Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe live from The Ruby Lounge, Manchester
Far Out caught 2015s most unlikely yet most entrancing psychedelic pairing at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge on the duo’s string of live dates. Following the release of their debut record I Declare Nothing, their essence of magnetism draws a crowd into their encapsulating live show, backed up by a full band.
You can’t comprehend the tall beauty of Tess Parks’ unique and smoke-laden voice until you hear it live. It’s hypnotic. With the live reverberation of the band behind them, Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe are a thicker force than on record, as their kaleidoscopes of sound spin infectiously amongst a Ruby Lounge crowd stunned to tranquillity.
A slow groove spreads with ‘Wehmut’. “It’s hard to say what’s on my mind, all friends are gone…” captivatingly spools Parks as she leans into the microphone with wide eyes and a poignantly raised chin, immersed in her spellbinding vocal performance.
‘Cocaine Cat’ somehow sounds grittier yet cooler than on record, as a relaxed stage presence breezes infectiously across the venue like coils of soothing circling smoke. We inhale a drool of pacifying psych.
‘Peace Defrost’ sees oomphs of sounds collide like crashing waves, as bass whooshes the track forward in a slow build, with tangles of intoxicating guitar. Parks leans back, bellowing her words with a raspy and ferociously sweeping soft-roar. At times it’s hard to depict the words Parks pronounces, but this somehow makes her enactment even more bewitching. We are lost and captured in our own minds in a magic collision of noise, as we hear Parks drone, ‘you let your mind wander…’
Looping in a slow build of waves of complimentary guitars, ‘German Tangerine’ circles with mystery. Parks is alluringly menacing. A hazy sound is kicked into entrancingly gripping life in its live element, as ‘German Tangerine’’s darker tones begin to dance like a flickering fire which coolly smolders in the wind.
Anton Newcombe’s backing vocals spark into action on ‘Gone’, echoing a contrast to Parks’ smoky tones. Newcombe injects an energy into the pair’s most rock ‘n’ roll edged track as he echoes an earnest, “our love is dead is gone!” In performance, ‘Mama’ beholds a greater feeling as it lusciously drifts around the ears, escalating into more winding layers of instrumentation than can be heard on the track.
‘Friendlies’ is the song that resonates as the most atmospheric, we become immersed, as if underwater. It’s clear the works of the duo’s album I Declare Nothing are most effectively experienced in their fleshed out and intricate live detail. Ending on a Doors cover of ‘Five To One’, Parks, Newcombe and the band spread their dark psychedelic moods into a creditable reworking, instilled with the charismatic spark of the psych-rock pairing.
If there is one thing that can be clearly seen in tonight’s show, it is that Anton Newcombe is clearly passing on the baton to his novice. On Ruby Lounge’s stage this evening, Newcombe’s talent is a collected cool, in comparison to Parks’ devouring charisma.
Though I Declare Nothing would have been lesser without Newcombe’s creative flare of input, it’s clear tonight Parks was the enigmatic star of the show. And with just deserves.