Photo by Lily Brown

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard strut their stuff at The Social

Sidestepping down the stairs into The Social’s basement, I was met with a room full of fancy dress enthusiasts. Someone didn’t send me the memo. Shaggy long hair on the men and neat full fringes on the girls, flares galore and a handful of moustaches too. Listening to Buzzard on the tube into town – and I mean the dead centre of town, a couple of roads off Oxford Street – I thought I was going to see a glorified T. Rex tribute band. Even mentioning Marc Bolan in their single ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’. I wouldn’t exactly call what I was about to witness to be ‘pastiche’, but more of a modernised version of a bunch of rock and rolling British bands of the sixties and seventies. 

Fresh-faced Bolan lookalike and front man, Tom Rees, charmingly rambled on about not having enough music to fill the hour-long set their manager had promised the promoters, explaining that there’d be a lot of conversation in between their “three minute tracks that they were told are good for radio.” From small talk about Itsu’s great selection of sushi to scatalogical comedy, his nervous rambles were always unexpected and clearly adrenaline fueled. Wringing sweat out of his jumper, Tom told the crowd that he felt like he was “going to turn into H20”. 

When the band wasn’t making the crowd laugh they were making them swoon. Glam rock booty shakes and windmilling guitar strums, alongside School of Rock-esque reaching for the stars to compliment the fuzzy guitar, bluesy riffs and rocksteady, disciplined bass lines from Tom’s loyal little brother Rees. Their tinny but at the same time confusingly warm sound comes as something sonically idiosyncratic in the current guitar music scene of Mark E. Smith, jangly guitar sounds and shouty vocals. The revivalist ethos of the band is certainly something that I can get behind and something that was also employed by their support band Silvertwin… who’s lead guitarist honestly looked like he was trying to be Mick Jagger, contorting his face – mainly lips – and strutting around like some sort of rock and roll sex god as I cringed towards the back of the room. 

About halfway through the set the frontman put down the guitar and headed to a keyboard towards the back of the stage, showing off his musical prowess and obvious songwriting skills. Elton John eat your heart out. Coming back to the front, apologising to fans that might not have been able to see his lovely face, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard upped the tempo with horrorshow bass lines and a sturdy, high driven guitar part on their track ‘Hollywood Actors”. Finishing the show with women throwing roses onto the stage and grandiose applause.

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – particularly Tom Rees – are clearly born performers who have honed in on their skills by studying the greats. They have managed to make a compound of some of the best from T. Rex, Bay City Rollers, Bowie and possibly even The Beatles… but does that mean to say that their music is anything novel or even interesting? Does it have to be?

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