Oxford life. Thirtysomething challenges. Music leanings. Anything really.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Blues hip hop

It's an unlikely combination, but Buck 65, who I saw in London the other night, is indeed a country/blues/hip-hop star. It's unlike any other hip-hop I've ever seen, but that doesn't make it poor. Quite the opposite, it's a combination that works amazingly well.

He's a Canadian, and his stage persona is sincere, and emotionally very open. His North American drawl is deep and sexy, and between songs his apparently easy-going humour is sharp.

His songs cover the trappings and troubles of modern life, passionate poems laid over back beats that surely haven't been heard of in this genre before. Between verses, Buck ably uses his decks to scratch and mix layers of sound.

I went with a mate, John. I always used to meet people in The Rising Sun, slightly up Tottenham Court Road, but this time, a web-search found me Bradleys, just off Oxford Street which would suit as a rendezvous.

What a nugget of gold amongst a pile of ugly silt. This tiny weeny bar is dank and dirty. It's so small you can't but help to chat to your drinking neighbours. As I walked in, the landlord was restocking the ancient jukebox with 7" singles, and for a couple of hours, we listened to The Dead Kennedies, Dexy's Midnight Runners, The Specials.

It's my new Place To Meet Before A Gig At Tottenham Court Road (PTMBAGATCR). And it was a greater prospect to stay here and enjoy the atmosphere than go see the support band, The Brakes.

Finally, it was a new experience for me, in that I took my bike on the bus, and cycled across London to get to the venue from the bus stop. A friend suggested the idea recently. I can't believe I haven't thought about it years ago - the fun and freedom of the ride, the chance to see more little side streets, and save yourself a fiver in tube fares. Oxford Tube and bike - integrated transport perfection.

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