Toy photo by Leanne Crowley

Toy photo by Leanne Crowley


And so it’s Day Two and despite a few sore heads and blurry eyes as I enter the venue, the overall mood is buoyant and the alcohol is already flowing.

Bonnacons of Doom open proceedings in the Main Lab. The five piece have a fill-in bassist in the form of James McKay from The Cosmic Dead and as the minimalist style fuzz notes begin, there is no structure seemingly and yet each members section works in perfect harmony with the others. The set becomes more melodic in its progression with added vocals. Electronic samples add a different feel and it is almost as though one is watching a number of different bands within the same set, this has a crowding effect in parts. Overall, a good start to the day with a pleasing feel.

German duo Pretty Lightning are up next who offer a more rock and roll vibe, channelling a cross between The Black Keys and The White Stripes. Due to a cancellation from Pauw, we are treated to a second set from Electric Eye. They take to the large stage well and fill the space with their presence.

Italian psych-space rockers In Zaire are up next with their breed of long, loud tracks which build with an intensity so ferocious that both band and crowd alike are left breathless. They channel traditional rock elements in places with guitar riffs teasing at a hint of Queen before swooning into a full psych medley. Having not heard these before I’m suitably impressed and appreciate the intensity of the performance, you can tell the guys have put there all into this set and it has not gone unnoticed.

One of the multiple highlights of the day are due to take stage next in the form of Japanese guitar and sitar masters, Kikagoku Moyo. Running somewhat behind billing, they take the stage with a slow and meaningful sitar opening which builds into full band interaction. Three songs into the set and still not a word has been uttered, but that doesn’t seem to matter. The mood is mellow as the crowd rhythmically float along in a dream like state. This was not quite the set I was expecting from them as they are normally more vocal however as I think such, the tempo is kicked up a notch and the KM we know and love fire out ‘Kodama’. It’s an intriguing turn of events to see the sitar drawing central focus in the band, especially in a psych line-up.

Cutting short the KM set, I rush down to the Observatory to catch Southampton based Dead Rabbits, signed to Fuzz Club Records who have quite a presence on the line up once more this year. The overrun upstairs has tamed the crowd down here, but those present are no less enthusiastic and love every minute. ‘When I’m Blue’ is executed flawlessly and you can tell they are a band comfortable within their own sound. ‘It’s All in Her Head’ is another crowd pleaser and due to a mix-up with set lengths, the set ends after a teasing thirty minutes. Dead Rabbits are fast becoming one of the bands to see live, and with sets like that it is not hard to see why.

Taking the stage with an altered version of new single ‘Behind all Evil is a Black Hole’, the Cult of Dom Keller raise the bar a notch higher on today’s proceedings. The addition of an extra synth enhances and deepens the sound and adds a Gary Numan-esque edge; add the use of a drum machine as oppose to the traditional kit and something special is created here. This is definitely a new direction for the band, but judging by the crowd reaction, it’s a good one. Fan favourite ‘Nowhere To Land’ is performed with precision and the voice of lead singer Neil carries well in the large space. ‘Swamp Heron’ is a return to their traditional sound and finishing of the set with the enchanting ‘Worlds’, both band and crowd alike soak in a set that has been very special today.

Dead Rabbits photo by Leanne Crowley

Dead Rabbits photo by Leanne Crowley

Keeping with the theme of special British-based psych bands, next up with have Desert Mountain Tribe. The trio have a lot of stage presence and radiate persona and swagger. Offering up ‘Leave It Behind’ closely followed by ‘Take a Ride’, empowered drumming from Felix and throbbing basslines from Philipp are the driving forces here. DMT manage to achieve volume and melody seamlessly and when added to the mesmerising harmonies created by the solo guitar, the sound is polished and precise. It’s great to watch a band really get into their set and enjoy both their own music and the effect it’s having on the crowd in front of them. Their last track, ‘Interstellar’, is the real show of piece of the set with the vocal range of lead Jonty being utilised to full and stunning effect. The crowd have loved this set and I’m sure they’ll have acquired a few new fans following this one.

TOY grace the Main Lab next, shrouded in low light and mystery – just how they like it. They offer up a lively mix of new and known tracks a like, the new ones being dark and moody, which is not necessarily in keeping with the mood of the day. Feedback issues mare the beginning of the set somewhat but by the time they embrace ‘Motoring’ these are ironed out. ‘Kopter’ stands as the key track being an almost ten minute krautrock symphony. There is no doubt that TOY should be here today and they have filled the room accordingly. I don’t think there will be too much disappointment after that one.

Arguably the most anticipated band of the day, The Soft Moon, take to the stage to a filled out Main Lab and leave the room stunned. They offer wave after wave of industrial psych euphoria and the degree of dancing bodies in the room goes up tenfold. Visually this set is just as good as aurally, with fantastic use of lighting effects adding to the vibes from the music. The Trent Reznor style lyrics add to the industrial feel and the room erupts when ‘Alive’ comes out. The jarring synth and tapped drums reverb magnificently in the venue and not one person in the room can say this is not mind-blowing. Performances like this are what festivals like this one create, and they should be praised.

The days is drawn to a very noisy and dancey close by two-piece noise monsters zZz. The remaining crowd really know how to dance to this Dutch duo and the room is quite literally bouncing. ‘Ecstacy’ is the masterpiece of the set with jangling synth and motorik drumming, the hushed vocals lure and enchant and the song is quite simply irresistible, even the other bands of the day are in on the act with the room filled with fans and musicians alike. The vibes in the air are mesmerising and after the fantastic day of music we’ve been offered, I don’t think they could have picked a better act to end.

The last band has finished, the last tunes are being played and the last dancers maintain the dance floor with due care. It has been an intense weekend of incredible and varied music, curated and executed with extreme precision and due vigilance. After coming to the festival last year, I wasn’t sure if it could be matched, but I have to say, Eindhoven Psych Lab, I bow my head to all involved, you’ve done a fantastic job and I’ve not heard one bad word mentioned all weekend.

I only have one more question for you… Can we do it all again next year?!

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Lover of all things psych and shoegaze and the mind behind Astral Elevator; constantly seeking new musical experiences in a world full of noise.