Beak> brought heavy grooves and a Low cover to Le Poisson Rouge (pics, setlist, video)
"Thank you for coming to this show...we know there are loads of other shit English bands to see this week." Geoff Barrow and the rest of Beak> (bassist Billy Fuller and keyboardist/guitarist Will Young) seem to to understand all too well their place in the music world and the insanely stacked week of NYC concerts they booked themselves into, and are not shy of dark, self-deprecating humor. "Don't clap, you haven't heard us yet," was his greeting to the audience.
Their set Wednesday night -- the last show of a short tour around Primavera L.A. -- was peppered with pointed barbs, mostly aimed at each other, needling each other playfully. When Barrow complained to Young that he wanted less 1984 and more 1994 in the keyboards, Fuller chimed in something to the effect of "Of course you do."
There was more than just pitch-black stage banter -- though we got a lot of that, especially when Fuller blew his bass amp head halfway through the show -- as Beak> delivered a killer set of woozy, dark and heavy grooves, inspired by postpunk, komische and weirdo folk, and wrapped into a distinctive style that often sounds like a fever dream. The band are working on a new record but didn't play any new songs; instead, we got a pick-of-the-litter set that included last year's "Oh Know" single; lots from 2018's >>> ( "The Brazilian," "Brean Down," "RSI," the pretty, wistful "When We Fall," and the mesmerizing "Allé Sauvage," that sounds like "Popcorn" on bad drugs); and the doomy "Wulfstan," which is even more metal live.
Barrow noted that Beak> do not do encores, telling the crowd before "Oh Know" that it was the "final" song of the night, but there would be two more "not encore songs." (This resulted in more onstage bickering between Barrow and Fuller.) The first song of their "not an encore" was the most special moment of the night, a cover of Low's "No Comprende" which Barrow dedicated to Mimi Parker who is currently battling cancer. It was a killer version of the Ones and Sixes track, which Barrow, Fuller and Young stretched into six dizzying minutes, full of highs, lows, and big emotion. Under that gruff exterior, Beak> are really softies at heart.
Opening the night was Litronix, aka Kevin Litrow, who used to be in Dance Disaster Movement and is now a one-man band, looking like a 1950's pentecostal preacher and blasting out anthemic tracks that are somewhere between Suicide and Chris Isaak, with an old-school LED display that sent out affirmations like "You are feeling GREAT" and "You are receiving NEW POWER." It was very L.A., very David Lynch, and made for a cool start to the night.
Check out photos from the whole night by P Squared, plus Beak>'s LPR setlist and video of their Low cover, below.
SETLIST: Beak> @ Le Poisson Rouge 9/21/2022
When We Fall
No Comprende (Low cover)