Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Gong in Brighton!

November 1st, 2012
Koncorde 2, Brighton (first date of UK tour)

I took Pok (penniless, as ever) along to this...so glad I did. The venue was on seafront, so we first visited a place along there of some mythogeographical significance for him and the Spacegoats.

Here's what the Planet Gong website promised, after the current lineup had got a chance to warm up on the continent:

The 16 date European tour opened all the frequencies to the Mother Planet and the Gong band is now finely a-tuned and vibrating with vital energy. Dave Sturt and Orlando are locked together and grooving, Fabio is playing spiraling guitar lines out of his skin, Ian East is as quirky and inventive (bonkers basically) as Mr Pyxie Bloom himself, daevid is as resplendently daevid as can be, the most perfect guide to magical and musical places within and without — and Gilli, like a Full Moon in a covered sky bursts through and radiates when you least expect, and whether visible or not her essence can not be denied.

Quite so. Gilli only appeared occasionally to do her Goddess invocations and space whisper (she's been rather unwell and injured her foot, Daevid told us), but here presence was really powerful. The first set was fun, started with spacey flute introduction (from new wind player Ian East, a man who appears to have been born to be a member of Gong, and who apparently even hails from Canterbury) and potent words from Gilli. Then we got something new and unexpected, a one-word song called "Occupy" (that was the word!), quite punky, and reflecting Daevid's interest in currently global political upheavals. This set the tone for the night, with freestyle lyrical references to the Occupy movement, Wikileaks, Julian Assange and even a relevant, up-to-date quote from continental political philosopher Slavoj Zizek. The transition jam between "Tropical Fish" and "Selene" was my highlight.

Someone was filming that night, but got their audio levels wrong...but if you dig about on YouTube you'll no doubt find a lot more from this tour:

The second set was considerably heavier, after a wonderfully whimsical and supremely Gongish intro from Ian on delayed flute and string of golden bells, and the expected chunk of Side 2 of Angel's Egg (with Daevid in his outlandish Zero costume). Gilli only managed to make it out once, for a Goddess invocation leading into "Master Builder", but her presence was felt throughout. After some very wild guitar playing from Daevid, riffing over what Fabio, Orlando and Dave were laying down, we got a chunk of raw, punky Gong energy, including "Opium For The People", "Dynamite" and other such things. "Can't Kill Me" was the encore, but pleasant surprise of the night was a lively revival of "Rational Anthem" from the first album Magick Brother, Mystick Sister ("yes we are, we're gonna change the world").

Considering the fact that when I spoke with Daevid in September the band hadn't rehearsed yet — hadn't even all met each other, this was a pretty tight unit. Orlando's mastery of the Gong drum parts is almost there (give it a few more weeks of touring) — funny to think that he was Gilli's bump in this photo:

Gilli, Orlando (inside Gilli) and Daevid, free Gong concert, Hyde Park, summer '74

Afterwards, heading for the bus stop, we met half of Canterbury's The Boot Lagoon plus friends — it was guitarist Pete's 21st birthday, quite a way to celebrate it (just a shame they'd missed the first set!)


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