12 years!…i’ll say that again: 12 YEARS! I have waited 12 years to see this, my favourite band.

Back in ’96 when the Trey Spruance released the mighty ‘First Grand Constitution and Bylaws‘, I was frankly blown away, the crazy mix of Eastern/electro/break-beat/metal was just what the world needed, even though the world barely noticed (a normal symptom of music-fans it seems). Since that first album release (I Know they released some vinyl prior to that, shhh!), we have been treated to an ever evolving slew of epic-genius and crazyness culminating in, to me, one of the greatest releases of all time in ‘Book of Horizons‘…and now I finaly get to see it live!

Cargo is a great venue, I saw Part Chimp and Bullet Union here not so long ago and it was one of the best times i’d seen both bands. Huge sprawling pipes on the walls, a really nice big bar area and a cool garden for us filthy smokers. I grab myself a tonne of merch and head into the main room to witness Zu.

Imagine getting Naked City‘s debut album, mixing it with Morphine‘s Yes and blending it all down into a slow melting pot with some Old Man Gloom thrown in for good measure and you’ve got Zu. Massive sprawling improvised epics of jazzcore and doom are their recipe, and oh boy do they do it loud! Even though the set was quite long, I was left hungry for more. I look foward to seeing these guys (maybe performing with Mike Patton) at ATP in December. 

Next up, after what seemed like an eternity of a wait, are the Secret Chiefs 3. Dressed like magickal masters in hoods and robes, they appear suddenly on the stage. ‘Medieval‘ is tonight’s opener featuring just 3 of the chiefs (see what i did there), which is a rythmic pleasure of Saz, drums and bass. The second song calls the remaining members to the stage (including Timb Harris from Estradasphere on Violin), and the journey truly begins! Eastern, traditionalist strings, huge sounding bass, epic keyboards and samples swirl around the stage reaching some truly epic highs. The highlight of the set for me are the older pieces from Book M and Second Grand Constitution and Bylaws, that space out into huge improvisations that defy even my high expectations. 

I leave the venue a very happy man; I have finally seen the Secret Chiefs 3, it all seems like a blur, but a very cool blur indeed! Trey Spruance really is a visionary musician, I can put my hand on my heart and say that I have never witnessed anything quite like what I have seen tonight, and heard on their records, and that, at least to me, is the sign of true greatness and originality. I cannot wait to see the these guys again, but lets hope it’s not another 12 year wait!

Ken Eakins

You can check out our exclusive two-part interview with Trey Spruance (featuring some generous audio clips of the music) on episodes 2 and 3 of the podcast here and here. From what I gather, the new album should be just around the corner, we’ll be sure to get an extensive review of it as early as possible on the site…keep em peeled!

About the Author

Ken Eakins is a filmmaker and weird stuff enthusiast from the South of England.

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