“I have a 9-to-5 job right now,” said Buck 65 to congratulatory applause three songs into his set at the Theatre Centre last night, apologizing in advance for any screw-ups. Despite his nerves and time constraints, the show turned into a pretty magical event, uniting nearly all of the artistic media at play during Summerworks to complement some of Buck’s rarest and rawest material. And if we were as busy as Buck 65 is (he’s also writing a book and putting together a new album), we’re not sure we’d be able to put on this entertaining of a show.
But the show was certainly a collaborative effort. With art direction by Ame Henderson, accompanying vocals by Francesca ‘Franny’ Anderson (apparently it was her first time singing into a mic!), and incredibly polished pop-choral arrangements by choir!choir!choir!, you could tell that a lot of work was put into making this an impressive and memorable moment for Buck 65.
Four people rode their bikes around in a circular formation, like a carousel, as Buck sang “Highway 101,” a song he’d written and recorded 10 years ago about the “cursed highway connecting Halifax and Nova Scotia.” Afterwards, he introduced a more personal song with, “I lived in France, and I loved a woman,” before beginning to rap and reading off a notepad to get the words right.
The show then turned into a premeditated dance party at the front while one of Buck’s bandmates played guitar from the top of the audience and the c!c!c! sang a catchy twee-poppy tune between Buck’s rap verses. For the next song, another man sat at the mic-stand and lip-synced/mimed along as Buck rapped while lying on the floor with the dancers, almost resembling a childhood game of Graveyard.
These were the kind of wistful moments that filled the night - sometimes leaving you somewhat unsure of what exactly was going on, but still in awe of the wildly entertaining performance art. Coalescing as the show continued, it eventually led up to a climax of balloons and paper airplanes being thrown through the air, momentarily turning the Theatre Centre into a fiesta for Buck 65’s music and the art of Summerworks.