Co-headline Ozric Tentacles and Gong with Arthur Brown as support – Saturday 18th November 2023 at the 02 Forum, Kentish Town, London, England.
The crazy world of Arthur Brown
The best way to describe Arthur Brown is “bonkers”, I even checked the definition on the internet “silly or act in a crazy way”. And I mean that in a positive way.
Arthur Brown is 82, he walks on stage, he sings, and his voice is pretty good, he dances. I have to admit, watching Arthur was probably worth the entrance fee of £40 ($48). With each song he walked off stage and changed into a new costume and new face paint mask. His band was also top multi-instruments swapping between guitar hero and keyboards hero. That is, both the guitarist and the bass player.
I had to laugh, looking him up on Instagram his handle is @godofhellfire_actual good to see somebody has a sense of humour. I always post photos of gigs on Instagram and @godofhellfire_actual reposted one of them on their Insta, which was kind.
The set list was:-
Prelude – nightmare
Fanfare – Fire poem
Come and buy
Time and confusion
Touched by all
Ozric Tentacles and Gong
Now the pairing of Ozric Tentacles and Gong make sense as Gong was always an inspiration to Ed Wayne when he started Ozric Tentacles and he was also asked to join Gong at one point.
Ozric Tentacles and Gong were joint headliners taking it in turns, this night it was Ozric Tentacles that were up next. The band is now Ed Wynne but also family members, Silas Neptune and Brandi Wynne. Silas Neptune is a highly competent keyboard player, leaving Dad to concentrate on the guitar.
Ed has sound-colour synaesthesia, which is where you see specific colours when you hear certain sounds. And it is with this rich palate of guitar and synthesiser that create their sound. Half why through the set they were joined on stage by a flautist which added more colour. She also had more stage presence than Ed, and she introduced the songs and made some chat with us audience.
Ozric, do what they do, which to a background of drums and bass, Ed plays the guitar and effects, while Neptune plays sounds through keyboards to give that psychedelic sound. Maybe because we were in the seated area, but there was a lot of old hippies, maybe they are used to the stomach-churning bass and a near constant stope light, but by the end we did feel that we had been in rough seas. Great music, but the effects were a little sickly.
The music is described as “space rock” and that does not mean it’s about the moon or the stars. More to do with lava lamps and mushrooms.
Ozric Tentacles played for a good hour and then it was Gong’s turn. The stage was cleared of the Ozric’s synthesisers and five lonely microphones placed at the front of the stage.
They kicked off with “my guitar is a spaceship” and Dave Sturt on bass had problems, he had to get down on the floor and re-plug his bass in, but he was soon up and a big grin on his face.
Gong use guitars for any effects rather than keyboards, they also have the added sound of saxophone, tenor and soprano.
Gong have been going since the sixties, in fact their website itemises every single gig. Breaking from the instrumental form of the Ozric’s Gong sang songs new and old. We both agreed that even though they have no keyboards the sound was even more psychedelic. Fabio Golfetti really knows how to play the guitar to squeeze psychedelic sounds out.
Kavus Torabi took charge during the set and said at one point “I didn’t pay attention at school and look where I am now”. He looked like Marc Bolan with his hair and skin tight jeans, all the rock star.
The final three songs, Saskia Maxwell came on and danced and it made a lovely interlude to the all men Gong front line.
Both Ozric Tentacles and Gong have albums to sell, hence the tour, even the names seem to be intertwined; Gong, “unending ascending” and Ozric Tentacles, “Lotus unfolding”.
Gong’s setlist was
My guitar is a spaceship
My sawtooth wake
Ship of Ishtar with Saskia Maxwell
Master builder with Saskia Maxwell
Choose your goddess with Saskia Maxwell
Set lists provided by setlist.fm
Tim Hughes | Now Spinning Magazine