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Acid Mothers Temple (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Baba Yaga’s Hut @ Corsica Studios, London
22 October 2012

After a slight hitch of the ‘computer says no’ variety, I finally stumble into the fog-filled haze of Corsica Studios as the band are strapping on their guitars ready to play. Tonight we are going to be treated to a five-piece Acid Mothers Temple – also tonight they will play one of the tightest and best sets I’ve seen them do, and that’s certainly saying something.

They begin very subtly with carefully plucked guitar notes. Higashi Hiroshi plays space synth and closes his eyes to the cosmic space rumble beginning to build behind him. He stands sentinel there, almost motionless for a while, dressed in multi-coloured Tibetan trousers that put mine in the shade, as he prepares for lift off. The blast of sound is certainly augmented by Tabata Mitsuru on guitar, who plays some wonderful licks along with Kawabata Mokoto on his wailing beast. Tsuyama Atsushi’s mad bass playing and wild vocals add a sense of psychedelic urgency to proceedings and it’s held together by Shimura Koji’s tireless pounding of the drums that reminds me of some of the great drummers of the ’70s.

The first track crackles in true AMT style with some wonderful freak out guitar and a barrage of deep space noises. As the set moves along though, the bands sound morphs into something else. One track hits the jazz line of Magma meets King Crimson and has some impressive bass and guitar prog workouts in it. Shimura asks for more bass in his monitors, and Tsuyama jokingly asks for more money, his vocal workouts during the end of the number makes the rest of the band laugh as he starts to do impromptu renditions of Rod Stewart songs.

After some subtle guitar interplay and swirling synth, we hit the monster that is “Pink Lady Lemonade” and the ascent to the stratosphere begins. The track slowly builds until it is one of the most glorious sounds in the cosmos. As this begins to die down we are treated to a marvellous motorik space rocker of a number the kind that Hawkwind used to turn out in the early Seventies. It’s fast and takes you to the edges of the universe in its tight-paced rhythm. This for me was the track of the evening.

Slowly the band begins to slip back into “Pink Lady Lemonade” and Kawabata sets light to his guitar, then hangs it from the ceiling, leaving it wailing. When he straps on his spare Squier guitar you know the poor thing is probably not long for this world. First he sets fire to it (and almost himself), then he twirls it through the air until he brings it crashing down on to the stage, shattering it into many bits. As he throws these to the audience the rest of the band wind down the track and bring a close to the set.

It was quite a breathtaking performance; if you get a chance to see them on this tour or when they play again next year, they are always well worth seeing – go on, get yourself a ticket.

-Gary Parsons-

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