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Ozric Tentacles - Live at Pongmasters Ball 2002 CD (album) cover


Ozric Tentacles

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If I have never seen Pain of Salvation "Be" live DVD or PFM+Pagani "Live at Piazza Del Campo", I would have rated this DVD under masterpiece category as this live performance is truly excellent, delivering wonderful composition flawlessly. This is my first experience watching Ozric live through a video. I know that most albums of the band are excellent but I never imagined how they perform it on stage as I have always heard various sound effects that I thought could only be made in studio. But this live performance proves that they can make it on stage! As you may can see that in the CD audio version I rate this album a masterpiece (five stars), it tells you everything about the music then. All musicians contribute excellently: guitar work by Ed Wynne, bass line by Zia Geelani, keyboard and effects by Seaweed as well as dynamic drumming (reminds me to DREAM THEATER's Portnoy) by Schoo. Flute takes some parts of the music but not positioned as soloist like we've always heard in any FOCUS or JETHRO TULL albums. I think the flute parts should be elevated somehow in their next composition.

Here is some snapshots of the show .

"Oddentity" opens the show with audience crowd (as in typical live recording) followed by Seaweed's keyboard sound followed with drum, bass, guitar and keyboard play together in fast tempo. John Egan takes as front man position where most of the time he stands at middle front of the stage. At John's right side are Ed Wynne (guitar, keyboards) and Seaweed (keyboards). At the back with raised floor is Schoo who sits at his drum stools. And Zia (bass) at John's left side. The music is dominated by rocking electric guitar by Ed Wynne. What a great rocking part here; the guitar work is really stunning, accentuated by weird (but nice!) keyboard effects. At approx minute 3:15 there is a musical break where the drum and bass line stop and only keyboard effects, flute and some guitar effects. It sets the atmosphere for the next part of the music when drum enters the scene followed by dazzling bass line. The music turns to a little bit slower tempo with the kind like BILLY COBAM's "Stratus" style with dominant bass line. This second part is really nice. Various instrument solos are performed here: keyboard effects, woodwind trumpet (in my country, we call it "tarumpet penca" used to be played in REOG PONOROGO - our traditional acts). Throughout this track, the drumming work by Schoo is really dynamic.

The scene moves into "Erpland" which is the band's classic performed in a very energetic way with an upbeat tempo. This track sounds like a jazz-rock fusion music with frequent tempo changes but still maintaining the characteristic of Ozric's music: sound effects and keyboard sounds. The electric guitar solo in the middle of the track is really excellent. Some transition segments are performed dynamically and smoothly. The band then brings us to a musical break through a mellow track. Well, at least the opening part of "Oakum" is relatively mellow with exploration of keyboard sounds. Having been satisfied with the nice keyboard work the music gradually rise to a faster tempo and finally . it's rocking again! (Yeah . it happens approx at the last half of the track). This is the strong point of the band: able to create musical orgasm to the listeners through the exploration of sounds even though, sometimes, the background music is repetitive. The fourth track "Myriapod" is performed in a bit of progressive metal vein. Some transitions using fast beats in the vein of prog metal music happen throughout the span of this track with frequent tempo changes.

My favorite Ozric track "Pixel Dream" is performed dynamically in this live version. What makes this track fascinating to me is the magnificent guitar work accompanied by great bass line and dynamic drum work. Composition-wise this track is really great. The music flow nicely from guitar-driven to keyboard-driven in some transitions and goes back and forth with these two instruments. Schoo plays energetically with his drum and most of the parts he plays have accentuated the music especially during transitions. "Pyramidion" is a long track with repetitive music rhythm (especially bass line). However, the wild use of sound effects and great lead guitar work and keyboard solo have made this track dynamic.

"Saucers" starts with excellent acoustic guitar work followed with jazz-rock fusion music and sound effects. Acoustic guitar plays lead melody. Thin solo keyboard appears in eastern music style before it finally demonstrates sound effects. Compared to other tracks, this one is probably less spacey at the beginning. Electrical guitar finally takes solo part in the middle of the track with excellent bass line and keyboard work and provide spacey elements at the end of the track. With ""Sploosh", Schoo performs repetitive drum work at the beginning part but it changes in the middle especially when electric guitar solo takes its part. It's an uplifting track with relatively minimum tempo changes.

"Takhut" starts mellow with John's brilliantly pan pipe (woodwind) work in a middle-east style. It reminds me to Gong Shamal music even though the two are different in composition. It then followed by electric guitar sound in the vein of Alex Lifeson of Rush. This guitar work reminds me to "The Spirit of Radio" intro. This live album includes "The Throbbe" that features flute sound after relatively long keyboard intro. Great drumming and keyboard sound effects (as usual) accentuated by flute-work. Lead guitar does its role in the middle of the track.

The crowd seem like very enthusiastic with the live performance as they dance along with the show. The only problem with this live set is the stage act of the musicians. Only John Egan that moves frequently on stage but it's funny that he does not play his flute quite often. So, what is he doing? As a dancer? It's a bit funny. Another thing is that his flute (when he plays occasionally) does not sound quite obvious and overwhelmed by other instruments sounds.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Overall rating is 4 out of 5. Keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours,


Report this review (#38934)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This DVD is an absolute must-see for every fan of modern psychedelic/space rock.

Ozric is in excellent form here, with leader and guitarist Ed Wynne tearing up the infectious riffs and solos at the usual breakneck pace that they seem to take the songs at when performing live. He flawlessly alternates between virtuosity between delay-and-flange-soaked guitar, and soaring synth leads.

