The Good Beast

 As it says on the poster: “The debut album tour!”

Thoughts and words from Alan Dearling:

“Shades of Great Society/Airplane… soaring Grace Slick or Beautiful Day sounds…laid-back guitars, psych-whirling harmonics… Floydian, even Doors and Dead-like too…some heavy riffing, chanting mantras…Nicely balanced musical light and darkness…”

The Good Beast arrived in Todmorden as a newly battle-hardened tour band. Bea Piper, the main singer, spoke eloquently of wild-camping, three nights in the Lakes keeping the fire going, mixed receptions at gigs, adding, “We even had to pay to play at one venue”.  It sounded more than familiar to anyone who has ever been on tour with a band in their early days. The days when each hour of each day is an adventure. Bea continued: “We really like it here…everyone’s so friendly. Last night we were in the Lake District. We’re still giggling about how we shared out our last can of peaches, divided between seven of us.”

Lovely insane musical capers. And so, onto the gig and the music of The Good Beast.  Perhaps the centre-piece of the gig and the live album is ‘Marshum’. I think we were informed that it is the song of the marshes, the bogs and the lakes. It’s a good example of their unity as a band, with guitar subtlety, some lovely moments of quiet guitar noodling and keyboard drones, before morphing into an epic, thunderous, psych-freak-out. The track ‘Ancient Cry’ possesses a similar patina of loud and quiet, temperance and frenetics.

Here’s a video of ‘Marshum’ from on-line:

And, a little video clip by Gig from the Golden Lion set in Todmorden – laid back and funky:

Other highlights on the night were the catchy ear-worm riffing of ‘Everything’s a butterfly’ – the tale of Psychedelic Sam, and his ‘butterfly-dreams’. This is Bea at her most Grace Slick-like. At the other end of the musical spectrum is the haunting ballad, ‘Waiting for love’, which is closer to Joni Mitchell territory at the time of ‘Hissing of Summer Lawns’. Blissful beauty. An aural haunting with some gorgeous high-flying guitar sounds disappearing into the stratosphere. The band explained that their first album was captured live: “A snapshot of us. A sonic postcard. It’s been a long journey to get here. So many doors closed…This is us. Travelling together. Doing what feels right.”  

This is what the band say of themselves:

“Who are we?

We are The Good Beast.

The Good Beast is a six-piece whirlpool of crunching psychedelic rock that will blow your aura to next Wednesday. Many of the band members originate from the Isle of Purbeck and have been playing music in various formations for a decade.

This debut album is a coming together and celebration of years of collaboration and friendship. The songwriting is primarily down to Bill Merrick, whilst the songs are sung by the truthful voice of Bea Piper. Louis Alberry and Bill Merrick alternate in playing lead guitar. Jack Cullimore is on synth and percussion and has also mixed the entire album. Michael Alberry plays kit and Alec Harrison on fretless bass. We have worked collaboratively to come up with arrangements for all the songs, producing something that feels special and very exciting.”

Here’s a video from Antropos Festival  in 2022.

Their debut album was mixed and recorded in Bristol at J and J Studios, under the keen eye of producer Matt Mysko, who has previously worked for many years at Abbey Road Studios. The album has been mixed by Jack Cullimore. Jack has also mixed many Bristol based music projects and is gaining a name for himself in this field. Mastering was undertaken by one of the UK’s number one independent mastering engineers, Pete Maher. It’s a mighty impressive, almost audacious album if you want to catch some glimpses of the essence of the late 1960s/early ‘70s’ psychedelic melange of the Incredible String Band, the Sallyangie and the American San Francisco sounds. Live they are formidable, raucous, purveyors of waves and walls of sound, and far more noisesome than on their album.

In Todmorden, The Good Beast had the able support from the melodic duo-version of Peregrin Shams. Jazz-tinged, classy lounge music, double bass, sometimes bowed by Alice Phelps, with some bluesy guitar-picking from Peregrin. The crowd especially enjoyed a song and playing from the duo, with Alice on vocals. I think it was probably entitled, ‘The rain came down’.

Finally, here’s a video of Peregrin Shams in solo-mode on the Kitchen Sing Sessions:


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