Another quick-fire return to the Kaz to see Moon Duo, who aren’t a duo these days, but a trio. This Bank Holiday gig had some bands playing in the Garden before the main event during the afternoon, but I wasn’t able to make it out in time for that, though I did manage to see all three bands in The Kazimier itself.
Wooden Shjips’ guitarist Ripley Johnson formed them in 2009 as a side project with Sanae Yamada, so far releasing three albums that are very much a continuation of the classic Shjips sound. The new album is the first recorded as a threesome, a line-up previously reserved for live performances.
The DJ (Carl Combover, apparently!) set the mood with The Edgar Broughton Band’s Captain Beefheart-esque Apache Dropout and Allah-Las’ Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind) as the audience steadily grew, with a more balanced gender mix than I’d have expected from a gig like this.
First up was the one-man TVAM, the alter ego of a guy called Joe from Wigan (info courtesy of the Trust The Wizards podcast), who looked like one of The Feelies crossed with Jarvis Cocker and Thurston Moore.
He was as visual as he was interesting to listen to, with a big TV set showing often distorted images in synch with the music, featuring such stand-bys as crash test dummies, spacecraft and aliens. Sound-wise, I got glimpses of early 1980’s Mute Records bands and forgotten 4AD-ers Ultra Vivid Scene, perhaps partly aided by the occasionally weak vocals.
Next on were Mind Mountain, who I’d seen at the venue just seven months earlier when they supported Hookworms – see my review here. They’re a local three-piece who fit just as neatly on this bill as on the previous occasion – notably I compared them with Wooden Shjips last time I saw them! I’d also heard Hookworms, Black Sabbath and early Sub Pop in their sound.
The band from left to right were bassist Marc Glaysher, dressed a bit like a navvy again, David Bellamy lookalike David Smyth front and centre on drums (sporting a Dust t-shirt, the early-70’s American hard rock band of whom I know only the name), and Joe Hirons, the guitarist/keyboardist, who this time brought to mind Peter Barlow off Coronation Street. I had to Google his name, honest!
There were only a few tracks played as each was very long, with the brooding bass driven opener being a favourite, while I also enjoyed the sheets of guitar used in their set – something the DJ picked up on by then spinning MBV’s Only Shallow.
Moon Duo kicked off with Wilding off the new album, Shadow Of The Sun, with the focal point of the gig being the stunning light show behind the band. They’re not a band who put on much of a show themselves, so this helped make this more of an occasion. However, their intense, hypnotic sound made for a beautiful noise, with drummer John Jeffrey providing a real driving force.
Highlights of the set included the twin-vocalled Free The Skull from the latest release, the heavy and driving Sleepwalker from 2012’s Circles and the minor key refrain of Night Beat, another from this year’s fine album. Unfortunately, the nature of their songs means I find it hard to recall the names of too many of their songs, but suffice to say there wasn’t a duffer among them.
Here is a mere smattering of the set list: