By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Still, the Queen is out-there stuff, and much more satisfying than Braindonor, Cope’s new “false metal” trio, and the evening‘s (Butt-)headliner. The Slade--meets--Van Halen ’donor is Copey‘s attempt at “getting high by aiming low” via two double-guitarists, one drummer, lotsa face paint and endless tongue-out soloing; in short, playing the fool on Fool’s Day and diggin‘ it. Amusing for a little while -- how could a 6-foot-2 black-leotarded Julian Cope done up like Gene Simmons not be? -- but the ’tween-song Manowar jokes soon become more fun than the tunes, which, aside from the two-word song titled “You Know,” have been tragically shorted in the Crucial Hook department. They‘re just not base enough, not reptile-brain enough, not, er, Coliseum enough.
SUNDAY, APRIL 2: MOTHER’S DAY
Worst first, even though they played last: guitarist Manuel Gottsching and drummer Klaus Schultze in their first appearance in 25 years under the holy name Ash Ra Tempel. In the early ‘70s, these guys (with bassist Hartmut Enke) emerged from the deepest of German stoner hazes to produce albums of senses-deranging heavy drama. But the men who come onstage tonight to thunderous applause are less the spacerocketeers of legend than kindly, cardigan-clad seniors here to play the most insufferable keyboards-and-effects-pedaled-guitar cosmic snoozery you’ve ever heard. The only place this transports me is out the door, quickly.
The evening opens with a playful ritual, beneath the Royal Hall‘s softly folded ceiling, by the beguiling electronicists Coil, this time appearing in their Time Machines guise. The white-robed quartet play keyboards within briefcases atop cloth-draped tables, as if this were a corporate presentation (with fog machine and occasional furry creature) at an industry convention for the Technoccult. Their drumless, tuneless whistles, tweeterings and phasings sound like the motorbeast throb of Quatermass and the Pit’s Martian-devil swarms, those horned arthropods whose visages match Coil‘s Time Machines logo, which is, in turn, based on the personal monad of Sir John Dee, the Elizabethan court astrologer, scientist and Enochian occultist. See? Sci-fi techno-music magick, uh-huh.
Just as spellbinding is Cope’s 60-minute solo set. He plays the “hits” and the rarities: “Pristeen” and “Double Vegetation,” “Soul Desert” and “The Great Dominions,” “Jellypop Perky Jean” and the new “Conspiracist Blues.” He displays his doubleneck guitar and says, “Surfers are mystified by it!” He nods in agreement with the notes he hits, finishing songs with a self-satisfied “Yeahhhh.” He explains that every rock & roller is an Odinist priest because the original Odin was “poetic, dress-wearing and fierce as hell!”
And then we‘re off with a repeating guitar figure on a lengthy Julian-narrated journey, in which the auditorium becomes the Festival Hall mothership floating across the English countryside toward Silbury, piloted by George Clinton until Julian takes the wheel (“George is righteous, but he’s a bad driver!”); we wave hello to the late Johnny Morris (the Voice of the Animals on many a BBC nature documentary) down below, and then there‘s a return flight back to London, finally landing here next to the Thames, with Julian at the edge of the stage, whispering to goose-bump-inducing, pindrop silence, “This . . . space . . . I neeeeeed . . . this space . . .”
And that’s where we always end up, right? Beyond music, beyond words, beyond gesture: in stillness, listening to the silence -- to the sound, as someone once said, of spirits approaching.