Beneva support Captain at the Barfly, Birmingham

I session drummed for Beneva at the Barfly in Birmingham on Friday night, in support of Captain. The gig went really well, the venue was pretty full and the crowd were very much into the music.

We played for about half an hour and the audience visibly moved to the front to be closer to the stage. The sound engineer did a great job from what we could hear and didn’t moan about my brass snare drum (which has a very metalic ‘pang’ sound to it that some sound engineers hate) nor my unmuffled toms. As time goes on, I realise that the good sound engineers with decent equipment know how to deal with proper drums – in the old days they asked you to put gaffa tape all over the kit, which may have made their lives much easier, but left the drum kit sounding like a set of cardboard boxes – yuck!

Captain seemed a little distant at first, except the keyboard player, Clare Szembek, who was very open and friendly. We feared a bit of the traditional snobbery that goes with being the headline act, but actually, as I returned to the back-stage area from the stage, I wished them a good gig and they gave a cheery ‘thanks, you too!’ response. The guitarist, Mario Athanasiou, seemed a little full of himself and ignorant to everyone outside the band, but it was his birthday and he seemingly had other things planned, such as seeking out the pleasure highlights of Birmingham.

We had extremely positive feedback from the audience after the gig for the Beneva set and many people clearly like the material that Malc and Nathan have written.

Captain themselves were excellent on stage. They’re all clearly very competent musicians and I particularly appreciated that Clare, the keyboard player, switched to accordion for a couple of numbers and the bass player, Alex Yeoman, switched to playing bass on keyboard – nice touches. The drummer, Reuben Humphries, is a very good drummer who adds just the right amount of interest to standard beats without going over the top. He’s also responsible for writing the band’s most recent single, ‘Keep An Open Mind’, which has been plaguing me since I heard it!

They seem to have a good work ethic from what I could see and from what I’ve read, and a very down-to-earth approach to the music business. If they don’t get caught up in the bad side of the music business and fall into the wasteful world of drugs, which has killed off many a good band, I think they’ll be around for some time. They deserve to be, because they’re the most original pop band I’ve heard in a long time.

For Beneva’s part, we had a great night all round and met some very nice people after the gig. Chris (ex BAiT colleague) came along and managed to get some good pictures too.

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