Beta Band - Manchester Academy - 19.01.02

You don't get many indie bands mentioned, praised and played in high profile American movies. But when the move is "High Fidelity" and the band is the Beta Band you know that you're talking quality, especially the moment when actor John Cusack tries to sell as many copies of one their singles as he can in his record shop to the surprise of both staff and customers. The Beta Band may not have made a movie like High Fidelity but that doesn't stop them acting in their own short films. Witness them tonight moments before they appear in person hamming it up outrageously on the projection screen as badly dubbed renegade cops in a 70s spoof.

When the band arrive to play the atmosphere can only be described as jubilant. Although at first the sound quality is a little amateur it does improve after the first few songs when the Beta Band are firing on all cylinders and are in full stride. Largely ignoring their disappointing debut album the bulk of the set is from their most recent release "Hot Shots 2" and the phenomenal "3 EP's" collection. Like the Super Furry Animals and Alabama 3, the Beta Band are musical mavericks - they use folk, dance, indie, blues and rock with generous helpings of scratching and sampling yet still succeed in being so original and groundbreaking. At one point they even swap instruments and start improvising and jamming and are having as much fun as their adoring fan base.

Forthcoming single "Squares" played tonight was originally supposed to be released last year but I Monster used the same sample as the the band so its twelve months later that it eventually appears. It may not be the best track on the album but it could be the breakthrough song with produces the bands first hit.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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