It’s somewhat ironic with the reformations and retrospective tours doing the rounds that the has-beens and never-weres should be garnering more than their due of column inches, than those who crafted the original snowball.
Innovator and movement maker, Pete ‘Sonic Boom’ Kember, he at the helm of the good ship Spectrum, has quietly ploughed his own furrow for years – we’re all aware he’s played second fiddle to the other one from Spacemen 3 – yet he doesn’t seem to be complaining.
Quite the opposite; the fringe (all bowl-cut as it ever was) seems to suit this slightly unnerving, yet equally beguiling character for tonight – glugging his way through two bottles of rosÃÂ© – Kember unequivocally underlines his status is rooted more in reality than myth; his is no embelishment. That he did, and can still, step up to the plate and deliver is a joy to behold.
And boy, how he delivers: Over-arm, fast, body-splicing, Harold Larwood-style – whooosh, take ya head off.
For dark passages, sideways, elongated and stretched in blurring fzzz your senses are tangled and spinning in and out of the drone. Hardly distracted, more in awe to the steadily growing intensity – indeed tonight, the Static Gallery heightens affairs by adding a huge backdrop projection of continuously evolving psychedelic swirls ala UFO circa 67.
But make no mistake there’s no homage at work. No, for where tonight’s earlier psych-droners Lucid Dreams, reimagine their influences artfully, but can’t fail to splosh heavy blots of Velvets, MBV, Brian Jonestown Massacre et al, Kember and co have a richer palette.
Pop – albeit drenched in spiky noize – regularly interupt the melee of mangled fizzes with a beautiful rendition of How You Satisfy Me given the treatment while newies from the forthcoming On the Wings of Mercury are also given a whirl.
As was the case in his earlier career, the keys share an equal footing to the guitar, with Kember using simple motifs while deep rumbling rhythm and dual guitars add layer upon layer; none more so than the rousing finale which echos for so long band members have the chance to exit the stage and return twice before amps are finally unplugged and all we’re left with is booming silence.