I always look forward to Fridays, but knowing that a Buck 65 performance would be part of my Friday made the anticipation exceptional. On November 21st I excitedly made my way towards the Danforth Music Hall and, as expected, witnessed wonder.
Before Buck 65—aka Richard Terfry—took over the East end of Toronto, the audience was treated to a lovely performance by Jon and Roy. Comprised of Jon Middleton on vocals/guitar/harmonica, Roy Vizer on drums/percussion and Louis Sadava on bass, this Victoria, BC trio played a varied set, pulling different tracks from their many albums. Although a smaller band, their presence was nonetheless captivating. Taking center stage, Jon belted a beautiful and honest performance—eyes closed and tippy-toed—leaving the intimate venue filled with melody and the sounds of folky, raw rhythmic guitar. Highlights of the show included the dreamy, transporting track “Another Noon”, the lovely “By My Side”, and my personal favourite—the captivating “Every Night”. After almost an hour Jon and Roy cleared the stage and the crowd prepared for the Legendary Buck 65.
Promptly at 9:45pm entered Buck 65, dapper as ever, wearing a suit and rocking a mullet-like hairstyle. Backed for the first few songs by a band introduced as Taxxx, together the stage was set with ‘Buck 65 plus Taxxx’. Starting the show with “Gates of Hell”—the first track off his newest album Neverlove—the mood was instantly set as intense. Switching next to the more light hearted “Zombie Delight”, the crowd morphed into a sea of undead as they contorted and echoed ‘zombies are coming to get you tonight’.
I lost track of the amount of songs Terfry managed to get through (although I did see the set list and it looked to be around 40 or more!!). This is partly due to the fact that midway through the set the band disappeared and left Terfry to impressively fly through a mashup of tracks. Alone with a microphone turntable, and quirky backing audio, the Legend performed tracks including “Roses and Blue Jays”, “Wicked and Weird”, “Bachelor of Science”, and “Indestructible Sam”. We were also graced with a backstory for certain songs, including a build up to “Laundromat Boogie” and what I think to be one of the highlights of the evening: “The Centaur”—here we got to see Terfry ‘pull a rickshaw’ while we contemplated the lifestyle of a modern half man half horse. It was not only hilarious, but also philosophical; bizarre and wonderful, it perfectly characterized Buck 65.
Although Terfry can certainly carry a show on his own, the amazingness was amplified by supporting female vocalists including Sweden’s Tiger Rosa, Adaline, and Maya—all women who could really belt it! They added flare to tracks such as “Roses in the Rain” (this was lovely since Buck 65 met his accompanying vocalist Adaline for the first time on stage during this song, and they sung this together flawlessly), “Love Will Fuck You Up”, “Paper Airplanes” and the emotional “Superhero In My Heart”—this may have been one of the most solemn moments in the show, but despite Buck 65’s nerves he trucked through the emotional track.
When Taxxx returned to join Buck 65, they pumped up the mood with a heavier version of “463”, and ended the show with the entire crew singing “Super Pretty Naughty”. A stark contrast to the more serious moments in the show, the crowd nonetheless appreciated the lightheartedness and sung along. Perfectly complex, perfectly wonderful, the show was perfectly Legendary.
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