Photos: Broadcast Jones / Grant Anusbigian
This sold out show at the Paradise might as well have been titled “An evening of contemporary psychedelia” as North Carolina’s The Veldt and SF’s Brian Jonestown Massacre shared the stage to showcase their own approaches to melding the fuzzy riffs, the spaced out sweetness and loud/quiet dynamics.
The Veldt redefine the meaning of “well-kept secret” – having debuted in the early 90s, the band’s original run was marred with miscommunication with record labels and the resulting disappointing sales. It didn’t help that members of the band are African-Americans which made them even more of outcasts in North Carolina scene of the 90s.
As Danny Chavis, the band’s founder, explains in an interview with Step On Magazine
The major labels were always trying to get us to change our sound, our look or both, but, we had no interest in being the next Lenny Kravitz or Tony! Toni! Toné! Unfortunately, not everyone shared our vision. We weren’t trying to be rock stars, we just want to play our music and pay our rent.
Having reunited few years ago, the band since put out a brand new EP and if their set at Paradise is any indication, things should be very different this time around. The band delivered short but impressive set centered around soulful vocals of Chavis and peppered with references to the likes U2 and Hendrix.By turns spacey, colorful and spiritually uplifting, their songs should be a treat to anyone with even a passing interest in shoegaze genre.
BJM, the headliners of the evening, fared much better but also have an equally long and troubled history as documented in 2004 “Dig!” (that documentary also captured the bands rivalry with fellow psychedelic travelers Dandy Warhols).
None of the trouble was evident on stage, however, as the band tore through a set filled with endless nods to the classic rock of the 60s/70s, the multi-part harmonies and the rollicking guitar riffs. Along the way, the band members poked fun at anything from guitars that tend to go out of tune to farcical North Carolina bathroom laws.
The evening proved to be one of the rare events where the openers were on par with the headliners this evening – nearly 30 years in the making, The Veldt seem to be ready to shed their outsider status and be celebrated for their work. Even if their music won’t end up taking over the world this time, it will surely have far more impact than it did during the band’s original 90s run.