What do you call a guy who hangs out with musicians?
– A drummer.
Yeah, ok, never really great are they? Regardless, everyone knows at least one drummer joke. In fact there’s a whole website dedicated to them. It’s called drumjokes.com; almost as simple as the subject matter (ZING). I never was good at jokes. Anyway… this incessant rambling about drummer jokes is actually relevant, I swear. This is because there’s something rather peculiar about Hyde & Beast, the indie-psych-rock duo from Sunderland; they are both better known for being drummers in bands The Futureheads (Dave Hyde) and Golden Virgins (Neil Bassett). So what happens when two drummers get together and make some music? In this case – magic.
The duo brought their brand of laid back, harmony drenched cosmic pop to Glasgow’s Captain’s Rest on Tuesday 8th November, bringing their music alive with the help of four other musicians. The crowd were few but the band filled the room with tunes from their debut album ‘Slow Down’, which was released this summer.
Hyde & Beast make their lives shows an interactive affair, asking help from fans prior to gigs with brass duties. Glasgow was no exception, with Dave asking a pair of volunteer trombone and trumpet players to take to the stage to help on the performance of album highlight ‘Never Come Back’. The effect was fantastic, the choruses swelling with sound, only to be starkly contrasted when the band reel it back in towards the end with some atmospheric accapella. The vocals were enchanting throughout the gig, the harmonies tight and controlled, almost Beach Boys-esque.
Tongues kept firmly in cheek, the band introduce their most popular song ‘(And The) Pictures In The Sky’ as “a cover of hmmphnsdghjf” (roughly transcribed gobbledigook). The crowd have a giggle as everyone struggles to remember who did the song in the first place. Medicine Head of course, you bunch of music ignorants. (Thank God for Google.) Regardless, Hyde & Beast’s is a fine version, the steady drum beat combined with chirpy harmonies and T-Rex style guitar made for a hypnotising effect.
A technical hitch mid-set left a bit of an awkward break in between songs, but the band took it in their stride, adding “at least it’ll make the set longer!” True, the set was relatively short with the band having just one album’s worth of material to work with and most songs coming in at around three minutes a piece. Yet it’s this conciseness that adds to their appeal. Short but sweet, Hyde & Beast never let the songs run away with themselves (which I’m sure many of them very easily could). They are nipped in the bud and kept as little accessible nuggets of goodness. The mellow tones of songs such as ‘Last Chance for a Slow Dance’ and ‘Go to Sleep’ were perfectly performed with an effortless grace inducing many a casual sway from the crowd.
Basically what I’m trying to say is, if you get the chance, go and see Hyde & Beast. And if you haven’t heard Hyde & Beast’s new album yet, for God’s sake buy it/download it/stream it, take whatever means necessary. If you have heard it, and you didn’t like it… well I’m just not sure I like you.
Words by Sophie McGraw