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MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
GONG/ENOCHIAN THEORY, SHEPHERD'S BUSH EMPIRE, LONDON
Pioneers of the Space Rock scene, progressive rockers Gong are now in their fifth decade of their long and varied career and best known for the Radio Gnome Trilogy, a set of albums released between 1973-74 with the mind bending classics 'Flying Teapot', 'Angel's Egg' and 'You'.
With long timers Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy leaving the band for the final time in 2010 it's now down to front man Daevid Allen to keep the magic bong of Gong bubbling to to keep the band on a high.
The audience at the Empire is made up of a variety of bankers, train spotters, prog anoraks, loners, new age hippies and happy self confessed freaksters which all makes for a evening of enlightenment of euphoric happiness explored in an outer world.
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Enochian Theory are a new name for many but they slowly win over those early through the doors. The Portsmouth progsters played some serious art seditious rock pleasing those who like Porcupine Tree but also have at times the heaviness of bands such as Meshuggah whilst still keeping hold of their own identity.
With a set focussed mainly on their second album 'Life... And All It Entails' the Empire listened intently to this thoughtful trio. It was the final blow of the provoking 'Inversions' and the heavy riffage of 'Singularities' that really stood out and even had a young girl dancing away, catching the eye of both punters and the band. A winning performance from Enochian Theory who have the ability and promise to become known to a much wider audience.
Gong are of the most eccentric bands one could ever wish to witness. Now aged 74 years old, Daevid Allen first appears in a bright red hat and white jacket looking like a cross between Captain Sensible and Foghorn Leghorn. A projected screen behind the band relays fluorescent animations but the band as just as captivating with Allen speaking interesting gobbledygook between numbers, understood by all who are not coherent.
Lady Gilli Smyth, at just a few years younger than Allen, warbles and wails away in a mystique fashion and reminds me of Marianne Faithful as she is today.
The newer members of the band do a substantial job and in truth it dosn't take too long to forget that Hillage and co are not up on the stage, not when you have such gems as 'Escape Control Delete', 'Tropical Fish-Selene', 'Fruit Salad-Oily Way', 'Inner And Outer Temple', the les-tastic 'I Am Your Pussy', the gigantic 'Opium For The People' and the explosive punky 'Dynamite'.
The gig was a success despite what some Gong doom die-hards were predicting. Man spends millions in a search for life on another planet... There's plenty of exciting and unpredictable life on Planet Gong.
You can see MetalTalk.net's Mark Taylor's many reviews and interviews right here. It's an impressive list...