Having loved Night Beats’ Liverpool Psyche Fest performance back in 2013 I was both surprised and thrilled to discover that they were playing The 1865 club in Southampton, just 20 or so miles along the coast from where I live. I naturally alerted a good number of my friends and in the end 3 of us made it along to the (new to me) venue.
I got there just in time to see the first support band who had apparently improved throughout their set and certainly sounded pretty decent to me as they played their last 3 numbers. Next up were Melt Dunes, a band I’d previously seen supporting Back Bombaim last year at a woefully under attended gig at The Fat Fox in Portsmouth, and once again they put on a good turn although to my mind their style seemed to vary a little too much for consistent appeal.
As they cleared their gear away and Night Beats set theirs up it became painfully apparent that this gig was going to suffer from a similar lack of local support to the aforementioned Black Bombaim show, as when they took to the stage there were about 50-60 people in a venue that looked like it comfortably hold 500. Unperturbed the band got stuck in to their stylishly delivered psych/garage rock set that consisted of a selection of tunes from the latest album, Who Sold My Generation, along with old favourites from their self-titled first album and Sonic Bloom.
As with all of the gigs I have attended this year the sound was crystal clear and perfectly separated, which is how I want it, plus my earplugs stayed in my bag which indicates the levels were nowhere near as high as they were in Liverpool when I swear you could see the air shimmering on account of the face-melting.
Like their new album, this performance was far more confident and assured, and the subtleties that have crept into their music over last few years were also clearly audible in the well balanced mix.
The crowd, thin as it was, tried to make up for the lack of numbers with noise and enthusiasm, and we must have been at least partially successful as we got an encore where a less professional and gracious band might have packed up and gone home.
I managed to chat with Lee Blackwell and Jakob Bowden and, despite their intense and moody appearance onstage, they turned out to be quietly spoken and and incredibly polite in the flesh, where they revealed that a new album was taking shape.