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Saturday, April 19, 2014

J. Spaceman and Kid Millions - Live at the Poisson Rouge (Northern Spy, 2014) ****

By Martin Schray

I have seen many concerts over the years and there are moments I will never forget. One of these events is Spacemen 3’s gig in Stuttgart’s recently closed club “Die Röhre” in the late 1980s. When guitarist Jason Pierce entered the stage he stubbed out a fat joint, sat down on a bar stool and then the band started a huge chord that went wrooooom, it was a psychedelic symphony par excellence (they even taped keys on their organ to make the drone last before they left the stage). Spacemen 3’s credo was "Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to" (J. Spacemam really lived it.) His follow-up project Spiritualized has made seven albums full of drug imagery (among them the seminal “Lazer Guided Melodies”, “Pure Phase” and "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space", which came packaged as a giant pill). Today Pierce has stopped taking drugs after being diagnosed with severe liver damage some years ago but his music still breathes the old Spacemen 3 attitude, even when he teams up with free jazz musicians (check out the last 20 minutes on Spring Heel Jack’s “Live” album and you know what I mean).

On September 11th, 2013, J. Spaceman and Kid Millions (John Colpitts of Oneida, Man Forever, People of the North) performed an improvised set at New York's Le Poisson Rouge club and the first track “Misha” (obviously an homage to Misha Mengelberg) is a hallucinatory 24- minute jam in exactly this old Spacemen 3 spirit. The beginning sounds as if the two were tuning their instruments before the track changes almost unnoticed to a minimal, monotonous and sheer endless one-chord-ride with Pierce using loops and wah-wah-effects which sounds as if two or three guitars were at work. “Han”, again a long track lasting more than 20 minutes, uses a staccato loop, and Pierce lets his guitar howl and scream and yell in a huge feedback orgy. Especially towards the end, when he puts the sounds through the effect grinder, it is a great whirlwind of noise but the staccato loop takes some getting used to which is why this track cannot give off the magic of “Misha”. The show ended with two encores, “New York” and “London”, both brute noise orgies which even remind of Neil Young’s “Arc/Weld” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner”. 

This is not the usual music we have on this blog but sometimes I can’t get enough of it.

Live at Poisson Rougeis limited to 3000 copies, it’s a 12″ LP with a bonus 7″. A download card comes with each record.

It is available today, Record Store Day.

Make sure you get a copy.

Listen to „Misha“ here: