Our Black Heart, Camden, London
23rd May 2016
Sara Harding – TV Producer – Classic Rock Awards, Metal Hammer Golden Gods, Kerrang! TV, Scuzz and Headbangers Ball
We are all guilty of sometimes choosing to have another vino at the pub rather than rush over to a venue to see the much maligned support band but boy I'm glad I didn't stay for that extra Cab Sav when I popped into Our Black Heart in Camden to check out Jeff Angell's Staticland and the incredible support act I was about to witness.
As I was enjoying my aforementioned pre-gig libation, I bumped into a group of fans all saying how brilliant the support band were and that I had to see them to believe them - so we all downed our drinks and headed over very early to check out this much talked about support act. These fans were all sporting the best darn t-shirts I've seen in a long time, black and white with a wicked logo and Cymru in huge letters. This was my first clue about the band I was about to witness. Wales... hmmmm.
As I headed into the venue, it was packed and some of the most important folk in the rock industry were lurking at the back. Clue two – this band must be pretty darn good to have filled the Black Heart on a Monday evening.
Article continues below...
As the band walk on stage the girls are literally melting – not with the heat in this busy, sweaty venue but when the four, hot hairy dudes strut on stage, the temperature rises 10 degrees higher and I swear I see swooning. Clue three - this band are hot.
As the first note stuck out I knew this gig was going to rock. And boy it sure did; their fresh new twist on Southern Rock had the whole place on fire. As I shut my eyes, I felt like I was in a steamy Mississippi juke joint and not a pub in Camden.
And then I realised who this band were - no more clues were needed, it was Buffalo Summer, the best musical talent to come out of Wales since Tom Jones.
Duff McKagan is their number one fan and I now know why. They are simply one of the best live bands on the circuit – and if you haven't seem them yet, in the name of Dame Shirley Bassey's sequins, get your self along.
Duff was recently spotted wearing this Welsh band's aforementioned t-shirt in his upcoming film and loves the band so much he's toured with them and got them signed to his UDR record label.
A week later, I had the pleasure of chatting to frontman Andy about how excited he is about this Guns N' Roses endorsement. Growing up, Velvet Revolver was Andy's favourite band and he still pinches himself that he can now consider Duff a mate. I ask Andy how this random friendship came about and he reveals that it was through the booking agent who Duff McKagan's Loaded was signed with. He put the bands together for a UK tour and the rest is music history. A number of support slots with Walking Papers, Loaded and now Duff's bandmate, Jeff Angell's Staticland, ensued.
The band were formed in Welsh Wales six years ago at both college and through friends and the band's name and concept came together very quickly, as did a self titled debut album recorded in bedrooms. Andy honestly admits that the first album was a bit rubbish but a couple of years down the line the second album, 'Second Sun', has just been released and it is blazing. Andy says that the band recorded the album first and then decided to shop around for a label to release it on and were over the moon when Duff's label UDR signed them up and released this eleven track slice of southern style sounds. It's an effortless, upbeat, groove laden, sing along, balls out, rock n roll album and I bloody love it.
Their influences come from Motown, soul and a love of all things southern including Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Black Crowes and like the Crowes, this band has a pair of brothers - Andy and Gareth Hunt. But these guys should in no way be compared as they are truly unique. We laugh when Andy says they are from the deep South... the deep South of Wales. Buffalo Summer really do bring the soul from the coal.
The second album is out now and after this hugely successful tour with Staticland – what's next for the Welsh wonders? Andy reveals that the band will be playing Wacken, Germany's biggest rock festival alongside Whitesnake and plans for a winter tour are afoot. So please, in the name of Gareth Bale, come and witness Cymru's finest rock band.
Back to the t-shirts and I was gutted that when I got to the merch desk to purchase mine they had sold out, but good news - after much pressure (ahem, from me) they are printing a fresh batch of the Cymru t's that the fans loved so much, so I literally will have been there and bought the t-shirt.
It's been a rubbish summer so far, apart from Buffalo Summer who really have brought sunshine to a whole lot of British fans and Duff McKagan.
Photos by Hels Bels