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Moon Duo - Dome, London, 17/7/2013

  by Chris O'Toole

published: 31 / 7 / 2013

Moon Duo - Dome, London, 17/7/2013


Chris O' Toole enjoys a set of blissed out guitar/keyboard rock from San Francisco-based group Moon Duo at a show at the Dome in London

To visit the Dome in Tufnell Park, London, one has to take a step back in time. The venue has the air of a decaying early twentieth century music hall; all peeling paint, high ceilings and a feeling of nostalgia. Moon Duo themselves occupy a similarly anachronistic position, dragging the musical mores of a bygone era into the modern day. Formed in San Francisco in 2009 by Wooden Shijps guitarist Ripley Johnson and keyboardist Sanae Yamada, the band offer a take on the low-slung, high intensity grooves of Johnson’s main band, but with squalls of 1960's acid-drenched, fuzz guitar slathered over the top. They are here in London tonight touring 'Circles', their latest release for the Sacred Bones imprint. The story goes the album was the product of a long winter’s isolation in the Rocky Mountains, but live the feeling is anything but one of seclusion, with the warm, full base of Yamada’s keyboards drawing the audience in. 'Circles' draws inspiration, as well as its title, from an 1841 essay by Waldo Emerson, of which the first lines are: “The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end.” And so it goes. There is very little respite during the show, as Yamada and a drummer added to the line-up lay down a relentless, pulsating groove, before Ripley saunters into the mix with a series of blissed out guitar salvos. Given, it is an established formula. But in these hands it works, time and again. The crowd barely moves during the performance, lost as they are in a personal introspective journey as the guitar swirls around the room; it is all nodding heads, knowing smiles and wide eyes. A few more tracks and it might have become transcendental. Moon Duo’s limited template means there is little variety in the set. It is as though they have aimed for the horizon and set off across the parched desert without any thought to supplies. When they arrive at the end of the journey, it is to bleary eyes and an altered mind. Timeless.

Picture Gallery:-
Moon Duo - Dome, London, 17/7/2013

Moon Duo - Dome, London, 17/7/2013

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