When the word spread that there was to be no more Eindhoven Psych Lab‘s taking over the Effenaar for two days a year, there was a collective sigh of dismay from the psych community worldwide. So when London’s Fuzz Club Records announced that they were hosting an event with much the same vibe, a cheer was heard throughout the cosmos.
Hundreds have made the pilgrimage to Eindhoven, the Netherlands, from across the globe to witness what is certain to be an event that will not easily be forgotten with a line-up that is quite simply outstanding for anyone of a psychedelic persuasion.
Southampton’s Dead Rabbits are the first band I make it to the venue for (after a flight delay and mad dash through the city), and after being quiet for a while they are a welcome inclusion for many. Their set includes the pulsating harmonies of ‘Gave You My Love’, the characteristic vocal drawl and haunting riffs of ‘Someday’ from 2016 LP Everything Is A Lie and their anthem ‘It’s All In Her Head’ from 2013’s The Ticket That Exploded. Dead Rabbits have become an established name in the underground psych scene and with such fine sets as that, it’s not hard to see why.
Australians Spirit Valley released their latest album Negatives on Fuzz Club in August 2017 and have been a fixture on people’s radar ever since. The post-punk tendencies of the dynamic duo create an explosive live performance that sees the space fill to capacity as curious bods enter to find out more. The set is explosive from start to finish and it’s impressive that only two are making such an embodied sound. The stand out track is undoubtedly title track ‘Negatives’ with its hypnotic beat and haunting vocal effects which take hold and won’t let up. They are cheered off stage and the general chatter is that they have made more than a few new fans this afternoon.
Josefin Öhrn are one of the none Fuzz Club bands on the bill tonight and the Swede’s are a big attraction factor for many. They offer a blend of blissed out psychedelia that is more accessible than some available this weekend and this adds to their popularity. Their set contains the best of their back catalogue from Rocket Recordings and they are whooped and cheered in all the right places.
A huge attraction of today’s billing was the inclusion of Austin’s Holy Wave who have just commenced an extensive European tour. Their unique blend of sun drenched psychedelia sees the main room packed in advance and their set tonight beats all expectations. They play tracks such as ‘Western Playland’ from 2016 LP Freaks of Nature which was also recorded as part of the Fuzz Club Sessions series. Other highlights include the probing bass line of ‘Do You Feel It?’ from 2014’s Relax which sees the front of the crowd moving in perfect sway. The set is executed perfectly, and despite the false ending which lead to minor dismay (they came back for more), the crowd lapped them up. Listening to the general conversation afterwards, everyone agreed – they were sublime.
Spectrum, fronted by Pete Kember, a founding member of Spacemen 3, attract attention because of their illustrious leadership and always draw a crowd as a result. Standing out from the entirely on point set is ‘(I Love You) to the Moon and Back’ which sees the crowd swooning along happily and by far the biggest cheer of the day so far comes from the opening notes of ‘Big City (Everybody I Know Can Be Found Here), the opening track from the 1991 album Recurring which was to be Spacemen 3’s final offering. Not one to tour regularly, Fuzz Club pulled it out of the bag getting them here tonight and most agree that this is not something you’ll experience every day.
I unfortunately have to sacrifice most of Medicine Boy’s set due to the unfortunate overhang on either side, but the two tracks I catch are intriguing and well delivered. The room is packed so plenty have taken the time to see them. With a new album set for release on 5th October, this will be a duo I will watch closely.
A Place to Bury Strangers have become a band that are infamous for their extraordinary live performances and the outstanding strobe light effects that accompany – tonight is no exception. They open with ‘We’ve Come So Far’ from 2015 LP Transfixiation and waste no time in asserting their intent. This is followed in quick succession by ‘Drill It Up’ from 2012’s Onwards to the Wall and ‘Frustrated Operator’ from latest LP Pinned released earlier this year. All this before they do their usual stint in the crowd with interesting electronics, and then back on stage for the evocative ‘Deeper’, ‘Never Coming Back’ and concluding with an array of smashed guitars and general mayhem to ‘I Live My Life to Stand in the Shadow of your Heart’ from 2009’s Exploding Head LP. Everything about tonight’s performance has been cranked up to max and everyone who I speak to says the same thing, which is that their own head has just exploded. Raw, visceral and very in your face is how APTBS roll and we love it.
There aren’t many band who could successfully follow that, but we have a worthy candidate in the form of The Cult of Dom Keller. The newly expanded now five piece have been around since 2007 and have, excuse the pun, acquired a cult following in the process. Tonight’s appearance comes bathed in a sea of rumours that they were set to split, a tale that we are pleased to hear has been firmly quashed. With tracks that span the length and breadth of their back catalogue, there is a little something for everyone with highlights coming from the menacing beauty of ‘Broken Arm of God’ from 2017 LP Goodbye to the Light, the jangling harmonies of ‘You Are There With Me’, followed by the haunting melodies and moody vocals of ‘Eyes’ which both come from their self-titled 2013 LP released on Mannequin and then The Reverberation Appreciation Society. And to complete the trio from that era is fan favourite ‘Nowhere to Land’ and are without doubt fan favourites with the latter being included in Fuzz Club’s The Reverb Conspiracy series in 2015. They conclude in style with ‘Worlds’, probably their most well known track and for good reason. The set is executed with poise and the added guitar has improved the depth of the sound when you didn’t even realise it needed it. APTBS set the bar high, CODK matched them point for point.
Swedish trio Nonn are lead by Christian Eldefors, also of The Orange Revival. They have a tough slot this late in the day with superb acts on every side of them. The late slot however works in their favour as by this time, people are ready to dance and that they can provide. ‘Cold’ taken from 2017 self-titled LP is the stand out track, with its funky, down beat groove that ensures people aren’t disappointed.
Desert Mountain Tribe have been around for some time now, and although they’re not really a psych band, they always work well in situations such as these. They belt out tracks such as ‘Heaven and Hell’ and ‘Way Down’ from 2016 debut LP Either That or the Moon which have such power behind it you can feel the vibrations at the back of the room. Having gone from strength to strength, its only a matter of time before these guys are playing the big events, enjoy whilst you can!
Throw Down Bones are known for their raucous live sets that usually involves shirtlessness and clambering on amps. Tonight is a bit more subdued, but only in the sense that they both remain rooted to the stage. The Italian coldwave duet sprung to prominence in 2015 with the release of their self-titled LP which captured the imagination based on its completely different approach. The duo who were born of experimentation are set to move to a more electronic based stance in the near future and so there set tonight encompasses both elements. It’s the perfect slot for them as they fully embrace the late hour and get the room dancing and grooving. Some here tonight won’t have experienced the full force of Throw Down Bones live, but that was corrected and they were mind numbing.
As day one of festivals go, this was up there with the best of them. Every band have produced superb sets that are incredibly hard to find any negative points too. It might be five in the morning, but day one is over all too soon for most, bring on tomorrow…