Beldon Haigh and the Mother of All Bands (MOAB)

at The Liquid Room

* * - - -

This mother of an average band fails to hit the right note

Image of Beldon Haigh and the Mother of All Bands (MOAB)

There is much anticipation in the room as Trump, Putin and Kim Jong-Un step onto the stage. In fact, these are members of the Falkirk-based, Beldon Haigh band, wearing incredibly life-like, full head-covering masks. These masks have been created by sculptor Landon Meier who is more well-known for his trademark “evil baby” figure, a sinister exemplar of which is playing keyboards. These ingenious masks hint at great things to follow, but visually promise more than the ensuing music and sparse political chat deliver.

Obscure rock numbers lack the advertised satirical twists. Well, they might be there, but the vocals are hard to hear, as the guitars and drums largely drown out the diction of the lead singer, the eponymous Beldon Haigh. The lyrics of a couple of choruses are changed and at one point the audience is implored to chant “Traitor Trump” – such is the limit of the political commentary – with scant reference to the other two leaders represented.

The band play a lot of their own compositions, all of which are fairly unmemorable and lack originality and whilst the singing and playing is competent, it is unremarkable. Two glamorous backing singers repetitively move like automata in a Robert Palmer video (or are they crushing grapes?)

The final two numbers, covers by Bowie and Sinatra respectively, are by far the best in the show, as they introduce some musical variety and offer a glaring comparison to some of the previous material. Sinatra’s refrain of That’s Life is changed to That’s Lying in a pretty weak Trump allusion. However it is too little, too late, as by this time, many of the punters have left.

A little more imagination is required to fire up an Edinburgh Fringe audience, begging the question whether this is the right time and place for the show. Publicised as a musical extravaganza of satire, parody and protest, Beldon Haigh and the Mother of All Bands fails to deliver on all fronts.

Eleanor has had a diverse career, having been at varying times a milk maid, tour guide, bond analyst and parliamentary candidate. Now in semi-retirement, she writes, travels and sleeps in equal measure.


12 Responses to Beldon Haigh and the Mother of All Bands (MOAB)

  1. William says:

    Really plumbing the depths today Eleanor. We heard some catchy tunes, clever anti Trump reworkings of classics e.g That’s Life became That’s Lying, smart lyrics. The encore (there was one and most of us stayed for it) was great.
    Slagging the look of the backing singers is pretty low too
    Didn’t hear the ‘imploring’ stuff. Next time go past the front door, then you might hear it better, and you wont have to make it up. Better still, make the retirement permanent. Or is standing as a Tory in Dundee the same thing? That, and your voting leave might explain your hostility

  2. Dougie Wells says:

    I too attended the Beldon Haigh gig, and really enjoyed it. I thought Beldon Haigh had a good stage presence, and that the band brought off well a hard trick: to engage an audience with songs they will not have heard before. The several hundred people at the venue stayed the course, and whilst a few had left by the lady number, it was far from the mass Exodus suggested in your review.
    In an era when bands and record companies play it safe, it’s heartening to see someone take a risk by basing their act on protesting against a vile stream of politics, wouldn’t you say?
    Viva Beldon Haigh!

  3. Liz says:

    Were we at the same gig Eleanor Price? As always taste is subjective but when you are reviewing something publicly – it might be useful to declare the lens youre viewing things from – particularly when you have a strong political lens which it appears you do.

    The MOAB was an original way to engage people in a call to action about the current lack of leadership. From the shock value of the masks combined with the subtlety of the lyrics this gig not just entertained but required people to reflect on what was being said. The band did an incredible job as a new band playing with masks on which means they cant see their instruments They were slick, incredibly proficient and kept the crowd engaged. Far from it being empty at the end we saw everyone on their feet dancing right until the end. Lets support new bands coming to the fore trying to do something different and a call to action – whether you agree with the politics or not.

  4. Robert Peacock says:

    As editor I have spoken to the writer about the concerns raised here and am satisfied she has given a fair and honest review. I have published the above comments by way of a right to reply.

  5. Alex Braveheart says:

    Each to their own, but I found the music pretty unoriginal (albeit reasonably accomplished). As for the attempts at satire, there is nothing especially clever or witty in changing lyrics by a word or two or calling out something about Traitor Trump or whatever (although the masks were rather good). I was one of many punters to leave early as disappointed despite the hype, although fair to say that plenty of people obviously enjoyed what they were getting (but still surely no need for fans, friends or whoever to be so defensive or personal in their comments against the reviewer)…?

  6. lesly andino says:

    I attended this gig and it was one of the highlights of my fringe. The band were incredible, the songs were excellent and the stage show was a ton of fun. When I read the review I was shocked at the level of malice and bias in it. Why no mention of the two encores? Clearly this is personal from the reviewer – not a good reflection on the Wee Review

  7. Jock Tamson says:

    Lesly Andino entitled to opinion as fan but bizarre and unpleasant to say review based on bias and malice imho.

    See this as someone said in online list when giving 2*:

    [it’s not great 5 minutes of laughing at the masks and your done not worth £12 rip of]

  8. jason says:

    Wow! Just got back to Cornwall and checking out the reviews of the shows I saw this year when I found this. This review is one big lie. Wrong on every level. I saw twenty shows at this years fringe and this was in my top three, definitely the best music. 1. This is a BRILLIANT live band – the musicians were outstanding. 2. Songs very powerful protest music, funny too. Me and the three friends I went with LOVED them 3. Venue packed until well after the two encores. It is dishonest to say anything else. I have read some mean reviews in my time but this one takes the biscuit.

  9. John Peat says:

    I attended this show and my findings were “at complete odds” with the “wee reviews” findings. I found the band to be both entertaining and fun. Not sure if the reviewer (ie Ms Price) was at the same show as me; I doubt it !!!!!

    On a lighter note I bet the other Ms Price (ie Katie Price – AKA Jordan) would have given a more professional review. That says it all.

    What Planet is Eleanor Price on.

  10. John says:

    I wonder “what planet” was Eleanor Price on. I found the band to be a revelation and very entertaining. It was the best show that i have attended during the fringe 2018.

  11. lesly andino says:

    Jock Tamson – did you go to the gig? because if you didn’t then you aren’t really entitled to comment are you? Part of the gig is already on YouTube – I am giving you a link to it so you can see how great this band are. Then you might be able to see and hear why those of us who actually went to this gig LOVED IT. I am sticking by my comments. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc3x1rMiH6Q

  12. Jock Tamson says:

    To answer Lesly Andino, yes of course I was at the gig. Just how I feel from seeing the band live, but I think the show was 2* (which is why I quoted the line I found in the online list). Sorry, but I am entitled to my view.

    Great that people like you love the band, but they need to learn to respect different opinions (and should not get chippy or insulting in tone just because not everyone agrees with them).

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