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Austin Psych Fest Live (Sunday): Goat

Swedish Afrobeat space funk: lights out!
Michael Toland, 2:07pm, Mon. Apr. 29, 2013
photo by Gary Miller
Goat head, 4.28.13

When you’re putting on a show with distinctive visual content, you want people to see it. Swedish ensemble Goat has a different idea. Despite taking the stage in wizard’s robes, masks, and led by a pair of booty-shaking singers, they kept lighting to a minimum, forcing the audience to get in close to see what was going on. That was doubtless the point.

And yet, by 10pm, the stage was so engulfed in darkness that it took half the set to realize the congas were coming from the corner of the stage, not the ether. Luckily, Goat has the chops to be compelling without flashy eye candy.

The band’s won buckets of acclaim for the appropriately-titled World Music, an album that combines melodic psych with various ethnic influences. Mixing everything from African rhythms and Middle Eastern melodies to Blaxploitation soundtrack funk, German space rock, and good old fashioned acid rock, Goat kept the grooves shaking and the melodies in constant motion.

The two singers rolled through ululation, sing-song, and strident wailing, always in tandem, sailing through the dense waters of Afrobeat space funk. When all the elements came together, a la the roiling “Goathead,” funky “Disco Fever,” and the driving “Goatland,” the band achieved transcendence, erasing the stitches between genre blurs.

When things got a bit shaky, Goat was still compelling. This is no group of dillentantes, but a serious band of musical miscreants who never met a genre they didn’t like enough to steal. Ignore Goat’s next trip outside the barnyard to your peril.

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