Rocket Recordings turn 20 this year, and to celebrate they have teamed up with London based promoters Baba Yaga’s Hut and DHP to host a three day musical spectacular at The Garage. Tonight’s opening night and there is a buzz in the air as the queue forms outside the venue early doors.
With wristbands collected and the venue scoped, it’s not long to wait before Flowers Must Die, a Swedish multi-instrumental outfit who blend the genre boundaries to create a truly unique offering that captivates live and on record. They sprung into prominence in April 2017 when album Kompost thrust forward with fizzing interludes which only hinted at the special live performance they can concoct. Stand out tracks come in the form of ‘Hit’ with its deep funk groove and ‘Don’t You Leave Me Now’ which have everyone dancing. They have set the scene perfectly and being a festival opener will always be a big ask, but they have stepped up and done so elegantly.
Braving the masses to squash into the upstairs room, with its intense array of disco balls, to watch the first experimental offering of the festival, Ahkrh which channels Eastern vibes and heavy drone. The incense and sat down crowd create a heightened atmosphere that simulates all the senses.
Italians Julie’s Haircut have been active since the late nineties, who now specialise in garage rock with a space driven, experimental feel. They release their last album Invocation and Ritual Dance of my Demon Twin on Rocket in February 2017. Their set tonight has tracks that span their history but has the album at its heart. There is a playful side to this band with their shouts and calls, heady bass lines not dissimilar to fellow Italians Sonic Jesus and a prevailing beat and saxophone duality which channels the groove started by Flowers Must Die in their set. The juxtaposition of their two sides works fantastically and maintains interest throughout.
Josefin Öhrn & The Liberation are tonight’s headliners with their blend of psychedelia enthused with the more accessible indie tendencies they have perfected. For Rocket, who tend to specialise in the more imaginative side of music, Josefin Öhrn & The Liberation are markedly tame. That being said, their appearance here tonight is hotly anticipated and the crowd quickly take their places as they begin. Their set features track that span their two album release on Rocket, Mirage from 2016 and Horse Dance from 2017. The upbeat vibe permeates and it’s not long before everyone is dancing contentedly. The vibe continues throughout and they are the perfect choice in many ways to end the start of the festival.
Coldnose conclude proceedings on the upstairs stage with their noisy, trance inducing vibes but with tomorrow’s intense line up looming, many weekenders call it at night, with anticipation mounting nonetheless.