Having said that, the opening act at Meow, No Broadcast, did their absolute best to change things up a level with a raucous opening set of pure adrenaline-fuelled power rock. That was followed by a far more serene, but nonetheless still very enjoyable, support slot from locals Orangefarm.
|Beat Rhythm Fashion, Meow … photo: Iain Cargill|
Beat Rhythm Fashion - Nino Birch (vox/guitar), Rob Mayes (bass), and Caroline Easther (drums) - arrived on stage around 10.30pm and Birch immediately addressed the steadily filling (but never close to full) room with a few poignant words about taking some power back, not only from terrorists - in this case the intellectually challenged far-right white nationalists who attacked Christchurch’s mosques - but from scaremongering politicians and the wider mainstream media narrative which helps fuel such repugnant violence.
It was a theme he’d return to a few times during the evening without wearing it out, and for the most part BRF let their music do the talking, opening with ‘One Percent’ and ‘Fake Peace’, both from the band’s 2019 album, Tenterhook. Third song in, we got one of the gems from the band’s long lost past in the form of the quite lovely ‘Turn of the Century’, with Birch having already taken some time out to acknowledge the band’s local roots, old friends in the crowd, and, of course, his original co-conspirator, brother Dan, who passed away in 2011. That tune was one of the highlights of the early part of the set, as was a heartfelt rendition of ‘Dan’, a song Nino had written in the immediate wake of Dan Birch’s death.
Most of the set consisted of material from Tenterhook with - in no particular order - tracks like ‘Eulogy’, ‘Whatever’, and ‘Property’, sounding as fresh and crisp in a live setting as they do on the album. The “new” single, but another remnant from the past, ‘Hard as Hell’, got an outing near the end, leading into the band’s classic early single, ‘Beings Rest Finally’, to close a thoroughly absorbing set.
There were cries from the floor for “more”, naturally, with multiple requests for ‘No Great Oaks’ being knocked back, and Birch admitting the band was not equipped for that particular old favourite. The encore we did get was brief, one song; I think it was ‘Chrysalis Ones’, from Tenterhook, but the fact that I’m not entirely sure about that point is rather more to do with my own worse-for-wear state than anything to do with the band itself.
A pretty good gig, all told. Everything I thought it would be, despite the slightly surreal circumstances surrounding the night.