As 'riffs' go, it's not a bad one...
As ‘riffs’ go, it’s not a bad one. It undulates out of the geetar of the splendidly white-suited Richard March like something you’d hear in a [a]Charlatans[/a] tune; curly, relentless, pummelling. Then it keeps on undulating. Over and over and over and over through every single ‘song’ while, now and again, sirens squeal, technology bleeps and Brighton contemplates, blankly, the all-new BRA stage-set which is the old BRA stage set – mirror-silver BRA backdrop letters, wiggy ship’s wheel at the front – except someone, evidently, pinched the ‘comedy’ car and, er, that’s it. And they’ve two drummers now, a 25-year-old idea three years in the conjuring.
Three years, then, since the big-beat explosion and here in its cradle, there are more people at the back than there are at the front. Three years and the new tunes of BRA are discernible from the old ones only by their lack of any actual tune whatsoever, with bits of parping ‘comedy’ brass like something Norman Cook would’ve woken up embarrassed to have remembered.
But BRA have a true joker up their otherwise barren shirt-sleeves in the form of the clearly unemployed-to-the-point-of-unhinged Kermit, bugling out something called ‘How’d I Do Dat’ which is a fairly exuberant ska tune, ’79 ‘revival’ era, and his still-buoyant presence serves only to remind us how tremendous Black Grape were and how stars should be, etc.
At this point, it’s personal to say, you’re wishing you’d stayed in to watch some infinitely more maverick rock’n’roll via Jimmy White on the telly snooks and contemplating walking into the black of the sea leaving nothing behind but a copy of Marvin Gaye‘s ‘What’s Going On’ burning on the beach with a stake through its heart in the shape of a pound sign. “Alright?” quakes Richard, nervously, “we’re really nervous!” as befits a man who knows the good ship big beat has long been marooned up a one-way creek in a rudderless barge made out of bed-springs and any second now, as Norman Cook himself predicted five seconds after he invented it, it will go down and take its parrot-shouldered pirates into historical foot-note oblivion with it.
Doubtless, the mild-mannered coves of BRA have had the time of their lives. Grand for them, salute, they lived their dream. For the rest of us, as our Kermit once so vimfully had it, welcome to your nightmare.