LIVE REVIEW: Goat + Holy Wave @ Slim’s, SF 4/12/14
When the lights first come up, Goat resembles nothing less than an anthropology study gone berserk. Five musicians wear outfits that, other than hiding their faces, have no connection to each other. Maybe no connection to anything. The bass player wears a burka. One guitarist has a Mardi Gras mask, another wears a black hood and an Indian robe. A hand drummer, playing the djembe, wears a wild headdress that hangs across his face, and the drummer on the kit has a black mask pulled across his face. A few minutes after they begin playing, two female singers in voodoo or gypsy – it’s hard to tell – headgear and outfits fly across the stage like out of control spirit monsters.
And nobody says a word, except for the vocals. Audience connection from the stage is all visual, an occasional wave or nod acknowledging that people are out there, and dancers leaning into the edge of the stage, inches from the crowd.
And the music is as much of a mashup as the stage appearance. Underneath everything is a tribal beat. On top, everything from metal (there were hints of Sabbath) to Indian to African to eastern European. There’s funk and there’s psychedelia. They played Disco Fever, last heard on 2013’s Live Ballroom Ritual album. And the two vocalists –dancing vocalists, it should be pointed out as they never stop moving except to sing – float their voices above it all in slightly off harmony. What keeps the crowd engaged beyond the music is their constant motion, use of percussion instruments, streamers pulled through the air, and the eclectic outfits.
By the end of the night, it feels like a crazy party, crazy in a good, or great, way. The music and the show never slow down. What could easily be a novelty act is instead a psychedelic experience of the first degree.
Speaking of psychedelia, opener Holy Wave played a 90s-ish set, reminiscent of Brian Jonestown Massacre, to the enthusiastic crowd.
Check out more photos the swedes of Goat gone berserk HERE!