Psych Fest returned to Manchester this weekend with a bang. Now in its ninth year, the alternative festival sees a wide range of musicians and groups perform in some of the city’s most notable venues. RGM checked out a couple of bands, some new and some old favourites.
The festival is always a popular event, championing unsigned bands and veterans of the industry. First up on the agenda was a short walk off Oxford Road to the iconic Ritz for Jeffery Lewis & The Voltage. The anti-folk icon played to a decent sized crowd considering they were early on the bill. Lewis is a story-teller and his songs are descriptive and chaotic, it was a very cool and very energetic warm up for what was to come.
We left the dark and eerie Ritz ballroom to join fellow revellers in the bright sunshine, with this end of the city packed full of music fans determinedly making their way to the venues in order to get a good spot. There were a few snags this year, mainly with some venues quickly reaching full capacity meaning that some irate fans were left queuing with a ‘one out one in policy’.
Next on the bill was Warrington based Pray For Mojo who smashed their set at one of the City’s newest venues Canvas. The high octane set, against a psychedelic backdrop was one of the highlights of the day, and they had attracted a large audience for the late afternoon slot. Releasing their debut single just two years ago, the band have built up quite a following, attracting fans with their trippy grunge influenced tracks including on tonight’s set list songs from their album ‘Welcome to Mojopia’. If you get the chance to see these guys in a small venue do it before they hit the bigger stages!
DEAFDEAFDEAF are RGM favourites and we have followed these guys for a number of years. Playing in Canvas’s second gig room , and after waiting a while to be permitted entry, we finally got to see this local band play to a packed out audience, which is a common occurrence since they formed only a few years ago. The band describe themselves as ‘Post-Hardcore’ and take their influence from a number of sources, creating an eclectic mash-up of genre bending sounds. Nathan is an unassuming frontman, intense and with a brilliant vocal range to compliment the driving guitar that makes an intense enigmatic experience. The beauty of this festival is the diverseness of the acts.
Last on tonight’s list is none other than the epic Brian Jonestown Massacre. We head to the Albert Hall, enjoying the cool evening air, some of these venues have been incredibly warm as we enjoy (or perhaps tolerate for today anyway) this Indian summer.
The headliners make their way onto the stage, a little frazzled to say the least. The band explain to the audience (another Albert Hall gig packed to the rafters and insanely hot) that their flight was cancelled but they were determined to make it, and they did, and boy are this audience pleased to see them.
The band owned the room, performing their psychedelic jams. Due to the intense heat in the venue, we did not last. Three songs in and it got too much. As much as I love that venue, air conditioning would have made the experience a lot more pleasurable. This is not the first time we have left that venue early, it just seems to get very very hot! Regardless of temperature, Nowwave have pulled it out the bag again! Here’s to next psych fest 2024 (hopefully a little cooler).