Acid Mothers Temple, Carlton Melton, Barberos: Mello Mello, Liverpool
Acid Mothers Temple bring their crazy diamond medicine to Liverpool, Getintothis' Jamie Bowman heavily indulges.
Judging by the preponderance of hairy middle aged men wearing Hawkwind t-shirts, Japanese collective Acid Mothers Temple have succeeded in channelling both the spirit and sound of a very specific brand of psychedelic
Taking elements from Funkadelic, Amon Duul, Gong and the aforementioned Silver Machine hit makers they regurgitate huge slabs of sound ranging from funk influenced pysch to multitudinous, ambient soundscapes.
On album sleeves, this collective squad of freaks cultivate a mysterious aura: photographed by ancient monuments, holding bones, clad in robes, wearing monks hoods and quite often with a naked girl or two in tow.
Leader and self-styled shaman Kawabta Makoto is certainly a sight to behold. A mass of hair and attitude he leads the band with a quiet authority which belies the madness which goes on around him.
To his right, Tsuyama Atsushi is simply one of the most extraordinary bassists you will ever see - huge monster grooves propel the band's quicker, flashier songs often accompanied by various vocal emissions ranging from growls to what can best be described as a bark.
Most remarkably this is music, that despite featuring 'songs' which can last longer than the train journey I took to the gig, never feels indulgent or pompous. The band throw themselves into each song with grinning abandon and Atsushi has no qualms about wearing a goofy t-shirt proclaiming the benefits of LSD.
The 'songs' such as they are seem to be either fast, gonzoid pieces of psych flash or slow, enveloping comfort blankets of ambient bliss. Best of these is the gig's enormous centrepiece Pink Lady Lemonade.
Built around a mesmeric circular riff reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond, this epic tune unfolds into several suites of varying length, power and noise climaxing in a frenzy of guitar mangling from the band as they hold their instruments aloft like ceremonial maces. A wonderful trip.
There's no getting around the fact that watching Barberos is an uncomfortable proposition. Judging by the sweaty bulges underneath the trio's skintight lycra gimp suits I'd imagine playing in Barberos is an uncomfortable proposition.
Barberos' music is difficult. Snapping electro rhythms crackle against pulsing synths while anything approaching a tune stays strictly off the agenda.
That's not to say it's not strangely enjoyable. Like being off sick from school with a dose of calpol, Barberos are a disorientating treat. It's up to you if they make you feel better.
Despite being lumped in with fellow US psych counterparts Wooden Shjips, White Hills, Earthless and Bardo Pond, the suspiciously middle-aged looking Carlton Melton offer up a far blunter, more heavier brand of sludge than any of their more lighter sounding contemporaries.
Built around molten lumps of riff filled rock, their sound is rock at its most basic, recalling the primeval grunge of Mudhoney at their scratchy best. Vocals are absent and instead guitarists Rich Millman and Andy Duvall summon up layer and layer of noodling heaviness before the songs collapse around them like the walls of Jericho.
Its impressively simple, like watching a toddler construct a tower of building blocks, but call me old fashioned, I actually thought some of these monsters could have benefited from at least some grunting.