This gig took place on the sad day that it was announced that both The Famous Cock pub and the Buffalo Bar have been sold and that the new owners have decided to close the Buffalo, though they were less forthcoming about what they will use this great basement space for.
This will be a great loss to the London gig scene and I have to urge everyone to join the campaign to try to save this venue, find out more here: https://www.change.org/p/save-the-buffalo-bar-one-of-london-s-best-loved-music-venues. I, for one, want to continue reviewing shows at the Buffalo bar beyond the 31st December closing date they have been given.
That's the bad news out of the way and onto the gig itself, I was early enough to catch all of RAD STEWART'S opening set of rather shambolic off key out of tune schmindie that none the less had some very cool lyrics about the pains of being in your late teens and early twenties in the twenty teens. You get my drift? The opening song about being a Garage Fairy was the high spot as it married sort of Pixies vocals to a Velvet Underground circa the third album tune and great lyrics about being young gay and confused.
That was followed by a ramshackle tune about being a 20 something in the age of Facebook and by the time they were singing about being sleazy it was becoming apparent that the two guitarists rarely played in time with each other and the bass playing singer was often out of time with the drummer and his bass was obviously out of tune for about half the set.
As the set progressed, they seem to fall apart and become less together almost like they were all on different drugs to each other. It was as though they were in a sort of battle for some semblance of order so when they sang about "what's the Issue?" I wanted to cry. Lack of rehearsals and focus and by the time they finished with a song about Pill Summers I was wondering if it was E's, Valiums or Xanax or a mixed selection? Either way they need to figure out what they want to be if they are going to be worth seeing again at any point.
Next on and in the middle of their current UK tour are Athens, Georgia's EUREKA CALIFORNIA'S who are over to promote their recent album Crunch out on www.hhbtm.com. They are set up in these days classic indie boy/girl duo form of Jake Ward on Guitar and vocals and Marie A. Uhler on drums. Jake has his microphone set up so he is sort of side on and no matter how many times I've heard the album I still don't know the song titles but then as they come at such a frenetic pace and provide such an adrenal rush it doesn't really matter.
By the time Jake has been rushing through the opening number about it being another day to talk about as Marie's drums lay down enough power and drive to make Rad Stewart's drummer seem even more inadequate than he already seemed.
Yes the White Stripes might be an obvious comparison but really they seem more driven by earlier bands and singing about a Photograph with the urgency of early Carter USM so I almost didn't notice that Marie's bass drum pedal had fallen apart. After a quick repair, however, it was back to business and Jake could get over having to talk to us and instead concentrate on distilling his guitar sound so that I didn't notice that it was just the two of them and that the Dice man might have something to say about the full-on attack of the drums pummeling at us like an express train and yes, there was a bit of the Steve Shelley's about Marie's drumming.
Happy Again was one of the songs I recognised easily and was also one of the stand-out songs with it's sort of skewed Buzzcocks sound to it. This was followed another spunky little indie dance floor filler before they started to wind things up with a song that I seem to think was about the Skies. They closed their set with the current single I Bet That You Like Julian Cope and it was played like it should be accompanied by a mini riot against anyone saying no to that statement. It was a perfect, fizzing with energy close to a very cool lo-fi indie set.
I'm led to believe they will be back in Europe again next year and will be well worth catching if they get to your neck of the woods.
Then it was soon enough time for SKINNY GIRL DIET who I'm always happy to see and who seemed to have a bunch of new songs since I last saw them. They are as effortlessly cool a trio of teenage riot girls as you could wish to see and as they started singing about Will You Come Down (on was it Dimethyltriptamine?) that opened the set with the girls who only list their names as D, A and U for added mystery and grunge coolness.
The destruction they sing about while thrashing at their very cool-looking guitar and bass and while never forgetting to pout and look in to the distance like we aren't there adds to a sense of otherness accentuated by the bands mastering of the need for buckets of attitude at all times. As this teenage girl sings about how we should drug her up I can only hope it's with good drugs and she doesn't just become another member of the Prozac Nation.
By the time we get to the first song with duel vocals and proper heavy metal screams (it could have been Nadine Hurley or one of the bands other older songs that I recognized from previous gigs) they have again got their hooks in me even as they have become more low slung and at the same time vitriolic. A neat trick to pull off for sure.
They plead with us not to commit suicide and it's played with such passion how could we give into that impulse. The set finished with the song about a Wasted Smile all about how some loser is giving them the eye and he really shouldn't bother. Well no they need more than a smile to convince them to give you the time of day, but really we all need to give them the time of day.
They are now playing plenty of gigs and really need to be seen live to get just how great a young band they are. Find out more gig dates here Skinny Girl diet online.