I was thrilled that Beta Play booked another L.A. show just a couple weeks after their previous one at The Troubadour. They played on The Hotel Cafe main stage in the middle time slot on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. They were once again playing with new drummer Joshua Daubin and so the set list was the same as at The Troubadour to cover all the songs he has already learned. No matter, it was a fantastic and energetic set list, including their best and newest songs:
- “The Way We Play,” recently released as a single on iTunes
- “Innocent,” from Only Human (as Tommy and the High Pilots)
- “I Am the Prey,” from the Beta Play EP
- “Heaven is Under the Sun,” from the Beta Play EP
- “Do You Love Me,” from the Beta Play EP, borrowed a lyric for the post title
- “Electric 22,” from the Beta Play EP
- “Somebody Make a Move,” from Only Human (as Tommy and the High Pilots)
Lead singer and guitarist, Tom Cantillon was once again in top form, commanding the stage and delivering the bands appealing, catchy tunes with panache. He has a fascinating stage presence — dancing, talking with the audience, and losing himself in the songs he performs. If you want to know what the X factor looks like, look no further than Tom on stage. Mike Cantillon on keyboards is the musical magician in this show, providing the core of the instrumentation that supports the lyrics, as well as harmonizing effortlessly with his brother. Bassist Mike Dyer continues to provide dynamic support on the low end and adds his own energy to the performance, constantly moving side to side as he plays, while maintaining an intense look of listening and concentration on his face. Drummer Joshua Daubin asserted himself from the back of the stage, attacking the beat on these songs in a more aggressive manner than was seen from Beta Play’s previous drummer and with fresh enthusiasm.
There was a good-sized audience there for the show and at least half the audience left after Beta Play finished, suggesting the band was able to bring a lot of their fans out to see the concert. It is always much more exciting to see a band play for committed fans and so it was satisfying to see fellow audience members grooving and singing along to the band’s tunes. My favorite moment of the night was hearing “Electric 22” because I find the live version of this song to be jaw-droppingly awesome. There was one odd moment when the guitar amp began emitting a high-pitched prolonged tone prior to the final song, but the band just turned it off and carried on without the guitar for “Somebody Make a Move.” Tom gave it the full interactive audience treatment, as well as adding in some dance moves, and so it seemed to not matter that the guitar was dropped from the formula — it was handled completely professionally.
Just want to give a quick mention to the other two bands on the schedule that night. I only caught a few songs from the opening band, Everett Coast, which remarkably plays exactly the style of music you might expect when you hear their name. The band is anchored by duo singer-songwriters Danny Byrne and Josh Misko, who swapped guitars and Ohana ukuleles in and out during the set, and supported by a stand-up bass player and drummer. You can listen to their last two EPs Lift Off and Hey, Hey, California on Soundcloud.
Recently formed band Newton and the Fates played in the final spot of the night. They delivered some hot soul with three ladies providing solid powerful harmonies, supported by the jazzy tones of the piano, guitar, bass and drums. They have a few demos available to listen to on Soundcloud.