Say Psych: Live Review: Liverpool Psych Festival – Friday 22.09.2017

Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia has become known as the festival to be at for anyone interested in psychedelia, as well as being famed for touting some lesser known acts from complimenting genres. This years festival is set to be no exception, a feast for all the senses is in store.

Thing’s kick off early and no time is wasted getting the District stage rocking, with London girl quintet Yassassin opening proceedings who have recently released their debut EP Vitamin Y. Their set is comprised of tracks from the record with ‘Cherry Pie’ being the stand out track from the lively offering who set the mood perfectly.

Next it’s over to Furnace where South coast boys Is Bliss open the main stage. The trio have been causing ever increasing waves as they build in popularity and their inclusion on this year’s bill is a welcome sight for many. ‘Alive – Baby Come On’ from EP The Honeycomb Explosion, with its dreamy countenance and empowered vocals has the room jiving and comparisons to an early Brian Jonestown Massacre vibe are being banded about. Being on as the opening slot in the venues is always a difficult place to be, but they executed a fantastic set.

An eagerly anticipated band are on now in the form of Magic Shoppe, an American four piece who have made their UK debut on this tour, climaxing with their appearance here this afternoon. A song that has driven them to prominence, ‘Blowup’ from album Wonderland released in 2016 has a perfect festival vibe with its bouncy rhythm and harmonic vocals, the room dances playfully as the band soaks in the moment. ‘My Mind’s Eye’ from latest EP High Goodbye is another great song that leaves everyone with a warm fuzzy glow. It may have been their debut UK tour, but based on this performance, they will be back soon.

Psych veterans The Telescopes return following an explosive show in 2014. Led throughout by sole constant member Stephen Lawrie, their set is comprised predominantly of tracks taken from their ninth LP As Light Return, with ‘You Can’t Reach What You Hunger’ being particularly prominent, with its dark atmospheric instrumental segments. A break in the ‘must-sees’ allows the opportunity to experience something a little different in the form of Bambi Davidson; a German Balearic rock outfit who tout immersive, hazy and intoxicating tracks punctuated tastefully by saxophone overtones.

A return to girl power in the District where as the light fades, the highly anticipated L.A. Witch take to the stage to offer their take on California’s past with a slightly seedy, slightly ominous foreboding which taints their garage rock. With the release of their debut self-titled LP this month, the hugely catchy ‘Brian’ is an instant hit with heads nodding and cheers ringing out. ‘Untitled’ with its jangling tambourines and catchy bass line is another strong hitter.

Sweden’s Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Trees, Grass and Stones) started in 1969 and their debut performance here this year has left many very excited. They are famed for their interesting live performances where fans often know the beginning and the end, but the middle segments drift into different realms. Being true pioneers of DIY culture, they recorded 40 minute jams when others were struggling to reach double digits. Their set tonight is accompanied by stunning visuals which make for a sensory exploration of light and sound.

The final band on todays radar comes in the form of Italians JuJu whose new album, Our Mother Was A Plant literally blew us away this week. The brainchild of Gioele Valenti, the project is a mesmeric journey into sound, fusing psychedelia, afrobeat and shoegaze into a heady mixture. ‘Death by Beautiful Things’ with its intoxicating bass line sets the tone for the rest of the set and if anything sounds even better live than it does recorded. It channels everything from electronic psych riffs, to gospel chorus style vocal harmonies, all underpinned by a motorik drum beat that would appeal to anyone of a krautrock persuasion. ‘James Dean’ and ‘What a Bad Day’ are two other stand out entities with their fuzzy, reverberating guitars and layered sound creating musical textures. The set creates an instant groove and their isn’t a still body in the room as they leave the stage to rapturous applause.

It’s been quite a start to the weekend, with superb performances by all. With the line up for tomorrow set to stun, the experience continues…

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