Goat / The Lay Llamas / Trembling Bells @ SWG3, 28 September

Live Review by Chris Buckle | 07 Oct 2014

“Psych” comes in many flavours tonight, with each act on the bill proffering a different strain of heady experimentation. We begin with the medieval-tinged psych-folk of local practitioners Trembling Bells, who pair paisley-and-capes apparel with a similarly flamboyant musicality. Vivid guitar work-outs, prog-rock curlicues and Lavinia Blackwall’s immaculate vocals all add up to typically bewitching performance.

Things take a cosmic turn next, as Sicily’s The Lay Llamas summon star-gazing drones to a visual backdrop of planetary rotations. Nature samples, pulsating bass lines and mantric chants whip up a dense atmosphere that occasionally threatens to overplay its new age intimations, but which is ultimately kept in check by Archaic Revival’s noisily forthright groove (beefed up from its recorded incarnation).

Concealed behind a motley array of pseudo-exotic masks, headliners Goat are every bit as bizarre and brilliant as their preceding reputation has promised. Front of stage, shamanic vocalists yell inscrutable verse from behind their ornate headdresses, dancing like dervishes and jabbing feathered staffs outwards as if attempting to physically pry open SWG3’s collective mind’s eye.

The duo barely pause for breath as the rest of the anonymous band members flow from one hypnotic jam to the next, driven onwards by the persistent rhythms laid down by both trap set and hand drums. From this intoxicating melange, highlights materialise – the twirling riffs of Talk to God; the heavy groove of Gathering of Ancient Tribes; the tabla-Sabbath bite of Run to Your Mama – each contributing to an oddball aura that, cumulatively, is entirely Goat’s own.