Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nektar - Brainticket - Huw Lloyd Langton -- Jaxx - Aug 19 2011

Huw Lloyd Langton - The ex-Hawkwind guitarist starts off this fascinating lineup tonight. His first gesture is to put his hand over his eyes peering the landscape looking over the vast open prairies of the dance floor. No sign of life here as this club is sadly quite empty tonight. Was it the rainstorms? cover price? non-marquee names? economy? I am not sure but I do not think more than forty people were here tonight. It could have been a Velvet Lounge show. Oh well, Langton was a professional and did a 27-minute set playing acoustic guitar and singing. He did some Hawkwind covers that were not terribly recognizable in this format, but sounded good. Of the three things a solo guitarist needs, I would say his playing was his best attribute, songs and voice ok.

Brainticket - I was stunned to see this band on the bill. Their three early 70s albums were imports. Their psychedelic-progressive brand of krautrock was very interesting but didn't exactly make it to US radio. Joel Vandroogenbroeck is the only original member but does take the lead with keyboards, electronics, flute, and even a sitar outro to close the set. He his joined by younger guys on drums, bass, guitar and keyboards (Note--Kuschty Rye Ergot's John Stanton tells me these guys have backed Nik Turner's Hawkwind offshoot so they know the drill). They also employ a woman on vocals who is dressed a bit like Theda Bara with a Medusa headdress. The music was excellent and there were many of the dynamics from their records as they played driving progressive music with electric guitar cutting in nicely. Vocal moves were interesting and spacey. The crowd was small but quite responsive and the band delivered as if it was sold out. I would like to say I was waiting my whole life to see this, but I really never expected it. It was one nice chance to see some interesting music from the classic krautrock days and it all worked out very well.

Nektar - I felt kind of dumb at only owning one song by this band and not having heard anything else in 35 years of more. So I did a little web listening before the show and was surprised at how heavy Nektar were. I had mislabeled them in the lighter prog camp. And it did not take long on stage before they proved themselves even heavier still. Two original members on drums and guitar/vocals lead the way. The German keyboards and US bass player filled in nicely as well. Everyone was in great form and this band rocked hard with all the progressive complexity still present in the music. After 21 years off (recording-wise) they have four albums in the past decade or so. They played some of the recent material, but plenty of the old classic material as well. It all sounded strong and there was not a false note all night. They played for an hour and fifty minutes and maintained energy throughout--no drum solo breaks. The psychedelic light show was fun and I never lost interest once. This was epic and grand progressive music with a powerful rock foundation and killer guitar moves. I am happy for this tour as it was a great night and it has reminded me I need to shift my thinking on Nektar when I discuss great progressive bands from the early 1970s.

Quote of the Night: Huw Lloyd Langton... "This is a Hawkwind intro to a song on one of the albums I can't remember."


Anonymous said...

I have posted a mini review, with pictures, of the two IL Space Rock Invasion Tour 2011 shows:

David Hintz said...

Thanks. This tour certainly has world interest in spite of the low turnout. Too bad, a lot of people missed a good show.

Anonymous said...

I saw The Space Rock Invasion Tour @ The Key Club in Hollywood! Rocketblast Bath highlighted the opening of the show followed by Hue!, Brainnticket! & Nectar! upstairs. Not to mention downstairs! A spectacular arrangements of past, present & future. I found myself lost yet drawn at the same time.. Loved the whole show... nice!

David Hintz said...

Great! I am glad you enjoyed it. I did hear that some shows on the tour were very well attended and the bands would like to do it again some time. Let's hope they get the good venues lined up and we can do our part by spreading the positive words.