Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets
This should not have worked.
Nick Mason, the sometimes overlooked key cog in Pink Floyd, teams up with later day Dave Gilmour bassist Guy Pratt, Blockheads guitar player Lee Harris, lurking in the background The Orb’s keyboard player Dom Bergen and surprisingly, Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet (that’s Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet) to recreate partly the Syd era Floyd and further post-Piper antics. Even typing that sentence out feels odd. These are not the names you would have gone for in a recreation of one of the great holy moments in freak rock.
But they don’t just pull it off at the spiritual home of all things psych and tripped out where Pink Floyd themselves played in its initial flurries, they knock it out of the solar system. This band are an unholy trinity of tripped out genius who take the ancient songs of the early Floyd and turn them inside out. Somehow they not only lovingly recreate the splendour of the sound the early band had – whose influence is deep in UK guitar music from the obvious prog and lysergic but also a big influence on punk, Britpop and beyond but they also take the songs on a trip.
Songs like the glorious opening triumphate, triple whammy of Interstellar Overdrive, Astronomy Domine and Lucifer Sam to set their stall and then underline their credentials with a dark and thrilling version of the long-lost Vegetable Man. There were many other highpoints like a perfect See Emily Play a tripped out Set Your Controls For The Heart Of The Sun and other later Floyd moments like The Nile Song.
It was like watching prime time Floyd with all its outer space series of adventure. They explored, they tripped out and then they came back to those riff chassis of one of the most classic UK bands all the time. This was no mere nostalgia trip. They made the ancient sound modern and they got right to the core of what this music was about and they also underlined just what a brilliant drummer Nick Mason is and just what a key part of that original sound he was, always making the songs really swing in a mind-melting way.
That was not the only revelation though – who knew that Gary Kemp was so in touch with his lysergic side and this kind of music. His vocals and guitar did everything justice. He was unassuming, respectful and perfect – this could be his finest moment.
Saucerful of Secrets are no secret any more. They are the must-see band of anyone who cares about British guitar music. They have more dates lined up and must be a shoe-in for Glastonbury and other British festivals next summer…