Metallica were the biggest name in metal at SXSW '09. Reunited early-Seventies Japanese monsters Flower Travellin' Band were the biggest thrill, playing at vintage strength on the final date of their first-ever U.S. tour. The set included flaming chunks of the band's 1971 apex, the album-length suite Satori (originally on Atlantic Japan), with guitarist Hideki Ishima re-creating his searing-raga sustain on a sitarla (a custom guitar with a sitarlike neck) and singer Akira "Joe" Yamanaka still hitting the extreme highs in his operatic-samurai range. The group also played songs from a new prog-leaning studio album, We Are Here (Pony Canyon), but beginners should start with reissues: the brutalized Savoy Brown and King Crimson covers on 1970's Anywhere and the guaranteed enlightenment of Satori.
Fricke's Picks: Flower Travellin' Band
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