The Ghost of A Saber Tooth Tiger is waiting to hit the stage, as the appointed showtime of 9pm begins to slip by. Someone, somewhere, is struggling to set up the projected graphics that will swirl behind the band throughout the night. Whilst a technician begins to sweat, GOASTT use the shadows they are accidentally throwing onto the troublesome screen, (from backstage) to dance for and tease the waiting crowd. There’s something in the playfulness of this informal introduction between band and audience that sets up the atmosphere for the evening and runs throughout the night.
When they finally emerge from behind the screen the band launches straight into the first three songs from this year’s Midnight Sun album. Fronted by Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, the five piece band weaves a rich and distinctive sonic tapestry.
The spacey, psychedelic sound is peppered with references to Xanadu, Orpheus and red shoes that won’t take us home. Such mystical pathways may send the listener out into the stratosphere, but the band’s skill is in never letting us get lost in space, instead keeping everyone tethered to the mothership by what are fundamentally beautifully crafted pop songs. It’s not all dreamy ethereal subject matter, either. Clear vocals and harmonies soar over bizarre tales of kidnap, ransom and ear-slicing (Poor Paul Getty), perversely framed as catchy, almost sing-a-long songs that belie their darkly weird content.
Lennon introduces the band, admitting that their name is an extraordinary mouthful but claiming it was the only the band name left, so they had to go with it. We let him off the hook.
The evening draws to a close with a cover of Syd Barrett‘s Long Gone – a fitting tribute to a suitably likely influence on this intriguing act. Lennon admits they don’t play in London often but woos the audience by stating, “We’re very happy to be here – this is our coolest show ever”.
With the main set all too quickly over and no encore, despite the enthusiasm of the crowd, we hope they’ll return with (literally) more soon.
The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger
Dingwalls, London, 10 September 2014
Photographs and review by Imelda Michalczyk. Imelda has her own site Rebeladelica here