Brighton’s cosmonauts enjoyed a cosmic bounce as Acid Mothers Temple materialised at Patterns. The Japanese collective, tweaking synapses for over 20 years now, showed no signs of slowing down.
In fact, this was clearly a reborn AMT, as evidenced by openers Blue Velvet Blues and Dark Star Blues. Re-recordings of old standards, they pulsed with kinetic energy. The former meandered along on a hazy, brooding ebb while the latter exploded into a wholly satisfying crunch. It brought to mind Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, the same elephant-thick grooves and eastern inflections supplemented with a cosmic vitality.
Key to all this was new troubadour, Jyonson Tsu. His bouzouki added further depth to the Acid Mothers sonic squee while his joyful whoops ignited the welcome return of Chinese Flying Saucer. Certainly, as band figurehead Kawabata Makoto unleashed wave after wave of in-the-red squall the group revelled in a new balance. Avant-rock luminary Geoff Leigh’s swathes of flute and sax were the perfect counterpoint to the maelstrom around him.
Soon enough, a trance had descended. A key aspect of the band’s sound has always been their ability to gradually mutate a riff before blowing it up entirely. Julian Cope once opined that a band has to be supremely confident to continuously play the same riff. This same confidence was evident as Disco Pink Lady Lemonade bounced into existence.
Already a firm crowd favourite, the interplay of bassist Wolf and drummer Satoshima Nani propelled the song into a joyous new orbit. With the venue starting to levitate this writer’s eyes welled-up at the sheer bliss of it all. Has there ever been a more perfect, life-affirming tune? Probably not, and when Lemonade reappeared in its original dreamlike form, via a detour of La Le Lo and the propulsive Nanique Dimension Pt. 2, it felt like a genuine privilege to watch this masterclass of subtlety, dynamics and shredding unfold.
As ever, Higashi Hiroshi’s synth machinations proved vital. An unassuming presence, it was his flourishes which gave the band their spacy, psychedelic edge. Indeed, as six-note set closer Cometary Orbital Drive gathered pace the added electronic textures lent the song an added urgency. The band were rocketing along, locked in some infinite, cyclical groove. It was a frantic, glorious finish, with the members seemingly competing to see who could finish the set first.
Underneath the expansive surface Acid Mothers Temple are a tight, tight group, perfectly in sync. When Makoto finally lay his guitar to rest and the band trooped off the attitude was one of semi-disbelief. Had we crashlanded? Or transcended? Who knows, although the gushing hubbub at the merch stand afterwards suggested one thing. Our third eyes had well and truly been opened.