Where to start? Hmm, a bit of background to set the scene on tonights ‘happening’ would probably help. Wikipedia helpfully informs me that Acid Mothers Temple is “a psychedelic rock band, the core of which formed in 1995” So far, so good, but there appear to be a myriad of offshoot AMT bands, side projects and collaborations, the most notable of which is probably Acid Mothers Gong, a collaboration with Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth of legendary 70’s psychedelic /prog or space rock band Gong. There are a lot of similarities, certainly musically and perhaps in the commune lifestyle inhabited by AMT and in the early days of Gong too.

I’m fairly certain that we are in the presence of the core band of Acid Mothers Temple (& the Melting Paraiso U.F.O, to give them their full title) and that founder member Kawabata Makoto is playing guitar on stage left, almost hiding behind the monitor stack at the side of the stage. I have no idea if the current line-up is that which is playing tonight, but for the sake of journalistic expediency I shall assume so.

The nature of the freeform, improvised and experimental  psychedelia that AMT perform means that I’m really grasping at song titles tonight as well and in fact there’s only one tune that is recognisable (well to me anyway) and that is Baby Pink Lemonade. I’m told that on one Acid Mothers release it is the sole track clocking in at around 82 minutes.

By the time I arrive at the Ruby Lounge Acid Mothers Temple have already begun the space rock onslaught starting with what sounds like Buddhist temple music including a recorder solo, lulling you into a false sense of spiritual enlightenment, then BOOM! Drums, bass and audio generators kick in and your brain starts to liquefy. It is by turns, a hideous cacophony and blissed out prog rock.

The ‘songs’ tonight vary from glissando led guitar to intense drone cycles with vocals that range from insane laughter to what sounds like a barking dog. I think if you listened to Acid Mothers Temple for long enough you would probably start to astral project into the street.

The simple guitar hook from Baby Pink Lemonade begins accompanied by a slowly building glissando from Kawabata Makoto. It’s a more truncated version than the previously recorded epic. The middle section of the piece, at around 15 minutes, intensifies into a thundering prog freakout propelled along by Tsuyama Atsushi‘s bass and Shimura Koji’s drumming.  It’s like being in the eye of a psychedelic hurricane which slowly dissipates and the familiar guitar refrain returns. Time-check 18 minutes or thereabouts but I lost track.

The final piece tonight begins with bassist Atsushi chanting (or speaking in tongues) and then it’s looped as the band blast off for the last time tonight. It makes me wonder what this band would be like playing without a curfew at the end of the Watchfield Festival in the 70’s. As I turn to look behind me there are half a dozen people running around in circles, dancing like dervishes in the corner of the Ruby Lounge.  It would be like that but times a thousand, with mud.

Hello Robbo here, DJ at T.R.A.S.H Your Life at the Dog and Partridge in Bolton, and occasionally at Retro Bar in Manchester. Garage, punk, 60s, kitsch, library tunes, all the good stuff.. Labels: InTheRed, Goner, Swami, Sympathy, Estrus, AMREP, Domino, Touch & Go, Dischord, Rough Trade. Shops: Beatin Rhythmn, Vinyl Exchange, Fopp, Charity, Vintage.