GOAT Live at Bronson Club, Ravenna, Italy 8th May 2015
Masks can have a transformative power. They can help mere mortals turn into superheroes, they can embolden the sexuality inhibited to initiate erotic games or they can help transform a modest Swedish psychedelic band into a charismatic stage act.
In concert all the members of Goat wear non-matching masks or burkas.
The focus of the live performance is on the two vocalists impressively decked out in full witch doctor regalia. Their voices are screechy, high-pitched female chants – although one of the two was (if I’m not mistaken) a man. The all-singing, all-dancing duo jump, strut and strike shamanic poses while the five-piece band stand stoically behind them grinding out a relentless set of rhythms.
The look is self-consciously theatrical but far from having a distancing effect, this creates a unique bond with the audience.
Punters like to see artists making a conscious effort to entertain; something many hard-working but dull-looking rock bands should take note of.
Too often, there is a notion that ‘authentic’ music alone is what matters. This is coupled with the mistaken belief that creating a strong visual image links artists too closely to commercial pop.
Witnessing the enthusiastic reaction to Goat’s impressive show proves how wrong-headed such ideas are. Normally, Italians tend to be passive and overly respectful towards performers but the tribalized anonymity of this group prompts a more proactive response. Loud applause and howls of appreciation greet the tunes even though, frankly, each piece sounds pretty similar to the last.
The heady blend of Goa Trance, World Beat, Reggae and classic Psychedelic Rock is at times overly repetitive but it has enough hypnotic power to reduce the packed club to a sweaty mass of satisfied customers.