Until very recently I thought that I had missed out on seeing The Heads live. Like many I had not discovered the band while they were active, only hearing them for the first time a few years ago. When I did it was a real point of revelation to me, and I can actually remember the moment when I first heard ‘Legavan Satellite’. One of only a handful of bands that have made such an impression on me. Arguably The Heads have never been so popular as they are now, a sure sign that they were ploughing their intense and heavy furrow well ahead of their time and only now, 20 years since their first release, are they getting the recognition that they deserve.
I finally got to see them in a warm up show for the Eindhoven Psych Lab earlier this year at the Lexington in London, and was totally blown away by their Sonic Attack; and it’s no coincidence that this is the title of the Cardinal Fuzz stage that the band are headlining. Like many I thought that I had taken my one chance to see them, but here they were again. As such there was a definite feeling of expectation in there air, and I was already bracing myself for the assault that was to come. As the band got underway with ‘Bedlam’ I got busy taking (far too many) photos as they got into the groove, already warmed up with the Kandodo5 set earlier. Being just in front of the stage and around the the side was a phenomenal experience with the sheer raw energy and sound that was coming out of the speakers. Even at this early point in the set I could tell that the band were winding up for something big.
Having finished with my photos I got myself back in the packed crowd where I like to be and just let myself go. ‘Quad’, ‘Widow’ and ‘KRT’ came and went, each more intense and seemingly heavier that the last. Then came ‘Cardinal Fuzz’, a favourite of mine and a key part of the set given that this was the ‘Cardinal Fuzz Sonic Attack’ stage: I thought that it was phenomenal and from then on the rest of the set was just a masterclass in raw power and a mind melting face ripping assault as The Heads blasted through ‘Long Gone’ and ‘Stodgy’, and finally and most memorably ‘Spliff’ which was one of the live music moments of my life as they locked into a groove that was so heavy and intense that it grabbed your very being and dropped you into a mess on the floor at the end. Utterly phenomenal!
The Heads thoroughly deserved the headlining status at this festival and will new live dates already set for next year look like continuing to destroy audiences into the future. Long may it continue.
You can find my other writing for Backseat Mafia here, including reports from this year’s Liverpool PsychFest.
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