When the sky turned yellow and otherwordly I knew that the Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. had landed in Norwich for their annual visit, for their appearance at the Norwich Waterfront Studio.
After performing with such bands as Toho Sara, Ohkami No Jikan, Musica Transonic, and Mainliner, Japanese guitarist Makoto Kawabata decided to continue his musical explorations by bringing together like-minded individuals to create trippy psychedelic freak-outs inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Krautrock, and ’70s progressive hard rock. Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. (Underground Freak Out) were founded in 1996 as a “soul collective.” It’s not a commune in the full sense since the members don’t all live together, but it is based on communal values and has even been mistaken by some people for a religious cult.
Guranfoe is a British progressive rock group that formed in September 2012. Their music spans early 1970s fusion, improvisational jazz, psychedelic rock and ancient ragas. Their eclectic music is fleshed out with a liberal dose of wah, left turns of delicate psych and a dash of acid-laced jazz, while propulsive krautrock floats between the cracks and lingers just below the surface.
Organisms play doomy grunge rock, with excursions to psychedelia. Formed in 2016 and with and album out this year ‘Mollusk’, the group is lead by Joe Quinn from The Grazing Saints and Amazing world of living things and also features members from Norwich bands including Bavarian Rocket Group, Horo Quintet and The Woodland Creatures.
Through Astral Planes and Ethereal Bodies, they bring you raw and groovy music from the Kosmos.
Two local bands opened up for them, Organisms, and Guranfoe. I didn’t catch all of Guranfoe’s set and they initially seemed to have some technical issues and with sound which didn’t feel quite right for them but they are an interesting blend of instrumental and unashamed prog, psychedia and rock. I have friends who are raving about this band and I liked them too so I want to catch one of their own gigs soon and am looking forward to properly experiencing Guranfoe.
Organisms sounded big, powerful and dark … but as with Guranfoe, the sound was disappointing, or the mix at any rate … their subtlety was a bit lost and it was a bit muddy and heavy at the bottom end but Bromley’s keys still floated magically and dreamily over the top. The short set flew by and when Joe announced their last song after only four or so it seemed so short and sudden but they finished on a high with a great groove on their closer.
The onset of autumn usually signals the return of Acid Mothers Temple, seemingly playing a different venue each time – Epic, old Owl Sanctuary, new Owl Sanctuary, and now the Studio at the Waterfront, their sound was terrific, thankfully. This time they somehow sounded bigger and a lot heavier, and still with their playful side. A guitarist in drag with a pink wig (Pink Lady Lemonade) who left the stage for a little dance on the PA, it was a bit surreal. Magical and dreamy as ever, one can easily lose the concept of time but I do know however that their first three songs took us well past the 45 minute mark – in fact they probably played the same number of songs as Organisms did! Amazingly, they opened with probably their best known song – Pink Lady Lemonade – which was reprised later. Mid set featured an incredible Cometary Orbital Drive.
Good to see the word of mouth effect about this stunning live act as there are more people coming each time, and those that have seen them once always see them again! Their previous Norwich gigs are among my favourite of all time, so obviously expectation is going to be incredibly high but they still deliver every time and there is something transcendental about their live experience, there is no other band like them for this.
Many thanks to Acid Mothers Temple, and The Waterfront.
I have learned that seeing another gig straight after Acid Mothers Temple is invariably a bad move as they are one hard act to follow. Their gigs are profound and intensely moving experiences, almost spiritual, and it takes time to mentally process. They also set the bar ridiculously high as a standard. Consequently I was not really in the mood for another gig so soon afterwards but still made my way to Norwich Arts Centre the following evening for the visit of Cabbage, The Blinders, and Queen Zee and the Sasstones. The first act of the night were my highlight and I thought they totally stole the show. Liverpool’s Queen Zee and the Sasstones had a brilliant blend of presence, attitude, theatre and things to say, addressing fascism, Trump, and looking out with care and love for the LGBT community, especially after the Orlando attack. They were loud, powerful, defiant and brilliant. The noise didn’t cover anything up, those were just great songs. Their sound was at times glorious … if I could pick at anything it would be to hear a bit more punch from the bass drum on some of the earlier numbers. I believe they return to NAC at the end of the month supporting Marmozets, a gig I had earmarked but cannot make and am now even sadder that I won’t be there. I found it so refreshing to hear a band play who had melodies and hooks every bit as strong and powerful as their messages. They had a real New York Dolls energy about their performance too, which of course is no bad thing. Best act of the night by far, for me.
They were followed by The Blinders from Doncaster, who also came onstage with bags of presence and an assured swagger. Something about them, probably the bass player’s look, really brought to mind Nick Cave. Their sound was massive and impressive and although very enjoyable I was kind of wanting a tad more variety after a few songs but I liked them and will check out their recordings.
Cabbage are highly regarded by many friends of mine, and although they have played Norwich several times already this was my first time seeing them. There was quite an air of excitement and anticipation as they took the stage and it didn’t take long for a mosh-pit of thronging bodies to become as one, swaying over the dancefloor. I now knew why the crush barrier was making a rare appearance, I don’t think I’ve seen a mosh-pit like that at NAC since The Fuzztones in the late 80s. All of which only served to alienate me further as I just wasn’t “feeling it” from Cabbage and I’m afraid about half an hour was as much as I could take. There is no doubting their passion, energy, ability and self-confidence but they are simply not my thing. I did take pleasure from the amazing scenes of the devoted audience whose ‘thing’ Cabbage most certainly were. That’s not to say I dismissed them, I have spent most of the time since the gig pondering on them and wondering if I listen more if I will have that epiphany moment and wondering why I was not connecting like the rest of the room was. The effect on their fans is the most impressive, energised and energetic, it’s a long time since I’ve seen that sort of action on the dancefloor. They certainly shake things up too and got me thinking. They will go far but it seems I just don’t like cabbage. On another day I’d have possibly enjoyed this a bit more but I was not in the mood and still in that headspace where Acid Mothers Temple placed me. Now that was a gig I really did enjoy.
Many thanks to Norwich Arts Centre.
all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2017