As Sean Lennon brings the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger to the fatherland, Getintothis‘ Adam Lowerson discovers there is a lot more to him than just famous parents.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, Sean Lennon’s parents are pretty famous. This can never be an easy thing for a musician, or for any major celebrity’s offspring. Obviously, we’d all enjoy the money and luxurious lifestyle that comes with being born into fame, but with it comes the added pressure. First of all, the name Lennon will always be associated with one quarter of arguably the greatest band of all time, with the enormity of their success forever looming over Lennon, with his every achievement measured against or compared to that of his father’s. But that isn’t his fault, and when bringing his band, the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger to the city where the story began, it would’ve been easy to use his roots as a cheap tactic to win over the crowd. However, his father is never mentioned and it’s clear throughout, Lennon is here to make his own statement.
Resembling a hippy Guy Fawkes and speaking between songs in a thousand accents, none ever heard before in any part of the world, Lennon led a set made up mainly of tracks from their recent album Midnight Sun, alongside him his partner, multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Their blend of hazy psychedelia and 70s prog-inspired rock was perfectly married with tripped out visuals on the screen above them and the aromas of incense burners around the room. However, as engaging as it was, the need to sound experimental was at times overbearing, and felt a little contrived. The majority of the tracks saw Lennon’s vocals masked with effects and echoes, making it near impossible to pick out any lyrics or melody. In contrast, Kemp Muhl’s voice on the couple of tracks in which she took on lead vocals was angelic and clear, and her harmonies throughout lifted the music, adding a ghostly quality.
The GOASTT are clearly big fans of early psychedelia, with several prolonged wig-out jams and tracks such as Moth to a Flame, coloured with shades of Pink Floyd. However, it isn’t the more experimental moments that stand out, but the more basic rock inspired tracks. Animals, the lead single from Midnight Sun recently performed on Letterman, is a real stand out with it’s crunching riffs and stomping chorus.
The screaming guitar solos and 70s influenced licks reappear throughout, and comes to an end with a cover of Syd Barrett‘s Long Gone to close the set, and it is these moments that really show off the musicianship in the band. Lennon, Kemp Muhl and the GOASTT are engaging performers, and Midnight Sun is a solid album, but at times they felt caught between two styles.
Earlier saw one of Liverpool’s most promising bands, Strange Collective, take to the stage, bringing their raucous garage rock to the packed out Kazimier. They’re filled with attitude and aggression from the word go, but perform a set of well crafted songs disguised beneath a veil of noise and in-your-face vocals. Their psych-tinged garage punk is reminiscent of The Cramps with a sharp, ferocious edge. Strange Collective make you want to punch your fist in the air and tell the world to get to fuck. It’s impossible not to want to be in their gang.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Vicky Pea.