(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
On the 1st of June 2007, Ozric Tentacles played a monumental gig at the Sunrise Celebration Festival in Somerset, England. The band were very surprised at the atmosphere of the festival noting that the furnishings and organization were the kind of thing that they hadnít witnessed for years in the British festival scene. The Ozrics had a little surprise (or three) in store for everyone that showed up to the show as well. This was the first time that Joie Hinton and Merv Pepler had appeared with the group in over twelve years. These days, the duo are part of the rave techno outfit Eat Static which has gained them as much or more popularity as they had in Ozrics.
Perhaps an even bigger shocker would be the move that sent Brandi Wynne from occasional keyboards and dancing to a much more demanding position as the bandís bass player. When I first saw that she was playing bass for the band now, I canít deny that I wasnít sure at all how this was going to work out. After a couple songs though, I was convinced that this was not only a good move but I wondered why they hadnít done this a long time ago. Brandi is an excellent player and while she does seem a bit apprehensive in her stage presence, she totally rocked the gig.
As a longtime fan of this band, I would say that this is a simply mind-blowing performance. I had a feeling Joie was going to be good and his electronic antics are as good as they were back when he was in the band. Even though Merv hadnít even been playing drums for over a decade, he is on fire here. If this all wasnít enough, Ed Wynne puts on the absolute greatest guitar performance of his life. I guess this whole gig inspired everyone, but Edís playing here is totally remarkable!
The set list features all older tunes from the bandsí first few albums and they perform them all pretty amazingly. Every track is strong and it would be almost useless to pick any favorites. One think I noted was that the band seems to pick up steam on each track. What is really unbelievable about this performance is that Joie and Merv did an entire Eat Static set immediately following this one.
I guess this was only a one-time performance but I really hope Brandi stays in her bass spot. Of everything in this show, her performance was the biggest revelation. She took a lot of flack for her performance at Nearfest a few years ago and Iím sure she got criticism for other gigs she had played. Any normal musician would have hid their head in the sand but it takes a very special person to be able to come back with a performance like this.
The Sunrise Festival comes as a CD+DVD package in a luxurious digipak with a 16 page color booklet featuring loads of photos and a behind-the-scenes coverage of the festival from Ed Wynne himself. The sound quality of the recording is excellent and the DVD is intense, with clear picture quality, great editing and lots of extremely trippy visuals. You just canít go wrong in picking this one up.