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Buffalo Summer

Pre-Gig Interview

The Cavern Exeter 16th July 2013.

Buffalo Summer are definitely a band in the ascendance. The Welsh Blues/Groove rockers eponymous debut has earned them rave reviews, and they have been touring Europe relentlessly since October on the back of it. I caught up with brothers, Andrew and Gareth Hunt (vocals and drums, respectively), Jonny Williams (guitar) and Darren King (bass) in Exeter, as their current tour with Heaven’s Basement comes to a climax.

Hi, guys. You’ve just sound checked at Exeter’s Cavern3, and I’ve dragged you out into an alleyway for a chat. This’ll be the third time I’ve seen you this year (after successful sets at HRH AOR festival, and Road Trip, Ibiza). It’s been a busy old year for you. How does it feel?

DK – “Yeah, It’s been an amazing year… And we’re only half way through!”
AH – “We’ve toured with Walking Papers… twice, Skid Row, then this tour, and next is “Ugly Kid Joe in Switzerland, and there’s been festival slots in between.”
RN – “So it’s a full-time job now?”
AH – “It is now, yes. It’s very glamorous, as you can see.” casting his eye around the Shaded alleyway and the concrete staircase, on which we’re sat. At least it’s clean and out of the beating rays of the afternoon sun!
JW – “Ah, yes…sat around drinking coffee… Not even Starbucks, mind. Just… coffee.”
DK – “It’s brown and watery! And it’s better than the muck in Ibiza. Incidentally, the coffee in mainland Spain was delectable…” We continue to discuss continental coffee for a minute…

Buffalo Summer

Back on topic, I ask the guys about the story of the album. Imagine a groovy remix of Toby Jepson (I said I wouldn’t use that reference… I lied!), singing Free and Zeppelin mash ups. I know. You’ve just had a trouser accident, haven’t you?

AH – “It was self-funded, eventually being picked up by Cargo Records, who released it ‘properly’ with a physical disc, as well as iTunes and Amazon download options.”
JW – “It’s not a bad album considering it was recorded in 4 days!”
RN – “Was that to capture raw energy?”
AH – “No. That’s all the money we had!”

A frank and honest answer, but that’s what you get with Buffalo Summer. Honest, genuine… salt of the Earth.

JW – “It was meant to be 5 days, but we had a power cut!”
AH – “We’d like to spend a bit longer on the next album.”
DK – “Yeah. Maybe stretch it out 6 days!

We then briefly discuss how some of the greatest albums were recorded in next to no time.

AH – “I think we definitely captured the energy on this one, but we think the next one will be even stronger.”
RN – “Is that what you’re thinking about now?”
JW – “We think about it every fuckin’ day!”

Jonny’s a man of few words, and as dry as cream cracker on toast! Andrew elaborates…

AH – “We’ve got about 20 new songs to choose from already. We’ve been touring this album since October now.”
RN – “Have you aired any of the new stuff?”
AH – “On our headline tour of Spain we had to! The album covered the first 40 minutes or so of the gig, so we had no choice in order to fill the other hour!”
DK – “A lot of the songs that will go towards the new album feel like ‘old’ songs now! So we shouldn’t have the ‘difficult second album’ syndrome.”

Buffalo Summer.

We chat about touring. I can tell these guys are riding the rock roller coaster, and loving every minute of it. I ask about the current tour with Heaven’s Basement and Skarlett Riot.

As one, all four agree, “Yeah, it’s been amazing.”
DK – “I think tonight is the smallest venue on the tour, “Snuggest” Jonny interjects.
DK – “Yeah, ‘snuggest’.
RN – “And it’s sold out on pre-sale?”
DK – “Yeah. I believe so. This’ll be the 6th or 7th sell out.”
AH – “The others have been pretty close, mind. There’s been a lot of hot, sweaty gigs.”
DK – “Touring in the middle of a heatwave.” He thinks for a second. “Here’s a question. How long does it have to be hot for a heatwave to become Summer?”
JW – “You watch… It’ll snow next week!”

Yet again, we digress… So, I ask, “Apart from the heat, how’s the mood been on the tour?”

DK – “All the bands have been getting on really well.”
RN – “Are you all riding together?”
AH – “No. We can only dream of tour buses!”
Then, as straight-faced as a funeral director, Jonny chips in with, “Actually, we’re going to skip tour buses, and go straight to helicopters!”

