Day 2, (see Day 1 here), of Eindhoven Psych Lab commenced with a leisurely breakfast, fit for a king, courtesy of the Hampshire Hotel – Crown Eindhoven. Offered as part of a combined early booking event ticket, it epitomises the organisers’ flawless attention to detail. This is the second year I have had the pleasure of staying in this most comfortable four star accommodation, almost literally a stone’s throw from the Effenaar venue.
By the start of proceedings on the Saturday afternoon, the temperature had dropped around 13 degrees on the previous day. This made for a welcome mellowing of pace, particularly following the previous evening’s aural onslaught – yielding endless opportunities to shoot the breeze with all and sundry fellow miscreants, you know who you all are… x
Photo – Patrick Spruytenburg
Bonnacons of Doom get the show back on the road in the Main Lab, shot blasting away any residual cobwebs with their sonic slaughterhouse. If anyone had forgotten why they were in Eindhoven, the gauntlet was mercilessly thrown down, but only after giving you a good slapping about with it first!
Saarbrücken itinerants, Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas of Pretty Lightning take to the Observatory stage, and delight with their folky “Ooze/Blooze”. I had been looking forward to catching local lads made good, PAUW – but sadly they have been forced to cancel, allowing Electric Eye another shot at a crowd free-ish from the daze of RMFTM / The Cosmic Dead, who they had the unenviable task of following onto the Observatory stage, the night before. The social vortex swallowed up my opportunity to see In Zaire, so I’ll look forward to catching their “PSYCH SPACE ROCK from Italy” next time.
As I own pretty much every conceivable, (cheers Cardinal Fuzz), exotic vinyl combination released thus far by Kikagaku Moyo / 幾何学模様, to say I had been somewhat looking forward to finally consummating the physical side of the ritual, is something of an understatement! Words almost fail me in fumbling for metaphors to help express their textured virtuosity. There was chiaroscuro in abundance, as they breezed through an all too brief précis of their distinguished repertoire. I will just let their music do the talking…
The Kikagaku Moyo / 幾何学模様 magic carpet ride had carried me so far off into innerspace, that it is only with the crushing realisation that I’ve only caught the last 5 minutes of the Dead Rabbits’ set, that I grasp how far the Main Lab has drifted from the timetable.
Dead Rabbits, for some unknown reason, are one of the very few vinyl omissions from my personal Fuzz Club canon. The albeit brief climax was however ample justification to purchase a limited edition picture disc of ‘The Ticket That Exploded’.
Photo – Patrick Spruytenburg
I had already been suffering gnawing concerns as to the known, scheduled overlap between The Cult Of Dom Keller and Desert Mountain Tribe, the Main Lab overrun sadly resulted in a “one or the other” dilemma. Apologies on this occasion go to The Cult Of Dom Keller – I was gutted to miss your set.
Pretty much since I’d first heard DMT’s eponymous EP last year I had been itching to see them play live, there had however been that small matter of the bloody Irish Sea to factor into the equation!
At last year’s Lab, I had the pleasure of chatting on and off with Philipp and Felix while they manned the Fuzz Club Records stall, I also took the opportunity to add a red vinyl copy of their EP to the black one already in my possession. No doubt buoyed from recently recording their eagerly anticipated debut album, DMT’s playing is tight as fuck. They command the Observatory stage and are clearly enjoying themselves.
‘Take A Ride’ was one of my standout tracks from last year, it’s Reeperbahn themed kaleidoscopic video was a true visual feast. Played live, the track is massive, showcasing the driving Jahn brothers’ throbbing backbeat, all the while complimented by Jonty Balls’ soaring guitar and measured vocals. This is a track and a set guaranteed to keep the packed room swaying! Closing track, I am reliably informed by Mike Goodsoul, has the working title of ‘The Long One’ – which yields yet another powerhouse performance from this trio. That new LP cannot arrive soon enough.
Mdou Moctar obliquely continue the desert theme, their colourful tuareg Saharan psych brings a mesmeric funk vibe to proceedings. Antwerp 5 piece Bed Rugs bring a lush psych pop sensibility to bear combined with Everly Brothers like harmonies. London based Toy bring a darker element to the Main Lab stage, their set however is a direct clash with The Lucid Dream – one of the weekend’s must see’s for me.
Carlisle’s The Lucid Dream are a band from the borderlands, no strangers to pushing new frontiers – that they do it with such swagger and poise underlines the work ethic that has rightly brought them such well deserved critical acclaim. As a proud owner of their limited edition of 750 half green, half blue eponymous 2015 LP, and follow up to 2013’s ‘Songs Of Lies And Deceit’, I had been relishing the prospect of hearing these songs performed live.
