Review: Acid Mothers Temple at Thekla

Tuesday night, 15 November, saw the rare visit of Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. to the Thekla and they were rewarded with quite a healthy turn-out. They are a band that follows in the long line of glorious psychedelic sonic freakiness to come out of that country which has been well documented by Julian Cope in his book Japrocksampler. Indeed, it was hoped that the man himself may make a special guest appearance at some point during the evening, as he has appeared on stage with them before, but unfortunately is wasn’t to be.

The now fairly grizzled and well worn looking band took to the stage and started with a couple of tracks from their latest opus ‘The Ripper at the Heavens Gates of Dark’ including the lead track ‘Chinese Flying Saucer’ which contained the interesting and a little off putting shrill vocal stylings of Tsuyama Atsushi.

It wasn’t until they launched into their third track ‘Pink Lady Lemonade’ that the band really seemed to hit their stride, the opening notes of which were welcomed vociferously by the knowledgeable crowd. There followed a good forty minutes of the kind of effortlessly played kaleidoscopic space rock that over the years has become their trademark, during which they kept the crowd captivated.

This groove was then maintained until the final notes of the set, the last song of which saw the guitarist Kawabata Makoto, in a move reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, set fire to his guitar with lighter fluid which undoubtedly startled the staff on hand.

As enjoyable and entertaining as the band were, there was a slight nagging feeling that they were going through the motions a little, the above two mentioned members of the outfit seemed to have a lot more fun when they previously visited these shores with the drummer from fellow Japanese act Ruins. This slight misgiving apart, they thoroughly lived up to their well deserved live reputation.

By Paul Pritchard

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