Beak> review: a great show on a rainy Sunday night
PUBLISHED: 14:05 02 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:05 02 December 2019
Norwich Arts Centre
Sammy Merry reviews Beak> at Norwich Arts Centre on December 1, 2019.
Upon arriving at the Norwich Arts Centre, support act The Hysterical Injury are already mid set with front woman Annie Gardinier pronouncing that the band will "play a few euphoric songs so it's not all doom and gloom". With a sound reminiscent of Sonic Youth and the Cocteau Twins with some huge guitar riffs thrown in, it's a grand start from the fellow Bristol duo.
Beak> are a three-piece made up of Geoff Barrows (formerly of Portishead) on bass, Billy Fuller on drums and Will Young on guitars/synths, and whilst it all seems rather pointless to pigeon-hole a bands sound, expect to see words such as experimental, post rock, electronic, and drone associated with their music.
Beak> began their set with the echoey swirls of The Brazilian and the driving krautrock single Brean Down - the opening two tracks from their most recent album entitled '>>>' - and Barrows is, quite rightly, barking at chatty members of the audience to pipe down. In fact Barrows Twitter account is well worth following as he is pretty good at bringing folk down a peg or two, even more so it seems in the current lead up to the General Election.
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Between songs the band are really relaxed and happy to chit-chat and joke about with the audience, particularly when a disgruntled crowd member asks the band to help find their lost mate Dave. We even get a mini cover of the theme tune from Men Behaving Badly which I doubt many were expecting from the evening.
Highlights of the set include the loopy, analog sound of Alle Sauvage, the building arpeggio electronics of When We Fall and the monstrous guitar riff of older tune Wulfstan ii from their second album ">>".
After the pretend encore, where the band don't actually leave the stage, they play an epic Battery Point from their first album, which, yes, you've guessed it, is entitled ">".
Although before these final few songs there is another extended chat with the crowd whilst the band wait for a member of the audience to go to the toilet. The intimate setting of the Arts Centre feels like the perfect setting for a band like Beak> who put on a great show on a rainy Sunday night.
Mid set Barrows entertained the crowd by reading through some negative and ridiculous comments recently left on one of the bands YouTube pages. Well if you're reading this out at your next gig it's a thumbs up, or a ^ up, from me.