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Ozric Tentacles / Mantis Mash (live at O2 Islington Academy )

Ozric Tentacles live May 2015London
12 May 2015

Ozric Tentacles gigs now seem like a celebration. They are the meeting of the multi-coloured clothed tribes come together in one place and celebrate the wonderful psychedelic sounds of the Ozrics. The fact that the band are now 31 years along their long strange trip to Erpland also proves the continuing love and respect and support the band have with their far-out fans. The first time I saw them was in a lysergic haze on a sun-baked day at Stonehenge when their music was bright colourful and just plain out there; three decades later they are still striving for the farthest reaches of the galaxy.

First up is Mantis Mash, who is Natan, sleeve designer for the new Ozrics album and now part of spin-off band Nodens Ictus. Behind his Apple Mac and with a table full of electronic devices he makes some good solid trance to get the party started. The Mantis Mash sound is part Pitch Shifter and part Goa trance (more in the TIP World vein); it squelches along but adds the extra dose of cosmic otherness that lifts up your spirit and soul. He remixes some Ozrics but many other things are also thrown into the melting pot of sounds that remind me of those heady nights on the beaches of Goa and took me far away from the venue. The crowd start dancing and it’s a great opening act for the main band as soon most of the audience are already smiling.

Ozric Tentacles live May 2015

With the back projection showing the Fruit Salad logo, the mighty Ozric Tentacles take to the stage; and with a rush like coming up on lysergics we are off. For starters the band look amazingly happy to be onstage and this good energy vibe spills out over the audience. Ed Wynne is beaming with his guitar strapped around his neck as he plays killer cosmic lead lines. Every now and then he will chat to the crowd with banter like “That was that one and this one is this one”, which adds an almost mystical pronouncement and seems like psychedelic mantra for the proceedings.

Brandi Wynne is front and centre of the stage, chatting informally between songs like the entire audience is her friend and she knows us all personally. Her bass playing is fantastic — it gets deep and dub-like as well as showing off her progressive rock licks. Brandi laughs, smiles and dances while she plays and the audience soak up the good feelings emanating from the stage. Silas Wynne is kept busy behind the synths making cosmic noises as well as playing some wonderful melodic lead lines. Both Balázs Szende (drums) and Paul Hankin (percussion) add a constant barrage of amazing rhythms that not only make you want to dance but help transport you to other worlds.

Ozric Tentacles live May 2015

The music is just one after another of wonderful slabs of Ozrics past and present (do I really have to describe it to you?), its mixture of world music motifs and rhythms mixed with good old-fashioned space and progressive rock make it a heady brew to indulge in. New tracks like “Changa Masala” fit in effortlessly with old classics like “Sploosh!”; all the while the band powerhouse through their set, the visuals behind give us a glimpse into the acid-drenched world of Erpland as they change and contort in a kaleidoscope of rainbow colours that gives the feeling that it’s 1967 all over again. It is the two elements of the music and visuals that make Ozrics gigs a total experience of the senses. This is patchouli oil, hash-high music meditated upon on mount Kailash to help raise cosmic awareness on planet Earth.

Ozric Tentacles live May 2015

“We could play all night, it’s a shame the venue has a curfew at 11!”, says Brandi, and you believe her as the band are really hitting their stride as the evening, unfortunately, draws to a close. The lysergic images on the backdrop fade slowly as the house lights come on. The audience files out, each seeming ecstatic about what they have just witnessed.

The Ozrics live (and on record) play music to make you forget where you are and who you are and all other points in between. It adds colour and deep meaning to a dull day — it takes you beyond mundane reality of the everyday into another place, and it’s certainly somewhere I would like to visit more often to spend a couple of hours. Just got to wait for the next tour now…

-Gary Parsons-

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