My first visit to The Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia was an exhilarating and gritty experience. Based in the Baltic quarter of Liverpool and centred on the Camp/Furnace venues, a few roads had been closed to create the festival site which added a further two stages.
A good selection of fairly priced food, beer and coffee meant no one had to leave the site in search of sustenance, which was just as well as the music flowed non-stop across the various stages from 3pm on Friday and 1pm on Saturday though to 2am the next morning each day.
Not an acoustic guitar in sight all weekend (apart from Slug) Friday blasted off to the sounds of Vuelveteloca, wall of sound merchants from Chile and it was a psych Chilean afternoon as we also had impressive sets from The Ganjas and Chicos de Nazca. New discoveries straight away!
Dengue Fever were their usual fabulous selves but I think they expected a longer set than the 45 mins provided, as a band member was overheard afterwards saying they would have re-jigged the set song wise had they known. not that anyone noticed, it was great set anyway and marvellous to see this unique band again.
Jacco Gardner is a bit of a star these days; tight band, toe tapping great songs and nice voice. Just the perfect package.
Now, what band could make NIN sound like Simon & Garfunkel? That must be Destruction Unit who reduced the audience into wide-eyed submission under bright white lights after just one song. Perhaps the loudest band I have heard in over forty years of gigs!
Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe where far more subtle. A mesmeric set that was one of the true highlights of the festival.
Pinkshinyultrablast from Russia pretty much matched their name with, female vocals, shiny new songs and a lot of shoegazing power. A great set. After a couple of hours of stage hopping it was Carlton Melton who rounded off Friday with a brilliant widescreen sounding set.
One of the major hightlights of this festival was the light show on the two main stages, which on the Camp stage consisted of having the band on camera and then throwing a load of psychedelic colours around them which, was then projected behind the band and at the back of the venue. This meant that if you could not get anywhere near the front to see the band, you could just turn round and watch the projection behind.
Saturday kicks off for me with Radar Men from the Moon. Based in Eindhoven, it's more shoegazing/ psych being produced to a very high standard. The Flowers from Hell (well, Toronto and London) were something quite original as well as being the largest band of the weekend. Ethereal voices and a room filling sound was an early highlight of the day.
Meance Beach from Leeds hit all the garage rock buttons and were followed by the magnificent discovery of the quite beautiful sounds of Death and Vanilla, a band with ambient,Sigur ros leanings.
Hey Colossus played to a rammed one in one out District stage and nearly blew the roof off the place
Canada's No Joy had a 'hit you between the eyeballs', no chat, no fuss set followed by three bands that really again enhanced the feel that this weekend is all about new discoveries; Kandodo3, Cult of Dom Keller and Lumerians from San Francisco, The latter hooded space rock warriors.
Sunderland's Slug, part of the Field Music collective, had a main stage slot on Saturday evening but for some reason the psychedelic crowd were not ready for the bright pop and happy stage banter from this fine band. They gave it their all but it was pretty much a lost cause. A case of the wrong gene of band for the festival I guess.
Jane Weaver packed them in for her set. When she was announced for this festival earlier in the year she was not playing any other festivals. By the time she actually played in Liverpool it must have been around her 10th festival appearance of the summer.
A queuing system was put in place for Hookworms and Spiritualized, which meant I saw the last song of the former and the complete set of the latter which in turn meant missing The Heads for fear of not getting back in for the festival headliners. This was the first and only time I had this issue all weekend and wonder if there was a substantial uptake of day tickets on Saturday evening?
To say that the Spiritualized set was epic would be an understatement. As usual nothing other than a thank you from Jason Pierce but, a tighter band you could not wish for. Standing next to the guy doing the lighting, the amount of effort he was putting in over his board was nearly equally as compelling as watching the band themselves!
So a fine festival all round and one I will definitely return to.