Tonight, Hackney’s Olso plays host to psychedelic legend Anton Newcombe and the smouldering vocals of Ontario’s Tess Parks. The tour marks the release of I Declare Nothing, Newcombe and Parks collaborative LP which was released at the end of last month.
The venue sits above a kitsch Norwegian restaurant next to Hackney Central railway station, it’s a hot night – some 25 degrees Centigrade outside and inside, it’s absolutely baking. After a sterling performance from their support act; Liverpudlian sextet, Indri, the duo take the stage with their band. Anton takes a little time to set up his bewildering array of pedals and Tess pipes up through the mic asking the venue to turn off the background music “…was anyone enjoying that?” It seems Tess wasn’t alone as a chorus of no bursts forward from the eager crowd.
Kicking off with Wehmut and Cocaine Cat sets things off as they mean to go on and their hour and 20 minute set is hypnotising. Tess’ beautifully tobacco-singed drawl cuts through the intricately layered riffs and chords like a knife and they stop maybe once or twice for a little banter with the crowd, or for Tess to blow kisses to wolf whistlers! In between bouts on the guitar and mic, she dances and air drums with effortless cool.
Anton, mellowed since his earlier career, appears totally lost in the music and as hypnotised as his captivated audience, aside swaying left to right he is seemingly inanimate, that is until he kicks off his solos. At this point his energy flows forth as he forcefully and expertly bends the guitar to his will and in the dim lights he looks almost like a phantom as he goes. Exactly what you’d expect from the BJM frontman!
Finishing the set off with with a cover of the Doors’ Five to One, they get off to a false start but on second attempt pull it of with expert precision and finish on a massive high. All in all, no pretence, just fantastic music and no encore. It was a brilliant performance and seeing the legend that is Anton in such an intimate setting was a real privilege. If you have a chance to catch these two on their remaining dates, don’t hesitate, you’re in for a great night, this is psychedelia at it’s absolute peak.