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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

A View From The Back Of The Room: Gong & Ed Wynne (Live Review By Ed Hughes)

Gong/The Ed Wynne Band, The Globe, Cardiff

I sat down for a beer in the local pub before the gig. What had previously a lovely, sunny day had evolved into a slightly overcast, quite windy evening. Were these psychedelic winds I was experiencing? Quite possibly. I saw many a Gong fan in the pub, judging by the T-shirts and dreadlocks. Anticipation was high. Although I’m a fan of both, I’d gone into this gig not knowing all that much about Ozric Tentacles or Gong, I was looking forward to what I was about to see.

Having never seen Ozric Tentacles in the past I made sure to get down early so as not to miss The Ed Wynne Band (10). The lights went down and psychedelic patterns, and images of stone henge were projected onto the backdrop, letting us know we’re in for a bit of esoteric Ozric madness. The music started and it’s unmistakably Ed Wynne. With both Ed and the keyboard player, who is his son, controlling the desk, they created their musical landscape. A few songs in and the drummer breaks into a Samba beat, getting the crowd dancing. They’d crafted a fairly flawless sound.

The synthesizer work was excellent and the tone of the snare was really quite impressive. Half the crowd were, hypnotised the rest are banging their heads. The guy next to me was having a great time by the looks of things. The music went down a more dub route towards the end of the set, which was happily received. Bathed in darkness with neon lights behind them creating some beautiful silhouettes, Ed told us they had ‘one more little weirdness’ for us, which I thought was both charming, and very fitting. I was blown away by what I’d seen and heard, it just needed to be at the end of the day in a tent in a field somewhere.

You could feel the anticipation of the crowd before Gong (9) came on. A cheer arose as the iconic Angel’s Egg appeared, shining at the back of the stage. They broke into some rocking progressive funk before giving the sax some room to move on a new song. A couple of songs in the singer, Kavus Torabi, takes a moment to declare to the crowd that there’s ‘beautiful people up, down, all around’. What a gent. Most of the new album was played and I’ve got to be honest it sounded great live. Gong take us on musical journey, taking us into some heavier territory, to the delight of those head banging at the front. Before guiding the crowd down a somewhat trippy path with Rejoice! which brought with it some serious groove, and an impressive clarinet display.

The stage was empty for a few moments before the band took the stage again for the encore. It started with some soulful saxophone before descending into a jazz odyssey, with a bit of Middle Eastern chanting. The venue may have only been half full tonight, but the people who ARE here are absolutely loving it. Gong were great, the only thing letting them down was the sound quality, which I found to be a bit distorted and peaking. The music ends, they take their bow, and the Kavus waves to the crowd before exciting the stage. The applause said it all. Tonight was Gong’s world, I was just visiting.

Both bands were absolutely incredible tonight. It’s just unfortunate that the sound for Gong wasn’t perfect, as it should’ve been. If you get the chance to see either of these bands I highly recommend it.

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