The A-Lines / The Casanovas / Mr Airplane Man - Buffalo Bar - London
The Buffalo Bar is located near Highbury & Islington tube station in London. It's a cavernous gig venue that is host to one of the best band nights on the London gig circuit.
The night in review is called Artrocker and it’s held every Tuesday night. Artrocker is a showcase for the best up and coming bands that London and beyond has to offer every week. Entry fee is £4 but members get in for free. To become a member, what you have to do is first, subscribe to the Artrocker Mailing List and then send an email to the Artrocker Organisers saying that you’ll be going along to one of the nights and when you do go along, they’ll have your member pass ready for collection when you arrive. Your member’s pass entitles you to free entry every Tuesday night to the club and on occasion, other nights too.
When you attend each night you’ll be treated to “Anything that's Rock'n'Roll”. Artrocker is a sweaty, intimate weekly playing the best and newest in new rock'n'roll, garage rock, punk and new wave. In house DJs Stuart Plimsoles and Tom Artrocker play new rock'n'roll, punk, garage rock, new wave alongside classic guitar rockings from The Sonics through The Ramones to The Hives and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The A-Lines, an all girl garage punk combo, are the first band on tonight. Once they get started after some slight technical problems, they come at you all guitars blazing. They mix bits of garage rock and punk which are then twisted into 60’s influenced rock with grooving guitar lines. The singer sings like a woman possessed but in a weird and wonderful way. She contorts her face and body into all manner of different stances and poses which makes her a constantly entertaining front-woman to watch. There are no standing still hands behind your back untheatrics here. She performs and sings with what looks like every ounce of energy she has to deliver a resounding vocal performance. Couple that with some downright insane yelping from the other band members and you have what is a must see band, if only to make your own mind up about them as I don’t think any review can totally encapsulate what they are like live. If the A-lines come round to play live in your patch then make sure you go and see them.
The Casanovas, are the second band to come on. They hail from Melbourne, Australia and play nothing but pure unadulterated rock with no strings attached. What you hear is what you get. Powerful riff heavy rock.
Live, the band play one stomping anthem after the other. They’ve been touring constantly over the past few years and as a result their set is as tight as you like. Most of their songs come complete with crunchy guitar riffs that pummel you into submission along with the rest of their repertoire. They do what few bands that play the Artrocker night manage, and that is audience participation. The Artrocker audience clap their hands above their heads and sing along with the band which they do for the majority of the set. After the band finish their last song they’re probably safe in the knowledge that they have conquered yet another crowd. By the end of their performance, the audience and myself are simply left dazzled by what was a superb rock show.
Mr Airplane Man, the last band to play tonight, are a guitar and drums female duo from Boston. The music that they play has been described as seething with the intensity of raw delta blues with the urgency of punked up garage rock’n’roll.
When they emerge on stage, they proceed to play one of the best set of songs I’ve heard from a band this year. Blues garage punk rock is their forte and this is what they roll out tonight with remarkable aplomb. The ghosts of the delta blues are exorcised here tonight and in their place come two angels playing some deep down and dirty sexy blues like you’ve not heard before. Belting out one amazing blues number after another with little time for respite, the audience understood that tonight wasn’t going to be like any other gig. The band were good from the start but they improve as the night goes on, so too does the atmosphere in the Buffalo Bar.
They are possibly at their best when they do a few slow songs which recall the girl groups of the sixties, but the other songs in their repertoire are equally as good. However, it is the next song they play that something…happens.
The song in question is their cover version of The Stooges ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’. When they launch into playing this, the front of the Artrocker audience start dancing and going completely mental. Everyone else stands in amazement at the explosive music these two girls are making from just a guitar, drums and voice. The atmosphere in the venue ramps up a few notches so that it’s not just electric it’s something else entirely. This band manage to transcend and take the Buffalo Bar to the next level like all classic performances generally do.
When they finish their set late into the night they’re given a rapturous reception by the Artrocker audience who are privileged in the fact they have just witnessed a scorching band that are probably not even at the peak of their artistic powers, playing a thrillingly powerful and memorable show.