Mats/Morgan Band: Live

Zonked-out Zappaphilia from Scandinavia.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Such was Morgan Ågren’s prowess on the drums that he was gigging by the age of seven and had started his own band at 13. He formed Zappsteetoot with keyboardist Mats Öberg in 1984, ostensibly to play the music of their hero, Frank Zappa. Four years later they were special guests of the US legend at a performance in Stockholm. By 1994 Ågren was backing his Frankness on Grammy-winning Zappa’s Universe and providing percussion for sell-out dates in New York.

The Mats/Morgan combo is now into their 30th year of collaboration, and Live is their fifth album, recorded in their native Sweden and now remastered by Ågren himself.

An expanded six-piece line-up tackle compositions that are, predictably enough, very Zappa in stature, specifically referencing his avant-jazz fusion period. There are full scoops of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Egg too, the band serving up a kinetic mix of progressive and freeform music.

Thing is, it sounds like they were having way more fun than the paying punters. There’s a fine line between experimentalism and indulgence – there are three keyboard players – and they frequently cross it.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.