Monday, 22 October 2012

GNOD, Goat, Teeth of the Sea The Lexington, London

I’ve been looking forward to this one. Three of my favourite bands of the past few years courtesy of Rocket Recordings, the coolest label around with great ears for some of the loopiest psych, prog-post-rock electronics this side of 1998. Oh and their records look lovely too.

So arriving just as GNOD start their psychedelic 45 minute spin out over waves of effects and a backdrop of audible moon dust, I realise I have no idea what the members of Gnod do or look like. Apparently people slip-in and out of the band when they like and the jam-style nature of their live set means you aren’t going to see the same Gnod twice. Tonight however they are a fairly conventional band set-up fronted by a bowl-cutted singer who looks like an Inspiral Carpet inside the frail body of the boy from the Secret Garden. In a paisley shirt. Tomorrow night the frontman will probably be a pile of Hawkwind records and a bong.
Although improvisation sounds a little dirty and indulgent in 2012, Gnod make their sludgy psychedelic space rock sound less like a stoned jam but a genuine attempt at treading new sonic ground. The primordial drum beat leaves the entire audience spellbound, apart from the few who are as high as a kite and plod out a trance like dance. Last track Tonys First Communion which is played over spiralling stained glass visuals, threatening organs and samples of a Catholic church service, makes the transition from last years InGnodWeTrust LP very well, and confirms for me that Gnod are one of the most exciting bands around.

You can’t beat a band in a mask. Daft Punk (always). Slipknot (hell yeah). Eminem (chain-sawing in 2001). The Manics (a balaclava-clad Faster on Top of the Pops). The list goes on, and GOAT are no exception as they greet the crowd like extras from Live And Let Die the musical. Despite the guitarists execution mask being a bit too creepy, they look amazing and his shuddering guitar sounds alongside the tessellating, kaleidoscopic visuals from their LP sleeve help provide a deranged atmosphere.
With this being Goats first EVER gig I naturally had a few doubts about how their fantastic debut would come across live. No worries there as Goats sound is rabidly high-powered and the strength of tunes such as Goatman, Let it Bleed and Run to Your Mama mean they just can’t fail. The singer and voodoo ‘Bez’ figure duel dance their way through the set with a vague suggestion they are referencing something more sinister, but more likely its the only possible way to do these bat shit crazy songs justice. By dancing.
I‘ve read quite a few reviews of Goats debut album but words only seem to further confuse, as it really is all over the place. Afrobeat? Psych-trance-metal? Krautrock? Some Stonesy bits. Some Disco bits. Ah, just go and get it. A large crowd of fans brandishing vinyl copies of World Music was a pleasure to see. I hope our paths cross again very soon as I get the impression that Goat, like many great bands, may not be around for that long. I haven't ever checked YouTube the day after a gig before but I really wanted to see these Swedish rockers do their stuff for a bit longer. Here is what I found.

So to finish, and following that onslaught those poor bastards TEETH OF THE SEA have a difficult task. But despite the room thinning out a little they do a mighty fine job of interpreting the ferocious atmosphere and electronic elements of their 2010 album You’re Mercury. It was this LP that helped me into discovering many delights from the Rocket Recordings roster, so I was pleased to hear elements of it tonight. The bands use of synths alongside live trumpets gives them an amazing sound which I’m reluctant to pigeon-hole as post-rock, but it certainly isn’t ‘rock’ of any kind I’ve heard before. What is remarkable about TOTS live is how they are seemingly in complete control of these sounds and unnerving noises, and produce a lion-taming display of raging, penned-in sonics, which is exactly what I want to be faced with on a Friday night.


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