Two Skies photo by Leanne Crowley

Two Skies photo by Leanne Crowley


Tonight at a hidden gem of a venue in Manchester’s thriving Northern Quarter, there is something rather special underway. Interstellar Overdrive have compiled a great line up and it’s sure to be a night to remember.

Arriving at the venue it’s disappointing to here that 93MillionMilesFromTheSun have had to pull out due to unforeseen circumstances, however this does mean we are allowed lengthier sets from the other two bands.

Support for the evening therefore comes from Sheffield three piece, Two Skies. They start the set heavy with ‘Hyperventilation’ and there is a probing bassline ever present that compliments the motorik style drumming and lingering vocals. The set comes into its own with its progression and its clear there is no formality with these guys, they play what they think will work at that moment in time, and it works to great effect. Each track powers forward with a ferocious energy and the meagre crowd are loving it.

Frontman Dan has a vocal prowess very similar in style and substance to Robert Harvey of The Music fame who were great in their short life span. They conclude the set with ‘Tonight’ and there is a feeling that it is all over a little too soon. I’m not necessarily sure that Two Skies can be dubbed into the ‘psych’ category that is thrown around everywhere these days, they do have psych tendencies though and damn, are they good. Knowing I will never see the same Two Skies set twice, I’m intrigued to see what they will offer next time round.

The Cult of Dom Keller need no introduction. The Nottingham based lads have been on the scene for a number of years now, and after having seen them on the main stage at Eindhoven Psych Lab a month ago, I’m curious to see how there sound will adjust to a much more intimate venue.

Opening with an amended live version of their latest track ‘Behind All Evil is a Black Hole’, slight feedback issues mare the beginning but these are soon under control and the full power of the track comes into being. By now fans of the band have had the opportunity to listen to this track and make their own minds up about it, personally I think it’s a fantastic new direction for the band and the addition of the extra synth and the use of a drum sampler add a depth to the sound that no-one realised was missing, until now.

It displays their full versatility as musicians when they next play the old familiar favourite ‘Nowhere to Land’. The haunting synth on this one draws you right into the fray and the effected vocals of frontman Neil swoon and soothe, the crowd being lulled into submission. The track is executed with precision and it shows by the reaction they receive. ‘Swamp Heron’ has repetition as the key to the track. The intensity builds as layers are added on each working, the overall effect is hypnotic and it is easy to see why this band have gathered such a loyal following. They perform with precision and clearly care about the sound they are producing, this in itself goes a long way.

The Cult of Dom Keller photo by Leanne Crowley

The Cult of Dom Keller photo by Leanne Crowley

Next we are treated to two new tracks, one of which remains untitled, and similar to the opening track are taking the band in a new direction. With a suitably psychedelic name, ‘Argentium Astrum’ begins with a sample and a heavily electronic feel. Neil’s vocals offer a darker tone and as the track kicks in the use of all elements creates a wall of harmonic sound which is very pleasing. The continued use of the drum sampler from sticks man Alistair adds a different edge and the sound as an overall concept draws back to that reminiscent of Gary Numan and other New Wave greats. It’s a completely different take on the band we know and love but it goes down well here tonight, just as it did in Eindhoven and it’s definitely an intriguing proposition.

‘Worlds’ is the song of choice to close the set. The seven minute plus number has never been anything short of a crowd pleaser, and it has the same effect here tonight. The track enchants and soothes, with rolling vocals and a pulsating bassline courtesy of Jason. The hypnotic riff from Ryan and ever present drum beat tie all elements together nicely and this really is the band at their best.

The Cult of Dom Keller have always had a big sound, but tonight they got their levels perfect, the crowd being able to hear all of the varying elements in their own isolation from every part of the venue. This is a rare thing with live music these days as it is so easy to focus on the main guitar or on the vocals, but that isn’t the case here and it’s gratefully received.

The new album tracks offer an intriguing proposition and with some big live performances scheduled for the rest of the year, it will be interesting to consider their progress come year out.

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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.