Beach Riot brandish hooks big enough on which to catch the sharks in Regent’s Canal, which conveniently reside just a five minute walk from where our entertainment unfurls this evening. Sadly, the sweltering heat seems to have kept some away from tonight’s Fest Shalom warm-up show, which is a great shame, particularly as the tap room boasts fabulous air conditioning and the wonderfully named Crowdsurfer pale ale, which at 8% ABV is considered too potent to be served by the pint.
The cold beer is merely a bonus as Beach Riot gallop out of the gates like trapped tigers escaping a safari park, with the supercharged ‘Medicate For Success‘. This immediately gives way to the Hives-esque opening riff of the highly infectious ‘Tune In, Drop Out’, where Cami’s guitar crackles and pops into transistor radio feedback. Before the audience can even catch its breath, the band are speeding off into last summer’s video single, ‘Wraith‘, with the delightful back and forth co-vocals of guitarists Rory and Cami commanding us to yell back, “Take, take, take it all away”.
It’s only been a year since the release of their debut album, ‘Sub Atomic Party Cool‘ but we get a trio of new tracks: ‘Soporific’, ‘Tramlines’ and ‘Tell Me I’m Wrong’, before we’re hurled back into more familiar territory with album track ‘She’s A Hurricane’, delivered with punky vim and its shout-along, “I did it once, I’ll do it again”, chorus line. They finish their short but sweet adrenaline-fuelled set with ‘Modern Dinosaur’ and my personal favourite ‘Stuck Inside‘, like mischievous cats whipping around the room, smashing breakables and knocking everything out of place before scooting out the door.
Beach Riot are one of those bands that constantly deliver, both live and on record. Back in 2017 when I first caught them by lucky chance, Cami appeared to be a timid presence, but tonight she stands centre stage: cool and sassy, crunching out soundwaves of energy bigger than the crashing waves of Brighton beach. This is my second time seeing them since they slimmed down to a three-piece (bassist Jim having chosen to fully immerse himself in his painting career), so Rory now plays the bass parts on guitar. As a result, there’s less of that twin guitar attack, weaving in and out of each other as if wrestling to see who’ll get over the finish line first, but the bass groove is heavy in the mix and it works surprisingly well. Meanwhile, Jonny is an absolute force of nature behind the drum kit – not only powerful but inventive too, guiding tempo changes, throwing in disco hi-hat beats and opening up the vortex into which we willingly fling ourselves.
Queens Of The Stone Age once said, “Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls”. If we overlook the patronising connotation of said phrase, it could quite easily have been penned to describe the raw and frantic, yet bewitchingly smooth, and always perfectly executed musical tsunami that Beach Riot bring to the stage. They’ve got the glory of chugging riffs, that whole Pixies loud/quiet/loud thing and the raunchy slow/quick/slow/fast/faster twist. They showcase a masterclass in fuzzy pop heaven with harmonious boy/girl vocals to boot.
Review by Mandy Bang (London After Midnite) / Photos by Mark Dans L’Espace