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The Beta Band

Monday 21st January 2001
Hackney Ocean


Most writers think, on some level, that they're pretty damn clever. Otherwise they wouldn't bother writing. And true to form I delight, as we wait for Scottish multi-instru-Mentalists the Beta Band to take to the stage, in informing the assembled that I first saw them in a little bar in Hamburg with less than a hundred people present.

Never mind that I stormed the bandwagon well after their first three ground-breaking EPs had been deleted and re-released as one album (the poorly-titled but indispensable "The Three EPs.") No. Tonight I consider myself party to an intimacy that's often overlooked in their music, and which I declare in tones of drunken authority will render them sterile in a larger venue.

Now it's not, you must understand, that I was wrong. It's just ah, bollocks. They were superb. I should have noted, while mouthing off pre-gig, that despite Steve Mason's yawning vocals there's a suppressed energy to the Beta Band that their latest album brings into focus. I could then have concluded that while Dry The Rain and Push It Out would indeed sound warm and gentle, Broke, Squares, Human Being and Quiet would all sound thrillingly wired.

I could also have noted that "The Three EPs" and "The Beta Band" display a prodigious, flexible musical imagination; and with this in mind I might have foreseen a pant-wettingly turbo-charged version of Dr. Baker. I might finally have recalled that, at the end of my soft, cosy and intimate Hamburg gig, The House Song devolved into a fearsome percussion break that saw four men spit-roasting two drum kits (work it out). And I could have predicted that something similar would happen tonight, and that, again, it would be like getting punched repeatedly in the face by a minor deity.

Had I done any of those things I'd have pronounced the show an inevitable triumph, with an increasingly confident Mason whooping, swaggering and jumping up on monitors like a proper rock star, but retaining enough stoned eccentricity to pacify indie purists. Only I didn't. Conclusions: I am neither big nor clever. But the Beta Band, more than ever, are. Catch them before they fuck it up.

(c) 2002 Nathan Midgley
The Beta Band

Monday 21st January 2001
Hackney Ocean


Most writers think, on some level, that they're pretty damn clever. Otherwise they wouldn't bother writing. And true to form I delight, as we wait for Scottish multi-instru-Mentalists the Beta Band to take to the stage, in informing the assembled that I first saw them in a little bar in Hamburg with less than a hundred people present.

Never mind that I stormed the bandwagon well after their first three ground-breaking EPs had been deleted and re-released as one album (the poorly-titled but indispensable "The Three EPs.") No. Tonight I consider myself party to an intimacy that's often overlooked in their music, and which I declare in tones of drunken authority will render them sterile in a larger venue.

Now it's not, you must understand, that I was wrong. It's just ah, bollocks. They were superb. I should have noted, while mouthing off pre-gig, that despite Steve Mason's yawning vocals there's a suppressed energy to the Beta Band that their latest album brings into focus. I could then have concluded that while Dry The Rain and Push It Out would indeed sound warm and gentle, Broke, Squares, Human Being and Quiet would all sound thrillingly wired.

I could also have noted that "The Three EPs" and "The Beta Band" display a prodigious, flexible musical imagination; and with this in mind I might have foreseen a pant-wettingly turbo-charged version of Dr. Baker. I might finally have recalled that, at the end of my soft, cosy and intimate Hamburg gig, The House Song devolved into a fearsome percussion break that saw four men spit-roasting two drum kits (work it out). And I could have predicted that something similar would happen tonight, and that, again, it would be like getting punched repeatedly in the face by a minor deity.

Had I done any of those things I'd have pronounced the show an inevitable triumph, with an increasingly confident Mason whooping, swaggering and jumping up on monitors like a proper rock star, but retaining enough stoned eccentricity to pacify indie purists. Only I didn't. Conclusions: I am neither big nor clever. But the Beta Band, more than ever, are. Catch them before they fuck it up.

(c) 2002 Nathan Midgley
Steady ladies... It's the Beta Band!