I went down to see Richard Buckner at the Southgate House last night. The Southgate House is the premier venue for live music in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, and I’ve probably seen 40-45 concerts there over the years. It’s my favorite place to see a show.
Richard Buckner, of course, is an old favorite of mine from back in the heady alt-country 90s. He’s responsible for two of my all-time favorite songs (“Lil Wallet Picture” and “Reuben Pantier”) and some of the best live performances I’ve ever witnessed. Tonight’s show was a bit of a disappointment, though.
The concert started out strong, with a solo version of “The Tether & The Tie” from Richard Buckner’s latest release, Meadow. Unfortunately, things fell apart on the second song. He brought out the opening act, a group called Six Parts Seven, to serve as his backing band. The band had played cool instrumental music during their opening set, but they completely bombed on the Buckner songs. They ruined seven and a half of them. Six Parts Seven was too loud and they overpowered the vocals. There were just too many guitars making too much noise. I’m not even sure the band knew the songs they were supposed to be playing. It was awful.
About halfway through a song called “Born Into Giving It Up”, Richard Buckner brought the performance to an abrupt halt. “I’m gonna do the rest alone,” he mumbled. Six Parts Seven slunk off the stage and the concert went back to sounding good again. I was very happy.
The rest of the concert was fantastic–just what I’m used to from Richard Buckner. He skipped over most of my favorites, but I’m happy to say the songs off Meadow sounded good. It was also nice to hear some of the old classics like “Raze”, “Ed’s Song”, and “Emma”. The concert ended, like all Richard Buckner concerts I’ve seen, with a rousing acapella version of “Fater”. The song shows off the power of Richard’s voice and his lyrical skill; it never fails to give me chills.
Even though he managed to salvage the second half of the set, the concert still ended up being a letdown. Six Parts Seven was good by themselves. Richard Buckner was great by himself. Unfortunately, they were close to unlistenable when performing together. There was no chemistry at all. They’ve got a couple dozen tour dates left together, and I can’t help but wonder how that’s going to work out.