You” which starts with just Sally Ann on vocals and keys. This song is just loaded with soul and pain, it is also when you notice how brilliant the rhythm section of this band are. Bob and Dominic are understated but powerful. Their work sets up the vocals and guitar to perfection.
If we had not seen anything special enough already along comes the track the band wrote in 1965 (yes, work that one out). “Dreams to Remember” is eight minutes of excellence. Sally and Chris are on fire with this song and as Chris once again comes to the front of the stage you get a little bit disgusted at how damned talented he is. As he plays that solo he does not open his eyes, not even one little glance at the fretboard and he just stands there like the guitarists wet dream that he is.
I do not know one blues lover that could walk away from that song and not be affected. It was beautiful, it was sad, it lifted your mood and your soul and just filled you with joy.
Tonight’s show was head and shoulders above last years and that show blew me away. I do not know what more I can say about this band live but please, please, please check out this band. They define blues and soul. They are down to earth and fun to watch but their music is incredible and live they should be on everyones bucket list. Buck & Evans are the real deal.
Images and Words Ritchie Birnie for Jace Media and metalplanetmusic