Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation, Goat @ SWX, Bristol, 19/10/2016

goatDoes anyone really know anything about Goat, the nameless and faceless band? They’re from the Swedish commune of Korpilombolo, and create music that emanates from a voodoo curse set on previous incarnations of the band in about 1898. The incredible history and culture of the band emanates into their music, bringing with it a spiritual mystery that transcends any musical genre or pigeonhole.

The Swedish alternative band has just, as of two weeks ago, released their latest album Requiem, with a European autumn tour to go with it. Tonight, they’re playing at SWX, one of Bristol’s newest music venues which you may probably know as Syndicate.

Support band is Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation, another group from Sweden, exploring dark psychedelia. Their debut album earned them a Swedish Grammy nomination back in 2014 and they’ve since released even more enchanting material. They begin the evening with a soft vocal and soothing melody, playing into the lost and moody theme of their new album, Mirage. Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation set the strange and otherworldly tone in time for Goat’s performance.

There’s a slow and gradual hum coming from the stage as the Goat musicians slowly enter, picking up their own instruments and adding their own musical layers. The stage is gifted with 7 different musicians, though apparently this changes regularly. There are about 17 musicians in Goat, with the actual musicians on any given gig swapped around depending on the venue and type of gig and songs they plan to perform.

The sheer number of instruments ranges from bongo to flute, developing an intense layering of percussion with guitar, the occasional pipe instrument, and roaring vocals. Their performance is mesmerising yet so energised. Any minute the two lead vocalists aren’t singing, they’re leaping around the stage, with maracas, tambourines and shakers. The energy’s reciprocated by the crowd, with not a person stood still.

Their performance is very visual, with every member of the band wearing an ornate face mask and beautiful tribal wear dancing around the stage. That said, I can’t see much of it - SWX is packed out this evening. Their set list runs through some of their newer material from Requiem such as “I Sing In Silence” and lead single “Try My Robe” but firm favourite with the crowd this evening is “Run To Your Mama” with rhythmic bongo and shouting lyrics the crowd can get behind.

They return to the stage for an encore with their final track of the night being “Let It Bleed”, another punchy track and an all round energised performance. Goat’s fusion of afro-inspired rhythms and tribal drums is enchanting, proving their status as one of the most intriguing bands around right now.

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