The Peppermint Beat Band
The Hydrant, Brighton
14 October 2010
The Peppermint Beat Band are a Brighton-based rock n’ roll/soul/pop band, who in a flurry of hair and paisley took to the stage at The Hydrant, on Brighton’s London Road, a venue that retains a pub-like intimacy as do many venues in the music-filled city, with leather sofas. The band have the potential to be great mostly through interesting musicianship, the keys in particular ringing out with a fantastic (lesser-spotted) organ sound and the songs are really catchy, harmony ridden pop. The new soul inspired single seems to light the way for a great second recording from them. The crowd was relatively large for this mid-sized venue and had a party ambience led by vintage-store clad student hipsters in the mood for a dance. As an audience member remarked to me – as the band’s friends mounted the stage in full rock n’ roll manner, jumping on speakers and dancing for the penultimate song – “It feels like we’re watching some choreographed retro TV show”. At that moment, a line from the film ‘I’m Not There’ struck me: “live your own time”. Revealing briefly perhaps what is real for them, the lead singer, William Yates, pleaded with the audience to buy the band’s EP, ‘Lemon Tree’ (available at gigs for £2) to help with his “overdraft problem”.
The Peppermint Beats play hip shaking party music, which is great live but is certainly lacking on record. I struggle to see a coming together of old and new; where is their mark of musical progression through pop artistry? There will always be the overflowing pool of inspiration in that great decade of rock and roll in the 1960s, when musicians were making really new sounds, things literally never heard or expressed before in music and like the Peppermint Beats surely do, I too find myself lost in excitement by those old greats, in utter awe of what was accomplished artistically in such a short period of time. The authority of authenticism in music has long prevailed and I for one always battle over art and its many business guises, however, it’s 2010, and 50 years have gone by, surely something has changed? Perhaps my guard is just a little too high, fashion has always revolved in a cyclical nature, but my head isn’t quite lost in a psychedelic haze. Yet.
I hope this band continue to weave their anthemic magic over many a crowd to come, and perhaps with a new soul direction the music may twist away from the focus on worn-out vintage to something truly original. You can check out The Peppermint Beat Band at The Boogaloo in London on 28 October. Find more information at myspace.com/thepeppermintbeatband.