Buck & Evans are the best Welsh band that not enough people know about. Scrub that. Buck & Evans are simply the best band that not enough people know about. I know about them because I’ve seen them quite a bit and photographed them quite a bit. I’ve also just followed and photographed them on their recent UK tour to promote the forthcoming debut album Write A Better Day. You can get it at gigs and they’ll sign it for you. I’ve got it. It’s epic. Expect a full release later in the year.
The tour kicked off at The Castle & Falcon in Birmingham, a sweet venue on a tree lined street in the south of the city. Not quite a sell out, it was a bit of a loosener; but you can’t help but be beguiled by the contemporary rock and soul sound of this hugely talented four-piece and the midlands crowd duly were.
I had to be at work at 6.30am the following morning and that necessitated a quick getaway. Too quick in my case. Eighty-Seven miles per hour on the M25 resulted in three points and a £100 dent in the wallet. Sometimes you have to suffer for your art.
Next up, Cardiff. This was the hometown gig and the resulting sell out surprised no one. I went by train. At least there’s not much chance of being done for speeding on GWR.
Venue The Globe is a converted cinema with a balcony and a nice vibe. The lighting was dire, the performance was brilliant, the atmosphere was fantastic. Two out of three ain’t bad.
Bristol followed. The Louisiana, a lovely venue tucked between the River Avon and the floating harbour was sold out and absolutely rammed. I was later than I’d have liked, resulting in multiple ‘excuse-me’s’ and spending the majority of the gig on my knees at the front.
There was no support, the band instead kicking off with some bonus acoustic numbers. Vocalist Sally Ann Evans started the tour with a chesty cough that was clearly affecting her performance, but by Bristol, she was firing on all cylinders. I’m strictly agnostic, but if God did create the world in six days, you have to take your hat off to him for factoring in Sally Ann Evans’s voice a few thousand years later.
Meanwhile, the solo that Chris Buck plays in their cover of Otis Redding‘s I’ve Got Dreams To Remember is not of this earth.
I met up with my daughter and her boyfriend for the performance at Jimmy’s in Manchester on 26 May.
Virgin Trains got me there without drama but the band suffered a conked out van just north of Birmingham and for a time the gig looked in doubt. A Herculean effort involving a replacement set of wheels and mass assistance with the load in saw them start only a few minutes late. Overcoming the odds must agree with Buck & Evans because the performance was sublime.
As I was with family, the drink flowed at this one. I ended up telling the band I loved them quite a lot. What the hell. I do love them quite a lot.
Jimmy’s was another sell out in advance but because of the late arrival there was nobody to patrol the door and people just wandered down. Consequently, the place was heaving. I do hope some of the freeloaders bought some merch,
London and the iconic 100 Club followed next day.
London didn’t quite sell out, but the 100 Club does absorb a lot of bodies and given that around a third of the venue has restricted views of the stage, the most populated bits were once again in making close friends with your neighbour territory. This was another one where my knees got a workout.
It was certainly a lot of fun watching the band perform in such a historic venue.
I sensed a number of people here were seeing the band for the first time and I’ve no doubt a lot of new friends were made.
And so to Brighton and The Prince Albert, a venue with a proud music heritage. When Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and John Peel (amongst others) look down on you from their massive mural outside, you know you’re in esteemed company.
June 29th was the warmest night of the year thus far. The performance space was upstairs. Air conditioning was alleged to exist but didn’t seem to work. It was another sell out. It was hot. Very hot.
If the band were troubled by the heat, they didn’t show it. Buck & Evans seem to thrive on adversity.
The Prince Albert marked the end of my hugely enjoyable run of dates with the band. There is one show left on the current tour, at The Cluny, Newcastle on July 13th. Tickets for this show are available here. Based on previous experience, if you want to attend, I wouldn’t wait too much longer.
Photo story/blog of Buck & Evans on tour by Simon Reed. Simon has his own music photography website: Musical Pictures