Blackthorn Festival may not be a contender for one of the best attended festivals of the summer, it does however have a touch of magic that others don’t. BSM has come to check out The Psychedelic Circus, a stage curated by Manchester band Control of the Going who have put together a special line up for tonight’s entertainment. The tent, filled with balloons, bubbles and colourful bunting sets the scene for things to come.
Opening are Blooms who channel dreamy shoegaze blended surf rock vibes that set the scene for the opening perfectly. They create soundscapes of beach days and set the crowd off drifting to another time and place.
Next we have Athenian born but Manchester based Azraq Sàhara, who offer a blend of sun soaked harmonies with beach goth vibes that perfectly suit the current environment. They play a host of tracks with complex riffs, ethereal dream inspired vocals and hypnotic beats with ‘Jungle’ undoubtedly being the stand out track. They garner whoops and cheers and their set features a cover of Shocking Blue’s ‘Love Buzz’, which they execute in their own style offering a whole new take on a classic track.
Hey Bulldog have become a tour de force on the local scene, increasing in popularity and packing out venues. They offer up blues inspired rock and roll with a hint of psychedelia thrown in for good measure. Latest single ‘Al Lupo’ attracts the biggest cheer of the set with its throbbing rhythm section, toe tapping riff and empowered vocals. It’s not hard to see why people want to see them live, they put on a strong set with music certain to set bodies moving.
Afghan Sand Gang are a three piece electro, guitar based offering who have gone from strength to strength recently due to their original take on time tested music. They wear masks and are as shrouded in mystery as their music is shrouded in reverb and delay, making them all the more intriguing. Their sound is fresh and interesting, with the oscillating synth working alongside the fuzzed out guitar and pulsing bass. It’s not hard to see why in a world saturated with the same, they stand out and attract attention.
Concluding proceedings tonight are one of BSM’s favourites, Winsford’s finest Déjà Vega. The three piece create such a heady concoction of sound that they have been attracting ever increasing attention and have acquired a cult following complete with their own chant. Their set tonight includes all the tracks you’d expect to hear including recent single ‘Eyes of Steel’ with its painfully catch riff that sees heads a bobbing early on. Other highlights come from ‘Chasing’, a disco funk inspired number, ‘Mr Powder’ with its rolling riffs and ‘The Test’ which is used to conclude and sees singer Jack volt the barriers and jump into the crowd, guitar in hand. They’ve honed their set to perfection and knowing the festival crowd well, they’ve really pulled out all the stops.