Over recent years Guernsey’s traditional summer shows have taken an increased interest in local music with The Space Pirates of Rocquaine having become something of fixture of both The Rocquaine Regatta and The West Show (though not this year).
The North Show, home of the island’s Battle of Flowers, has been no different and that reached something of a new peak in 2015 as The Recks and Buffalo Huddleston, two of the island’s hottest bands, provided the musical entertainment on the first evening of the event.
After having a look around the show’s produce tents – these were originally shows celebrating local produce, be it fruit and veg, flowers, baking or arts & crafts, and that is still a big part of the annual events – I headed over to the beer tent where the make shift stage had been constructed and Buffalo Huddleston were getting ready.
As they began their set, in four-piece mode as has become tradition, the tent filled up quickly with people headed in from the muddy field. It wasn’t long before people began moving gently to the band’s laid back sounds and, while it took a while for the feeling to spread further back in the tent, it seemed everyone eventually got into the laid back swing of things.
After the laid back start, with band leader Mike Meinke as focus, MC Jull-z completed the line up for long time favourite Chillin’ and his manner of connecting with and working the crowd soon drew people further forward and got more dancing and grooving along.
Particularly impressive tonight was the amount of the audience singing the songs back, while we had seen this in Sark and at Chaos, this audience, at first glance, seemed as if they may be less familiar with the band’s work, but clearly this was not the case and shows Buffalo Huddleston’s wide appeal.
Ending on new crowd favourite Mr. Cloud, someone they say they met at a recent visit to Boomtown Fair, the band improvised around some didgeridoo mic problems without missing a beat and were soon called back for an encore which came in the form of a slowed down, dub style version of Chillin’ that was received with further enthusiasm from the audience.
Following Buffalo Huddleston, and fresh from playing two sets at Boomtown Fair (one at half past two in the morning!), The Recks fired off in a high gear and, save for some problems with a mandolin which was soon ‘enthusiastically’ discarded, got into high energy mode very quickly.
Unfortunately after only four songs they had to stop for the laser show out in the main arena that was hampered slightly by the drizzly, windy weather.
With the laser show done, The Recks were back and kicked off again with single Lovers In The Night, which we’ve not heard in some time. From there the energy went up and up with the crowd lapping up the band’s unique genre blending sounds.
Following some expert guitar strap ‘McGuyering’, frontman Richey Powers seemed to be somewhat frustrated as he headed up the lighting rig and then off stage during new upbeat reggae-ish song I Might Not Be Pretty But I Still Need Love translating his frustration (at what is anyone’s guess) into a powerful energetic performance.
With the set being rounded off by the double whammy of Porcupine and Valentine the Sark based quintet were called back for an encore which left everyone heading out into the muddy field on a high that, in the end, certainly felt more like a Saturday night than a Wednesday in a wet field and just goes to show that original music in Guernsey can transcend traditional venues and connect with a wide audience.