venue: the rave
show date: 04.19.02
They Make is Particularly Good
is a song called 'Life' from our new album. It was just released
two and a half years ago. It's called Hot Shots II, if
you want to buy it."
was about the most lead singer, Steven Mason, had to say at the
Beta Band's recent Milwaukee show. The rest of the pitch was in
the music and show itself.
The show opened
with a DJ set by the band themselves. Not even attempting to mix
from song to song, the mood for the night was set by varied (mostly
unknown) selections working as the soundtracks to a series of
short films. The band finally took the stage at 9:00.
Like any Beta
Band album, the show started out as a bit of a drag. Rifling through
extended jams of "Human Being" and "Alleged,"
the band at first seemed to be going through the motions. Perhaps
it was the fact that maybe 200 people showed up for their
set, or perhaps it was the fact that the acoustics at the venue
were mediocre at best. Regardless of the reason, it took a few
songs for the band and audience to finally meet.
The slow head-nod
of the crowd (ala High Fidelity) finally gave way to genuine
interest at the onset of the now-classic "Dry the Rain."
Dedicated to those who were denied a show in Chicago the night
before due to a power failure, it was here that the night truly
started to get interesting.
the Rain" gave way to "Squares," the most successful
track from their current album. The Beta Band Experience finally
began to set in. Behind the group was a projector screen, displaying
a short film about a fake lunar landing, starring the Beta Band.
Films like this continued throughout the night, making for an
aural and visual extravaganza unmatched by most others in their
set finished with "Broke," ripe with the emittance of
monkey noises and chicken clucks by Mason who then went on to
helm the second drum set for an extended percussion jam.
A superb extended
encore including "Al Sharp," and "She's the One"
followed, as well as a birthday cake for the Neil, the trumpet
player, and the band's tour manager, Geoff. The night ended with
an enjoyable babble-rap / scratchfest and a four-man, two-drumset
show was excellent. It took a bit for them to get into the flow
of the moment, a problem which could have easily been avoided
had the show been in a better venue. The poor acoustics and general
ambience of The Rave did not lend themselves to a spectacular
show. Likewise, the audience seemed scattered at best. Milwaukee,
a town famous for it's hard-rocking citizens, did not lend enough
support for such an innovative and entertaining group.
Beta Band didn't let this discourage them from performing one
of the better shows in my recent memory. Definitely a show worth
liked The Beta Band...