29 Oct 2012

Optical Sounds reviews Rocket Party at the Lexington

Here is a lovely review that will feature in the next issue of the amazing Optical Sounds magazine:

Gnod, Goat and Teeth of the Sea
The Lexington, London – 19th October 2012

It’s fair to say that this gig really was the hottest ticket in town. Apparently, Lauren Laverne (taking time off from being an unconvincing radio presenter) is rumoured to be floating about. We have come en masse (well, four of us) from the North, taking advantage of cheap travel and lodgings that the big smoke tempts its willing prey with. 

Rocket Recordings are clearly showing off the jewels in their crowns here tonight. The room is already thronging by time Gnod head for the stage. I really can’t speak highly enough of Gnod. Running the risk of seeming slightly sycophantic, I am constantly amazed at what seems to be an inexhaustible supply of imagination in the minds of the Gnod squad. I honestly get the feeling that in years to come, bands will pretend they were always lifelong Gnod fans, making hapless, joyless recreations of their highlights, much in the same way people do nowadays with Throbbing Gristle. The last couple of times I’ve seen Gnod, they have unveiled a new strain of electronica into their already mutated form. It was absolutely as captivating as their full on band approach. Spacey and wild as always, reminding me of prime-time Meat Beat Manifesto. Imagine a DJ on the scout-ship Dark Star, whilst the cryogenically suspended Commander issues dreamlike incantations over the dubby stew. At a gig supporting Expo ’70 at Night & Day in Manchester, they riffed marvelously on a Visions Of Load sample from 30 minutes.

This time, Gnod return to their  ‘guitar band’ guise with new drummer Alex in tow. The band is garlanded by Jonny Rocket’s stunning visual accompaniment which adds a hallucinogenic backdrop to the whole evening’s proceedings. Neil Francis adds more of his enigmatic delay soaked stream of consciousness over the top of some star scraping psych rock. He really could be singing anything under these swathes of delay: his shopping list, how he is being followed by the same weirdoes at all his gigs… even London… anything. He is also sporting a new ecclesiastical styled haircut along with his trademark un-ironed frilly shirt. I’ve never heard this first track, but it’s absolutely swept me away with its powerful tow. Paddy later assures me it’s an ‘old one’, but it sounds incredible. Again, I’m humbled by the sheer propulsion issuing forth from this mere five piece. The band end on an incredible driving take on ‘Tony’s First Communion’ – which drives home a point that I’ve been thinking since they got onstage. They are the best band on the planet.

It’s fair to say that the majority of the audience has come down to see Goat. The mystique is really starting to swirl around this masked troupe of psych rockers (of which the bubble is nearly burst when the masked drummer soundchecks in a pair of Adidas tracky bottoms). These Swedish voodoo cults cum spaceheads have really caught the attention of the public recently. Maybe their high headed rituals have caught the favour of their Orisha and they now have us in their thrall. Or just maybe, their brand of danceable psych rock is just what the witchdoctor has ordered. Either way, the anticipation is palpable, especially as this their first gig… ever.

Goat absolutely nails it first time. The dance floor is starting to break away from its standard head nodding that is found at these types of affairs, as the groove starts to possess the dancing shoes of the audience. For all their empty rhetoric and deciding which band they want to be this week, Primal Scream would gladly give their souls to have this concentrated germ of rock n’ roll flowing through their veins, something which comes naturally to Goat. Different takes of Goat’s geometric folk art is projected over the band as they whizz through ‘Goatman’, ‘Let It Bleed’. It is over too soon, and the audience are visibly spent.

Unfortunately, this level of expectation and energy has a direct effect on Teeth of the Sea, as the crowd has visibly thinned. Lauren Laverne has clearly buzzed off to be out of her depth somewhere else whilst Rocket’s Chris is spinning some thundering psych and prog at ferocious volume. Teeth of the Sea have clearly turned some heads with ‘Your Mercury’ and the much underrated ‘Orphaned By The Sea’, it is interesting to see where they are heading next.  There is a heady cosmic disco feel to their new set. Ive got to admit, I’m not immediately struck by it but maybe a few spins of their upcoming record may well bring me around. We’re on familiar ground when a truly colossal take on A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. fizzes out of the amps. I’m immediately brought to mind of towering power stations and feats of gigantic engineering.  Marvelous stuff.

Brett Savage