Manchester promoters Strange Days and Now Wave have joined forces once more to offer a night of loosely psychedelic themed music across Manchester Academy and the Student Union. Strange Waves IV took over the two spaces and offered an eclectic mix of sounds that tickled the taste buds of many.
Opening things up were Flamingods who offered an exciting blend of exotic psychedelia that channels influences from their native Bahrain with 60s vibes reminiscent of the likes of Hawkwind. The multi-instrumental band switch and change instruments on stage as the set progresses, keeping things constantly interesting and the elaborate of array of sounds creates an East meets West effect. They are a band who have been around for some time, yet remained elusive but the fact that the Academy is packed early doors with curious onlookers must have been a positive sign for them.
Opening in The Union are MOURN, a Barcelona all female four piece who channel Sonic Youth in their vocal style and the depths of the punk genre in their music. They’re raw, to say the least, but enjoyable due to their no-pretence-here attitude. They’re followed by Brighton five piece Fur, who musically couldn’t be much further at the opposite end of the spectrum. They focus on melodic harmonies and vocal melodies which captivate and swoon. They captivate live, with lots of swagger on display, and will appeal to fans with an indie persuasion.
Concluding in The Union are Southern Californians The Stevenson Ranch Davidians who despite overlapping with BJM, still draw a loyal crowd who remain to watch their set, myself included. The four piece who have been making music together for over 12 years and are an interesting addition to the line-up. They follow on nicely from Fur, keeping that same melodic, mellow vibe going. They play a number of tracks from their 2017 LP Amerikana, including ‘Holy Life’ which is beautifully haunting and complimented by the ethereal blue glow. They are impressive life and deliver a flawless set, the only shame is that there weren’t more around to enjoy it.
Tonight’s headliners are the infamous Brian Jonestown Massacre who need no introduction for anyone who’s been around in the last ten years. BJM have an astonishing 16 LPs to their name as well as an equally impressive number of EPs and single and always draw a crowd when they play live, tonight is no exception. Led by Anton Newcombe and accompanied by Joel Gion, they are joined by musicians from other bands such as the front man of The Third Sound to complete the line-up.
‘What Happened to Them’, the English version of 2014’s ‘Van Hände Med Dem?’ from LP Revelation, draws a large cheer early on and other highlights include ‘That Girl Suicide’ from 1995’s Spacegirl and Other Favourites, ‘Anemone’ from 1996’s Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request and ‘Drained’ which was released this year on the B Side of 10” single ‘Hold That Thought’. The entire set presents in the way you would expect from such an experienced and perfected enterprise as BJM and the crowd lap them up with enthusiasm.