In rock 'n' roll, a band with moderate craft and maximum desire is always preferable to a band with moderate desire and maximum craft. Last night at the Bayou, the headlining Ian Gomm band proved the latter type, while The Beat provided the former. Gomm's set was respectable; The Beat's was exciting.

The Beat played basic rock 'n' roll with a pneumatic drillbeat to express basic emotion: "I Wanna Be With a Rock 'n' Roll Girl" or "I Don't Fit In." On the latter tune, bassist Steven Huff chopped out full chords as lead singer and songwriter Paul Collins etched out a bridge melody: "I try and I try . . . someday things're gonna change." It was Ramones music with an idea.

Gomm's finely crafted melodies transferred easily from his records to the stage. Last night they were given a harder rock 'n' roll push by his backing quartet. Songs like "Airplane" and "Chicken Run" that were frothy ryhmes on his recent album gained some punch. But like conviction came through as Gomm glided through the songs. His decision to slow down Chuck Berry's "Come On" to a mood piece and to make his own "Sad Affair" a reggae number seemed like concepts more than inspirations. [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] ing set. The Beat's 23-year-old Collins whipped his mop-top hair and twitched his Beatle boots as he romped through "Work-A-Day World." The Beat is obviously trying desperately to become The Who. They may yet succeed; they're already the Dave Clark Five.