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Acid Mothers Gong

by Suzannah Tartan

Daevid Allen’s ’60s psychedelic group Gong spent a good many of its albums relating the adventures of Pothead Pixies and Radio Gnomes on the peaceful Planet Gong. Makoto Kawabata channels music from outer space into his band, Acid Mothers Temple. Fuse the two together and you get Acid Mothers Gong, a psychedelic supergroup.

The first Acid Mothers Gong show two years ago at the Royal Albert Hall in London was a tribute to Gong’s continuing cult status and to Acid Mothers Temple’s position as the hippest of psychedelia’s standard bearers.

Suntory Hall might not on the itinerary for their Japan tour, but Kawabata and company play outside of Nagoya so infrequently you can expect hordes of hippie freaks, prog-rock fanatics and dedicated readers of tony foreign-music publications to show up to find out what all the fuss is about. The tour is also the last chance to see Acid Mothers’ mysterious chanteuse, Cottons Casino (herself a figure of cultlike devotion), play with the band before decamping permanently to the United States.

A smaller venue might be better anyway. Kawabata is famous for inviting fans to stick around for aftershow partying and both Kawabata and Allen embrace a vision of music-making that is improvisational and ecstatic, catching and embracing whatever vibe the audience has to offer. Otherworldly and unpredictable, Acid Mothers Gong is a meeting of tripped-up, freaked-out minds.