Zia is arguably the one of the most skilled and tasteful bassists in rock today (with the _possible_ exception of Colin Edwin from Porcupine Tree). He is absolutely flawless, and completely "in the pocket" for the duration of the show, providing the essential backbone for the sonic assault that ensues from the rest of the band.

Keyboardist Seaweed had big shoes to fill when previous keyboardist Joie left with previous drummer Merv to form the psy trance act Eat Static; but he has completely stepped up to the plate, and is in full "mad scientist" mode during this performance, precisely tweaking knobs, playing leads, triggering samples, and sending swirling arpeggios into the ether.

Ozric has seen a number of rapid lineup changes in recent years, so I'm not entirely sure of who's driving the drum kit in this performance. I believe it's Hagos. Whoever he is, he fills the shoes of previous drummer Rad with style and grace. He employs a light touch, and I would venture to say some previous background in jazz drumming is in evidence. He remains fully locked with Zia, and a faultless rhythm section strengthens the backbone provided by Zia.

To top things off, Jon provides his usual assistance, as an overall guide for the Ozric experience. Whether he's wandering the stage, gawking in discovery at the wizardry of the other members, swimming in the ether, or providing a tasteful woodwind or flute solo, he keeps the viewer engaged.

Finally, the visuals are in top form as well, with mind-bending proections and well-timed lighting adding to the (pleasurable) sensory assault that is the Ozric live experience.

If you don't have the opportunity to see Ozric Tentacles live, this DVD gets you quite close to the experience. HIGHLY recommended!

Report this review (#71639)
Posted Saturday, March 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Awesome!!

I continue with my DVD reviews, but now with one that really love and made me feel excited since the first time i watched it, i like a lot Ozric Tentacles i own some of their albums and always like what i hear from them, but i remember when i first watched this DVD i was amazed (still amazed) because it is an awesome concert i would love to see them sometime, it would be a dream if they came to Mexico but i believe it would be easier to see them abroad than here, so, one day.

The fact is, that for me the Ozrics are a band that caught my entire attention while listening to it, i enter in a deep "hypnosis" and cannot separate my mind and ears until the album is finished, this time the same thing happens but with my eyes, despite they dont have a very complex show, they simply play and do what they know, when i had my first experience i remember i was in a friend`s house and actually we didnt plan to see it, anyway , we put the dvd and saw the whole concert which lasts over 2 hours and both of us were amazed and had a tremendous smile and a wow in our faces, so imagine the power a simple DVD can release.

And i am sure the same will happen the next time i watch it, i am not a huge DVD fan but i always enjoy watching them, above all if i like the band of course, so the same exciting feeling will surround me when i watch it, this space/electronic/psychedelic music may cause an impact in you, all the songs here are greatly played, each member of the band do their job each one is on his own trip and we can clearly see that they are loving what they are doing at stage, that is wonderful.

If you are familiar with the band, i can assure you will have the best night of the week when you watch it, it has 14 songs where we can appreciate the magnific guitar of Ed Wynne and an outstanding keyboard playing of Seaweed, he is the one that takes the show in my opinion, the man who plays woodwinds is also a tremendous character who with his behaviour, makes the dvd even more enjoyable, he is very funny actually, i wont review all the 14 songs it would take a lot of time, but i can name the highlights or moments i like the most, actually i love all the songs , the whole concert provokes something great on me, all those space effects, some synths solos that spacey-guitar, those great bass lines and everything is great here, also i am feeling happy right now while reviewing this,"Oddentity" is a magnific opening song, be sure that you have time, because im afraid when you start watching it, after 2 minutes it will catch all yor attention and you wont move until it finishes,"Myriapod", "Pixel Dream", "Pyramidion" and obviously "Kick Muck", are just some of my favorite moments here (which are a lot).

So, different from my past DVD reviews where my writing is probably more "proffesional" than "passional", you will note it is very different reviewing something you like than something you dont, i am saying this because i want to share my love for this dvd, believe me you will love it as well.

I am pretty sure this is not a masterpiece, but it is close, believe me , maybe my personal love would make me grade it with 5 stars, but it is more accurate a 4-star grade, excellent addition to any prog lover, if you like the Ozrics you will love this, if you dont, or dont know the band, please try it, your opinion may change, believe me.

Enjoy it, really!!!

Report this review (#139724)
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars The Pongmaster's Ball was a gig held at the Shepherd Bush Empire last year, and it was recorded and made available on both DVD and CD. The DVD also features a documentary showing the band throughout the day, preparing for the gig as well as getting the flavour of the event itself by showing parts of the soundcheck and asking fans what they think of the band. It has a rough and raw feel, as if it is one person with a camcorder and this adds to the overall feel of actually being there. It ends with the band walking onto stage.

This of course leads into the concert proper. Ozrics really are unlike any other band that you can imagine, as they just don't sound like anyone else and are as happy playing dance music as they are playing 'prog'. The line-up is Ed (guitar, synths, wide ears), Champignon (flutes, wide eyes), Zia (bass, thumbs), Seaweed (synths, fingers) and Schoo (drums, tongues). In the small print it states which endorsements each has, and while Zia uses Fender basses and Marshall amps Champignon "plays sticks with holes in 'em".

It is dreamy, it is trance, it is experimental, it is a blend of keyboards/flute/guitar in a way that you will never hear anywhere else, just kept together on the wrong side of sanity by the rhythm section. While Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead were seen as the bands to take drugs to in the Sixties, there is no doubt that this mantle has been taken up by the Ozrics and they are more than happy to oblige.

The sound is spot on and the concert camera work very good indeed, and it is great to be able to see the Ozrics in my front room. Who else can give such a totally solid instrumental performance that leaves the crowd shouting for more?

Originally appeared in Feedback #72, Feb 03

Report this review (#978680)
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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