Lift to Experience

The Wee Review / Steven Fraser


It’s been 16 years since Texan band Lift To Experience last performed in Scotland. The band split up soon after and reformed last year to play the Guy Garvey curated Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre in London. Earlier this year a remastered version of the classic double concept album The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads was released and the band have reformed to celebrate this reissue and are performing a special show in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival.

Edinburgh band/musician Meursault have the pleasure of being the support act this evening. Neil Pennycook is joined onstage by a violinist/backing singer and they begin with a cover of a Rob St. John song. It is a somber and engaging opener and very apt for tonight’s show. Pennycook’s voice is powerful and sounds magnificent as it echoes around The Dissection Room in Summerhall. Earlier this year Meursault released the album I Will Kill Again on Song, By Toad Records and the singer is clearly enjoying returning to the venue of the album launch party.

The story behind the first release of The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads is an interesting one, where the religious imagery and second coming concept had many people dismiss the band as Christian rock with added feedback. Since its release and the demise of the band the album has grown in stature, partly due to Josh T. Pearson‘s successful solo career and partly due to the albums influence on countless folk, rock and country bands. Lift To Experience play psychedelic country rock that pulverises you brain, melts your face off and leaves you feeling exhausted. In a good way. The band are loud, ferocious and don’t hold back when it comes to performing with passion and integrity. Falling from Cloud 9 sounds even more transcendental when performed live than it does on record. Pearson’s vocals soar and rise above the searing feedback and the result is a transfixing live experience like no other.

The band consist of Josh T. Pearson, on vocals and guitar, Josh “The Bear” Browning on bass and Andy “The Boy” Young on drums. If you closed your eyes and just listen to the symphony of noise you would be forgiven for thinking that there were about 20 guitarists, drummers and bassists on stage. They are loud expansive and brutal in their approach. The Ground So Soft is introduced as a gospel song, but it builds and builds until it morphs into a wall of sound that almost has a physical punch. Lift To Experience are a force and hopefully we won’t have to wait another 16 years to experience their music in a live setting again. Live music continues at Summerhall throughout the Fringe and beyond with the Nothing Ever Happens Here curated programme of live shows.