Festival Review: Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia

liv psych festLiverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia 2016

Liverpool, 23rd – 25th September 2016

Words: Nick Jacques

Photos: Gaz Jones

gehjw3htk4jmwpsgyi6sveo30hg1iqyzr_5wfk2heg0w-0aifsuuecsbeyceovyiyw1w-v6zg3u2iqqytl1178I arrived at the Camp & Furnace venue in the Baltic triangle area of Liverpool with high expectations for the International Festival of Psychedelia. With a wide ranging line up from indie-psych favourites Super Furry Animals to the Japanese titans of epic solo riffs Acid Mothers Temple, I was certainly looking forward to seeing these highly original bands and the masses of eclectic talent on show this weekend.

One of the highlights of the festival wasn’t anything to do with the music but the venue itself. Bands were spread across 4 separate stages which were all easy to gain access to. This made it feasible for punters to hop and skip from 1 stage to the other whilst still being able to watch the majority of their favourite acts without missing too much of their sets, on top of this there was an area dedicated entirely to the latest in virtual reality technology, the Pzsyk colony. There were 4 headsets available to get your kicks and it didn’t disappoint at all – the visions within the headsets fittingly reflected the festival’s associations with psychedelia.

This festival is living proof that psychedelic music has really made something of a come-back over the past 5 to 10 years. It’s not to say that this expansive and formidable music form ever disappeared, it was always quietly hovering in the background, pleasantly happy in its own world but with the increasing popularity of social media and rise of on-line music streaming websites such as Spotify, Youtube and Soundcloud, psychedelia is going through its biggest renaissance since its heyday of the 60s/70s period. Acts who performed over the weekend like Silver Apples and Harold Grosskopf are perfect examples of this. Their musical concepts already had a modern and contemporary feel when they first emerged back in the 60s/70s and now with access to these internet streaming services, this has brought them a fresh and curious audience. Watching 20 somethings bopping away to Silver Apples’ “hit” Oscillations was great to see. It gives you faith that music like this is still exciting people of ages and intriguing them.

So, with that in mind I’ll guide you over the course of 2 days where the finest in psychedelia blew my mind and many others away with their exhilarating brand of music of the spheres.


k4_htwdnj8_qwh8q97audupjfzbobglqp90gkokzsc0Barely a moment had passed when I saw my first band of the weekend Deja Vega kick start the proceedings in the Blade room. This threesome caught my attention almost immediately with their incisive and ferocious brand of heady krautrock. It caught me completely off guard. Liverpool Pzsyk festival had the set the bar high already and at this rate I was wondering if the festival would have enough tricks up its sleeve to keep the magic show going.

The next band I encountered were a different breed of animal altogether. Japanese band Minami Deutch took to the stage in the Camp hall and their motorik kicks and soulful krautrock grooves effortlessly carried me away to another mind space where I was quite content but then before disengaging with the environment around me, I realised then that I had to rush over the District stage to catch one of my recommendations for the weekend French trio Arlt.

Consisting of 2 guitarists and a singer, I wasn’t too sure if the crowd would take to them kindly enough but I was proved wrong by the band’s ingenuity to make the audience think otherwise. Both guitarists adopted a terrific jazzy and woozy effect which filled out the corners of district with little or no fault. The singer’s French baritone voice oozed Edith Piaf which made for refreshing viewing too.

Afterwards, I made my way over to the furnace stage area at a more leisurely pace and managed to catch the set for LA LUZ. A Seattle all-girl line up comprising the sounds of the Shadows, the Breeders and a hint of The Doors all mixed up into 1 intriguing package. They had quite an original sound and I could have watched them play longer but their set seemed to be over just as I was really getting into their “surf-noire” traits.

I hung around in the Furnace area and bopped away the BBC6 Music’s DJ Marc Riley who was playing some psych classics as you would expect; Pink Floyd’s Lucifer Same came creeping out of the speakers and I was having my own little freak-out boogie and before I knew it the crowd built up around me and I was in the grips of the next band Josefin Orhn + The Liberation. The swedes didn’t disappoint with their moody climatic psych rock work outs. Josefin Orhn, in particular, casting a spell over the crowd with her effortless stage presence and her whispery and silky vocals against a controlled guitar frenzy. With their new 2nd album out shortly, expect them to earn yet more plaudits for their efforts with minimal fuss.

With Gwenno up next I decided to psych myself up my replenishing my pint and flicking through the awesome record stall they had kindly set up, upstairs. This got in the mood for Gwenno, but I also missed a decent percentage of her show and ended up only watching the last few songs of her set but the crowd had definitely warmed to her and so did I. She had a strong affiliation with interacting with the crowd and they duly responded. Her blissful and slightly off-kilter electronica was well received and she managed to impress me with only a few songs left of her set. Gwenno has a lot of potential to go further and I only see her expanding her musical pallet to a bolder effect.

Then came arguably the band most people had been waiting to see, the Super Furry Animals. Although they were not on my Popped Music radar, it would be considered musical blasphemy not to at least mention SFA here. They delivered a headline show in the furnace that was bonkers but in equal measure brilliant. They showcased their hits, fan favourites such as the amazing opener Slow Life (1st track off Popped Pszyk fest playlist) amongst others, crowd-pleaser placards, power ranger masks and some greatly amusing crowd participation. It was a great show which SFA with all their experience know exactly what to do in order to garner such a reaction from the crowd.

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