MUSIC is meant, at least performance wise, to be performed in front of an audience. Certainly that’s the case when it comes to live music. As we’ve seen over the course of March 2020 till now, this has been adapted for livestreams, and in the case of three-piece Californian rock outfit Nebula, concert film.
Concert film isn’t a new concept, and is probably best recognised as the creative medium of psychedelic rock giants Pink Floyd and their performative album, The Wall.
The band, consisting of lead singer and guitarist Eddie Glass, Tom Davies on bass and Mike Amster on drums certainly confirmed this in their pre-gig interview. They know their shit, to put it accurately. I really appreciated, as a listener that pretty much delved into alternative, stoner rock in my teenage years listening to these guys talk about the cultural impact they had, particularly in the 1990s. They hailed from the likes of performing along giants of stoner rock outfits such as Nirvana, to heavy rock’s staple, Black Sabbath.
It was almost heartening to watch Eddie Glass, whilst carrying his newborn, in the middle of a very dry and arid Mojave Desert talk about how they made it a point to stick to their sound despite the changing of the musical atmospheres which spread over from Southern California to to the underground grunge scenes of Seattle.
So i was well prepared for when the ‘film’, as the interviewer put it, started. They rocked out; they rocked out hard. The hues of red, yellow, umber, greystone, brick-red of the Mojave set against the backdrop of a blue and grey-tinted dusky sky was all the band needed to inspire them into their energised two sets. The whole vibe of the performance from Nebula was complemented nicely by their first song: “To The Center”.
‘Takin’ off to the center of the universe
Crawlin’ down to face big sunshine
Swirled colors collapsing our mind
Takin’ off to the endless sky’.
It pretty much picked up energy from then, venturing forth with psychedelic sounds channeled through Eddie Glass’ extensive pedal board. Charged alternating 3/4 to 4/4 basslines from Tom Davies were carried by unbelievably controlled groove from Mike Amster . Halfway through their set, with highlights being “Giant” and “Wall Of Confusion”, I felt Grateful Dead were in one of the sound industry trucks parked in the distance, sipping back some brewskies and smiling and what spawned a generation of alt-rockers.
Nebula do hold their own. It’s helped by the band’s crafty lyrics, synchronised performative spaces and energy. “Let’s Get Lost” was brought out as the first melody-driven track, somewhat softer in texture and to be honest, greatly welcomed in the set. The cross between the British-infused punk rock coming from bassist Tom Davies with the skateboarding, Southern Californian stoner vibes of his band mates was evident in nearly all the performance.
The American contingency, as I like to call them, were fearless and lashing out, whilst the sole Brit held back his clearly explosive energy. Probably a good thing, as I’m not sure the desert could have handled more. Their last track, “Witching Hour”, only confirmed that as dusk turns to night in the obviously freezing desert.
I’d like to see this for what it was: a band which were highly famed in their time for rebelling against the slick coolness of rock and chose a dirtier, more honest path. Personally I tip my hat to the film crew for truly making the best of this magical backdrop, only using psychedelic visuals when necessary.
I might just pour myself a beer after this. And I don’t even like beer!
To find out more about Nebula’s music, click here