Flyer drawn by yours truly, check out more of my design work here: rdmvisuals.tumblr.com
This was one of the most highly anticipated shows of the summer, and everyone I spoke to at the gig was totally psyched (ha!) to see such a solid lineup of mainly local bands, as well as New York's excellent Naam.
Hometown openers Lords Of Bastard kick things off with their set of psych-tinged stoner rock. Their setlist was mainly culled from their recent release, the brilliantly titled Cuddles, with fast paced tracks like 'Bloody Hell' and 'Ghost Time' sounding absolutely monstrous live. That's a good thing by the way.
Their tightly-coiled, almost jazzy rhythms are accompanied by driving organ swirls, this evening provided by guest organist Victor due to regular member Sanjay's absence.
Guitarist/vocalist Mike Aitchison's voice cuts through the muscular swagger of the music easily, his soaring wails contrasting with the short sharp stabs of the rhythm, but it works.
I last saw Glasgow's Bacchus Baracus supporting Pentagram, where their set of burly, booze-sodden rock more than held it's own against the legendary headliners. Tonight's performance proves that wasn't just a one off with a set so raucous I'm surprised it doesn't start an old-fashioned bar-room brawl.
Gravel-throated drummer/vocalist QBall could give both Neil Fallon and JP Gaster from Clutch a run for their money, which is no mean fuckin' feat! The rest of the band lays down solid grooves that have the slightly more inebriated members of the crowd flat out dancing. A truly weird sight to behold.
The swirling, mindwarping theremin solo that closes out the otherwise straightforward stoner rock set is a little unexpected, but it fits perfectly with the overall psychedelic vibe of the show.
I'm not familiar enough with the band to know exactly what the setlist was, but judging from the strength of their set tonight I'll be getting hold of a copy of their new album Tales of Worries, Woes and Whatever as soon as possible.
Unfortunately due to the show running slightly behind schedule, we don't get nearly enough of The Cosmic Dead's meandering psych explorations, but what we do get is a short but sweet set of woozily pulsating rhythms and ever-evolving eastern-tinged melodies.
The reverb-drenched one song set 'Khartomb' holds the whole crowd captive, with everyone powerless to resist it's swaying groove. Vocal duties are handled by all members bar the drummer, with each vocalist becoming lost in thrall to the continuously morphing momentum of the jam.
The exploratory tendrils of the band's expansive space rock don't get the opportunity to reach far enough into the substance-addled minds of the crowd, but the beauty of such a loose improvisational set is that they're able to wrap things up nicely without harshing anyone's vibe too much. Hopefully I get the chance to witness a full mind-melting set from these psychedelic space lords sometime soon.
If you didn't manage to catch Naam on this tour, what the hell are you doing with your life?!
New York's premier exponents of heavy psych and excellent facial hair completely blew me, and everyone else crammed in to the venue, away.
You might think after so much keyboard-accompanied heavy rock that the crowd would be weary of the sound by this point, but each band managed to do something completely different from one another, and Naam manage to encompass everything from trippy atmospherics to floor-rumbling stoner heaviness. The layered vocal harmonies weave perfectly atop the music, while the music locks into a serious groove, and synth lines oscillate wildly through the whole mix.
The set was a mix of new material from their latest album Vow, as well as older cuts like 'Skyling Slip' from their self-titled record, and 'Starchild' from last year's The Ballad Of Starchild, and even though I wasn't familiar with the new material, I can't wait to pick it up.
It's great to see that even in 2013, the psych rock scene is alive and thriving, with weirdos from New York to Edinburgh and beyond venturing further and further into the recesses of their minds and the far reaches of space and creating new sounds with what they find. More brain-frying shows like this, please.
All photos by Simon Anger, Amplified Music Photography [https://www.facebook.com/AmplifiedMusicPhotography]