Anyone who has taken even a slight shufti at this blog will have garnered (correctly) the impression that I hold the year 1966 AD in quite some high regard.
For me, it was the musical peak year of the 60s - the year with all the potential and none of the hang-ups. It was the year with all the promise, the energy and the momentum but with none of the excess that was to bedevil the end of the decade and the most of the 70s. 1966 is the year when, as Hunter Thompson wrote in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, “You can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
And what a musical high water mark it was. The Beatles made Revolver, The Byrds put out Eight Miles High, Dylan released Blonde on Blonde and in San Francisco bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Big brother were coalescing into the next new wave. 1966 felt like the year when it was all about to happen.
If you could return in time you’d set the clock for the spring of 66 wouldn’t you?
I would anyway. Summer in Swinging London, to see England win the World Cup, and then off to spend the rest of the year on Haight Street SF and seeing everyone at the Fillmore and Avalon ballrooms.
Time travel is, for the moment anyway, impossible – or at least difficult to arrange - but we do have some splendid bands to recreate some of the ambiance of that golden iridescent year – one of whom are the Ugly Beats from Austin, Texas.
|The Ugly Beats at Sala Acapulco, Gijon.|
Their new album “Brand New Day” is a sublime mix of 1966 inspired Garage Rock and Pop – their best yet actually – and judging by the gig I saw at the casino in Gijon on Thursday night, they are a live band to be reckoned with.
They played a varied mix of excellent original material from all of their four albums along with some superb covers. Their version of The Rascals' Find Somebody is way better than the original, and the two tracks from the Ramones first album - Cretin Hop and Today Your Love - went down a storm and fitted in perfectly with the band’s hi-energy garage punk ramalama ethos. They even did a spectacular cover of obscure Spanish band Los Nivrams' Sombras.
If there was a negative, it might be that there was a little too much chat from the stage at times. It slowed the pace and deadened audience enthusiasm - it might be an idea for some visiting US and UK bands to remember that, in places like Gijon, not everyone understands English perfectly and some comments from the stage sailed wonderfully over the audience’s head to fall, inevitably, quite flat.
Support band Peralta (a kind of Gijon super group made up of some ex components of well known local bands like Dr Explosion and The Cynics) also put in an impressive set and are definitely a band to keep an eye on. The two bands teamed up for a couple of numbers and Peralta’s set encore of the Flamin Groovies I Can't Hide (with Ugly Beats Joe Emery and Jeanine Attaway joining them on stage) was one of the night’s highlights.
An excellent night. What a pity so few turned up to see them. But then if local promoters don’t advertise how is anyone going to know? Time and time again I have seen poorly attended gigs in Gijon with no promotion or advertising. There wasn’t even a poster of the show outside the main door of the venue fer Chrisake...
Anyway, the Ugly Beats. Sublime shimmering Nineteen-Sixty-Sixicity.
It’s A Brand New Day.
Go see ‘em and buy the album.
Here's a video selection of the night's highlights from Youtube.
The Band's own Up On The Sun and Brand New Day.
A cover of the Rascals Find somebody.
A cover of Sombras by Spanish band Los Nivram (whose name is a tribute to the Shadows Hank Marvin - Nivram is Marvin backwards).
More stranger than known
Ten 21st Century Summer Psychedelic Nuggets
20 years of the Xixon Sound
Los Brincos - Glorious 60s Garage Beat Psych Pop...
New Year's Eve 1968 "Surprise Partie" with The Who, Small Faces, Booker T, Pink Floyd, Joe Cocker, Fleetwood Mac... Dawn of the Rock Revolution
Yé-yé! Spanish Nuggets - Ten 1960s Grarage, Beat and Psych classics from Spain.