Filmed in Hollywood’s Key Club last year, this tour-ending turn from conjectural space-rock veterans finds all concerned in unexpectedly vigorous shape; Nektar’s performance displays a virility not even remotely hinted at on their studio albums. Roye Albrighton’s guitar sound, apparently achieved via a single Vox AC30, is staggeringly bestial: the triumphal G majors in A Tab In The Ocean sound like debate-ending full stops carved out of tungsten for dropping on the heads of hitherto sceptical critics, this one included.
As regards guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton, his Hawkwind-heavy acoustic set reveals him to be essentially Nigel Tufnel in appearance, demeanour and accent. Wars Are The Hobby There even boasts the Spinal Tap-worthy spoken refrain: “What don’t they like? They don’t like nuffin. Nuffin at orl.” He remains a fine player regardless, even if his voice is as rough as porcupine sex.
Naturally, Brainticket take top honours. With impassive, visionary keyboardist/sitarist Joel Vandroogenbroeck still at the helm, the current personnel cook like Torodes. Beck/Bangles sessionista Abby Travis handles the heavily processed vocals – looking rivetingly imperious in Medusa eveningwear – and the band positively sacrifice themselves in the roiling vortices of Black Sand, Like A Place In The Sun and Egyptian Kings. Inimitable stuff.