Finding out about the British trio This Heat back in the pre-internet era felt like a bit of unusually good luck. They were easy to overlook during their brief existence from 1976-82, even for who enjoys searing, wildly original musical expressions. Their albums were not particularly easy to find, certainly never the recipient of sustained airplay, press, touring or any American marketing effort to speak of. But with the passage of time, word of their abrasive excellence has been spread person to person, to the point that their touring incarnation in 2019 – officially known as This Is Not This Heat in deference to their departed bandmate Gareth Williams, who passed away in 2001 – can sell out good-sized venues in American cities.
The group’s appearance at Zebulon last March was one of the most jaw-dropping percussion exhibitions I have ever seen, courtesy of maestro Charles Hayward and newly-added second drummer Frank Byng, and overall one of the most totally satisfying band reunions. The music is rendered faithfully, not strictly in form but in intent, the new players in the expanded lineup given complete responsibility and freedom to make this sound today. No one is trying to recreate a recording, but instead to create a new moment, made possible through the compositions.
If last spring’s pair of shows was an unexpected blessing, this return visit to the Regent is downright unthinkable, given the notoriously anti-retro natures of Hayward and guitarist Charles Bullen – not to mention their statement prior to the last set of dates, that they were DONE with this project and definitely would not be heard from again. But hey, these guys spent forty years keeping their integrity intact by never living in the past, and not playing this music for those of us who missed our chance to hear it when it was new. Now that they’ve kindly agreed to let that position lapse for a moment, let’s milk them for all they’re worth.
This Is Not This Heat appear at the Regent on Thursday, July 25 at 8pm. Tickets $30 at Ticketfly.