Moon Duo: mind bending experience

Posted On 22 Apr 2017 at 9:04 pm

The Haunt, Brighton April 6

Tonight, myself and the whole audience were totally transfixed by an American psychedelic space rock outfit called Moon Duo.

The band is essentially the couple of Ripley Johnson (who is also a member of Wooden Shjips) on guitar and vocals and Sanae Yamada on keyboards, but they recruit John Jeffrey on drums for live and studio work.

They have been releasing records for nine years now and they record their albums where they are based at the time, such as in Portland (Oregon’s largest city) and San Francisco but crucially their albums are mixed in Berlin. To me this is an important point, as it seems to sum up their psychedelic drone rock sound like that of Ghost Rider by Suicide and with that of earlier Germanic sounding classics such as Autobahn by Kraftwerk. In that I mean the music takes you off on a journey of musical repetition just like a tribal chant.

Tonight’s terrific performance at The Haunt in Pool Valley, was exactly like that. With the combined swirling sounds of synths, guitar and drums and a tremendous strobe light show – it was enough to make anyone’s eyes water and head buzz. I haven’t seen such a trippy light show for nearly three years, with the previous one being The Horrors concert on Worthing Pier. Tonight it sure played havoc in trying to get a decent photo or two.

It’s fair to say that I am partial to purchasing Moon Duo albums as I have four of them on CD, with very soon to be five, with the imminent release of their Occult Architecture vol 2. But I feel that the band would be best impressed if I had actually purchased their vinyl albums instead as not only does their music benefit from the warm sound of vinyl, but it appears to me that each album is created and unleashed to the world with the view that it is specifically meant to be the length of a single black 12” platter.

Tonight they let the music do the talking, there was no idle banter in between tracks or discussions about what the meaning of each song is or how wonderful Brighton is, they simply professionally got on with it.

This somehow reminded me of early days New Order, just get up there and play.

There were outings tonight from a number of tracks from their current Occult Architecture vol 1 album, namely The Death Set, Cold Fear, Creepin’, White Rose, and Cult Of Moloch, but alas no Sigue Sigue Sputnik style Cross-Town Fade. I believe I can remember hearing Free The Skull and Thieves from their 2015 Shadow Of The Sun album but very sadly not my fave track Wilding. From the 2012 Circles album there was I Been Gone, but their final track of the night was the standout track and that was a cover of No Fun by The Stooges, which was also legendary covered by The Sex Pistols.

I definitely made the correct decision in choosing to see Moon Duo instead of the Jesus & Mary Chain at the De La Warr in Bexhill.

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