It's Not Too Beautiful
It’s snowing! The first snow of the Winter. I just looked out the window and it’s snowing. Yes. Snow. White snow. You know what snow’s a metaphor for, don’t you?
Last night, coming out of Rock City, the girl behind me said to her mate “That was so excellent. Absolutely so f***ing excellent.”
She was absolutely so f***ing right. (I hope you don’t mind the asterisks. I am trying to be adult.)
It was The Beta Band she was talking about. They’re on their Farewell Tour and I missed them last time they were in town but I wasn’t going to miss them this time. Back around 1998 one of my kids, or maybe both of them, told me I’d like The Beta Band, and I should hear their LP, which was made up of 3 previously released but scarce EPs, and called “The Three EPs”. They were so absolutely right. I got it and played it for ever, over and over. The first song, “Dry the Rain”, still blows me away.
If there's something inside that you wanna say
Say it out loud it'll be okay
I will be your light
Their music is hard to describe because it mixes so many elements. In the newspaper the other day it said something about a mix of house beats and psychedelia, but that only goes part of the way. I’m not even sure it goes any of the way, to be honest. But there is often a dreamy trance-like quality to what they do, underpinned by strong percussive…. oh, whatever. One interview has them citing among their desert island discs stuff by The KLF, Wu-Tang Clan, De La Soul, Frank Zappa, David Bowie and early Bob Dylan. They have words, too, like in “She’s the One For Me”
Falling through the floor
With the friend I had before
Grabbing at straws
So the holes don't slow me down
Coming up next
The lizard and the text
Showing me the ropes
Don't be giving up your hopes
With the underwater steam
Fish on the side
He's a looking for a dream
She's the one for me
I’d heard that their live gigs often involved light shows, film backdrops and various things, but last night they played it straight. No frills. And they were so good. Cool, happy, communicative and buzzing. They have the happy knack, too, of knowing when a song is finished. Some of their things are quite short, others are pretty long and there is a lot of instrumental, for want of a better word (there probably is one, or two: house, psychedelia, cornucopia, Quality Street). But they never let an apparent jam outstay its welcome and get tiresome. And they simply have some great songs and wonderful rhythms and riffs. Oh, I was tapping my feet all evening! & so was everyone else bopping in their own individual and often bizarre way. Yes, a jolly good time was had by all.
I just looked out the window. It’s stopped snowing. You know what snow that's stopped is a metaphor for, don’t you?