Words & pics by Ed King
I never played at the Whisky a Go Go. I was never in the house band; I was never Morrison. As much I wanted to be, mine was another time, another room. Another stage. Mine was breakbeat, rave, and those pills that had nothing to do with weight loss.
But The Mothers Earth Experiment, tonight, they get close. Close enough for me to start my review with wishes and references. Close enough to make me walk out the door and leave everything behind. Close enough, and what are we if nothing but shallow dreams. But fuck me they rock.
First up tonight though, at this particularly generous free entry Friday night gig at The Dark Horse, is The Taboo Club – the new face of Rob Lilley and Josh Rochelle-Bates, now joined by Jack Ingaglia (guitar), Ben Oerton (sax/keys) and Aiden Price (drums).
Their first live gig together, there are some rehearsal room cobwebs being dusted down tonight, and by the time ‘Bible John’ comes tumbling off stage, led by Lilley’s deep vocals, we are in a red room of sultry intent. Nestled somewhere between the low lit bourbon dive bars of Harlem and an opiate pit of six string destruction that would make the Velvet Underground blush, The Taboo Club are tapestry of genres and influences – driven by guitar, but with tinges of jazz, sax, and keys, giving the wall of sound a deep lustre.
Absurdly promising, even if I am a little biased. The Taboo Club play the next Birmingham Review showcase on Saturday September 29th at The Victoria and we predict an interesting first time around the sun for this band – a tight ensemble with real depth. So stay alert, you listicles of music press future. More is sure to follow from The Taboo Club.
But back in the present, it’s time for Birmingham’s favourite space cadets to come in for landing. I’ve seen The Mothers Earth Experiment before, and they’re good. They’re tight. Polished psych rock. Musicians who know how to play, and who you get the feeling (I can only observe) really enjoy their time on stage together. At least I love watching their keyboard player.
But there’s something in their set tonight, and the front row, and the bass, and the shoulders that sway in that Nico kinda way. There’s something more. I’m engaged in a different way than before; perhaps it’s the blues rock, for whatever you or I make of that term. But it’s good, and a little ferocious. Two words I’m confident we all understand.
Frontman Mark Roberts pulls his face and eyes out over the crowd, as the band open with ‘Cool Down Mama’ and work backwards through their debut album. The combined exuberance of this six piece, who are probably classically trained (I have no idea but it feels like they could, or should, be) with high ideas and the balls to bring them to life, is unassailable.
I’m a little drunk and lazy as I write this (I recently adopted the stance of penning each review as soon as I get back. You know, whilst it’s ‘still fresh’. The photos on the other hand…) but I have an overwhelming urge to run across the bonnets of parked cars, or laugh. Or actually enjoy myself in public. There’s a deeper edge to The Mothers Earth Experiment tonight that I’m not erudite (sober) enough right now to adequately describe, but it keeps me in the crowd with a half jealous fix on stage. The man next to me agrees. We stop talking and watch. And dance, when the moments of tight self-control allow us.
Donald Trump would not agree. His name is mentioned more than a few times tonight, and not with compassion or without candour. But let’s face it, as we laugh at doom and the absurdity of such a close nuclear winter, the man is indeed “a cunt”. But with balloons and battle cries constantly thrown off stage we are unified at The Dark Horse tonight, on the very day that such monstrosity prepares themselves for dinner with the divine right of kings. And in a further act of general good will, The Mothers Earth Experiment have been passing out NOT NORMAL – NO OK stickers until in the room is adorned with specs of yellow and black. A wonderful sight to see; bless everyone one stage and off. Click here for more on the NOT NORMAL – NO OK campaign.
But we’re nearing the end, my only friend, and the The Mothers Earth Experiment say sayonara with a new track before heading back to the cosmos – ‘Bliss’, which builds, folds, unfolds, and explodes off stage like a grenade wrapped in a cloud. Bliss… For Spaceman 3 playing ‘Revolution’ on a particularly angry day perhaps; the shift from sweet jangles to sonic assault is almost rude… and so much fun. A startling denouement. No encore needed. Although The Mothers Earth Experiment had one planned, as the track listing I stole (it’s usually a journalist) told me was ‘Fortress’.
The rest of my night ends with random friends, strange new faces, stories of pet executions (lack of funds… ouch, you’ve got to love the fluctuating moral compass) and that unpleasant edge in Moseley I’m old enough to reference. Fuck you, I remember when this was all fields…
The Mother’s Earth Experiment at The Dark House, we give you four out of five stars, No one gets five. And I’m sure the letter you send home about this will be the talk of your family Christmas mailout. But I loved it; a great gig. And one that didn’t cost us a bean too.
So to the people of planet Earth, go out and purchase everything on The Mothers Earth Experiment merch stand and keep the world replete with good music. Also, keep Saturday September 29th free for The Taboo Club Showcase Gig with Birmingham Review at The Victoria. That is the judgement of music journalism. It has spoken. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. And considering tonight was a free entry gig, with copies of The Mothers Earth Experiment’s eponymous album being given away, I’d say it’s the very least we can do.
For more on The Taboo Club, visit www.facebook.com/TheTabooClubUK
The Taboo Club Showcase Gig with Birmingham Review will be held at The Victoria on Saturday 29th September. To find out more, and to be on the waiting list for when tickets are released, visit the Facebook Event Page by clicking here.
For more from Sonic Gun, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/sonicgunconcerts
For more on The Dark Horse, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.darkhorsemoseley.co.uk
NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.
To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.