We Are the champions

The Fucking Champs: Totally mental. (Photo by Wild Don Lewis)

Citay, Earthless, The Fucking Champs

at Spaceland, January 13

Ezra Feinberg’s Citay opened this night of music for listening and/or hair tossing. The great Citay debut album — wondrously stew-potting the fragrant greenery of Led Zep and Sabbath with the unison-guitar glories of ’70s rock à la Thin Lizzy, Mike Oldfield and even Heart or Boston — was re-created live in lavish, wide-screen glory. Feinberg’s twin guitarists handled the double leads with nuanced aplomb, while two women on glockenspiels, flute and backing “la-la”s further fleshed out this invigorating amalgam of gentle psychedelia and golden sunshine pop. A spine-tingling set it was, the highlight of which was a, well, rousing closer of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah.”

Diego minimalist/heavy-psych chaps Earthless then proceeded to power-trio the house down with one half-hour-long instrumental opus based on “Flower Travelin’ Man” from their Sonic Prayer album. The band — starring flailing octopus drummer Mario Rubalcaba of Clikitat Ikatowi and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell from Nebula — built that epic on one chord, but they did a lot with that one chord. Mitchell ran roughshod over his guitar and pedals, deriving endless permutations of hypnotic squawk and scree, while the raging Ragnarok of Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton hammered like a coupla heavily drugged horsemen of the apocalypse. Together, they crafted a trance. If one was so inclined or had timed the Red Bull properly, one could actually see the band’s audio moiré patterns. Nice!

S.F. trio the Fucking Champs proved that they are in fact the current champs of “intelligent” metallic mayhem. This was several brain-piercingly angular sound meshes revealed by Tim Green and Phil Manley, two extraordinarily versatile and agile riff mongers, musical-scientist types mainly interested in exploration of new forms, as is superdrummer Tim Soate, who flails like both the Keith Moon and the John Bonham of the group.

—John Payne

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