The Flying Eyes

support Golden Animals
author BV date 29/09/13 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

Gigs on a Sunday evening might be a turnoff to some due to their various work and school commitments on the following Monday. However, despite having a busy schedule on the following Monday, this particular scribe wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else on this brisk Sunday evening, seeing as two world-class psychedelic-rock bands were scheduled to play their last stop of a long European tour at Loppen – both of which have released some very good albums this past year as well, so naturally I couldn’t really justify steering clear of this.

All photos by Kenny Swan

Golden Animals

As Golden Animals took the stage somewhere around 10pm, the venue was far from sold out. Some fifty or sixty people had made it there and in spite of it being a Sunday evening and all, this seemed to be an oddly weak turnout. The dedicated few that were there though, seemed enthralled when the desert-psych duo opened their set with their trademark lush guitar sound and immensely tight drumming. From the get-go the duo seems to have a remarkably full sound for an act that only consists of two musicians. The low-end is added by Linda Beecroft’s consistent use of the toms as well as by Tommy Eisner’s unusually beefy guitar sound – which is particularly noticeable on the track “Most My Time”. Although crowd-interaction is difficult in the psychedelic field of music, Golden Animals seem to at least give it a try – following a tune-up somewhere in the middle of the set Eisner breaks the somewhat awkward silence by remarking: “Welcome back, we’ve reappeared!” – An odd remark, yes. But it does ignite some crowd response whilst it also fits perfectly in line with the sparse lighting of the evening, where the band would practically be showered in occasional darkness, thus making them quite difficult to see in spite of a relatively low turnout.

As the band kicks in to the upbeat blues-track “All Your Life” from their latest album “Hear Eye Go”, the crowd lives up with applause and it quickly becomes evident that, despite the fact that Golden Animals are strong on melancholic tracks, the up-beat ones work significantly better in the live setting. With “Love is Strange” the crowd goes low-key again before immersing themselves in the utterly spellbinding “The Letter” where Golden Animals remark themselves by channeling an utterly authentic desert-vibe that, at one time sends me hurling back towards The Doors and the 60’s in general, and simultaneously reminds me of various Spaghetti-western soundtracks. Eisner’s ‘lazy’ and utterly characteristic vocals do their fair part in making these tracks stand out the way they do, but some credit must also go out to the infectious backing vocals of Linda Beecroft. As Golden Animals close their set with “The Steady Roller” from their debut “Free Your Mind and Win a Pony”, they are briefly joined by a, to me, unidentifiable harmonica player that adds a certain blues-magic to an otherwise fairly straightforward track. While Golden Animals showcased a variety of great tracks throughout their 60 minutes of performing, I can’t help but feel that a few more tracks from “Hear Eye Go” wouldn’t have been completely misplaced on the set-list. Nonetheless, Golden Animals turned out to be a quite excellent start to the evening as they reassured me that a duo really can have a magnificently beefy sound in the live setting.

8

The Flying Eyes

Some ten minutes passed by before The Flying Eyes took the stage. The flurry of heavy-psych seemed to come out of nowhere and as the four-piece pummeled their way through the first couple of tracks, it is becoming abundantly clear that even though all four guys in the band are talented musicians, Elias Mays Schutzman is an absolute monster on the drums provided the conditions are right – and right they were most of the time as the dual guitar-leads of Will Kelly and Adam Bufano were hurled back and forth on top of the solid foundation of bass-fuzz courtesy of Mac Hewitt. This jamming atmosphere quickly proved to be the general recipe of the night (a mightily impressive recipe, at that). As the set neared the 30 minute mark or so, the crowd was still acting as if they were deeply enthralled by the monumental display of prowess in the psychedelic rock territory that The Flying Eyes possess. As the band went into the extremely ambient opening of “Smile” – a track from their latest album “Lowlands” – the crowd cheered in recognition. Although the turnout at this point was pretty similar to that of Golden Animals’ prior crowd, the applause was more than audible as it foreboded the coming of the greatest cuts of their newest material. – With “Smile” being one of them.

As the band progressed into “Long Gone” and “Under Iron Feet”, the deliciously heavy bass-fuzz dominates the soundscape with an ominous, forceful presence that was as attention-grabbing as one could possibly wish for. The crowd was, yet again, utterly fascinated by what was happening on stage, so it’s no surprise really that The Flying Eyes had something near complete crowd control in their hands. Sooner than one would expect, it was already time for the encores – the first of which, “Bad Blood”, harvested an immense applause that showed me that this particular crowd wasn’t just here because of their latest release; I would rather hypothesize that most of the attendees of the night were die-hard fans of the band. As the slightly extended version of the somewhat mellower and not-so-heavy track came close to an end, the set began to wear out. Despite ending the show with a deliciously sounding outro jam were each member was given plenty of space to unfold sonically, one could have argued that ending the set with “Bad Blood” might have been the perfect close. Nonetheless, I left Loppen on this cold Sunday night with a warm feeling deep down in my gut, convinced that I had just seen two great performances by bands I will have to see again at some point.

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