Meanwhile back in the real world,

AH – “We’ve noticed a different audience to what we’re used to. Touring with established ‘classic’ rock acts brings a slightly more mature audience. The crowds on this tour seem to have been a lot younger.”
DK – “I’ve been blown away by the reaction we’ve been getting, not just at the gigs, but particularly through social media. That’s almost become a full-time job in itself!”
JW – “People tweeting ‘I’m watching you now!”
DK – “Yeah, I tweeted a picture at Download of the crowd from the back of the drum riser. I got 40 tweets back of people taking pictures of me taking a picture!”

That brings to mind a pet peeve of mine. The sea of rectangular glows at any gig these days, kids distancing themselves from the event right before their eyes! So, I ask “Do you think that spending the gig on your smartphone is okay?”

JW – “I don’t think Led Zeppelin would have got away with half of the stuff they did if camera phones were around then.”

Buffalo Summer..

The Led Zeppelin comment guides me to ask about the band’s history and influences, for any newcomers to the Buffalo party.

AH – “We officially started in 2010, from a gigging point of view. Jonny and me love the blues, and had been jamming for a while, and found ourselves writing tunes.
RN – “The ‘Robert Plant look’ isn’t an accident, then?”
AH – “I might have borrowed a move or two from him.” He smirks.
“Free, Deep Purple, Black Crowes… They were my influences…”

We are cut short by a request. “Can one of you shift your van?” Johnny makes his apologies, and leaves to move the van! Even Rock ‘n’ Roll has to give in to yellow lines, it seems! Darren picks up the thread…

“There’s a lot of stuff that passed me by before the band. I found Zeppelin, and pretty much stayed there! Now, Deep Purple and Free are huge for me. I owe a lot to Andy Fraser.”

For the first time, Gareth chips in…

“I’m pretty much the same. Bonham was amazing. I do like a bit of 70’s prog though.”
DK – “We, the rhythm section, do get turned on by strange proggy stuff. It may not be that noticeable, but it’s there.”

To wrap up, I ask the guys about their plans for the future.

AH – “We’ve got a European tour with Ugly Kid Joe straight after this tour…”
DK – “Then we’ve planned some pre-production time… Thinking about the next album. There’s a lot to sort out, but I guarantee you a new Buffalo Summer album before 2040!”

Well there’s something to look forward to!

In the meantime, check out their self-titled debut. Or even better, go catch them on tour. I’m off inside to do just that.

Interview and Photography by Rob Nankivell

Clutch

Clutch

With Support From General and Sons Of Icarus

Rock City Nottingham 9th July 2013.

Tonight’s Clutch gig had been hotly anticipated, the nerves were high as I’m a massive fan of this band! I first discovered them through hearing the track “I Have The Body Of John Wilkes Booth” some 3 years ago now. I instantly fell in love with the “killer” guitar riffs and the extraordinary vocals of Neil Fallon! I once got accused of being a Fan Boy, well I say to you, if I wasn’t a fan of music, I wouldn’t be doing this, so rock on Tommy!

Doors opened at approximately 18.30, but I got there early so I could meet our music224 winners, winning 2 tickets to tonight’s show. I have it on good authority that they thoroughly enjoyed the show, so I’m pretty happy about that.

Whilst standing in line, which was already half way down the street, I couldn’t help but get even more excited, but ever the professional, I kept my cool, even in 35 degree heat!

General, were the first of two supporting acts tonight and these guys are from Coventry, consisting of, Grahame – vocals, Tom – drums, Ru – Bass, Dave – Guitar’s and Gaz also on guitars.

After the first 3 songs, I could easily see why General were chosen to support Clutch on the UK leg of the tour. I wouldn’t say the band are heavily influenced by their hero’s, Clutch, but they do have that dirty/grunting guitar sound going on, but that’s where the similarities end. The band generally are your laid back, stoner rock types. So laid back in-fact, I didn’t even get a photo of Dave, as his back was turned most of the time, engrossed in the music, which was a shame, or he’s camera shy? Grahame, however, is the complete opposite and is the perfect front man. I could see the excitement on his face, even between tracks, or during the guitar solo’s, he was posing for the cameras, pulling faces and generally enjoying himself and why not! With so much energy I did struggled to lock focus, but I think you’ll agree, the shots I did get, Grahame’s personality certainly comes through.

