“Everyone hapus? How are the people outside?” laughs Eliot Jones, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Family Battenberg. By 7pm, a one-in-one-out queue nearly 60-strong has formed outside Cardiff music scene stronghold Porter’s, for a gig that marks Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard’s return to the city: their last two Cardiff performances, in 2022, were in the Wales Millennium Centre and Principality Stadium.
Psych-garage rockers The Family Battenberg set the tone as openers with a warm self-assurance that keeps the packed-out crowd fully engaged. The four-piece play unreleased and recognisable tracks, with their first two singles Feed Yer (Nganga) and Fuzzy Features proving crowd favourites. The two frontmen joke between themselves throughout the set, sharing anecdotes of song meaning – from tracks written about aliens, to religious rituals and a man falling in love with his dog.
Bristol’s Home Counties are next, their melodically disjointed, 80s-inspired synth-rock combining the sound of Parquet Courts and the attitude of Devo. Lead vocalist Will Harrison stumbles over his Welsh introduction: “shwmae Caerdydd, sut dych chi? Home Counties dw i! Dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg… I am shit at it though!” His linguistic effort is well received, though, as is 30 minutes of tongue-in-cheek songs that move between spoken and sung delivery, sparing no topic of political discourse. We hear this in Modern Yuppies, which satirises 80s culture in the context of modern capitalism, and the unreleased Bethnal Green, which touches on gentrification.
By 10 pm, Porter’s beer garden had emptied and the main room filled for the headliners. Opening with classic Late Night City, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard frontman Tom Rees works the crowd with striking poses and captivating moments of eye contact. The band’s likeable charm has generated a following reflected when the crowd recite the lyrics of Double Denim Hop and You word for word. Straying from their glam rock-esque foundations, we see a heavier turn from the group with latest single Chew and the unreleased Therapy.
There’s a true sense of community at this gig, with Rees giving nod to Porter’s grassroots ethos – “This is one of the only venues that supports bands just starting out, thanks to Alex [Jones] for that” – and after signing a 20-year lease, Porters will be relocating to Barrack Lane due to the planned development of its current home in Harlech Court. The new location is an exciting new chapter for the venue, one intended to expand the venue’s cultural offerings, benefitting the communities it serves.
Twenty years from now, this show will be an ‘I was there’ moment for many. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have no plans to halt their musical development, but will never forget their roots: “Cardiff is home, it will always be home,” as Rees says. Rejecting encores as ‘phony’, the band close with anthemic feel-good song Love Forever, concluding this an epic one-off hometown show.
Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, Home Counties + The Family Battenberg, Porter’s, Cardiff, Fri 14 July
words and photos TERESA DELFINO