– EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS –
The time is now: the most anticipated overseas psych event is here, from the creators of Liverpool Psych Fest…Eindhoven Psych Lab.
Its Day One and Tubelight take the stage in the Main Lab. The Belgian four piece offer up channelled My Bloody Valentine shoegaze vibes and although being relatively unknowns offer an intriguing start to proceedings in this room. Jangly instrumental sections in some tracks stick in the mind and by the time they conclude their set they have left the shoegaze far behind and pro-offer Black Rebel Motorcycle Club style mind-melting garage psych rock. Definitely ones to watch these guys and I’m glad I got down early enough to check them out.
Alpha Whale are up next in the Observatory with their blend of jangly surf psych pop rock, closely followed by Doug Tuttle whose sound is big enough to fill the Main Lab with its melodic and dancey vibes. The next highlight for me comes in the form of Klaus Johann Grobe. Signed to Trouble in Mind Records, the Swiss trio start with heavy reverb based synth and move through their set to a jazz funk feel that gets people dancing. It’s a refreshing approach to be absent a guitar in the psych world, but here is works wonderfully and very much channels Stereolab vibes. I leave the room feeling refreshed after this one and ready for more.
Now, since I saw the line-up announcements for this weekend, I knew this next one was going to be special. Not one, but two bands take to the stage in the Observatory for a one-off performance; Radar Men from the Moon vs The Cosmic Dead: hit, quit, rave, repeat. The bands ask for complete silence before unleashing a wall of noise on the crowd – the effect is mind blowing. Seven musicians fill the stage and all elements work in complete harmony and fill the air with something that quite simply cannot be put into words. I am left completely speechless by this performance. To say these guys have only had two rehearsals together and to come up with that – well, I salute you. After witnessing that, it’s going to take something incredible to beat it today.
Taking a break from the music for a while to enjoy the event itself, it is clear the vibe and atmosphere is great and the overwhelming feeling is friendly. The merchandise is flying out of the building in the corridors and the warm weather sees everyone sat around the pond in the garden area soaking up both the rays and the vibes. Sticking with the science theme, the visual installations and the music filing in the gaps between bands is slightly different than the norm, but no less entrancing.
Bergen based Electric Eye are up next, with a slow and dreamy beginning which builds in intensity whilst remaining melodic. Tempo is kicked up a notch as the bass booms, the drums kick and the synth adds an organ like choir to the proceedings. Three tracks in and the party really starts, and incidentally so do the vocals. There is a swirl and swoon which offers a dance along vibe. There mix up of track ‘6am’ is a nice touch for the festival and the crowd are left pleased.
The beginning of the end of the day starts with Dutchman Jacco Gardner and his band. Fresh on the back of the release of second album Hypnophobia, Jacco takes to the stage with his usual grace and fires straight into the set with the title track of fore mentioned album, which does indeed hypnotise, drawing the crowd closer. Playing through to fan favourite ‘Clear the Air’ and a psyched up version of ‘Chameleon’, Jacco has really pulled the stops out for this set and made his normally calm and melodic songs more readily available to a full-fledged psych crowd. His set is fantastic and seamless executed, the crowd love it and if the grin on his face is anything to do by, so does he.
Now the big boys come out to play, Moon Duo (who it must be mentioned, are now a trio) offer a sound that you simply cannot resist dancing too. Highlights of the set come in the form of ‘Wilding’ with its beat so irresistible that one cannot help but groove, ‘In the Sun’ which is an old favourite and has the entire crowd in a state of rapture, and ‘Goners’ with its electrifying guitar riff. The added drums add an extra element to their live performance and although not the Moon Duo we’ve come to know and love, there was certainly nothing lacking from their performance tonight.
The day is neatly rounded off by London boys Teeth of the Sea. A wall of noise erupts once more in the Observatory and the place is packed out for the final band. The use of a trumpet is somewhat different, and the noise level ever so slowly rises, leaving the crowd in a state of suspense. As the full scale of the level of sound these guys can produce takes full effect, the crowd are left awe struck and the use of synth loops leaves a sensational afterglow. A crowd surfer drifts past mid set and after not being able to make it to play last year, you can see this band are making up for it and love every second.
At the end of Day One, there is a lot of smiling faces around and everyone is in agreement that it has been a great day of live music – the after party gets into full swing in the Observatory with a DJ set from The Cosmic Dead. The only thing stopping people from praising it too much is the promise of what’s in store for tomorrow…