Simon Garrard at the Buffalo Bar
The Buffalo Bar is intimate and full of cosy red bricks with a scattering of palm trees. Entering this live music venue, Sam Way lulls you in with an endearingly shy, yet beautiful acoustic performance, filling the room with echoes of heartache (Golden Soldier) and recitations of his favourite poetry. For the most part, the audience is sedentary, listening to his striking break-up lyricism. His final piece shows his diversity as he enchants the crowd with his amusing take on the appropriate moves to his song Dancing Shoes – the crowd are drawn into re-enacting the movements of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, crouching tigers and Neo from The Matrix. His vocals are reminiscent of Jack Peñate and seeing him in an intimate setting is a privilege.
Having met the wonderfully amiable headline act, Simon Garrard, prior to his set, you know that he is going to give one hundred percent. Whether you know him or not, by the end of his performance, you feel that you have gained a musically talented and genuinely hilarious friend. He has only one rule for the audience: “dance your asses off and have a good time.” His charisma and gruff vocals in I’m on Fire uplift the entire bar as he bounces from wall to wall, literally, from the stage, to his friends, to his band (whose virtues he endlessly extols), and to a self-created circle jig.
Garrard is here to promote his latest EP This Is England, and he excites us with promises of an album on its way. He may love the act of performing, but he also has messages to convey. The lead track, he explains, is about his reaction to closet racism, after an experience he had on the tube. It is through his art, rather than through political rants, that he expresses his feelings. Simon mixes things up with soulful entreaties to the audience one minute, and the next he is leaping around the stage supported by his bassist, drum player and his pretty, barefooted, tambourine-playing back-up vocalist. His excitement is bolstered by his band’s well timed jokes and crowd-pleasing games of “bass line bingo”. There are moments where he proves his vocal prowess with solos and a Queen cover that adds new dimensions to traditional lyrics.
Ending his show with Let It Go, he thanks the crowd for coming with a sheen of happiness upon his face, when really one feels we should be thanking him for his stellar enthusiasm.
Photos: Sarah Tsang
For further information and future events visit Simon Garrard’s website here.
Listen to The Boat here: