The Purple Turtle, London
19 April 2011
It’s Sunday, it’s sunny, so a 6.30pm start time for a gig seems terribly early, especially when you have the choice between a sweaty venue or a cool pub beer garden, oh well….. Also putting on four support acts before a main band on a Sunday when public transport is hardly at its greatest (even Lori S from Acid King pointed this out on stage). But enough of my ‘ole man complainin’, I’m here to see the Kings of Acid themselves for the first time so I’m quite excited.
After dragging myself away from a fine chilled pint of cider I make my way into the dingy, sweaty Purple Turtle to be confronted by the opening battle noise of Carlton Melton. Massive riffs and wildly clattering drums smashed all around as the sludge belched from the speakers of the Turtle. Guitars screamed while the drummer twirled his sticks in a Tommy Lee fashion. At the end of their last song the guitar gets past around to members of the audience to add their own chaos to the caterwaul of sounds. An impressive first sighting for me of this band even though sometimes it touched a bit on Grails territory. Next up were Sons of Alpha Centauri, a great name I have to say (but then I’m a sucker for a band name with a cosmos reference). The set started well, quite spacey and uplifting. However, when it all began to kick in it reminded me of a sludge version of Voivoid. One of my compadres said they sounded somewhat math rock which was quite an accurate assessment. They certainly didn’t bowl me over, but I did like the use of Hammond Organ throughout the set.
Finally the band I had been waiting to see took the stage and from the opening notes of “Busse Woods” I was transported to the land of riffage. Acid King are big, heavy and doom-laden. The riffs are of monolithic proportions as Lori howls out her vocals amongst the barrage of sound behind her. However, when she kicks in a lead guitar solo it can be blisteringly beautiful, with the sound of an Indian village in the Old West at dawn, tipis warming in the early morning sun. A couple of new songs are added into the set from the long overdue fourth album (this band don’t hurry themselves record wise). These are great power-filled lumps of metal that sound like the kick start exhaust of a motorcycle, while old favourite “2 Wheel Nation” is a piece of stoner rock hog heaven that gets the heads banging down at the front.
With a set that leans heavily on the Busse Woods and III albums there’s plenty of highlights before their final song of the evening. I wanted more, and they seemed to be on for a very short time (in truth they played for over an hour), but I suppose it was the final gig of the tour and maybe the delights of a champagne end of tour party were playing on their minds and who can blame them. I went home with ears ringing, a happy man having finally seen the road kings live. Next time they are on tour catch them if you can, it’s the perfect soundtrack for a Harley and the open road – even if you only get as far as Brighton…