This years Psych Fest returned with a belting line up leaving music fans spoilt for choice. Split over numerous stages at some of Manchester’s most popular venues, the festival drew in crowds from far and wide to see some of the UK’s (and beyond) most exciting bands.
We kicked off the proceedings with a trip to the Ritz’s main stage to see Manchester post punk four-piece Loose Articles. Having built up a band of dedicated followers over the last few years, they covered a number of unusual subject matters from Gary Linekar’s shagging walkers crisps, to a song based on a true story about a photographer who got hacked on Instagram (cannot confirm whether the Linkear song is based on any truth, but it is certainly worth a listen!) Vocalist Natalie Wardle threw some shapes as the girls played the stage and the audience like seasoned pros. It was certainly the band of the day for me and I urge you to check them out as they are going places….fast.
We headed downstairs to the Ritz basement next to catch Duvet, a band I have followed for the last twelve months, and one that have certainly made a name for themselves on the local scene. It hard not to like these dudes, as they are endearing and have brilliant stage presence during and between songs. They are tight and lead singer Grace’s powerful vocals filled the packed basement stage. You can catch Duvet at brand new promotions company Rug Records’s launch night on the 10th of September at The Peer Hat. Given the way they have developed over the last twelve months, it wouldn’t surprise me if this lot were on the Ritz main stage this time next year.
Keg is a 7-piece multi-instrumentalist alternative energetic mind-fuck who took to the stage at brand new venue Canvas. The Brighton band has clearly drawn from various musical tastes and combined them into a mix of punk/rock/alternative with a small hint of indie for good measure. Trombonist Charlie adds something extra to this mixed bag and I liked it, as did many others as it was packed out with people still queuing to get in mid-set.
Our next stop was Albert Hall for Tinariwen. Fresh from appearing at All Point’s East festival in London’s Victoria Park last week, the band headed north to take to the beautiful Albert Hall stage. The band plays a collection of traditional Tuareg and African music but is also influenced by Western styles. The band has been together for over forty years and in that time has released eight albums in this period. The band provided a contrast in style compared to the previous bands we had seen earlier. The guitar driven sound was accompanied by a variety of percussion including bongo drums and calabash which added to their unique sound with a definite blues influence.
The final band of the day Party Dozen were the only instrumental act of the day that we saw. The duo consist of Kirsty Tickle on saxophone, and Jonathan Boulet on drums. The saxophone improvisation was quirky and it drew in an audience, even at one of the festivals later slots the floor quickly filled up as people were drawn to the dingy room which soon came alive with dramatic lighting and the impressive sound drawn from just two instrumentalists. The band have released material under their own label Grupo Records and more of their work can be found on their social media pages including band camp party-dozen.bandcamp.com
Party Dozen, A sonic partnering of saxophonist Kirsty Tickle and percussionist Jonathan Boulet, Party Dozen is a project loosely based around improvisation. party-dozen.bandcamp.com
The line-up at this Festival in previous years has been met with a mixed reaction from punk fans, however, you certainly cannot argue with the diverse range of musical styles on offer. I for one am looking forward to next September’s line-up announcement, as I am sure are many others.