Ozric Tentacles / Project RnL [Live Review – O2 Academy Islington, London, 19/3/2016]

Ozric Tentacles Project RnL Live Review London O2 Academy Islington 19 March 2016

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You probably know how it feels to follow a band across the immaterial expanse of the Internet for years, and get super hyped up when you finally get the chance to see them live. When you were going through that experience, a lot of thoughts probably crossed your mind.

Is the show going to be worth the trip?

What if it all goes wrong?

That kind of thing.

Imagine, then, the level of pressure placed on the band themselves. When expectations run high, you need to bring not just your A-game, but something of even higher quality. In London last night, Project RnL (97%) brought everything they needed – and then some.

Project RnL have made a sizeable name for themselves online, dropping epic videosong after epic videosong onto YouTube and watching them take off. Last night’s show saw Project RnL unleash several of their videosong classics in London while throwing in multiple extended improvisational spots. Hearing RnL’s inventive and innovative fusion of jazz-funk fusion, prog, and pop evolve to a new level, like a Pokémon, was an awesome experience.

I’ve been constantly bombarded with new music for years – and yet I’ve never heard anything quite like Twisted Truth, Another One, Lullaby, Latin Dream, Wake, or All Stuck Ups. Project RnL’s originals are genuinely unique, crammed with playful chaos, taking in everything from extended guitar, bass, and keyboard solo showcases to drumming marathons, Transformer-having-a-heart-attack synth freakouts, and six-string-versus-four-string duels. Then you have RnL’s covers, the choices as unexpected as the degree of mid-song mutation: Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger; Blur’s Song 2; Pomplamoose’s Expiration Date; and Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady.

In the comments section below YouTube videos, people often question whether or not a band can “do it live”. On last night’s evidence, Project RnL can not just do it live, but take a set that’s already mind-melting on paper and take it over the edge. Absolutely exceptional.

According to their bio, Ozric Tentacles (92%) aim “to harmoniously unite all in attendance, and create portals for astral travel. Most fans and listeners report feelings of euphoria, an immediate connection to nature as well as others around them, and intense feelings that they have transported to other dimensions or met with other-worldly beings. It’s an open exploration of music and the soul.”

Personally, that doesn’t sound like my thing on paper – but in reality, the Ozrics grooved hard enough to win me over anyway. Compressing psychedelia, prog, and electronic music into constantly mutating soundscapes backed up with completely out-there visuals, Ozric Tentacles’ fans were definitely experiencing some kind of intense connection. The kind of obvious love and dedication that the Ozrics have inspired doesn’t come easily – and they’ve definitely earned it.

Overall: A wonderful, awe-inspiring, and intelligent show.

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Posted on 20 March 2016

2 responses to “Ozric Tentacles / Project RnL [Live Review – O2 Academy Islington, London, 19/3/2016]”

  1. Jeremy Shotts says:

    I was there too.
    I agree with every word.
    They just keep getting better. (Project RnL that is… OTs were pretty good too but RnL had the show…)

    • musicalmeltingpot says:

      I’d agree with that! I was surprised by Ozric Tentacles – they’re not my usual thing, but I enjoyed it, and they definitely have a die-hard fanbase for a reason :)

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