Music review: Hyde and Beast at The Sebright Arms

Hyde and Beast. Picture: Paul Alexander Knox

Hyde and Beast. Picture: Paul Alexander Knox - Credit: Archant

A ferociously powerful gig heralds rise of a beast says Greg Wetherall

Towards the close of this headline show, Sunderland’s Hyde & Beast offer ample demonstration as to the reason why this small and sweaty basement venue in east London is packed to the rafters with not just gig-going punters, but more than its usual fair share of press members.

Signing off with the title track from their recently-released EP Hard Times Good Times, the gathered are met with the full unremitting power of a horn-hooked tour-de-force. Such is the ferocity of this tune that you would be forgiven for thinking that the structure of the building might be compromised entirely. Especially when drummer Neil Bassett can be seen pounding the kit like John Bonham in a bad mood. The song itself, with a sax refrain similar to Acoustic Ladyland’s Cuts and Lies and vocals sonorously Crosby, Stills & Nash-like, is the sort of wonderful fusion that Steve Mason might conjure at his most inspired.

The band, led by the Futureheads drummer Dave Hyde and his aforementioned cohort, former Golden Virgins drummer Bassett, are fast building a reputation as tunesmiths of quite some calibre. Headlining the Sebright Arms, the five-piece (plus ancillary touring brass section) cook up a furiously infectious sound. Songs such as Blue come on like T Rex and Supergrass in a musical street fight; Open Your Heart is reminiscent of an Abbey Road outtake. Time and time again, and even when bassist Steve utters that Dave’s positioning behind the piano for one song is “his Elton John moment… not sure which era though”, Hyde & Beast prove that their slim-but-growing catalogue contains an abundant number of riches.

Whilst they occasionally fall guilty of being a pastiche of their attendant references, on balance, they rise above them and this gig heralded a band well and truly in its ascendency.

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