Acid Mothers Temple: Hope & Ruin, Brighton

NON-STOP head-melting psychedelia — each pulsating, echo-drenched disco-rock groove excels the one before, ending in a collective instrumental howl: AMT are hot, sweaty cool sonic wizards.


Those are, respectively, the sound of Kawabata Makoto, and the sound of Kawabata Makoto’s guitar. The next hour and a bit will be quite the trip.

When a cultural phenomenon — full-blown psychedelia, say — demands a certain level of derangement, you may rely on Japan to go above and beyond.

Part-Can, part-Hawkwind, part metal monsters and entirely formidable live, Acid Mothers Temple have in their two-decade existence recorded far more head-melting music than any sane person would know what to do with.

They may be playing the hits tonight. I have no idea. In a non-stop stream of thrilling noise, they segue from supercharged stomp-rock, through doomy choral chanting and frazzled go-go, to a thundering melee of atonal freak-outs. Then on to a pulsating, echo-drenched disco-rock groove, which morphs into a motorik rhythm too rapid even for the autobahn, works itself into a squalling frenzy, breaks cover as a kind of galloping, syncopated, Underworld-with-rabies affair, and flows into a long, chiming trance number climaxing in a collective instrumental howl.

Here is the joy of seeing a really tasty — chewy, even — band, utterly committed to and in full mastery of their idiom, from two feet away, in a small, hot, crowded room with a low riser for an unbarricaded stage. Music seldom feels more alive than this. Kawabata and company don’t just look like wizards. By the end, I believe that’s what they are.

© David BennunThe Guardian, 29 September 2016

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