Nightbeats

I walked in to the Rough Trade store as Night Beats were sound checking and instinctively found my steps falling in with the beat. The combination of the compulsive immediacy drumming of James Traeger layered with bass rhythms of Jakob Bowden reaches out and grabs a hold of that part of the hind brain that stops you falling off pavements and stepping in front of taxi’s, flicks off “sensible mode”, and all of a sudden you’ve got your funky walk on… And that was just the sound check. 

Night beats battle the Amp...
Making final adjustments…

These guys have been on a long tour, and are definitely match-fit (Although Jakob’s gaffa-taped boots may disagree!). The sound check was a whole 5 minutes – plug in and fire up the kit, blast out a track to get the levels from the monitors right and these guys were good to go…

Jakob Bowden
The man with the gaffer-taped shoe… Bassist, Jakob Bowden.

The debate over whether I, or the beat actually had control of my legs was soon forgotten as the set began and Danny Lee Blackwell’s reverb-rich guitar riffs and soulful vocals demanded my full attention completing the bands striped-back sound. As you’d expect with a band that been on the road a while, set was tight, with each song a perfectly formed nugget of purest psych-rock blended with equal portions soul and early R&B with the odd whiff of blues. I’d like to compare Night Beats to early Black Keys (I’m thinking Thickfreakness era here…), but whilst both bands create (what I’d consider) the perfect music for a road trip on the long straight desert roads of Utah and Arizona you’d trade the blues elements of the Black Keys for something altogether more soulful if you slipped “Who Sold my Generation” in the CD player, and I think you might end up smiling a bit more.

James Traeger
James Traeger in blue and pink… (The joy of power-bricks on auto)

With music this well combined and compelling it wasn’t really too much of a surprise that I didn’t actually take that many photos during the first couple of tracks, and then managed to drop my can of beer (causing minor chaos at the side of the stage…). For me, Night Beat’s set was over far too quickly, they are a brilliant live band. Despite having another gig to play after Rough Trade, and the apparent dislike of the house Fender amp for Danny’s “Big Muff” reverb pedal, Night Beats played a cracking set and made the crowd at a busy little venue very happy.

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Danny’s Big Muff looks a little well used… It was definitely didn’t like the amp!

On a more personal, photography-related note, I have found the ‘exposure lock’ setting and my world is much better…

Rough Trade East 24/02/2016

More photos here…

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