Goat at 02 Academy Brixton, London - live review

Goat, The Moonlandingz, and Jane Weaver wig out in Brixton

The crowd at a prog gig
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

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It happens during the extended wig out of Goat’s Run To Your Mama – those minutes that could easily be hours or possibly even days as the repetitive and circular hypnotic beats increase in intensity and force – that it feels as if nothing at all matters, except losing oneself to the music. All around the venue are groovers who are lost in a deep trance, moving to the sound of the bongos and seductive wah-wah’d guitars. The moment the song returns to its main structure, the effect is akin to an orgasmic release, as cheers are raised, hands are waved and several thousand bodies leap around with unconfined joy.

This decade’s psychedelic renaissance has conjured up a wide variety of bands setting their controls for the heart of the sun. As with anything resembling a movement, there are always those chancers trying to muscle in on the action, but as evidenced by tonight’s broad spread of sound and ideas, there’s more to psychedelia than the mere deployment of a few phaser pedals and hoping for the best.

Jane Weaver’s ascent continues in the wake of her new album, Modern Kosmology. Blending motorik beats with synth arpeggios, driving bass and a gloriously melodic sensibility, she soon overcomes any nerves that come with playing a venue this big. While opener H>A>K feels hesitant, Slow Motion finds her settled in. By the time the kosmische pop of I Need A Connection has breathed its last, Weaver has assured herself a victory.

Conversely, there’s an undeniable sense of menace that runs through the heart of The Moonlandingz. The beats here are harder and more aggressive, and consequently this could be described as psychedelia for the angry and dispossessed. Crucially, though, the music doesn’t repel; in fact, it seduces. Consequently, any resistance to something like Black Hanz is utterly futile thanks to sound that’s a kick in the third-eye by stack-heeled boots. Of course there’s a mood of confusion and disorientation but this is less a by-product and more a deliberate objective.

The night, though, undeniably swirls around Goat’s performance. Since their arrival onto the music scene five years ago with debut album, World Music, the Swedish band have grown in both popularity and musical dexterity, and with that come shows of devastating firepower. Such is the mood of celebration and dance that surrounds Goat, tonight’s show frequently feels like a part of a wider ceremony. Indeed, Goatman’s heady concoction of chants,heavy-duty riffs, fuzzed guitars and propulsive rhythms tap into something deeply primal. As Goat leave the stage, all around are wide eyes and smiling faces. Which is as it should be.

Julian Marszalek

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.