Arts & Culture Music

The Night Beats at The 9294 Club, Hackney Wick, London. September 15th.

  • September 19, 2022
  • 3 min read
The Night Beats at The 9294 Club, Hackney Wick, London. September 15th.

American group The Night Beats played The 9294 Club in London’s Hackney Wick on September 15th. A cool 2018 warehouse venue with superb sound in a small, but friendly hub of new bars, restaurants, and venues. All situated by a recently built and architecturally stylish Hackney Wick Station. A reimagined zone in a much improved former armpit of Hackney’s warehouse land. You could almost be in Amsterdam’s ‘New North’. It’s replete with spacious American-styled canal side bars, with vast choices of usually hard-to-find European Beers, varying from lunatic prices to some very reasonable deals. All within a couple of streets that were once industrial dark alley ‘no go areas’ that could have easily been a setting for Assault On Precinct 13 or Fort Apache – The Bronx, London style.

Still unknown to a wider mass market, The Night Beats have been around for well over a decade, with five albums in the bag-for-investigation. The concept of The Night Beats is the Brainchild of Danny “Lee Blackwell” Rajan Billingsley from Dallas, Texas. Around 2009 he moved to Seattle to study. He then formed The Night Beats who were very much a part of an underground new wave of ‘so-called ‘Rose’ Psychedelia emanating from that city. The band has seen former associations with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (their bassist was in the Night Beats) and the UK’s Heavenly Records, and – more recently in 2019 – with the Black Keys musician-turned-producer Dan Auerbach.

Night Beats 2019 Highway Holidays TV, Radio, and youtube session – shot in Los Angeles – shows their multiple guitar players, replete with full-on fuzz-tone, plus reverb, turned up to Spinal Tap’s “Number 11”. Except this band is no joke. They were always deadly serious – then and now. Their latest album 2021’s Outlaw R & B is potentially their best yet and features heavily in their current repertoire.

So what do we get from their new incarnation? To my surprise a Trio with a rhythm section that sees the group at their most dynamic. The drummer sustains a driving metronomic backbeat – it’s as if they hijacked Bad Brains or Living Colour’s percussionist – alongside a bass man with a cool rhythm that would’ve fitted admirably in Hendrix’s Band Of Gypsies or Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew. With Lee’s fuzz-tone guitar set to max, plus reverb aplenty, the set is quite simply a rollercoaster. A never ending momentum to conclusion. They play a series of UK gigs, including Komedia on Brighton’s seafront on Wednesday 21st. You do well to catch them. They’re simply the hottest trio I’ve seen in years.

Image: Sydgrace

About Author

Henry Scott Irvine

The published author of Procol Harum's hardback Omnibus Press biography, Henry Scott-Irvine's writing began in the script departments of the British film industry. He continued as a Film & TV 'Music & Arts' researcher. He has a long background in published journalism. A radio producer-presenter since 2009 as well as a producer of the award winning documentary film Tales From Tin Pan Alley. He's a successful campaigner for securing listings and preservation for London's music & film heritage sites.

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