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The sideburns and sixties haircuts were out in full force in Kentish Town recently as San Francisco psychedelic giants The Brian Jonestown Massacre descended on London for the penultimate concert of their mammoth 2018 tour.

The eight-piece band took the stage in drabs with infamous tambourine player Joel Gion getting a huge cheer as he entered and set up in the centre as if he fronted the band. Anton Newcombe arrived last, kissing his guitarist on the cheek along the way whilst taking a selfie. He stood on the right hand side of the stage holding his guitar and facing sideways for much of the concert. Opening with the downbeat ‘We Never Had A Chance’ the gig built in tempo and was melded together by trance like drones that suited a dancing audience rather than a mosh pit. Recent single ‘Hold That Thought’ was the third song and it really lifted the crowd. They later hit us with their biggest songs ‘Pish’ straight into ‘Anemone’.

As always the light show was spectacular, the band of shoegazers moved very little throughout the set and there were no visuals, which made for Joel’s theatrical switch to a giant tambourine a triumphant and comical spectacle that got a big audience reaction. They played a steady seventeen song set over two hours. During the final song ‘A Word’ Joel started throwing his tambourine in the air and catching it and by the end of the song the whole band left the stage except Anton, who sat and played drums whilst the entire audience filtered out leaving him. An entertaining and strange concert from a distinctive and divisive band of charming eccentrics.

Paula Frost