Black Bombaim, Reversed Nature // Six D.O.G.S Club, Athens, Greece // 23.01.2015
When Isaiah Mitchell of the godlike Earthless agrees to participate in a band’s album (Titans), you know they probably are top notch rock stuff. Well this band is Black Bombaim, small in fame yet big in skills and last night they prove to their Athenian fans why they are considered the leaders of Portuguese psychedelic rock.
Along their side was Reversed Nature. I had seen them before at Fuzztastic Planet festival and they were really good, but this time I have to say: HO-LY CRAP. First of all, the visuals (from some kind of cartoon) they used to accompany their space drifting music were some of the most impressive and trippy things I’ve ever seen. Then of course there was the singer with a) her amazing vocal skills – quoting from the band’s facebook page “Singing (sometimes), Crying (sometimes), screaming (sometimes)”- and b) her very theatrical performance on stage, with bare feet, weird stances and arm positions, sometimes sitting on the floor while others head banging to the rhythms of her fellow bandmates, bringing an ethereal and outlandish quality to the ambient psychedelic jam going in the background.
This brings me to the music part which was an utter delight. Sometimes reminding me of Grails and a bit of Swans and others just working the hell out of one humongous riff, their changes between subtle psychedelic ambience and all-guns-blazing explosions of sound traveled my thoughts from swimming in space to giant things punching each other and driving full speed on the highway. Reversed Nature, here is a name to remember.
Then the power trio from Barcelos steps on stage and all the mystery weaved from Reversed Nature is put aside from something pretty simple but equally effective, one very long and continuous psychedelic jam. Sure, their songs have a specific structure and all but on stage Black Bombaim transform them into one huge, fuzzy, roaring wave that goes on and on and on to its heart content, pretty much like the sea. Constantly moving and swaying, with an ear splitting sound (the small venue helped on that aspect, though I have to say sometimes it sounded a bit too overwhelming) they portrayed a show that could either be the best loose rehearsal ever or sonic footage from a very angry version of Woodstock.
No holding back on the dirty guitar sound ladies and gentlemen, not on this show… Ricardo’s hands find their way up and down on these strings and always construct some melodic solo towards eternity or an ass-shaking vintage rock ‘n’ roll rhythm. Speaking of vintage stuff, the ferocious drumming of Paulo Gonçalves reminded me of those crazy jazz drummers like Buddy Rich who made the drumsticks an extension of their hands and tormented every inch of the drum kit in mind numbing speed. And I can’t leave out Tojo Rodrigues whose funky bass lines provided the perfect background on which the guitarist could perform his orgies. The greatest moment of this show comes on the last riff of “Africa II”, with a crust punk- like rhythm being laid down so Ricardo can throw to our faces the most crushing solo he has ever written.
Closing their psychedelic rampage with the encore after a bit more than an hour, they leave us with only three words on our minds: Obrigado, Black Bombaim!