Acid Mothers Guru Guru - Live at the Casbah
Eric Nielsen 09.15.07
It's not often I'm taken away with a live show but I was again last night. I've had the pleasure of seeing some form of Acid Mothers Temple over 35 times within the past 8 years and it's one of the shows that gets me the most excited. There is something magical that happens every time they play that breaks my face wide open into a grin of astonishment.
I shake my head at how over the top and successful the moments of time can be within the experience of a live Acid Mothers show. It's like being under the ocean: it's everywhere, filling your heart and spirit with an other-world kind of feeling.
Last night at the Casbah it was the Acid Mothers Guru version of the Acid Mothers Temple Collective. This lineup was a trio featuring, as always Makoto Kawabata, along with Tsuyama Atsushi and Many Neumeier from the kraut rock icons Guru Guru. Many's 67 years of life exploded with the power of surround sound, supplied by Kawabata and Tsuyama on borrowed guitar and bass. It seemed Kawabata needed a smoke so bad after the plane ride to Philadelphia that he left his Fender on the luggage carousel. Tsuyama had problems with his bass onstage in Minneapolis and decided to end the life of the poor stick mid show.
Guru was definitely different than the full blown Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso. It was kraut inspired heavy, on a long plane ride of maintained intensity. There wasn't that kind of takeoff slow build, entrance into never-never land that eventually landed you on the moon. Many of the pieces started with a riff from the drums and blasted out of the gate full speed like those amusement park rides that send you straight from 0 to 60 into the loop. You were on the moon within the first bar of the song. It's not such an easy thing to maintain.
Though most of the set seemed more improvised, they did play Pink Lady Lemonade. I also recognized riffs from other songs along with a Guru Guru tune, but it was some serious improv like only they can do. The bass and drums, for once, overpowered the volume of the guitar and damn it was good. Not to mention, Tsuyama played some mean medieval recorder. They've got their hands around so many different styles all warped through the AMT fish eye goggle lens of cigarettes, beer and history.
I've fallen in love with the live show from these guys and every time it works. How do they do that? How do they consistently put out quality records and live shows? It caught up with Higashi this summer in Japan when he collapsed from exhaustion at a Tokyo subway stop. And, after nearly every tour they seem to collapse into a super tired pile on the floor.
Seeing the AMT collective play live makes me want to go home and pick up some instruments and start recording, to call my friends over to make a racket, to do something live, to create something. That's what all great art does, inspire. I've had the chance to play 30 or 40 live shows along side Kawabata and Higashi with my band Maquiladora, which is super out-of-body experience every time.
It was very nice to be won over by this lineup, being filled with ambience. And I can see why they play with Many; he adds another element to the band that can only be described as the authentic LSD, be-in, communal living experience. The real 1971 kraut joy of power and confidence fits in perfectly with the band. I hope I get to play with Many, damn he was good.
Of course they had their shop zone filled with 16 items, they started the tour with 30, and I've got some new titles I'll be reviewing here later this month as I slowly digest the sacred sounds.
They'll be back this spring as the full 4 piece Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso with Higashi on synth and guitar, and Koji on drums. You shouldn't miss it. If you need a little blast to keep you going for a while, this can transform your doldrums.
Acid Mothers Guru Guru
pics by Phil Beaumont 9.15.7