Beta Band - 10/25/01 @ Metro

The Beta Band are an interesting band. They are the band that everyone is like..."Hey thats the band John Cusack plays in his record store in High Fidelity." Remember that scene? He tells one of his co-workers (I forget if its Jack Black or the other guy) "Watch this, I'm gonna sell a few of these records." He puts the Beta Band on and sho' nuff...here comes the customers. "Oh it's the Beta Band" he says. I bet Championship Vinyl sells at least 10 copies of their album that afternoon, and for good reason. The Beta Band is one of the most underated bands in the world in my opinion. Oh! you've seen them live I'm sure, if you were a good little boy or girl and attended the mandatory Radiohead concert last summer in downtown Chicago, you saw these fun loving chaps from Scotland. Well at their performance opening for the rock gods, the Beta Band managed to put on a little show of their own.

This isn't about that amazing evening last august...this is about the show they put on at the Metro on a cold night late in October. Doors at 9, the schedule posted read DJ at 9 Beta Band at 9:30. We walk in and I notice that the DJ spinning some old school hip hop was none other than Steve Mason, multi-talented frontman to the Beta Band. A rather poor dj he turned it over to the other members of the Beta Band, who rotated ever 15 min or so. They spun their faves. I dunno if the crowd was misinformed or what, but they didn't seem to notice that yeah this was the band they paid for and sold out the metro. Oh well...the music was good and the Beta Band came on at around 10:15...about 45 min late, but it was all good.

Steve was dressed in a Kimono with his trademark Rivers Cuomo style glasses. The rest of the band was in NASA style jump suits. They ripped through plenty of hits from their new album Hot Shots II and the 3 EP's im not sure if they played anything from the self titled, which I'm not too familiar with. Hot Shots II is one of the best albums of 2001 and start to finish that album does not falter once.

Beta Band live are a group of very talented individuals who play many different instruments. John Maclean, the groups DJ layed down smooth beats and tracks.

Robin Jones was brilliant on drums and also switched to guitar towards the end of the set. Richard Greentree played excellent bass and switched to drums when the band switched all around. Steve was the star of the show however, as he mainly played guitar, but switched around to keyboards and bongos, but the most impressive was him switching to a second drumkit during one of their songs, and performing in time with Robin, drumming simultaneously.

The Beta Band's style is a spacey rock infused with hip hop beats....they are a very unique sound and I cannot really compare them to any other band. They performed variations of songs such as "She's the One" and "Squares" diffrerently from the album, and they broke out into long jam sessions of pure spaced out percussion heavy bliss, mixed with hip-hop samples and heavy bass. Hard to describe in words, but what you did see that opened for Radiohead was just a small peek into the amazing live band that is Beta Band. To top off an amazing show, the band went to the the Smart Bar after the show, and DJ'd till the wee hours of the morning to all of the concert-goers over 21 (give me 6 more months!) One of the better shows I've seen this year so far and what of the more pleasant suprises as well.

--Steve C. - Walkaabout@aol.com


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