Holy F***, Buck 65
Buck 65 pre-warns that he is in a ï¿½A somewhat heavily medicated stateï¿½ and then gets straight down to doing what he's done best for the last 15 years - rapping. In accompaniment to his voice are his soundtracks which take us on a pleasurable ride through the mixed terrain of blues, hip hop, classical, and country. The audience are enamoured by his understated dance moves, including a diva style strut, jazz hands, and a zombie hip-wiggle that coincides with his paradoxically comedic yet bluesy song ï¿½Zombie Delight' where he raps about Zombies being ï¿½excellent dancers'.
The most enjoyable point in the set is when he performs his acapella rap ï¿½Enter Governor Bolts', telling the story of an amusing incident involving a drunken man and a mannequin. The performance has everyone laughing and grinning with surprise at one another as if to say, ï¿½How did I not know about Buck 65 until now?ï¿½ and his ability to make the whole room laugh is a testament to his artistry as a writer, as well as being a fantastic composer, producer and rapper. Buck 65 is a rare creative breed that Belfast will hopefully be able to welcome back as a headliner in the near future.
Holy F**k open the set with the ominous Eno-esque sounds of '1MD', the same song that opens their latest album 'Latin', released earlier this year. They take their time teasing the live instruments into a crescendo, with lead vocalist Brian Borcherdt providing the occasional Neu-like yelp. The amalgamation of sounds then morphs into the funky bassline groove of 'Red Lights', which is received with plenty of foot tapping and head nodding. In amongst the whoops and cheers they keep the tempo up with the Casio conga drum sample from another of their more recent tracks, ï¿½Jungles'.
Holy F**k are a brave band, keen on extreme contrasts in sound and are not afraid to experiment with breakdowns and the gradual layering of instruments. The fact that they have an incredibly tight and reliable rhythm section gives Brian and Graham Walsh more freedom to experiment when it comes to the top line sounds. ï¿½Stay Lit' is a highlight of the night, the rhythm section uphold the suitably epic force of the song whilst the other half of the band offer up the beautifully haunting melody that makes it feel so intimate and life-affirming
In the usual fashion Holy F**k vacate the stage at the ï¿½endï¿½ of their set and a hearty ï¿½one more tuneï¿½ chant kicks in. The fans are not kept waiting for long and Holy F**k oblige everyone's expectations by playing 'Lovely Allen'. You can definitely sense that the performance of this last track is more for the sake of the crowd than for the band. It has been in their repertoire for several years now and it is therefore unsurprising that when they play it, it sounds a little tired and underwhelming.
If Holy F**k continue to keep out-doing themselves then it surely won't be long before they are back in Belfast again with an even more powerful set then the one they already have. There's certainly no sign of them hitting a plateau any time soon.