It’s been a while since I’ve flown halfway across the continent for a one-off, non-festival gig, but when I saw the lineup for this one, I knew I had to be there. I can count on two fingers the number of times I’ve seen Jex Thoth and Acid King combined…and the latter had their set unmercifully cut short last time I saw em–last summer in Las Vegas.
Speaking of Vegas, that was the place where The Crazy World of Arthur Brown made its first U.S. appearance since the sixties last August. I was also in attendance for that one, and after catching his headlining set, I figured it was probably worth sticking around after a whole buncha female-fronted doom.
Speaking of which, Cincy’s Electric Citizen opened this show–bright ‘n early at 8:30–although I didn’t get the chance to take any pics of their set. This was my third time catching them in concert, after previously seeing ’em open for Fu Manchu and Pentagram…so if nothing else, they’ve got a great booking agent! Their retro-doom riffs will sound familiar to fans of Pentagram or even Black Sabbath, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, is there?
It’s also worth noting that this gig was outdoors, and although Austin’s noise curfew is much more liberal than Toronto’s, it still cost the opening acts some set time. Jex Thoth was only granted a 30-minute slot, and they even had to cut it short, since the six-piece band couldn’t set up in less than 15 minutes. With that said, it was probably the most captivating five-song set I’ve ever seen, and I’m still waiting for the day when someone taps Jex and co for a proper co-headliner slot in North America. (Blood Ceremony, here’s looking at you kids…)
The good news was that we did get a full, uninterrupted, 45-minute set from Acid King that was worth its weight in volume. By far the loudest act of the evening, the Bay Area trio offered up some moments of slow-motion headbanging the likes of which I hadn’t seen anywhere since Vegas. No frills, no backdrop, just pure heavy rock!
From a visual standpoint, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown has come a long way since last summer. Although the band contains some of the same musicians, they’ve certainly stepped it up in the costume department. The man himself is surprisingly spry for 75, and had no shortage of costumes in his own right. Musically, while a couple tunes packed quite a punch, like the mostly instrumental opener “Zim Zam Zim” or their rollicking rendition of Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” the set consisted primarily of mellower, bluesier fare. But of course, when they dusted off “Devil’s Grip” and “Fire” toward the end, the crowd understandably went nuts. There was even a couple crowd-surfers and a mini moshpit going at one point. Betcha didn’t see that coming!