tue 19/06/2018

Goat/Moonlandingz, Brixton O2 Academy review - a feast of modern psychedelic rock | reviews, news & interviews

Goat/Moonlandingz, Brixton O2 Academy review - a feast of modern psychedelic rock

Goat/Moonlandingz, Brixton O2 Academy review - a feast of modern psychedelic rock

Top nu-psych package concert shakes the venue and the audience

Dress-down Friday with Goat

Representing the best of the current psych revival’s many faces, the scuzziness of The Moonlandingz and overwhelming groove of Goat all seem initially out of place amongst the mock-Greek décor of the O2 Academy Brixton. With an audience that doesn’t stop bopping through both the bands and stellar DJ sets in between, however, the night feels far more transcendental than awkward.

There is a third act on the bill that also deserves mention. The futuristic pop of British alt-folk perennial Jane Weaver is nothing short of immense. The unearthly soundscapes of her most recent album, Modern Kosmology, are replaced by a more driving, insistent sound live, and never is this more evident than on the single “Slow Motion”, which is arresting in its snaking synths and steady drums. “The Architect” is another musical thunderstorm, with Weaver balanced on top of the locked-in, grooving rhythm section perfectly. Reminiscent of the poppier sides of the hauntological Ghost Box Records catalogue, her formidable vocals hang between siren and banshee throughout the set, and are particularly melancholic on “I Wish”. Weaver saves what may be her least tumultuous song, “I Need a Connection”, until last. It blossoms slowly but, eventually, the whole audience stands enthralled by her emotionally charged crying out of the title phrase.

It's loud, it's infectious, it's everything Goat do best

The Moonlandingz are like a pair of festival wellies – filthy, battered and given to trampling all in their wake. They’re instantly enjoyable; teetering between rockabilly, synth-pop and glam rock, they’ve got the stomp of Chumbawumba, the grit of early Pixies, and a charm that is unmistakeably their own. Set opener “Vessels” is a beast of a track, echoing round the room as singer Lias Saoudi writhes across the stage. “Sweet Saturn Mine” is the song equivalent of an earthquake, or possibly a military march played by a circus, while “The Rabies are Back” is almost “Proud-Mary”-ish in its lilting groove, sending the front half of the audience into frenzied flailing. In perhaps the most unexpected and touching moment of their set, “Lufthansa Man” culminates in a synth solo which comes on like Magazine covering the Sherlock theme tune. There’s not a dry armpit in the room by the end of their riotous time on stage.

Up to this point, it’s been a near flawless gig, and Goat don’t break the run in quality. Dipping in and out of funk, ambient, classic rock, and endless strains of global roots influence, their hypnotic set keeps the audience swaying then headbanging, by turn, all night. Songs like the cute, flute-led “Union of Mind and Soul” are endearing in their own plodding, simple way, but their set really takes off with hip-shakers such as “Goatfuzz” and “Gathering of Ancient Tribes”. Above walls of distortion, Djembe drums and sitar-like guitar noodling, the ululating vocalists shine in their shamanic garb, shaking, twisting, shrieking, and leading the audience in crazed chants. The jewel in Goat’s crown is the rollicking “Run to Your Mama”, taken from their acclaimed debut album World Music. It’s loud, it’s infectious, it’s everything Goat do best; and live, it’s impossible not to be caught up in the ecstasy of the band and their fans.

Exhausted but content, there’s no way the audience can leave unhappy.

Overleaf: Watch Goat's brain-frazzling, almost hour-long set live at Glastonbury 2015

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters