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Apr 11 2012

Pikey Beatz: The Cluny

There is quite a lot happening here in England in 2012. We’re celebrating 60 years under the astute guidance of Elizabeth, our dear queen – an extra bank holiday awaits….One of England’s finest bands of recent times, The Stone Roses, will also play their first UK show in sixteen years in June…Before that’s even happened though, the nation will have been been gripped by three weeks of football, as the England football team travel to Ukraine to compete in the European Championships. Redknapp, Hoddle or whoever, disappointment will likely be on the agenda…. Spirits will be raised however and a nation united when the Olympic Games comes to Blighty in July. Two weeks of media frenzy will engulf the nation as people frantically gather round TV sets to watch the main event – which is also the shortest – the 100m sprint, over in less than 10 seconds!

But the thing is none of this really matters. It’s completely incidental. As you get up, go to work, come home again, eat food, sleep, book holidays, go on them, come home again, watch the Olympics, moan at the football, toast the queen with a glass of pimms or whatever…your life is still utterly devoid of all meaning if you do not take the opportunity, this year, to watch one of the most exiting bands playing today – the North East’s very own Pikey Beatz. Hailing from Northumberland, this 7 piece Ska/Reggae band have been the soundtrack to two of the best nights I’ve had so far this year. Most of the group are under twenty years old, but these young lads and lass have wise heads on them and an insatiable appetite for writing great music and performing electrifying live sets.

I first saw this group perform in my friend’s kitchen in March. Being the darling young things that they are, they’re still in that mind set of saying yes to everything – so they rocked up, following an invite at a party earlier in the year –  to play at ‘the party to end all parties’ as friends said good bye to a house they had lived in for five years. And they literally ‘stormed’ a packed kitchen for forty minutes; playing a mix of classic bouncing ska reggae – that does not fail to get you dancing – mixed with some melancholic and soulful sax lead moments. A Pikey Beatz gig has everything you should expect from a band live – they’ll even have you singing along within ten minutes of the start, guaranteed.

Lead by singer Wilf Stone who, even at nineteen, has one of those anthemic, addictive voices, the band clearly has a great future ahead of them. And each of them brings their own unique personalities to the stage. Despite seeing them twice now, I am still completely blown away by the raga rapping abilities of Kyle Wilson, who also joins in on the Ukulele; the immaculate accordion and sax skills of the stunning Hannah Reed and the cool as you like rhythm section of Dann Jupp (Bass) Niall McSherry (Guitar) and Tom Reed (Drums).

At The Cluny on Easter Sunday, Pikey Beatz were on fire. Taking to the stage at 8pm to fill a support slot for touring band 3 Daft Monkeys, they quickly had the sell out crowd jumping and dancing. Excitable young men in the crowd even began tearing their shirts off and sweeping girls off their feet and onto their shoulders, while singing along to a cover of Reel to Reel’s classic 90’s hit, ‘I Like to Move It.’ The sweaty, flesh-fest mosh-pit was something to stand back and admire, considering this was the day when we were supposed to be celebrating the resurrection of Christ (or something!).

As I’ve said, although these kids know how to make you party, they have some insightful things to say as well. This can be heard very clearly on the track Why Riot? Why start a riot, when you could write poetry, don’t you understand that we live in a democracy. The systems let us down, but destroying local businesses doesn’t help us get back off the ground. If they can keep this up, as they and their songs mature, Pikey Beatz could become something very special indeed.

Their first ever CD was also released on Sunday and is available to buy at Core Music CIC in Hexham or at their next show at The Cumberland Arms on 29th April, which you absolutely must go to!

 

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