Review: Beta Male cd release show

Beta Male at Radio Radio, Feb. 25. Photo by Stacy Kagiwada.

Beta Male, Andy D, Slothpop, Pop Lolita

Radio Radio, Feb. 25

4.5 stars

As Beta Male premiered their new record before an

absolutely packed house at Radio Radio last Friday, one thing became clear:

Even given the band's recent laid-back demeanor, they still demand to be

experienced live.

The whole evening was an exercise in entertaining

diversity. Things started out with the recently reunited Pop Lolita, whose blend of

rollicking pop and energetic alt-rock could have been played on college radio in 1991, just before grunge went mainstream and it all went to hell.

Then Slothpop, with their smooth instrumentals and haunting vocals. Not to

mention whatever the hell it is Andy D does. Imagine Andy Kaufman's Tony

Clifton lounge singer was caught in a horrific teleporter accident with What to call it? Hillbilly-core? Redneck rap?

Whatever it is, it's insane and weirdly compelling.

Back to Beta Male. Jess Hack

performed in evening wear and Allison Hazel performed without pants, because

that's just the way Beta Male rolls. The performance ran into some trouble with

the sound mix in the first few songs (a rare thing at Radio Radio, in my

experience), but it was all creative mayhem from there on out.

The live show puts aside the

careful polish of the album for a raw-as-hell approach. I didn't quite

appreciate how intricate the guitar bits are on the album until T.J. Briggs had

to whip them out live. P. David Hazel's vocals came off even more intensely

personal as he crooned while pounding away at the drums. Jess Hack and Allizon

Hazel's backing vocals became manic howls, every note shaking the floor. It was

an example what a good live show should be, and an excellent introduction to

the latest volume of Beta Male, whatever that may turn out to be.