The Heads, The Wooden Shjips, London Cargo, July 13th 2008.

There are two main types of types of psychedelia in this age of the new trippy dawn. The first, and by far the most abundant, is a fanciful, floppy-haired Nuggets-carrying, tamborine banging type of whimsy. The second is an all-absorbing, terrifying, boot in the brain style affair – one that rips open your skull and turns the darkness of your soul inside out. Or something. Whatever it is, we got both types on show at Cargo tonight…

First up was the sheer brilliance of The Heads. Now The Heads are from Bristol – a city more traditionally known for its trip-hop music scene that birthed the likes of Tricky, Massive Attack and Portishead. Formed in 1994, The Heads couldn’t be further removed from that scene, but clearly have a shared interest in deeply psychotropic substances. Rather than just nibbling mushrooms and keeping it all inside, The Heads are focused on conveying the whole drugs experience through music to an unsuspecting public. Before I start sounding like some wisened old hippy who wasted his youth at the UFO club, I mean the band mess with their audiences heads – and they do this with a combination of an insanely psychedelic (in the true sense of the word) visuals and light show (why don’t more psych bands make a big show of their lights – the mighty Asteroid #4 excepted…?) In short, The Heads, with a combination of heavy grooves – think Dead Meadow heavier and, well, groovier, Stooges-esque riffs and a ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude – were the most exhilarating live band I’ve seen all year. Head on over to: http://www.myspace.com/theheadsrock and check them out for yourselves. Better than that, check them out live. You’ll be blown away.

The Wooden Shjips (no, its not a fucking typo) are the other side of the psychedelic coin (if such a thing could possibly exist). Their self-titled debut album, as well as their follow-up collection of early singles have got rave reviews around the cool kid muso websites and tracks such as Dance California really are refreshingly creative and hypnotic. They’ve even drawn comparisons with the legendary Les Rallizes Denudes. Live, however, was a different story – just couldn’t pull off the majesty of their recorded work. Whilst the album is a multi-layered, mesmerising work of staggering beauty, the live performance was someone one-dimensional. Any band would have suffered in front of an audience whose ears were still ringing after The Heads, but the whilst the Bristolians had depth the San Fanciscans seemed to be playing the same song over and over again. And then once more. They were OK, but they JUST WEREN’T THE HEADS. Worth a listen, though.

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