Grandmaster: “Castle Door”

Watch out, Golden Dawn Arkestra…there’s a new costumed collective in town, and they’re hunting for for fresh converts! But instead of frenetic Afro-inspired dance grooves, these fanatics have so far stuck to the slower side of ’70s-style jazz funk rock; think War whisked together with Steely Dan.

Not that you’d be able to tell from your first look at ’em. Yeah…between their cloaked, crowned, and ember-eyed namesake leader (ceremonial thurible and staff ever at the ready) and ten black-suited, red-hatted, and white-gloved Zealots (eyes always redacted by clever lenses), Grandmaster is an great example of “appearances can be deceiving”. Creepy cult getups aside, in the sole year since their first performance, this eleven-piece has already indoctrinated an impressive sect of followers. And based on the caliber of those live stage-filling rituals, they won’t need much proselytizing to add a digit or two to their current numbers. Probably just a bigger place of worship.

Well right after winning an American Songwriter contest that re-united The Grandmaster with Bootsy Collins during SXSW, the cosmos smile once again ahead of Grandmaster’s Nolan Potter-produced self-titled debut. By that we mean they’ll be celebrating an album release show at The Paramount’s State Theatre 7PM this Saturday for The Grandmaster’s Gala, alongside openers Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band and Dodo. With proceeds benefitting the SIMS Foundation, and a sophomore follow-up already foretold in The Grandmaster’s prophecies, this Gala’s a good opportunity to catch the band before their concerts demand venues with larger capacities.

To any who still resist temptation, we point to Grandmaster‘s second incantation “Castle Door”. Because with a goblet-sloshing groove, a palace-spanning chord progression, and a truly regal arrangement, “Castle Door” lowers the yacht rock drawbridge and raises the prog-funk portcullis to one hell of a good time.


It goes without saying. But for the curious newbies: Acid Mothers Temple will rattle your ribcage and all organs contained therein. In other words, this is one of the most fulfilling live performances your soul will witness, an ensemble wholeheartedly committed to its magnificent craft, a mind meld of psych, metal, drudge and sludge weaving you into a trancelike state. Though at first one may be convinced it’s a wall of sound and nothing more, the gargantuan grooves make their way into the thundering, pulsating mass. This is why you’re swaying in time. As one reviewer stated, this badass band from Japan doesn’t just look like a troop of wizards. They are wizards.

Acid Mothers Temple returns to the ATX to melt faces tonight, Tuesday Oct. 17, at Hotel Vegas in the patio, with The Stargazer Lilies and Grandmaster on the bill. Doors at 6 p.m. Then join Neon Lemon and ST 37 for the afterparty on Hotel Vegas’ indoor stage, starting at 10 p.m. Bring the earplugs – but stand in front.