support Buffalo Summer
author EW date 23/10/13 venue Borderline, London, UK

Two albums in Kadavar have become one of the main proponents of the recent heritage rock trend, not only through their revivalist take on the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Cream et al but for their visuals, looking as if they've stepped out of a time machine from 1973 and with album covers for "Kadavar" and "Abra Kadavar" joyously oblivious of 21st Century design. This, their first British show, took place in the cosy surroundings of Soho's Borderline, a venue where scene-leaders Graveyard also played their first UK show back in 2011.

All photos taken by Teodora Dani

Buffalo Summer

A single opening act playing just a half-hour slot would normally be grounds for consternation, but having sampled this Welsh act with "Down to the River" beforehand I will admit to having felt no excitement about seeing their show. Everything I feared from that video track turned out to be the case on stage - songs devoid of soul or identity built on a modus of lowest common denominator mass appeal. I'd like to think the wider audience shared my views as reaction was limited to polite applause at the conclusion of each track, with even the chant/clapping section at the end of "Down to the River" failing to raise more than a smattering of involvement despite the shameful simplicity with which it has been tagged on to the song.

Of course it wasn't all about this one song, as the remainder of the set bounded along without incident, although the clear and punchy sound along with the enthusiastic performance from all four members saved Buffalo Summer's set from being a complete disaster. Had I felt a genuine desire from the throngs for BS to continue beyond their 30 mins I might have questioned my own judgement but plainly the mainstream accessibility of their material did little for an audience thirsty for a convincing retro performance and unwilling to take any more of this BS.



As quite possibly the most retro of all the heritage bands out there Kadavar make quite an impression on stage: long hair, bushy beards, waistcoasts aplenty. Key to pulling this off is giving the impression that the band live in this gear, rather than just pulling it out for live shows. In that respect Kadavar appear the real deal as each song, especially those in the first half of their set, is saturated with classic rock groove and vitality, never for a moment suggesting this trio are a mere pastiche of a style that peaked before they were even born and which until Witchcraft's 2004 debut noone thought would ever exist again.

Why do their songs work so well live? It was in part down to the clarity of sound we were blessed with in the packed Borderline, the melding tones of guitar, bass and drum each allowing the others a generous space in the mix and the bounding uptempo nature that Lindemann sings in. All of which is thankful, because little does bassist Simon Bouteloup move (probably something to do with the drugged up state he looks in) and Lindemann stays very much on his side, opening up the view to drummer Christoph Bartelt who reminds me of The Muppets' Animal, head down and lanky arms a-flailing. After packing the first half of the set with "Doomsday Machine", "Living In Your Head" and "Black Sun" and peaking early with both my, and it seems most others favourite track, "Come Back Life", the second half lulls a little before reaching a climactic conclusion with "Forgotten Past". Despite the lack of spoken word between songs the devilish vibrancy to be found across the majority of Kadavar's track keeps the attention firmly on the trio to seal their credentials as one of the premier acts of this style today. It will be interesting to see how they maintain looking backwards while moving forwards from here.


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