General

Musically, I thought these guys really rocked the house tonight and with Rock City full of spectators, they too showed their appreciation. With so much positive energy being directed towards the band, I truly believe this fueled them to rock harder with every track played. I’ll certainly be buying a copy of their album “Where Are Your Gods Now?”

Set list tonight consisted of: 1. New River  2. Make Or Breakdown  3. Better Dead  4. Hell In Your Eyes  5. Monkey City  6. Bullet Train

Next up were Sons of Icarus, currently they reside in Guildford, but originate from Northamptonshire. Consisting of Andy Masson – vocals/guitar, Steve Balkwill – guitar, Alex Masson – bass/backing vocals and Mike ‘Quilly’ Mcquillan on drums. These guys are still relatively young, but after reading their bio pages, they have already achieved so much. Opening slots at both Download and Sonisphere in 2011, supported some of the best bands in the business and now adding Clutch to their CV, they are certainly a band to watch. I can easily see why these guys were also picked as support for the UK leg, as they too have that stoner rock groove going on, primarily influenced by Steve on the guitar, being fused with their unique blend of classic rock and blues, it certainly makes for a pleasurable listening experience. They too got an excellent reception from tonight’s ever increasing crowd, which was well deserved. New album is on the horizon, so look out for that.

Andy Masson - Sons Of Icarus

Set list tonight went something like this: 1. ROB  2. Make Amends  3. Not Myself  4. You Want It All  5. Higher

As stated earlier, I am a massive Clutch fan and yet this was my first time watching them live! To be given the opportunity to photograph them tonight was an absolute honour too. If you have never heard of the band Clutch, firstly, why not and secondly, why the hell not!!! Not to pigeon hole the band as a stoner rock band, but they do have elements in their sound, along with American, deep south, traditional rock and roll/blues elements in their too. Surprisingly, home for these guys is Frederick, Maryland which isn’t far from Washington DC! With such a variation to their sound, it has evolved over the years, since they formed way back in 1990.

Neil Fallon - Clutch

This tour, which ended tonight, in London, as I write this review, was to showcase their latest album release ‘Earth Rocker’. This incredible body of work has been lovingly and intelligently produced, with every intention to rock your socks off and has been dubbed, by everyone, including the band, as their best album to date. This is no fleeting statement either, especially when you consider this is in fact their tenth studio album! As I sit here, looking at the album, I now see the connection between the art work and the band, someone is clearly a Washington Redskins fan! I’m sure the meaning is deeper, but that’s what I’m going with!

Dan Maines - Clutch

So onto tonight’s main attraction, Clutch, consisting of Neil Fallon – vocals/guitar/cow bell and harmonica, Jean-Paul Gaster – drums, Dan Maines – bass and Tim Sult on lead guitar. after the intro, the band came onto the stage, greeted by an over whelming cheer from the crowd. Seriously, Nottingham must have been a ghost town tonight, as everyone was watching Clutch!

Tim Sult - Clutch

After capturing a few shots, I suddenly found myself singing along to the opening track and album title “Earth Rocker” to be standing in front of Neil Fallon as I’m doing it, with him singing also, was such a great moment in my life, and one I’ll remember for a very long time, however I was there to do a job, so I continued to capture this great event. I say event, as this was much more than your average gig, everyone I’ve spoken to since, has said the same thing. Rock City was the busiest, nosiest and craziest anyone has seen it for a long time, which I find hard to believe given the great acts they have there on a regular basis, but everyone is saying it.

Jean-Paul Gaster - Clutch

JP on drums, was a true master of facial expressions as he beasted his drum kit. Tim Sult, a true master of his craft, had his head down throughout most of the set, no messing about, just getting the job done, in style! At one point, the crowd were singing so loud, I could barely hear Neil on vocals, even through the stereo system at Rock City, if you’ve been, you’ll know how loud that is, so it just goes to show how loud the crowd were tonight! Neil was being fueled by this fact and to show his appreciation towards everyone, Clutch played an extra track, not originally billed, “One Eye Dollar”. It truly was an incredible show and if you weren’t there, you truly missed something special!

