Tonight, crowds of psych loyalists have descended on Hebden Bridge for a rather special night of music courtesy of White Rabbit Promotions. The Trades Club is a fantastic venue that can compete with any of those present in the big cities, if not out do them. The light displays enhance the mood ensuring a full sensory experience.
Opening proceedings we have a band who are only 10 months into their lifespan, but with a sound this big, you would never have guessed it. The Goa Express, a five piece who draw influence from hypnotic psychedelia, fuzzed up garage and just a touch of the blues. They churn out tracks that wouldn’t be out of place on any Nuggets compilation, before taking a blues turn to end the set, channelling more than a hint of The Rolling Stones (except younger and prettier).
‘Spacewoman’ has a riff that leaps straight from the 70s and ‘Lizards’ has a rhythm section so catchy it is impossible not to move your feet. There is a lot of energy flowing from the stage and the crowd are feeding from it, jiving along contentedly. Based on tonight’s set and with dates already confirmed in Derby and Manchester in the upcoming months, I anticipate that we will be seeing their name a lot more.
Purple Heart Parade are a mainstay on the northern psych circuit with their blissed out shoegaze rhythms. Having had a recent reshuffle, they are back up to a quintet and the sound is enhanced as a result.
‘Drifter’, with its lulling melody is a favourite to anyone in the know, and it is a pleasure to hear it here tonight. ‘Midnight Burn’ offers jangling guitar riffs and effected vocals draws the listener in before it takes off with a pure fuzz explosion. ‘Starfucker Blues’ is the stand out of the set, with its bouncing combination of rhythm section and guitar twirls, whilst singer Peter Cowap spews forth evocative lyrics. They are well received at The Trades Club and with a change of personnel it will be interesting to see what 2017 has in store for them.
The Lucid Dream are Carlisle’s leading musical export, flying the flag and setting the standard for many who have proudly followed in their footsteps. The crowd have travelled far and wide for tonight’s session, which tells you something in itself. Having formed in 2008 and with three albums under their belt plus a stream of sold out singles, The Lucid Dream are a tour de force, going from strength to strength with every rotation.
Opening with ‘Mona Lisa’ from their second self-titled LP released in 2015, a song that builds through instrumental repetition and is the perfect way to open any set, its no wonder its become a mainstay. ‘Cold Killer’ also comes from the second album and is an uplifting track with racing riffs and a tempo to keep you on your toes.
‘Bad Texan’ is the first single taken from their latest LP Compulsion Songs, which was released on Holy Are You Recordings in September. The lengthy track has a persistence within the music which is encapsulated by the use of all musical elements at their disposal, plus a synth swoon thrown in for good measure. It’s a really dance-along song and the crowd here oblige happily. ‘I’m A Star in My Own Right’ is a fantastic choice for tonight with its ska vibe, racing vocals and persistent drum beat which sets the heart soaring, add in that bass line which would be at home with any of the reggae greats and you get quite a heady mixture.
They tie off with a triple attack in the form of ‘21st Century’, ‘Nadir’ and ‘Epitaph’, the last three tracks from Compulsion Songs. The first of which is possibly their shortest track to date, and sees Mark uncharacteristically screaming into the microphone. With such a vibrating energy emanating, it blends perfectly into ‘Nadir’, another effected number with a heavy bass driving the track and repeated lyrics ensue before building in layered intensity, something which has become somewhat of a specialty of theirs. One of their more experimental numbers, it showcases the progression of the bands sound when compared to earlier offerings. ‘Epitaph’ is an eleven minute number and a perfect ending to a fantastic set. It sets the last of the still bodies to motion and they bow out to rapturous applause. We are treated to an encore, but for everyone present it is all over much to soon and over an hour set has passed in a heartbeat.
We have been treated to three fantastic performances tonight, and the mood is buoyant as people begin to make their retreat to the train station in time for the last train. The Lucid Dream are in the form of their lives, with every performance eclipsing the last – where can they go next? Only time will tell…