April 27, 2018
Buck ‘N’Bull’s Southern Fridays, Islington Metalworks
It’s safe to say there was some trepidation going into this Buck ‘N’ Bull. The first incarnation had so much going for it in theory: an unseasonably warm evening, an interesting space, a decent live band and a great DJ.
The reality left a little something to be desired. The lighting was haphazard (a thin strip of LEDs sweeping around vast swathes of darkness), the sound quality was pretty shocking, and the brand new cowboy hats ‘n’ boots as far as the eye could see seemed more uniform than is usually seen in the UK country music scene these days.
A change of venue was clearly a great way to combat most of the issues. Although Islington Metalworks had no outdoor area, that was not a problem on a rainy April evening. The shabby chic vintage space offered some distinct advantages, not least the ability to watch the bucking bronco and line dancing from comfy sofas! Thankfully, the best part of the first night had survived the move: sweet potato fries! Setting the scene even further, 50 lucky people got a free shot of Buffalo Trace bourbon as they arrived. Get in!
Sure, some of the country stereotypes remained, but this time the line dancing had a higher purpose. The lesson was filmed to be featured in a documentary about Kylie Minogue!
When that was done, the dance floor was opened up for half an hour of regular dancing. Sweet potato fries, free alcohol, a cheeky bit of dancing to Maren Morris, and the first of three promised plays of Cam’s Diane were all just warm-ups for the main event.
Within seconds of the doors opening, the live music part of the venue filled up and Americana pop star Liv Austen took to the stage with her brand new band.
Not that the casual observer would have noticed the change. If anything, the band was tighter than ever musically. Guitarist Jon Wright was still on hand to lead the way. The giveaway sign of the new players was the surprised glances they exchanged as they saw and heard the crowd’s reactions to Austen’s songs. There were smiles and laughter all round as they got used to the exuberance. Moral of the story? Never underestimate the level of love for Liv (try saying that ten times fast!)
A country crowd was clearly going to go all in for Austen’s back-to-back Chris Country A-List singles, Don’t Regret A Single One and The Next Time. More impressively, a fair few were word perfect on Window Shopping (Austen’s future hit single co-written with Kaity Rae), which had only be played live twice before! There was also a debut performance for Nothing Less, Nothing More, written with lovely, lovely Emily Faye.
Special mention has to go to the fiery f*** you song, Miss Nobody. You’ll have to get used to the swearing because the air was thick with it when Austen and the band covered Dua Lipa’s IDGAF; not the radio-friendly version! And to think, some people think that Austen lass is perfect!
The energetic rendition of Part-Time Sweetheart and the earnestly emosh Detour deserve a mention too (even the latter prompted enthusiastic dancing on the front row). However, we’re in danger of listing all the songs, and it’s important to keep up the pretence that there’s no Liv Austen Stockholm Syndrome going on over here at Redrospective HQ. Nothing (less, nothing more) to see here, move it along!
All too soon, it was time for the drinking to start in earnest. Umm, I mean the dancing. Everyone’s favourite country and Americana DJ Baylen Leonard was on hand to spin the tunes. Familiar faces like Kaity Rae, Two Ways Home plus Austen and Wright were on hand for good company. All in all, a great night!
Buck ‘N’ Bull’s Southern Fridays country night is back at Islington Metalworks on June 29 with a headline set from Curtis Grimes.
On an even bigger scale, Buck ‘N’ Bull are hosting the official Nashville Meets London opening party on July 27 featuring Raintown, Frankie Davies and Liv Austen ON A BOAT. That’s right, a 4 hour country/Americana party cruise down the Thames with food included in the price of the ticket and Baylen Leonard spinning the tunes. THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
Check out bucknbullsaloon.com for details of both events.