Set List tonight consisted of: 1. Earth Rocker  2. Mr. Freedom  3. D.C Sound Attack  4. Subtle Hustle  5. Crucial Velocity  6. Book, Saddle & Co  7. The Regulator  8. Cyborg Bette  9. The Mob Goes Wild  10. Cypress Groove  11. The Face  12. Unto the Breach  13. Gone Cold  14. The Wolfman (Kindly Requests)  15. Electric Worry  16. One Eye Dollar  ENCORE  1. Gravel Road

Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Rezinwolf

‘Corruption Kingdom’ – Album Review.

Fans of Rezinwolf – good news, their debut album, titled Corruption Kingdom, has landed and is being released through Killer Metal Records, in Germany. Formed back in 2009, it really hasn’t taken these guys long to become the awesome power house of a band that you hear today. Dan Murphy – lead vocals and guitars, Kirk Stephens – Bass and backing vocals, Brad Wosko – guitars and backing vocals and Sam Wheeler – drums, these guys hail from Harwich, Essex, which tells me they ain’t all fake tanned, whitened teeth buffoons, as these guys are salt of the earth, BADASS thrash metal musicians! Their first release known as ‘Deathstalker’, got tremendous support, which fuelled their determination to produce their first EP ‘The Nightmare begins’. Off the strength of this material, the band managed to secure many gigs, including a slot at Britain’s newest hard metal festival Beermageddon, which is where I first encountered them. Since then, I’ve been a real fan and have managed to see them a few times now, so I was extremely honoured to get the opportunity to listen and review this album. I feel a member of the Rezinwolf pack, briefly Howllllllllll!!!!!!

Rezinwolf - Corruption Kingdom

Track 1 is a full 53second intro, complete with atmospheric piano build up, I hate long intro’s, but it is deceptive and leads you into a false sense of security. I just hope they don’t use all 53seconds at a live show!

Track 2, Rage Against Us, smacks you right back to reality, with a full on assault to the senses. The lyrical content and theme for this album covers various topics, centering around the corruption we all experience in today’s modern society.

Track 3, Hail to Armageddon, also the new single off the album, is an absolute monster of a thrash metal track, with some fierce drumming, accompanied by some absolutely mind blowing riffs. Both Dan Murphy and Brad Wosko share guitar duties, but if memory serves me correctly, Brad is the one responsible for the mind blowing, ear bending guitar solo’s that feature throughout this album.

Track 4, Beyond the Rapture, by this point in the album, I have literally torn myself a new one, bouncing around the house with the volume firmly positioned at maximum, I’m sure you the reader will do too. What I love about Rezinwolf is, they have a great balance to their music. Dan delivers great lyrics with his unique voice, whilst the entire bands energy is felt throughout. At the end of this track, you can hear a heart monitor, which would be beating a lot quick if the machine was attached to me!

This heart beat leads you onto track 5, but flatlines, throwing you into the Tomb of The Incarcerated, which is classic Rezinwolf. This track is short, but packs a mighty punch. Talking of short, track 6, Flag Runs Red, brings back that melodic piano again, only plays for 67seconds, but links with the start of the album. I most commend Rezinwolf for their ingenuity and willingness to experiment on this album. It certainly helps to break up the intensity from the rest of the tracks, that intensity is right back up in your face come track 7 though, titled, To Arm the Rebels. This track is certainly a showcase for the guitarists and I can imagine will feature in a future live performance, where it should stay, as its awesome!

Track 8, Onset of Plagues, is yet another display of Rezinwolf greatness and offers some great axe work. Rezinwolf’s style certainly reminds me of the early days of Thrash, Metallica in particular.

Blimey, track 9 already, doesn’t time fly when you’re moshin! Track 9, And Hell Followed with Him, has the longest playing time of 6.15mins and is full on thrash goodness. I love Dan’s vocals on this track, aye aye, aye……..and it is a real showcase for this bands full range of creativeness and talent. Conclusion, this album will tear you a new one!

I really can’t wait to see these guys play again, thankfully, we don’t have long to wait, as their schedule is getting very full in 2013. Do not, I repeat DO NOT miss these guys when they play Bloodstock 2013, as its going to be AWESOME. The album will be officially released to coincide with their performance at Bloodstock, so witness a piece of history in the making.

Review by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)