Wild Mercury Sound

More Smashing Pumpkins, more Wilco and Bill Fay, plus Ghost live!

John Mulvey

First, a couple of housekeeping things. Thanks for all your comments on the Smashing Pumpkins review from last week. In response to TROY, yes, I have definitely heard the album and, yes, I guess I have bad taste according to your criteria. Sorry! If I can just point out again, though, that if I leaked my copy of "Zeitgeist", the iron fist of Warner Brothers would crush this blog instantly. So no go, guys.

Secondly, after my Wilco blog yesterday, I discovered an MP3 of their "Be Not So Fearful" encore with Bill Fay. Let me know what you think.

OK, last night I went to see Ghost play at 93 Feet East in the East End. I guess regular readers will know all about this lot, since they prominently featured on Uncut’s "Comets, Ghosts & Sunburned Hands" CD which we compiled at the end of last year. For newcomers, though, they’re a venerable Japanese band who used to live in a ruined temple and who are now seen by bands like Comets On Fire as godfathers of the new psych scene that I drone on about so much.

It was good, as you might imagine. Masaki Batoh started off playing the hurdy gurdy for about ten minutes, there were some pretty transporting recorder solos (yes I know, bear with me) and the lead guitarist Michio Kurihara was awesome; a really sensitive, artful kind of axe hero.

The problem was, they didn’t play anywhere near long enough. Ghost don’t rush things. Their shows are – or should be – authentically long trips. So when they finished after about an hour of measured, gradually building psych, it felt as if they were only just moving into the higher gears.

Batoh made an impressive leap off his amp, and Kurihara started slashing away with more urgency. But it felt like they could have spent another hour properly freaking out. It meant that the martial psych that dominated their terrific last album, "In Stormy Nights", was absent. As if Ghost were more interested in showing their sensitive sides rather than unleashing the outraged howling racket against warmongering governments that fired up the highlights of "In Stormy Nights".

This is a band, remember, who’ve refused to tour America until George Bush leaves office. And one, for all their magic, who are definitely better when they’re prepared for war.


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