Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bardo Pond, with Jackie O Motherfucker and Alexander Tucker, Mono, Glasgow, Tuesday 28th November 2006

Tonight's trio of consciousness-expanders begins with Alexander Tucker, who builds walls of textured drone that belie his lone, seated figure. With bowed guitar, acoustic arpeggios and wordless vocals, interspersed with occasional bursts of heavy noise, he masterfully begins our night of psychedelia.

Live, Jackie O Motherfucker are quite a way from the relative accessibility of last year's 'Flags Of The Sacred Harp'. They play long improvised organic jams, formed from a multitude of bowings, scrapings, drifting ghostly voices and shamanistic chanting. Over the course of an hour, their shuddering drones slowly rise and fall, coalescing every so often into half-songs and melodies

Bardo Pond’s similarly trance-inducing sounds are of a wholly different kind. The air is thick with their heavy riffs, the sound so dense it seems to tune the whole venue into their monolithic bass-heavy grooves. With the unstoppable juggernaut of Clint Takeda's bass and Jason Kourkounis' drums and the deep fuzz of the Gibbons brothers' dual guitars, all overlaid with the barely-heard whispers of Isobel Sollenberger's flute and vocals, Glasgow is treated to a wonderful dose of the finest psychedelic rock around.

Photos of this gig available here.

Bardo Pond
Jackie O Motherfucker
Alexander Tucker

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

MV & EE Medicine Show, with Tight Meat Duo and Meursault, Downstairs at The Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Friday 17th November 2006

In most artistic circles, performing with ones back to the audience would be a definite no-no, but for aptly named Glasgow drone artist Meursault it was all part of the performance, as he created mysterious walls of melancholy noise from layers of looped and bowed guitar, infused with the same kind of aching, slow-moving sadness that makes William Basinksi and Andrew Chalk so wonderful.

Fresh from a stint touring America with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, this was very much a homecoming gig for drummer extraordinaire Alex Neilson, performing tonight with fellow Volcanic Tongue David Keenan on saxophone in their free jazz Tight Meat Duo incarnation. The energy and enthusiasm with which they played was a real delight to watch, with their short but glorious set positively overflowing with joyous freedom and expression.

MV & EE's brand of free folk is a vintage bluesy one, conjuring images of evenings on new-weird-American communes bashing out long drug-infused tales and analogue valve-driven jams. Soon overcoming initial amp problems, they played a set in which all the best of retro-feeling forward-looking psych, folk, blues, country and rock came together. The highlight of the night, however, was when they were joined for their final song by Alex Neilson, who again revelled in his return to freedom, driving forward a huge shuddering blast of gloriously free rock. With this catharsis, as the night wound up towards its ecstatic conclusions, there came a wonderfully Glaswegian shout from the shadowy recesses of the room; "awww man, this is pure head music!" and goddamn were they ever right.

Photos of this gig available here.