As we entered the building, we were greeted by the sight of Arthur Brown onstage. His band had elaborate plumage headdresses interwoven with fairy lights. I saw a video of him setting his head on fire on YouTube and my mum told me about the time when she saw him wearing traffic cones and platforms as shoes. At one point during the set, he disappeared backstage to change outfits and he came back wearing a dinosaur mask and thick prosthetic fingers which accentuated his theatrical movements such as flapping his arms like a butterfly. During this interlude, two of his bandmates did a cool drum solo with the drums all spaced out on the front of the stage. To position the tom drum, the drummer picked it up and held it upside down high above his head like Atlas before dramatically plonking it down where a microphone was already set up in anticipation of this performance. We were all close to the stage, which made everything seem even more epic. There were also mannequin torsos and heads with LEDs and fairy lights lighting them up and ivy on the stage, creating the effect of a magical fairy land. We all really enjoyed his set. His vocals are quite similar to Janis Joplin at times for me, which is not surprising since they're from the same era.
Next up were the Ozric Tentacles, who had a new bassist onstage with them. The Ozric Tentacles recently reached number 5 in the UK Rock and Metal charts which is a huge achievement. They played a lot of the old tracks which all had the crowd moving, which was good to see. They had a percussion player and a drummer and Silas on synth, Ed on guitar and Saskia on flute. They had some really beautiful projections on the back wall and at one point in the set Saskia joked that the lights were seizure inducing which was funny, especially when you consider that they used to have someone doing elaborate light shows using tins with gels or pieces of coloured cellophane. Now back in the 80s, now they just put the lights on the stage and point them in people's eyes! I thought that the band sounded really tight and that Silas (synth) and Ed (guitar) were both really talented on their instruments and they projected a huge sound full of catchy hits each song had something special whether that was a memorable riff or Saskia on flute. On the whole I thought it was great well done guys!
Gong were interesting. At one point during their set, they brought Saskia on to do some ethereal backing vocals and dancing in a beautiful flowing white outfit, which was a highlight for me.
In the audience was Keith Bailey, the bassist and songwriter from Here and Now, who were a very influential psychedelic rock band from the 70s. One girl we met had come all the way from Brighton to see the gig.
I think it's very entertaining to see some footage of psychedelic gigs back in the day I remember seeing one where a man danced with a bread crate like the ones you see outside of news agents as if it was Simba from the lion king being held high up by Rafiki!
Be sure to catch any of these bands at an upcoming gig for something out of the ordinary and for a psychedelic assault on the senses!
On my way out I noticed a guy with long hair clutching a freshly purchased piece of Ozrics vinyl who'd been sitting on a ledge with his feet crossed the entire gig and I told him that Ed was down the front right-hand side of the stage if he wanted to get it signed. Suddenly, his eyes went big like saucers and he thanked me before he leapt eagerly down from his perch and skipped off towards the backstage area.