With their reputation preceding them, Mark Emmerson – Vocals, Guitar, Wayne Jefferson – Guitar, Keys, Mike Denton – Bass, Backing Vocals and Luke Anderson – Drums, Percussion own that fucking stage and they know it, the crowd too for that matter. As a rule and without the aid of a setlist, I am utter shite at remembering the names of all the tracks – however it has to be said that The Lucid Dream are one of those bands that you feel almost compelled to sing along with, such is the anthemic quality in everything they touch.
How in the fuck Mark Emmerson manages to bob and weave his way through the set with his sunglasses intact upon his head will remain one of life’s great mysteries! It all adds to the presence, the kudos, the sheer bloody mindedness of their sonic boom. This is music for and of the trip, it conjures elation then heaps euphoric exultation on top – an absolute joy to have witnessed, sending the masses cartwheeling off into the night.
In almost too stark a contrast to the legal high that was The Lucid Dream, doom droners Earth had been another band I’d been looking forward to. There is just something special for me about seeing the first Gibson Explorer of the weekend, and even though I may never learn how to play one, I suspect that one of these days I will end up owning one! Dylan Carlson has been pioneering drone doom since the early 90’s and is credited along with The Melvins for defining the genre. The minimal repetition is punctuated with textured elements of country and jazz. With otherworldly, macabre and diabolical tritones in abundance, the down tuned riffage somehow bludgeons yet caresses in equal measure.
With the scheduled programme now pretty much fubar’d beyond recognition, The Telescopes sadly become another casualty of the stage overlaps, their unique brand of “beyond the realm of natural vision” will just have to wait for another day.
Every now and again, you hear or see a band that leave you with a sense of bewilderment as to how they have managed to evade your radar thus far. The Soft Moon for me were one such band. I have it on good authority from fellow musicologist Bob Darlington, that The Soft Moon are a band that people either love or they hate – well I for one love them to bits, what can you say, “haters gonna hate”.
As an unabashed teenager of the 80’s, I am a sucker for producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist Luis Vasquez’s post-punk, industrial, darkwave, gothic bombast. The combined elemental nods to my beloved Killing Joke, NIN, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, The Cure, Cocteau Twins et al, are here blended and re-chanelled with introspective dexterity without succumbing to pastiche or mere imitation.
This was a spectacle with verve and dynamic animation, shapes were thrown, transcending and blurring the boundaries between genre and medium.
I was genuinely that impressed that I hot-footed it to their merch table and snapped up a copy of ‘Zeros’ and ‘Deeper’ for posterity.
Black Bombaim had been on my wish list ever since snagging a copy of ‘Far Out’ on luscious red vinyl, subsequently joined by a limited edition, Banha da Cobra winged skull t-shirt – both courtesy of Dave Cambridge and Cardinal Fuzz.
I was fortunate enough to catch Black Bombaim last year at Liverpool Psych Fest and they roundly blew my socks off! It is a pleasure to catch them again and their slabs of “heavy Acid 70’s” prove the “confirmation of a band that lives from the strength and determination of surgical improvisation, the ambience of a doped up bass, the power of reckless drumming and wailing fuzz-wah drenched guitars and keys”.
Powerhouse trio, Ricardo – The Guitar, Tojo – The Bass and Senra – The Drums are tonight joined on the Observatory stage by Pedro Sousa – The Saxophone. The spaced out jams and wailing sax prove a fitting finale that leaves me floating as I depart the venue.
The mind may have been willing but unfortunately the body called a halt to proceedings around 01:00, which sadly meant that, Helsinki’s K-X-P in their guise of “Original-Electronic-Motorhead-Space-Trance-Spiritual-Rock-Meditation-FreeJazz-Godz”, and Amsterdam duo zZz “known for their brutal and intense live performances and their massive sound”, will have to remain on my to see list for the time being.
This year I was grateful that myself and concert-going co-pilot Eddie J Doherty had opted to spend the extra day in Eindhoven, chilling out and allowing the embrace of the previous two days to uncoil naturally – without the clamour of cattle-class heading home to douse the spirit.
I can categorically state for the second year in succession, that if there is only Festival I manage to get to next year – it will be Eindhoven Psych Lab.
That the creators of Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia, Tom Lynch and Craig Pennington have had the vision to transform their embryonic desire for a regional nucleus into an international triumph is to be applauded on every level. Factor in the Effenaar venue and their dedicated behind the scenes team, and you have a match made in psychedelic heaven.
Roll on next year…