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Goat - Live Ballroom Ritual CD (album) cover

LIVE BALLROOM RITUAL

Goat

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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3 stars Goat is a band you should make sure to see live. The combination of their psychedelic multi-influence music and their costumed and masked personas (such as an executioner, wizard, Voodoo preistess, etc.) is a wonderful and crazy thing to behold on stage. The dual front women / singers are a force to be reckoned with. An intense show, they caused a lot of stir at the 2013 Psych Fest and were a must see act that weekend.

On record, it doesn't quite match that experience. It is good mind you, and this review is really 3.5 stars rather than just three. But, with all of the songs being from their releases (all but one from their LP "World Music" and their new single) there's not much new here to experience. However, the performances are great and the sound is very good.

Recorded in the summer of 2013, this double-LP in a gatefold sleeve comes from Rocket Recordings, with early pressings in white / green vinyl. No download codes comes with the LP, which is always a bit disappointing. Several songs get to stretch out a bit, and this is a good thing, things aren't rushed and the intensity can build. Many songs are very similar to the releases though. Where things get the most interesting is in the couple of tunes where they really extend it in a sort of "Jam Band" fashion. "Det Som Aldrig Förändras" and "Run to Your Mama" are each much longer. I also don't recall hearing quite as amazing of a sax solo on the studio version of "Let It Bleed" as is on here, very nice. The segue from "Dreambuilding" into "Run to Your Mama" is also cool.

The females' voices aren't quite as nice to hear in the live versions, probably a bit rough from so much touring, but they are still very effective. For fans of Goat this is a must hear, but for those who don't know them yet, you should start with their LP "World Music" first.

Report this review (#1117024)
Posted Monday, January 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As exciting as the debut Goat album was ("World Music", 2012), it gave little indication of the spectacle the band presents on stage. Music aside, the sartorial splendor of their concert attire alone is something to behold, resembling an explosion in a counterculture fabric and costume factory. The colorful masks and robes might only be a canny (I almost wrote 'corny') promotional gimmick. But they work to focus attention on the ensemble playing and foster a symbiotic alliance with the audience.

The real enigma behind the masquerade is the actual size of the tribe itself. The flimsy cardboard CD case (perhaps designed in homage to the cut-and-paste artwork of Klaus Dinger) shows two guitarists; a bass player; one drummer plus a separate conga player; and a pair of sultry odalisques from the perfumed harem of a Middle Eastern sultan. So who's playing the saxophone, in the song "Let It Bleed"? The instrument appears out of nowhere, interrupting another monster funkadelic jam with a sudden frenzy of Free Jazz noise, while the twin nymphs shout the song's title like a life-or-death incantation, until their voices are hoarse. A quintessential Goat moment, in other words...

This is a group with something for (almost) everyone. Krautrockers will feel at home with the power chords of the concert opener "Diarabi" (originally a sub-Saharan folk melody), and the imposing one-chord monolith named "Det Som Aldrig Forandas...etc." Party animals will appreciate the uninhibited revelry of "Golden Door" and "Disco Fever". Connoisseurs of heavy-duty Funk Rock will thrill to the elemental grooves of "Let It Bleed" and "Run to Your Mama". And rebellious star-children born under the sign of Capricorn will embrace the songs "Goathead", Goatman", "Goatlord", and "Stonegoat".

More than just a live album, the disc is also an omnibus collection of everything the band had recorded to date: the entire "World Music" album; plus non-album singles and B-sides, including the mini-epic Space Rock mantra "The Sun The Moon", their first recorded song and a killer encore to an already lethally attractive show. And the performances don't simply regurgitate the studio material: most of the songs have been extended for maximum visceral impact, an important consideration with two barefoot pagan goddesses gyrating and jumping all over the stage.

It would be wrong to say the album is the next best thing to being there. In concert Goat is more alive than most live bands, and without the visual cues this companion album is only a two- dimensional facsimile of a typically eye-catching, toe-tapping, mind-frying Goat gig. But it still manages to capture the psychedelic Mardi Gras spirit of the event: not a concert but "a harvesting of souls", in the band's own mock-portentous vernacular. So until the herd arrives in your hometown the old cliché will have to stand: the album is the next best thing to being there.

Report this review (#1254877)
Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 | Review Permalink

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