A few years ago Arbiter Titan and I took a little roadtrip up to Evesham to see an exceptional band that played right into our love of Cardiacs called The Dowling Poole which was an absolute stormer of a show. As usual AT had produced a compilation CD consisting of a strong mix of things he’s loved for a long time and new musical discoveries and as super usual the CD just about reached the end as we reached our destination.
On that particular CD was a couple of tracks by Chris Forsyth whom I knew nothing about at all other than that he is a guitar master!So when AT informed me that Chris Forsyth was playing at The Old England we had to go, so we did. In fact, I think that it was our (or at least my) first time in what is now one of my favourite venues of all time!
Opening the show was Parisian Psychdoom wonder Dr Chan with their unrelenting set that drew from the early roots of Psych and pop beat. They possessed a raw 60’s quality to them which reflected subtle influences like 13th Floor Elavators or The Cryin’ Shames, it perfectly captured the time before punk but when people were getting a bit livid and buying instruments to hash out their new found angst in their dad’s sheds. Their ability to formulate fast, hooky tunes that get under your skin and made you jerk about like those confused looking people on old episodes of Top of The Pops is remarkable, with vocals that fire out like pin pricks that could potentially trip over themselves in speedy delivery but don’t! They’re a neat, proficient and damn rockin’ band that can’t fail to entertain and provoke a good dance. They’ve a new record coming out through Stolen Body Records (the guys who host Brisol Psych Fest!) so keep an eye out and buy it!
It is of the opinion of all Shonk staff that Chris Forsyth needs to have long hair in order to store all of his guitar skills. It’s possible, though unproven to date that Chris Forsyth might even eat other guitarists in order to gain their abilities. It is said that Chris Forsyth’s glasses actually show him the entire musical spectrum as it exists upon our plain and his shoes are coated with a mix of WD40 and acetate so that he can seamlessly skate across the lake of genres, scooping out whatever he fancies with a specialised net that was woven for him by Django Rhinehart’s Great Great Great grandaughter using assorted hairs from different guitarists across history to make the actual net.
At least that’s the most logical and explainable reasoning for his apparently unprecidented ability to create multi-layered, multi-faceted anthems of genre defying joy. And he makes it look so easy too, the pest!
As he and his band started out with their atmosphere building, tease of a tune (the one that goes BA-DOW-BOW… then a little pause, then BA-DOW-BOW… then waaahh-weeeddzzlelellll BA-DOW-BOW and so on) we were all whisked up onto his magical musical balloon for a ride across the Electric-Jam land that he was constructing before our very eyes. With a sturdy rythmnic foundation provided by members of The Sunwatchers Mr. Forsyth was free to run around like a hyper-child following the path of a bee.
The set itself came across as a really tight, well organised jam with no notable weak points or areas of confusion, just solid travelling bliss. It isn’t until you come to listen to the record that you realise that everything you heard live was as it should be, those super insane noodles between driving riffs are not only intentional but recounting identically each time!
It was an immense showcase of blinding talent and thoroughly enjoyable guitar orientated tracks all round, from start to finish.
At the end of the gig I had a lovely little chat with Mr. Forsyth (no idea what about) and asked him which of his albums I should buy (always a fun question to pose) – I owe the sound engineer a thank you for getting me the setlist and assisting in having it signed, you’re a legend (told you this venue is epic!)
Honestly two acts worthy of laudation and demanding an audience that requires you!