When the cartographers of rock’n’roll draw up their maps, there surely has to be a timeline that somehow connects early 70’s Mahavishnu Orchestra with The Physics House Band in the modern age. This path will undoubtedly detour by way of vintage progressive rock, neo-psychedelia, proto-metal and parts of East Sussex, but the primary prism through which the sound of Brighton’s The Physics House Band is refracted has got to be John McLaughlin’s pioneering band of jazz-rock fusionists.
There also happens to be a certain synchronicity about this connection. The virtuoso guitarist McLaughlin hails from West Yorkshire and The Physics House Band’s bass guitarist and synth player Adam Hutchinson cheerfully advises us that “this is the fifth or sixth time” the south coast trio have played the Brudenell here in Leeds. They are clearly happy to be back here once more as he, guitarist and fellow synthesiser man Sam Organ and their fire-breathing drummer Dave Morgan tear into a powerful set that just like the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s album Birds of Fire – a landmark advancement in jazz-rock fusion – is entirely instrumental, highly intense and very, very loud indeed.
The Physics House Band are out on the road in support of their recently released mini-album Mercury Fountain. Coming a rather leisurely four years after the three-piece’s debut offering Horizons/Rapture, the new record is the sound of sonic revolution. It may well possess the similarly obtuse time signatures and deep-rooted intellectualism of its predecessor and still hold dear the pure concept of innovation, but the four tracks taken from Mercury Fountain tonight – chronologically, Mobius Strip, Calypso, Surrogate Head and Obidant (the latter bisecting Abraxical Solapse and a cataclysmic, extended encore of Teratology, both from their first release) – reveal a beast of a band who have been well and truly let off their leash.
The Physics House Band may well be more head than heart but the dazzling dexterity and improvisation of their individual and collective playing, coupled to the sheer torrent of emotive noise they produce, quickly blurs any such boundaries.
Photo credit: Simon Godley
More photos from this show can be found HERE
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