Acid Mothers Guru Guru
Mani Neumeier: drums, vocals (from Guru Guru)
Tsuyama Atsushi: bass vocals (from Acid Mothers Temple)
Kawabata Makoto: guitar (from Acid Mothers Temple, Gong)
Opening Act: Phantom Family Halo
This was an excellent show, on a par musically with the first time I saw AMT as a fourpiece. It was the 4th time overall I've seen them since getting turned on to Kawabata and Tsuyama's prog wizardry. Each time the lineup has included Kawabata and Tsuyama but featured different players, this time Mani Neumeier from German prog titans Guru Guru.
Mani was the emcee for this one, which meant none of the goofball slapstick hackneyed Japenglish that Tsuyama and Kawabata usually inject. This AMGG show seemed more professionally serious and less absurdist than the other times I've seen them. Neumeier is a great talent, hanging right in there with the Ninja Psych Warlords in the far out jams. He mostly played a regular trap set, but he did do one solo improv piece on a bunch of chrome spheres he tossed on the floor. They looked like they were mini-hubcaps from a pimped out mini-car or perhaps a bunch of jarlids from a space-age kitchen set. Kawabata played a black guitar that sounded a lot like a Gibson, but it had a strange custom shape and I never got close enough to see what it was. He played it fast and loose all night except for one weird abstract jam where he placed a copper bowl on the guitar body and ran his finger in a circle around the rim to produce a subtle droning effect while Mani played a homemade berimbau looking thing and Tsuyama played lead bass. At times I thought Kawabata's tone sounded a lot like Jerry circa Europe '72. At one point it sounded like we might get a "You Win Again" or a "Cosmic Charlie", but with these guys I knew better. Around this point of the show, they went off on one of their 20 minute excursions and got to that barren, solar dust swept territory that so many of the early '70's Darkstar's got to. At the end of the set, someone yelled out "Play something psychedelic!" This brought out a collective smile from the players and they launched into a familiar sounding AMT jam. I guess that's when you figure you're becoming a veteran with these guys, when you can recognize jams you've heard before, but to hell if I can name one! The band looked thoroughly satisfied after that last jam, but the smallish crowd (150-200) hooted and hollered and they came out for one more. It seemed like they were trying to drive home the point that the folks had already had their show as they did what could have been no longer than a 15 second encore.
The Phantom Family Halo opened and did a pretty decent job. They're a bunch of mid to late 20's looking folks from Louisville who played angular music in front of a film screen projecting fairly interesting underground film footage. Their frontman plays a stand-up drum kit and sings while they have a pair of guitar/keyboardists and a standard drum and bass rhythm section. They did a good job of warming up for the crowd of AMT devotees who were there to see their heros.
Thanks to my friend Catfish John for encouraging me to get out for the evening. Pre-game at Elysian, several "safety breaks" before and between sets and some inspired music made for a worthwhile evening up on Capitol Hill.
>he placed a copper bowl on the guitar body and ran his finger in a circle around the rim to produce a subtle droning effect
that'd be a rin gong
Kawabata and Friends on a Monday night dont get muich better than that
Thanks for the review J.Dave