It’s not every Friday afternoon I get to sip beer, in the sunshine, in the presence of some of the most awe-inspiring psych bands I’ve ever heard; the beginning of Liverpool Psych fest 2014 was happily one of those times. Purple Heart Parade kicked off the weekend in Blade with a ragingly energetic set after recently releasing a cassette on local North West label Blak Hand Records. Their roaring vocals and feedback reverberated off the low ceilings to give me both tinnitus and an itch to go see every other band on the listing.
After a long yet easy wait, thanks to the mellow tones of Amen Dunes, Allah-Las finally graced the stage in Furnace. Their golden Californian riffs were the perfect accompaniment to a day which felt as though you could’ve been anywhere in the world but opposite a skate park in central Liverpool. It didn’t seem like I was the only one dancing with a Cheshire cat grin from start to finish. A well-needed boost of electronic energy came next from Pow! whose audience consisted of some very questionable characters with very questionable dance moves.
Saturday played host to the biggest headliner of the weekend, Goat, but until then I had the pleasure of listening to Strange Collective, Grumbling Fur and Anthroprophh. Whether it is the size of the venue, the intimacy of the band/audience or the atmospheric projections on the wall, Blade always left me with the words ‘that was amazing, I can’t get over how amazing that was’. This time it was by Strange Collective, whose harrowing effects left me numerous times wondering whether the sound was coming from the singer or the guitar; guitars every time. By this time I’d already spotted a mass of festival-goers with Piccadilly Records bags and ventured to the space above Blade to see if I could find any treasures in their collection.
Upstairs was like a different festival altogether. You were able to make your own screen-prints to take home or adorn the walls with, a makeshift record shop and merchandise store and if all that psych went to your head, why not relax on a beanbag in the PZYK cinema? After much relaxing next to a few members of Brian Jonestown Massacre no less, I went to float in the synth-drenched psychedelia of Grumbling Fur in Furnace. In all honestly I wish I’d been to see a band that had prepared me, like a musical gateway drug, for the heavy rock trio Anthroprophh. So heady was their sound I couldn’t figure out if there was a mass of people on stage or two very talented hectic musicians; they are a three-piece but I’m 5’ 2”, you do the math. Goat? They were on another planet and, even if by this time you were present solely in body, you were up there with them. I’ve been left all psyched up for 2015.