Buildings - The trio becomes a quartet tonight with a keyboards to go with drums, guitar, and bass-like guitar. Amazingly the show starts at 8:37 which is not a bad idea with four acts on the bill tonight. They rip through a pacey 22 minutes and have full command of their enjoyable sound as usual. Aside from some sonic vocal enhancement in the last number, they play quick intricate instrumental music. Even the drummer has a quick jazzy style that dances in, out, and around the two guitar lines. There is always a playful feel to their King Crimson-Porcupine Tree styled active progressive lines. In part due to the projected images, but also the quick floating sounds, I always am reminded of the movie Koyaanisqatsi. Aother fine set unfortunately missed by a sizable chunk of the crowd who expected them to play second or expecting nothing going on before 9:00pm. But I am sure they shall return as they are a fine staple of our local scene that never ceases to leave me pleased with their set.
The Clang Quartet - Plenty of clang, but thankfully there was just one of them. I used to proudly own a vinyl copy of Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music'. Its one hour and fifteen minutes of feedback did not often make it to my turntable for than a few minutes at a time, but it did and does have its place in the universe. Combine this sort of thing with Zev, the crazed pots and pans percussionist, and you get something akin to the set that took place to the side of the stage. Thankfully he did it on the floor allowing quicker set ups and less time between acts to keep the night flowing well. He actually used drums, cymbals and a small gong and had the feedback turned off, so I give him credit for varying the sounds a bit. Still, at 23 minutes it was a bit too long. Perhaps 23 minutes too long for some, but maybe 5 minutes long for me. He had masks and props which were colorful and I liked the diarama he wrapped himself in. There were various religious statements that I chose not to even bother trying to interpret (easy enough at his websites). That's kind of been done to death the last few millenia. The crowd mostly enjoyed it (you would say he had energy and conviction) with a few wandering off to the more relaxing downstairs bars.
Phantom Family Halo - While not at all surprising that a Brooklyn psyche band would be on tour with the Acid Mothers, I am thrilled to be able to compare them to a couple of bands never mentioned in this column, despite the vast quantity of psyche bands I see. After a shadow puppet entrance, the band takes their places with a couple of guitars, bass, keyboards/sax, and two drummers (one stand-up with kit components). The first couple of cuts hit me with the exciting twisted nature of Serpent Power and Fifty Foot Hose. This psyche terrain has a heavy feel while still retaining a sense of space, both of the vacuum variety and a bit of the sci-fi type. A bit of art shifting among the shapes seals the deal as these guys prove themselves to be careful practitioners of thoughtful psychedelic music. They next head off a little deeper into Kohoutek territory and by the third or fourth song I make a note that the sax combined with a heavier sound is clearly in the Hawkwind camp. No sooner than I make that note, than they rip into a great version of "Masters of the Universe". I loved their sound in the way that the guitars were plenty heavy but were balanced and the 39 minute set flew by. I will be first in line the next time they are on a bill.
Acid Mothers Temple - This Japanese quartet returns as a quintet (this must be fool the reviewer with band lineups night). The long running collective four return with an additional guitarist. The set follows their classic format of long songs from recent albums (first new, then the second most recent) before going into their tempo increasing freak-out closer. Last time around they were tight against a curfew and did not play an hour. This time, they kept it going for around 80 minutes with only a couple breaks. The bass playing is still the most amazing part of the music, although Kawabata's killer guitar runs are essential. The second guitar is more textural and he was moving deftly around the fretboard in unique patterns that make this music even more rich and complex. He allows the synth player to stay full time there rather than playing guitar as he did in the past. The drumming is simple and steady in a Charlie Watts manner, making it easy for these guys who know each other extremely well to work their instrumental magic. There are some limited vocals which enhances a couple of the tracks, but is also a sound and rhythm add-on. Like Kohoutek and a lot of heavy jamming psyche bands, their recordings are good, but the live show is great. It was great to see a packed house grooving to this long running, hard touring band tonight.
Quotes of the Night: From a certain person after the the Clang Quartet... "How are you gonna put a positive spin on these guys? I'm gonna get up early in the morning because I wanna see that."
Hopefully I was up for the challenge...
Second Quote: From Acid Mothers' guitarist Kawabata as they were doing the line check... "Could you lower everything in my monitor? Too loud." Note - This one is dedicated to my handful of readers who were at the last Terrastock Festival in 2008 and will quickly chuckle at this quote.