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; with a new line-up in tow, this was a reborn AMT, as evidenced by the repurposed openers Blue Velvet Blues and Dark Star Blues. These updated versions pulsed with kinetic energy, the former meandering along on a hazy, brooding ebb and the latter exploding into a satisfying crunch. It brought to mind Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, the same elephant-thick grooves and eastern inflexions 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. Kawabata Makoto, AMT’s figurehead, unleashed wave after wave of in-the-red squall the group revelled in a new balance. Avant-rock luminary Geoff Leigh deposited swathes of flute and sax into the mix, the perfect counterpoint to the maelstrom around him.
Soon enough, a trance descended. An integral aspect of the band’s sound has always been their ability to mutate and subtly shape a riff until it explodes. Julian Cope once opined that a band has to be supremely confident to play the same riff continuously. 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 numerous 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 the 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. When Makoto finally lay his guitar to rest and the band trooped off, the reaction was one of semi-disbelief. Had we crashlanded? Or transcended? Who knows, although the gushing hubbub at the merch stand afterwards suggested one thing: the experience well and truly opened many third eyes.