Hyde & Beast at the Sebright Arms
As the end of summer keeps threatening to arrive in London, a gig featuring a band whose style is widely described as “psychedelic rock with a summer mood” seems pertinent. Neil Bassett is up on stage at the Sebright Arms, getting his hands on the last details of sound-check. Tame Impala playing in the background is an obvious nod to the band’s style. But the psychedelia of Hyde & Beast is miles away from electronic, spacey rock with a fondness for reverbs. The delivery of their initial song, Train, immediately proves this. Its sound would have gotten The Beatles and The Byrds excited: beautiful harmonies, spot-on timing, and a dramatic saxophone.
Their live music is a perfect analogue to the Phil Spector sound of their albums. In fact, it highlights the sad fact that audiences have become used to bands not having a good live sound, or good instrument skills for that matter. Although rock ‘n’ roll praises itself for compromising quality for attitude, it’s rather refreshing to come across a band with an actual aptitude for playing. David Hyde, in white trousers and polka dot shirt, successfully takes the audience back in time to meet the band’s readily quoted influences: Dylan, Harrison, Wilson, Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Blown Away and Keep Moving, from last year’s album, are as well-received as the few they play from their newest EP: Never Get to Heaven, Get Up, and the instant classic, Hard Times, Good Times. These are more than just some catchy, feel-good summer tunes: they are Americana-meets-motown-meets-T. Rex. What could anyone possibly criticise about that? The cry for an encore lasts less than a minute, which somehow reassures their reliability and lack of pretensions. Everything You Want and Blue finish a consistently flawless show.
Hyde says goodbye and states his happiness at playing to a fully-packed venue: “It’s small, but it means a lot to us.” One might begin to wonder if they’re too good – to their own detriment. It feels like the kind of gig that makes music snobs happy, but that may lack a bit of roughness for the rest. Still, their gig at the Sebright Arms could easily discard any claims about their transitory relevance: whether or not they are around next summer, their music already belongs to the realm of timelessness.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information about Hyde & Beast and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Keep Moving here: