CALVADOS BEAM TRIO: [Untitled] (7″, Bearos BEAROS014, ?)

Calvados Beam Trio

Groovy packaging on this record. I’m a big fan of the use of transaparency and opacity effects in design, especially when it’s used to mess with your mind a little bit. Not sure that it’ll come out in the photograph, but the sleeve contains a clear insert with green lettering. This lettering is arranged with every other word reversed, every other word capitalised, and a few letters reversed out. The sum total of all of this is the simultaneous creation of three messages:

  1. The reversed words spell out one message.
  2. The capitalised words spell out another, different message.
  3. The reversed out letters combined spell out the band name.

It’s an acrostic, typographic slice of genius, I tell you. But I’m not going to tell you what the first two messages are – track down a copy and work it out for yourself! It’s all carried out in such a way that’s incredibly subtle, and when combined with the semi-opaque vinyl it creates a great look. Clear or semi-opaque vinyl is always great – and it’s made better with some interesting stuff wrapped around it.

I once played a gig supporting Calvados Beam Trio, at the now-closed Jug Of Ale in Moseley, Birmingham. I don’t remember many specifics but I’m pretty sure that they were incredibly good, and were very accomplished musicians. I do remember the crowd; they were rabid enthusiasts who certainly loved to interact with the artists. I wouldn’t say heckling so much as friendly banter. Friendly, yet relentless and loud. Sometimes that kind of crowd can be a lot better than a bunch of arms-crossed chin-strokers who are watching live music for appreciation at the expense of fun. The best combination is, obviously, a bit of both.

A real shame that the Jug Of Ale isn’t operational any more – I saw quite a few great gigs there. I was once supposed to see Heavenly play there (in around ’92 I think?) but they’d cancelled. I instead found myself at a nightclub called Snobs, which (based on a quick internet check) is still going. I think it was actually good fun. Who’d have thought it?

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