Mother Onion; Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge

Psychedelic – a word from way back! The dictionary says ‘producing hallucinations’: the band says ‘good vibe’ is the key and the ridiculously awkward word ‘eclecticism’ is the one they would like to hear.

Question is, when does an eclectic mix become an unbridled mish-mash without boundaries and does it matter as long as there is an underlay of quality sprinkled with tangible commitment?

Mother Onion, with Chris Booth, Martin Gardiner, Ben Watson and Oliver Perry, want to be different, with a ‘visual approach’ added to a soundscape which tacks through myriad, musical styles and themes.

The band ‘kicked off’ at 10pm in front of a packed Puzzle, an audience in thrall, a buzz of expectation – come on, forget the hype, get on with ‘the vibe’!

An apocalyptic fist of sound burst into our heads, rhythm and beat in the lead, vocal clarity not the need, much of it on their new launch album: old-fashioned, hard and, occasionally, unreconstructed rock with a mind to impress, repress and generally disturb with its power.

Sadly, against unchallengeable instrumental dominance, particularly from keyboard, voices were diminished to poverty, to a degree which somewhat detracted from the intelligence of the performance and gave clarity and eloquence no role to play.

Appealing it certainly was in its beat, loudness, bravery and impact.

Tinkering with the mix and balance of sound, demonstrating versatility and deciding on the role for the voice – or not - could move this new cauldron of talent on to greatness.

Mother Onion will play The Shears Inn on September 8.

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