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Iron Butterfly: Live at the Galaxy 1967

Acid-rock pioneers’ pre-recording career bootleg gem.

For all the advances that have been made in sound recording over the past few decades, you still can’t polish the proverbial turd. Conversely, a primitive live bootleg like this, which at times has all the sonic clarity of a windsock, still stirs the soul because of the sheer spirit imbued in the performances.

This early recording, pre-dating IB’s debut album Heavy, has a punkier, more menacing feel than their studio material, particularly on thrashy fare like Gentle As It May Seem. Elsewhere, you’re struck by the throbbing malevolence of the bass and the speedy, spidery organ psychedelics on Real Fright.

The distorted vocals may make lyrical analysis a waste of time, but the thundering portent of Possession and Evil Temptation is still breathtaking, and if your acid trip had taken a turn for the worse at this show it might well have sounded positively apocalyptic.

Johnny Sharp
Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock