[media stories: 2000: english]
April 17 2000
Concert review of the Nottingham-gig / 2000-04-17 taken from the
I must confess, I know little to nothing about Motorpsycho. What I do know is that a few people in Nottingham heap a lot of praise on them, and indeed their latest CD in Select-a-disc is advertised with something along the lines of "they're still the best band in the world" on its sleeve along with there being numerous posters of other gigs played in Nottingham over the years. But for me, well I've got 2 CDs, including the latest one that I've hardly had time to listen to. So the prospect of listening to around about 2 hours of them live though intriguing isn't exactly mouthwatering.
But, somehow they manage to do it. There's few bands I'd actually want to hear a 2 hour set by these days as it is, let alone one that I've had so little exposure to, but they pull it off. I'm not going to insult band or the people at the gig by trying to recall the song titles, because I don't know them, only what I can remember was introduced. And I'm sure that whichever way I try to describe the music, someone with more knowledge will correct me. But for me, it was like fairly mellow in places, sometimes building to pretty intense cruciendos. It's kind of got a psychedelic edge to it in places, I personally keep thinking of late 60s early 70s sort of music. It's quite indulgent in some of the jam sessions, and a few times they overstep the line, though of course that line is a purely subjective thing. But for the most part, when they jam there's something interesting countering the noodling. Often it was the bass. At one point, one of the frontmen warns "there's going to be even more bass now" as it's turned up a bit. Nothing wrong with that. You never apologise for more bass. Personally I've been picking up my own bass guitar again recently (yep, that is a threat), but tonight kind of made me want to put it down again, cos I'll never be able to play it like that, be able to lay down a groove like they do. And what's more annoying is that the two guys out front swap between bass and guitar throughout the evening. And the both sing. As do the rest of the band. It's enough to make you sick. There's also such a degree of melody, a feel of progressiveness about it all. A few times I think that a lot of current bands should be forced to watch and listen to something like this. Many many people would probably hate its very existence, but there again, I suspect that equally as many could learn many a tale about attitude, musicianship and songwriting.
They're turned 90 degrees on from where the stage normally is, due to the huge number of guitars and basses that are lined up ready for use during the set. It means they're barely visible throughout the set, being as they're on the same level as the packed crowd in here. But in a way it's good, because you just concentrate on the music. There's a lot of interesting guitar and bass work going on, and it's often underpinned by some very soothing keyboards. It's also the sort of thing that on an off night I'd probably slag off as being highly pretentious. Indeed after one jam the left handed guitarist / bassist / vocalist says "enough of the arty stuff" as they launch into a more uptempo to the point song. Indeed they're at their pinnacle for me when they do keep to the point and just play the song, but maybe that just comes down to familiarity with the music.
They throw in a couple of old rock'n'roll standards as well, and I don't know what the link is, but the way they talk, it's like their really are amongst a crowd of old friends here, there's a definite sense that when they talk, it's with the crowd, not to the crowd. It just manages to add to the intimacy and overall feel. Two hours after they take to the stage, they leave. It's curfew time, but they get the chance to play just one more song. In a way you feel like they're cut off just as they hit their full stride. There's not many bands you'd want to watch for 2 hours. Even less where you know little about them. Somehow, despite the warnings from people that they could, I doubted Motorpsycho could pull it off. They did. A rare treat. Personally I'm off now to take a proper listen to those 2 CDs that I have.