The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger with Circulatory System at the 40 Watt Club. Athens, GA 5/18/2015

I learned a new word this week. Sean Lennon made it up. The word is “womenis.” It’s pronounced “wim-ee-niss,” and it’s the female equivalent of “mangina.”

He got on this subject while referring to the video for The GOASTT’s Moth to a Flame, in which bandmate Charlotte Kemp-Muhl eats him. He clarified that she doesn’t eat him in a sexual way, but rather in the traditional sense of consuming him as food. That made me 2 for 2 this week for reviewing bands with videos in which they are cannibalized. The first band to be cannibalized was Icky Blossoms with their video for In Folds.

I was awestruck by the song Poor Paul Getty, inspired by the true story of J. Paul Getty III, grandson of oil Tycoon J. Paul Getty, who was once believed to be the wealthiest man in the world. At the age of 16, Getty III was kidnapped and held for ransom. When his family refused to pay the $17 million dollars the kidnappers demanded- believing the kidnapping to be a hoax perpetrated by Getty III himself to fund a boheminan lifestyle in which the young man participated in left-wing demonstrations- his kidnappers cut off Getty III’s ear and mailed it to the press. At that point, his grandfather negotiated a deal with the kidnappers to reduce the ransom and paid for his grandson’s release. According to an article in The New York Times, his grandfather refused to come to the phone when Getty III called to thank him for paying the ransom that set him free. Damn.

I tried not to mention Sean’s father, really I did. Yet I could not resist noticing some wonderful similarities between Poor Paul Getty and John Lennon’s John Sinclair. The Lennons are really good at spinning true tales of the downtrodden that command people to wake up and listen while they clue us in to just how messed up the world can be.

One of the night’s most notable song medleys was La Carotte Bleu/Jardin du Luxembourg. These songs show just how well Sean Lennon can shred on the guitar. His chops are impressive; outstanding in fact. He lulled the devoted crowd at Athens’ 40 Watt Club with his guitar’s psychedelic wail.

Speaking of Sean’s guitar, it’s a beauty. The headstock appears Fender-esque, but the body is more like that of a Gibson. There is a single f-hole on the left side of the body. Once the show was over, Sean laid the guitar flat on its back on the stage and the roadies took over from there. I looked at the headstock and realized it was a brand of guitar I’d never heard of before; a Bilt S.S. Zaftig. The color was a sparkling, metallic deep turquoise, probably a custom color because I could not find another Zaftig online in the same color. According to the Bilt Guitars website, the Zaftig has a “full curvy body,” and they encourage us to Google the word. I must admit that I didn’t know what ‘zaftig’ meant until I was 35, but I Googled it anyway to get the official definition. As it turns out, the meaning of the word ‘zaftig’ is in the guitar’s description- having a full curvy body; pleasingly plump. So there you have it.

The show opened with Athens’ psychedelic rock heroes Circulatory System. They gave their hometown crowd an energetically electrifying, all-encompassing representation of their musical catalog, including their self-titled debut, Signal Morning and Mosaics Within Mosaics.

For a portion of their set, Elephant 6 alumnus Robert Schneider of The Apples in Stereo joined Circulatory System onstage. His hauntingly ethereal vocals added an additional layer of lovely surreality to an already surreal set. It’s beautiful how the members of E6 can effortlessly transition from one instrument to another and one band to another, helping each other out and sharing in the joy of their truly stellar musical collective.

This was a great show by both bands. If you missed it, don’t worry… Charlotte has family in Georgia, and she and Sean generally come to Athens more than just once a year.

Being local, Circulatory System- or some incarnation thereof- plays Athens often. Check them out; they are more than worthy of your time.

Setlist for The GOASTT:
Too Deep
Xanadu
Animals
Midnight Sun
La Carotte Bleu/Jardin du Luxembourg
Poor Paul Getty
Johannesburg
Golden Earrings
The Devil You Know
Moth to a Flame
Long Gone (Syd Barrett cover)

Setlist for Circulatory System:
Prehistoric
Just in Time to See You All
If You Think About it Now
Stars & Molecules
A Peek
Particle Parades
Woodpecker Greeting Worker Ant
Aerial View of a Heart (From Above)
Bakery Spires
Signal Morning
The Lovely Universe
Diary of Wood
Days to Come/Yesterday’s World (joined onstage by Robert Schneider)

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