Live: Night Beats @ DC9, 5/8/19

At the risk of sounding too cliche, seeing Night Beats for the first time was everything I could possibly have wanted it to be.

Magnetic Night Beats mastermind Danny Lee Blackwell and his compatriots unleashed a diabolically good set full of dusty, dirty, Route 66 roadhouse outlaw psych blues. Each song was sensational: a scuzzed, snarling mess of raw, hypnotic desert/Delta/Music Row noise.

While latest record Myth of A Man may incorporate a healthy dose of Nashville influence (thanks to Blackwell's recent relocation), live the band is still toeing the line between polish and chaos and still has a heart full of heady, explosive psych. And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing indeed.

Narcotic, shamanic drums mixing with the potent, crushing onslaught of guitars, bass, and synth made for a near out-of-body experience. The primal, restless ferocity in the band's songs was even more acute in person, and the inclusion of long, enthusiastic instrumental freakouts tacked on the end of certain songs added to the effect.

A wild, frantic cover of Bo Diddley's "Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" was a volcanic triumph. Hopefully, bassist Sam had as happy a birthday as we had a happy night watching the band masterfully do their thing.

The set was like mercury, far too fleeting for my liking, though the quality of the set can't be argued. I admit to having had certain expectations about the quality of the set Mr. Blackwell and co. would be providing to the DC9 crowd, and I admit to having had said expectations crushed time and time and time again. Seeing them on this night at this cozy venue was worth the wait. Trust me, as much as you think you might like Night Beats, if you haven't seen this band live yet you've only scratched the surface.  

[posted 5.14.19]

[photos copyright Megan Petty]


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