I haven’t played a Bentley Rhythm Ace record for years. They certainly wouldn’t be in my classic bands of all-time list. The chances are I would have never even thought about them if it wasn’t for this series. However, for a short while in the late 90’s Bentley Rhythm Ace was a hell of a lot of FUN -B.R.A was a group that didn't take themselves too seriously.
Bentley Rhythm Ace was part of the emerging big beat scene – a scene that had evolved from the earlier acid house movement but used heavy breakbeats plus synth and sample generated loops to create highly danceable, often euphoric tracks that appealed to rock and indie fans as much as clubbers. Big Beat was more about a moment than losing yourself in the trance or groove of house or techno. It took its name from the Big Beat Club in Brighton that ran on Fridays at the Concorde up until 2001. Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, Lo Fidelity Allstars and Propellerheads were all names synonymous with the scene and Bentley Rhythm Ace was also an integral part of it.
I experienced the Bentley’s jumble club road show of sixties samples, driving beats, funk, trip-hop, jungle and whatever else took their fancy at the Glastonbury mud bath of ’97 and a much drier Astoria, London in ’98. Formed by ex-members of EMF and Pop Will Eat Itself their gigs featured silly wigs, car windscreens with working wiper blades in front of their equipment, smiley acid face flags and huge balloons. It was all about a not-a-care-in-the-world party with sets that built and built, dancing that got faster and faster, grins getting bigger and bigger and clothes getting sweatier and sweatier.
When they stopped releasing music I didn’t even notice. The scene had moved on, but they left me with some happy memories and sore dancing feet. It was case of ‘it was fun at the time.’ Sometimes that’s all music needs to be.