Live Review: The Tea Party

17 November 2015 | 2:02 pm | James Dawes

"Their enthralling animated stage presence, reminiscent of the iconic Jim Morrison, commanded attention."

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"Let's all get on a journey together, shall we?"

Marking the 20th anniversary of their third album, The Edges Of Twilight, which pushed their music into the mainstream, The Tea Party delivered two polished and dynamic sets. The reunited trio graced the intimate Gov stage with their magical gloom and Led Zeppelin-worshipping elegance, hypnotising the teenagers of the '90s with majestic charisma, precision and a raw hard-rock authenticity.

Jeff Martin's palate-cleansing acoustic guitar swept through the sold out venue and set the scene to a colourful evening of mystical, Indian and Middle Eastern, swirling resonances. The first guitar swap of the night initiated a seat-rattling, ear-bleeding, power riff of thunderous bass and ruthless drum grooves mixed with the deep, rocking crooner vocals of frontman Martin. Throughout the night, a wide array of traditional instruments such as the sitar and hurdy-gurdy were used to produce rippling reverberations, as did Stuart Chatwood's synthesised, sub bass creating intense drones and heart-pumping reveries. Their love of Led Zeppelin was evident in Martin's use of the double neck electric guitar and violin bow soundscapes of harmonic overtones that led into the cover of Kashmir, which drew raucous applause from the crowd as the band paid homage to their heroes.

The visuals opened up everyone's third eye and shaped a three-dimensional voyage that intensified as the night went on. Their enthralling animated stage presence, reminiscent of the iconic Jim Morrison, commanded attention. Martin's hand gestures built an enigmatic aura and during an atmospheric pulse, his arm movements theatrically sculpted the sound of the warping synth.

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Despite Martin's alluring presence, he didn't steal the show as the rhythm section delivered an equally compelling performance. The drumming of Jeff Burrows provided spiritual tribal rhythms of a high calibre that threw the audience into a trance from the word go and exploded with menacing beats that steered the ship through a saturated portrait of disparity. Locking in with Burrows, Stuart Chatwood's oozing motifs filled the room with epic bass frequencies that infiltrated the mind, body and soul of each person in The Gov. The sonic capabilities were endless for The Tea Party, as each member offered more than just their instrument, filling out the spectral soundscape with wallowing echoes.

The Tea Party fused hard, driving riffs with cosmic, percussive patterns that appeared effortless and inspiring — well deserving of their sold out crowd.