Gearing up for Psych Lab 2015, the Effenaar has organised the very first Psych Night of this club season. Nice, laid back psych rock from the better bands that are touring the world. The smaller stage is used for this evening, where Psych lovers get a taste of the goodness that is coming for them in the next festival season.
Just having released two new records, White Manna is showing it wants to be big in this scene. The Californians clearly have listened to bands like Wooden Shjips and Black Angels and are not without reason playing Liverpool Psych Fest. From dreamy landscapes to strange futuristic sounds, as if pulled from an old sci-fi film, these guys have the goods.
Live the band does sound a bit less exciting than on their records, in a tapestry of distorted guitar work, the subtleties in their music seem to drown a little. The only thing that really stands out is vocalist Daivd Johnson, who takes a central part in the general impression the band is giving tonight. The audience has arrived early, but doesn’t get the overwhelming show it might be hoping for. The sound is warm and fuzzy and there’s definitely an energy to the performance, but the band seems to have settled on being merely a support act.
German krautrockers Camera are very well aware what their place of origin is and pay full tribute to one of the nests where the best krautrock was born. Berlin, creative capital of continental Europe is their home and there they joined forces with old heroes like Neu! and Cluster. A bit of variation they definitely offer in between the Psych bands tonight.
The variation is more surprising and different than the records indicate. Instead of the free and frivolous krautrock that lifts off into space, their set feels constricted and confined to the rhythmic beating of the drums and droning synths. It’s like being sucked into a sonic tunnel where there is no way to turn. The drummer is mainly responsible for this hypnotic experience, being rhythmic like a metronome. The guitar and synths string the whole sound together into a musical cord.
There is no interaction, only drones coming from the three men on the stage, who perform like lineworkers in a factory, focussing on thier task and the rhythm of the machine and their collaboration. There are some effects utilized to enrich the sound, after a long trip of static patterns, we do end up with bleeps and feedback producing guitars after what feels like an endless jam.
Sleepy Sun from San Francisco can call itself one of the bigger names from the reborn Psych Rock scene. With a bunch of albums released and their name big on the poster of the Liverpool Psych Fest, there is enough baggage this band carries to make a good show happen tonight. This year the band released their album Maui Tears, but sadly they were not present at Psych Lab.
Enough to catch up then, which the band does with style tonight. They have the air of a bigger rock band, the echoing sound and grandeur that seems to be suitable for a stadium (or give you that feeling even in a small venue). Singer Bret Constantino is a true frontman, who reminds the listener a little of Suede’s Brett Anderson. The sleazy sound is something the band truly has mastered and it also adds some charm to the otherwise sleepy looking band members.
The songs float by in a lazy pace, but without much breaks. The audience has gone a lot closer to the stage and the atmosphere is great. The warm sound of the songs and their choruses, sometimes very powerful, then again very gentle, is livened up by psychedelic parts, fuzzy riffs and gentle hooks, balancing between free form and stadium rock. The band doesn’t drop the ball anywhere and knows how to keep their set exciting. Between the laissez-faire and the grand, Sleepy Sun makes an entertaining show.
Scribed by: Guido Segers
Photos by: Paul Verhagen (www.achromemoments.nl)