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Live review...
Humanzi, Beat Poets
Of course we're all aware of the successes in the local scene but as well as those who've reached critical mass before unleashing themselves on the world, there are a number of others who've left our shores hunting glory before conquering their own backyard. Going back more than a decade, Ash pretty much burst out of nowhere, and more recently In Case Of Fire (then known as Element) and Clone Quartet among others have decided that this Wee Country just wasn't big enough for their ambition, setting sail before we barely got to know them.

The Beat Poets would arguably fail into this latter category. Finding that their style of rock isn't entirely flavour of the month amongst the indie kids, they've stuck to their guns and found success on their terms, with well-received industry showcases and an album on the way. 'Tell My City (Tonight)' is a relatively old part of their armoury, straight up rock and roll, nothing fancy with it, but it doesn't need to be, while 'Risk' shows that they have got the U2 stadium rock thing down pat. However, they return back to their 1970s rock influences bringing in a second guitar for a more layered yet more primal sound. Indeed it seems like the number of guitars determines their style for the removal of the second prompts a return to the stadium for 'Bloodlines' which deserves a much bigger stage than this venue can provide. Our frontman obviously agrees as he decides to go walkies at this point. As mentioned, this time of music is overly in vogue in this city, so the crowd isn't as big as it could be, but as they close with a rousing 'Post-pop' it's clear that it's the absence of your average indie kid, who worships at the altar of punk and its offspring, who is the one losing out.

Humanzi burned brightly, briefly a couple of years ago, one of the many bands who get tipped to be the "Next Big Thing". And then the album came along, and we were all slightly under-whelmed by it as it failed to capture their early live promise. Well, they're back again, and the feeling is of a slightly world-weary band, who been given a good kicking and been forced to change their view on the world - it's not wonderful and shiny, it's dark and nasty. Sometimes this can break a band - there is an endless list of acts who've disappeared after one album - but sometimes it can be the best thing that could happen. Here it's the latter. The arrogance is not as evident, the new material is more complex, expansive and darker, and the cynicism adds to the sneer. It's more deranged Detroit garage rock than previously, with hints of Death In Vegas and XTRMNTR era Primal Scream. Responding to a request they break out 'Diet Pills and Magazines' from their debut, but this feels weak compared to the new stuff. 'Just Like Bukowski' is sleazey, sneering, stompy good stuff like an impromptu jam between QOTSA and Primal Scream, while 'Dogs' (with the drummer relocating to keyboards) is swirling, bubbling, sinister electronica-paranoia, as though they've been pushed to their limits. In contrast, 'American Culture Vulture' is brutally simple, pounding drums, riffs and whoops, raw angry garage rock, but no less effective.

Closing with a jammed out version of 'Get Your S*** Together', it's given the same sludge treatment, as a band who've lost their smile drag us down to their level as we all get dirty in this filthy world.

William Johnston

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Gig Details
Venue: Auntie Annies
Location: Belfast
Date: 10/6/2009

Related Links
+ Humanzi (myspace)