“Living in fear of Satan and the witches”

Canadian music overload last night at a Buck 65 gig at Dingwalls’ in Camden. Interestingly, each act was just a single performer.

First up was the oddity known as Mayor McCA. A lo-fi one-man band, the Mayor played a sad ukulele ballad, sat atop a kickdrum he played with his heel, made use of set of bass pedals, threw in some electric guitar and keyboards, and treated us to a wandering clarinet solo. He was stoner-goofy but endearingly good natured and funny. The epic “Hey Man You Gotta Nice Job” featured a crowd singalong and a snazzy tap-dancing interlude.

Next up was CR Avery, a beatboxing Tom Waits poet. He was a lot more intense, especially during his spoken-word-with-vocal-scratching bits (which the crowd really got into), but still wickedly funny. Avery throws piano and harmonica into the mix, too, adding a bluesy, organic element to his unusual hip-hop.

Buck 65 came out with his Mac laptop, a turntable, and a microphone and started to rhyme. I’ve only very recently gotten into Buck; perhaps oddly, since (as he proclaimed last night) he’s from Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia, only a couple hours from where I grew up and just a few minutes from where I went to university. It’s not like he’s new, either. He’s been releasing music since the mid ’90s. But I’ve come to like his style, country-geek rapping that indie hipsters can admit to enjoying. Buck’s later beats have included more country, rock and blues influence. His lyrics are offbeat and often story-telling.

Last night he sounded good, rapping swiftly and solidly over his computer tracks (though he admitted his laptop was on its last legs) with some turntablism interludes. He was charming and funny and danced his pseudo-running man white-boy dances. It’s the last show of his tour, but it didn’t show. The whole thing was upbeat, cheerful, catchy and sounded good.

Buck did songs from across his career; while I’ve not been a fan long enough to know all his tunes by heart, I recognised “Dang”, “Way Back When”, “1957” (which ended abruptly due to a laptop glitch), a blistering and country-mixed “Wicked and Weird”, “Roses and Bluejays”, crowd-pleasing “The Centaur”, “Bandits”, “463”, and “Cries A Girl”.