Acid Tongue, The Baby Seals, Bansheeva, The Black Goats and Pete Um

Psych Fem at The Blue Moon, December 1st 2016
Review by Della Richardson

Last Thursday night’s Psych Fem event at the Blue Moon in Cambridge had a vast variety of performances from Pete Um, The Black Goats, Bansheeva and The Baby Seals to the headlining act Acid Tongue.

The night starts off running a little late and Pete Um’s electronic set of creative short songs forces a confused yet intrigued atmosphere into the room as people start to listen. After the bright light and White Sunglasses are added, pace picks up and looking over at the stage of fairy lights and a black starry backdrop you can see Pete, headphones on and mic held close to his mouth, his voice pushing hard through the hypnotic beat with his husky musing style. The backing could be described as similar to a robot in pain, but this uncomfortably all knits perfectly together in a style that may not be fully understood by Cambridge students at the back of the room, or by me in fact. However, it is appreciated for its uniqueness adding to the nights events.

Next come The Black Goats with their Primal Scream and Kasabian-esque style, guitars, synth and bodies all in sync with each other, bringing people up more towards the stage and increasing the tempo and the atmosphere along with it. They set the stage for Bansheeva, who heightened the atmosphere further with their chaotic mix of Psychedelic Rock and heavy beats showing off their musical talents. Bansheeva is a band that is clearly matured in live performance knowing when to slow things down and speed them up keeping it so loud that you feel the beat pulsating in your heart the whole time. The highlight of their short set, was by far, near the end when the drummer playing so fast he could have been The Flashes’ distant cousin. It was awesome.

The Baby Seals opened their set with the song “My Labia’s Lopsided (But I Don’t Mind)” and immediately changed the tone of the room, those who had been chilling at the back came forward to watch and those already at the front started to dance. Their feminist inspired songs are somewhat empowering to a Teenage girl like myself; ‘Nipple hair’, a track from of their EP Lips Are Sealed, preaches that women actually have body hair, a fact I think some have forgotten. The female trio’s set consisted of an Indie Rock, Pop vibe with a strong message of women not giving a damn and enjoying themselves. They ended with their song ‘It’s not about the Money, Honey’ leaving a lasting impression on lead singer of Acid Tongue, Guy Keltner, as he started his set by talking of how singing about body hair is so sexy.

Guy Keltner, writer, producer and lead vocalist of Acid tongue, the headliner of the night's gig, was accompanied by his British compadres, Allessio on Bass and George on drums. Suspense built as the band set up. Many had come specifically for the group's USA based Guy who is on Tour in the UK. They opened with their first EP’s leading song ‘I Died Dreaming’ the psychedelia and blues undertones of the guitar and Guy’s alternative, soul rich voice cutting through any doubt that the wait for the band would certainly be worth it. The sound quality on every reverbed note of the guitar, caress of the drum, Bass riff from Allessio, perfectly spearheaded by Guy’s vocals as they continued with a song from their sophomore EP ‘Beautiful Disaster’. Around the middle of the set the band played a Motown cover of ‘My Girl’ by The Temptations, the arrangement meant the song in Guy’s hypnotic vocals was almost unrecognisable to start with putting an Acid infused twist on a classic. Taking a more relaxed tone to the set Guy starts ‘Funny Little Colours’ just him and his guitar showing off the low richer vibe of his vocals until Allessio and George kick in, their stage presence heightening as they get into the song. This song sets the band up for the rest of the set as they continue to head bang and throw their guitars around while Allessio occasionally falls into the drums setting them up perfectly for their final song, ‘Beautiful Disaster’, ending the set by wrecking the stage. However this is not all before apologising and promising to clear up in advance and chanting coupon queen before getting the singers of the baby seals to chant along too. Acid tongue were a faultless end to the night and I can highly recommended, to all, to go and see them if ever you get the chance.

I managed to get an interview with Guy, Allessio and George before their set in a Jamaican food restaurant…
Jamaican food with Acid Tongue

In the Jamaican Cuisine restaurant across the road from the blue moon I managed to get a half hour interview with Lead vocalist and song writer of Acid Tongue, Guy Keltner, with his UK tour band members Allessio and George.

