Anton Newcombe and his various guises has been ploughing the same musical field for so long now that it is now 37 feet below sea level.
First sightings of his band the Brian Jonestown Massacre came in the early nineties. Closely associated with The Dandy Warhols, Anton has the dubious pleasure of being the subject of their 1997 hit Not if you were the last junkie on Earth, allegedly.
He resolutely persists with his ramshackle rock n roll vision. He’s fifty five now and still no sign of slowing down. Is Anton a tortured, misunderstood genius or just a scruffy git in a cool hat? With 20 albums under his belt, I say both.
He’s undeniably prolific, and his fans are slobbering in their adulation of the man and his music, witness the crowd fervour tonight, insane. Tonight’s gig is literally happening on the day after the band’s latest highly recommended album The Future Is Your Past comes out for general consumption. Released barely a year after the punchy Fire Doesn’t Grow on Trees, it’s another collection that on repeat becomes a fantastic addition to their prodigious output.
Early gigs really get my goat. This sort of music should be midnight or later, (or after the bar’s run dry). Minor qualms aside, the band hit the stage at around nine thirty and deliver a mildly tepid set punctuated with the occasional flash of cohesion and blistering guitar freak outs. On previous occasions when I’ve seen them the band take a while to achieve lift off.
Tonight we taxied on the runway for far too long. Anton’s between song banter was unintelligible, he became quite petulant at times, berated the band on a couple of occasions and appeared to be in a fractious mood, which only added to the atmosphere. It was only the last thirty minutes or so that Brian Jonestown Massacre went totally stratospheric.
Anemone was the catalyst for the crunching gear change. It’s such an anthem, both irresistible and sublime, there’s just something about that tune that gets everybody going. After which they become the trippiest guitar fuelled psychedelic band on the planet. Finishing in a wonderful lengthy squall of unrelenting feedback and with echoes of The Velvet Underground in my ears I, and a sold out crowd, exit on a high.
*Special mention for tonight’s support, local Nottingham band The Soundcarriers. Imagine Stereolab on steroids, pretty cool.