Live Review: Tess Parks + Anton Newcombe @ Oslo, London 18.07.15

As Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe’s “We Declare Nothing” tour hits the UK,  Nina Fritsch finds out if the visionary Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman’s latest project still has what it takes to bring an audience to another level.

This was nearly a homecoming gig for London-based Canadian artist Tess Parks. Anticipation hung strongly in the atmosphere at the sold out (and slightly steamy) Oslo in Hackney. The group took to the stage and launched straight into “Voyage de L’âme”, a stirring psychedelic song which is followed by “Cocaine Cat”, a song that Parks wrote when she was a still a teenager.

The crowd were treated to the majority of “I Declare Nothing”, and treat is the proverbial word.  Anton Newcombe’s guitar playing was all smooth swagger and dreamy reverb.  He wordlessly commanded control of proceedings and it was noticeable that other band members frequently looked at him to lead.

Park’s voice was absolutely beguiling.  To look at her on stage, very slight and almost fragile-looking, it’s almost hard to believe that she can produce such a low yet powerful sound.  Highlights were probably recent single “German Tangerine” and “Gone” which saw Newcombe on backing vocals.

Anton Newcombe’s experience and astonishing musical creativity, combined with Tess Parks husky soulful voice makes for an extremely special musical pairing.  One that I’m glad we’ve all got the pleasure to enjoy.

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