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Manchester Psych Fest 2018 Review

Dan Lovatt was on hand to soak up all manner of psychedelia at the multi venue event in Manchester.

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 3rd Sep 2018

Image: Honeyblood (credit)

The highly anticipated pysch fest bedded down in Manchester this weekend, with a huge array of talent split between four of Manchester’s slickest venues. Although it was physically impossible to catch everybody, we were spellbound by the acts that we did see. 

The afternoon commenced at the host venue Band on the Wall with Pearl City, a Manchester based two piece who look like Adams family extras and sound like a mix between Christine and the Queens and Plastic Mermaids. They celebrated being headhunted by Sunday Best records with ghoulish rendition of ‘Flames’ their most admired song, which seemed to set the tone for the evening.

Pearl City were followed by Saba Lou, the exceptionally talented daughter of King Khan who is on everybody’s radar, she wowed the Soup Kitchen faithful (literally at times as people gasped in amazement) with her 2017 album Planet Enigma, most notably ‘Embrace the Sun’ and ‘Until the End’, where her incredibly poignant folk voice was carried wonderfully by the brass section, and who doesn’t love a trumpet. 

Next, were Madonnatron, who glammed up with gemstones and glitter and rocked a packed Night and Day café. The feme four-piece made a right racking playing their self-titled debut album, with leading songs like ‘Headless Children’ and ‘Wedding song’ leaving fans in a state of turmoil. As you didn’t know whether to dance to the synth or retreat to the dark recesses of your mind with the vocals. They are everything that post-punk deserves and a valuable pawn in the move of feme revolution. 

The most surprising act of the festival were AK/DK, who completely stole the show. The band’s 2014 album title is Synth+ drums + noise+ space and that is an incredibly accurate description. They played a batch of fully immersive instrumental tracks: ‘Morphology’, ‘Atomic DNA’ and ‘Modulate to Accumulate’. The synth is eerie and warped, allowing the drums to fully burst through. We can do AK/DK no justice with words, we implore that you go to see them.

We returned to Band on the Wall for Psychedelic sons The Wytches who reinforced how consistently brilliant they were with select tracks from ‘All your Happy life’, ‘Annabel Dream Recorder’ and their most recent single ‘Double World’. With every number, it was clear that the band are at their pinnacle of heavy pysch goodness, and fans are begging for new music on the horizon.

The second to last band played were pysch dads and friends of Madonnatron, Meatraffle. They celebrated their new single ‘Revenge of a Ndrangheta cell’ in unique, and often comical style with a dad dance and a constant trumpet through loved tunes ‘The Horseshoe’ and ‘The Wickerman’, another band that seem to thrive in live performances, to the joy of the masses.

This wonderful collation of fantastic music finished with Honeyblood, the grunge-pop duo slammed home the theme of self-dependence and girl empowerment with performances of their latest album Babes never die. ‘Cruel’, ‘Love is a disease’ and ‘Sea hearts’ stood out as the focal point of this message, and it never ceases to amaze how a sound of sheer awesomeness can be produced by drums and one guitar. Honeyblood sent the message to the world that pysch rock is still alive, and thriving.

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