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Luke Haines and Peter Buck - Brudenell, Leeds, 21/2/2023

  by Denzil Watson

published: 26 / 4 / 2023

Luke Haines and Peter Buck - Brudenell, Leeds, 21/2/2023

When news came out about the collaboration between ex-Auteurs frontman gone solo Luke Haines and REM’s legendary guitarist Peter Buck first broke, it seemed like the most unlikely of musical marriages. The two became acquainted after Buck bought one of Haines’ paintings online and noticing the name on the order, posed the question “Are you thee Peter Buck?” The collaboration soon took shape but the timing of their debut album, ‘Beat Poetry for Survivalists’ in 2020 couldn’t have been worse, released just before the world went into COVID lockdown. But live shows eventually followed and now, two years on, the duo released double album, ‘All The Kids Are Super Bummed Out’. And so to the main room at Leeds’ best small-to-medium-sized venue, the Brudenell. The stage set-up is modestly understated; no backdrops and just static blue and green lighting. This is maybe familiar territory to Haines, but it’s a world away for Buck who was headlining the Pyramid Stage with R.E.M at Glastonbury back in 1999. For the duration of the ensuing 90-minute set, both seem equally at home, though. Haines in his flared trousers and Panama hat and the tall silver-maned Buck in his flowered shirt. In between songs, Haines treats us to his familiar brand of self-deprecating humour, while Buck who is mic-less concentrates on his strumming duties with effortless precision. The sound of the band as a whole is what you would expect from the collaboration and makes perfect sense in the live environment; Haines’s trademark vocals gelling well with Buck’s Rickenbacker-driven jangly rock guitar. That’s once the initial sound problems are sorted out: “Turn the vocals up please. Don’t worry, if anyone wants to sue me for tinnitus, that’s okay, I haven’t got any money,” deadpans Haines. Set opener ‘45 Revolutions’ is quickly followed by the hilariously titled ‘The British Army on LSD’, a song telling of drug-usage in the Third Reich, subject matter only Haines would think of penning a song about. After an initial blast of the new album, ‘Apocalypse Beach’, ‘Last of the Legendary Big Foot Hunters’ and title track ‘Beat Poetry for the Survivalist’ from their debut LP are dispatched with the vigour and assurance of a well-established band, showcasing Haines’ keen eye for the weird from over the Atlantic. Only then to return to Blighty and black humour closer to home via ‘Bobby’s Wild Years’ and my personal favourite track of the night, ‘Witch Tariff’. ‘Subterranean Earth Angel Stomp’ sees Haines getting glam fix as his band, featuring long-time Buck associates Scott McCaughey on bass and Linda Pitmon on the drums, remain tight and in the zone (I didn’t quite catch the name of the keyboardist when Haines latterly introduced the band). Brand new track ‘Radical Bookshop’ bodes well for “the next record, due out sometime, well, next year” as the collaboration looks set to continue and go from strength-to-strength. The band return for their first encore with’“Exit Space (All the Kids are Super Bummed Out)’. It plays out like some cult movie soundtrack, but the kids are indeed far from being bummed out, drawing a further two encores out of the band. ‘Rock’n’roll Ambulance’ could have easily been an Auteurs song and the sneery ‘Andy Warhol Was Not Kind’ gives us one of the finest songs ever to name-check Perestroika.

Picture Gallery:-
Luke Haines and Peter Buck - Brudenell, Leeds, 21/2/2023

Luke Haines and Peter Buck - Brudenell, Leeds, 21/2/2023

Luke Haines and Peter Buck - Brudenell, Leeds, 21/2/2023

Luke Haines and Peter Buck - Brudenell, Leeds, 21/2/2023

Luke Haines and Peter Buck - Brudenell, Leeds, 21/2/2023

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Denzil Watson at The Brudenell in Leeds enjoys a self-deprecating and black-humoured set of eccentric rock from Luke Haines and Peter Buck.


Interview (2020)
Luke Haines and Peter Buck - Interview
British singer-songwriter and author Luke Haines and ex-REM guitarist Peter Buck speak to Denzil Watson about their new collaborative album, 'Beat Poetry for Survivalists'.

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