Bristol’s SWX was the unanticipated host of a mid-week feast of infectious tribal-inspired jams, led by Swedish cult ensemble Goat and their ambient associates.
The everyday music-goer in Bristol may agree that stepping into the building formally known as Syndicate for a night of Swedish psych-rock may seem a tad askew. The venue, re-branded as SWX, is now hosting a diverse array of touring acts, drawing in perhaps a more comprehensive crowd than its predecessor. What was formally a riotous student haven and grime nights has now become Bristol’s big-city venue, boasting a high quality audio and visual experience to almost 2,000 punters. The change comes amidst an already growing number of re-brands and closures facing Bristol’s iconic music scene.
Fellow Swede Josefin Öhrn and her comrades ‘The Liberation’ set the tone for evening, delivering a blissfully hypnotic onslaught of pulsating shoegaze. Gradually floating in and out of psych progressions, they gathered speed with each round of undulating bass that drove us forward. Öhrn’s wispy vocals felt steeped in nostalgia – at least musically – but struck powerfully with each new turn. The overall result was one of soft apocalyptic noise, with their chanting nature akin to their fellow touring companions.
Swedish septet ensemble, Goat, adorn the stage with their now infamous garb, bringing with them their mystic voodoo lineage and a full bag of tribal treats. They’re the kind of group that an over-thinker may dislike, as they embody the sound of an African funk group in an almost native American guise. But questions about their authenticity are useless here, as their infectious jams invariably get most feet moving.
From the piping flutes in ‘Union of Mind and Soul’ to the swirling phased guitars on ‘The Sun The Moon’, Goat’s two female singers drive the archaic party forward, letting out invigorating yelps and screaming prose as they perform a part belly dance, part séance routine. The group are all about merging the sonic and visual experience; the cloaked band effortlessly swung between surfer-rock jangles, as in ‘Trouble In The Street’, and then radically into overdrive. ‘Talk To God’ felt like an end-of-the-world song sucking us into a sonic void. Their musical palate is diverse, and all the colours spill out and onto the stage as we dance in reckless abandon. Goat’s appeal is that they throw away any cares of cultural relevance and simply focus on the here and now.
They are now set to shoot off around France and then back to Sweden in November. Preoccupations will accompany them on Nov 18th at Les Trinitaires in Metz FR.