Words – Jo Lloyd // Photography – Mark Lloyd
Buffalo Summer are a bluesy rock band hailing from South Wales and whilst I knew the name, I’m embarrassed to say that I had never witnessed the band live. Luckily, Saturday night’s gig at Birmingham’s Asylum 2 has ensured that I will never miss out on them playing live again!
With first band Hells Gazelles not being able to make the show at the last minute, it was down to local stoner rockers Shebrew to kick off proceedings to a shamefully petite crowd. Taking to the tiny stage enveloped in smoke, the threesome kicked off their doomy set with passion. Usually not a fan of their particular genre, I was a little apprehensive, but as the set continued, the songs became a little catchier and a bit more of the bands personality shone through. I’d have to see them again to build a proper opinion, but surely it can only be a good thing that I’m willing to give them another go?
Next up came Staffordshire lads Piston. I will openly admit to having a real soft spot for these guys and they’ve been up against it recently with a change in lead singer. It’s taken a while for Rob Angelico to find his feet as the “new boy”, but this show surpassed all of my expectations. They appear to have found their way again and I can tell you now that this is the start of something big! With an impressive radio play list behind them boasting Planet Rock, Kerrang! and Team Rock, there are some pretty high expectations. Kicking in with “Fading Me Out”, there is certainly no chance of them fading anytime soon.
Feet instantly began tapping (as much as the sticky floor would allow anyway!) in support of Rob’s natural ability to engage the crowd. He was effortless, yet his vocals literally assault your senses. Their classic rock sound produced by Jack Edwards (guitar), Stuart “Iggy” Egan (bass), Luke Allatt (guitar) and Brad Newlands (drums) has a raw, unrivalled sound that is old school, but current all at the same time. Newlands is a monster behind his kit and manages to stand out where most drummers fade into the background. Iggy and Allatt create some incredible bluesy riffs and Edwards is captivating as he totally loses himself in his groove. “Leave if You Dare” and “Misery” are personal favourites but it’s difficult to pick an exact highlight from their high-energy set. Closing off with a cover of AC/DC’s “Gone Shootin'” literally left the crowd begging for more and I felt like a proud mother who’s kids had all just graduated. Well done boys.
A couple of minutes into Buffalo Summer’s set and I was in awe. They are effortless and although the crowd hasn’t increased in size, they aren’t fazed and immediately get into their music. Vocally and musically tight, they powered through track after track accompanied by classic rock riffs and soaring vocals from Andrew Hunt.
With new album Second Sun released in June, a whopping three years after their first offering, they’ve been building up an impressive following. It’s just a shame that more people didn’t make the chilly journey down to The Asylum to bear witness to what they have to offer. Easily blending a touch of AOR with some 70s influences, they are an easy band to like. “Heart Breakin’ Floor Shakin'” is an immense track with a modern take on retro goodness whilst “Down to the River” literally takes you there with them on a sunny summer afternoon. Bit of a contrast to the chilly December ice that was building up on our cars outside! With half the set list made up of new material, the obvious die hard fans were also treated to classics like the groovy “March of the Buffalo” whilst guitarist Jonny Williams shone on “Rolls on Through”.
They are a fantastic mixture of catchy riffs, rich vocals and classic rock ‘n roll and it’s been a while since I walked out of a gig believing whole heartedly that I had just witnessed something truly special.