Me: I know you said when we spoke before you were a collective.
Guy; yeah that’s probably the best way to put it I record and write everything myself, I record with a lot of different musicians and I mean I probably have 15+ people I’m working with right now.

Me; So are you two staying for the whole of England tour? (Referring to Allessio and George)
Guy: yeah they're doing England with me right now then I’m going back to the States and I’ve got two other guys I’m gonna go down the coast with. I wanted to bring him with me (pointing to Allessio) but it kind of overlaps with his Christmas plans to go back home.

Me; Where are you all from?
Guy; I’m from Seattle but I have a bunch of family in LA it’s where I grew up a little bit, I’m gonna head down there. I’m going to go to Seattle because we have a festival there every year so I ’ma bunk down the coast. Allessio is from Italy and George from London.

Me; what’s the festival called?
Guy; The Freak Out, my label back home is called Freak Out records we actually named it after the festival though we’ve been doing the Freak Out for about four years. It’s really fun, it’s small and cold out there every year.

Me; How old are you? How old when you first started playing music?
Guy; I’m 28, I started playing when I was around 12. I got a guitar when I was about 10. I got OK into it and then my parents got me a good teacher. We played like soul music and R'n'B and reggae and he taught me how to play how I do now.

Me; Would you say he was a big influence then?
Guy; oh yeah massive, I still see that guy whenever I can he moved out of Seattle recently he sold his house and retired. Weird he had his high school girl friend, they didn’t see each other for like 40 years and then randomly at like yoga or something like that they met and rekindled their love and they live together now. So he taught me all the stuff I know now, and I started touring when I was probably in high school even gigging and stuff.

Me; What was it like growing up for you?

Guy; I had a lot of weird freedoms growing up, like a lot of random shit. Like my parents were weird about alcohol, sex anything like that you can’t do all that, but then their like ‘you wanna go out with your band go tour, sure.’ And it’s like you know I’m gonna go drink and have sex right (all laughing).

Guy; so who are you writing for?
Me; Repeat fanzine, this is like my first proper interview
Guy; Cool that’s badass, keep doing it!

Me; I think when we spoke before you said about Radiohead always being on your phone, what else have you been listening to while touring?
Guy; ooh let’s see, (gets phone out) so I’ve been listening to a lot of ‘A Tribe Called Quest’, it's way before your time, you weren't even born, they broke up before you were born!
Allessio; You were born in 2001 that’s so awesome, you're like from the future.
Guy; Do you know the Black Angels, Black Sabbath, Elliot Smith, The Growlers? I listen to a lot of classical music as well like Beethoven I like jazz music too, I’ve been listening to Cindy Mcshay a lot. Classical music helps me sleep like I travel a lot so on planes I listen to Mozart, its relaxing to me.

Me; So where do you think you’re going to go in the future, style wise?
Guy; Electronic, Poppier I wanna get paid baby!
(All laughing)
Guy; I’m getting better at keyboards, I’m getting better at doing everything in the studio so, I’m not a great drummer or anything so I like to program them in I like to play keys. Trying to do as much shit myself as I can without any body involved n if I have a good producer it ties it all together.

Me; You have said you were doing the festival, have you got another tour planned or anything?
Guy; well this year’s been busy like busy enough with recording and playing. This is the year I’m building up to recording and playing, like I would say this is a pretty important year for the next couple of years. Everything has more magnitude compared to when I was younger I used to just make records and put them out I didn’t give a shit, like drop a record, tour, promote it yourself. But now I have a team I have people I have to run shit by, the fact this pays my rent now changes everything especially with travelling a lot.

Me; Where has been the best place you’ve travelled in England?
Guy, Allessio and George; Hull.

We thank Acid Tongue for their time and being so friendly and welcoming. You can hear their music on Spotify and YouTube and buy their EP’s I died dreaming and Beautiful disaster online, in cassette form and the second EP out now in CD format from the 16th of December. Special thanks to my buddy Naomi for support and capturing the evening on film x

Pic : Richard Mingay