Saturday, 15 September 2018

FUZZ CLUB EINDHOVEN 2018 (Effenaar, Eindhoven August 24th -25th)

With the Liverpool Psych Fest taking 2018 off as a “fallow” year leaving a hole in the festival calendar, the perfect opportunity arose for someone to fill the gap. Step forward Fuzz Club, the ever expanding London Psych Rock label who have just curated one of the best ever Psych Fest line ups for quite some time at the lauded Effenaar venue in Eindhoven. Spread over two days with two rooms of music, it was a celebration of everything Fuzz Club with a bill to die for with bands from across the globe that included the label’s big hitters 10,000 Russos along with the well respected “cult” bands and breakthrough acts that Fuzz Club have brought to the attention of the discerning PsychHead over the years such as Pretty Lightning, Sonic Jesus, Dead Rabbits, RMFTM, Sekel, Dead Vibrations, Helicon, The Oscillation and JuJu plus a few other bands that have links to the label through Fuzz Club’s essential Reverb Conspiracy compilations and the raw and live Fuzz Club Session’s releases such as Holy Wave, Josefin Öhrn and Ulrika Spacek. Add to the mix of great Fuzz Club related bands two of the current scene’s heavyweights, The Black Angels and A Place To Bury Strangers, then you really have got a “wish list” festival.

Day 1 featured sets from German Spook Blues duo Pretty Lightning, Brit Shoegazers Dead Rabbits and a somewhat more subdued than normal performance from Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation before Ulrika Spacek took everything up a notch with their own take on Detroit meets Cologne Rock ‘n’ Roll. The first day was spent mainly exploring the festival, soaking up the the vibes (which throughout the weekend were brilliant no doubt helped by in part by the……erm…..”enhanced” local cakes and confectionery available) and digging the sounds. The first real discovery was the excellent Ron Gallo who up till now had managed to stray way off our radar. Energetic and thrilling Gallo and his band played a blistering set of fuzzed up and freaked out Garage Punk to a wild and appreciative crowd in the smaller second room………if you like stuff like Ty Segal, Thee Oh Sees (or whatever their name is at the moment) etc.,etc., Ron Gallo is someone you really should check out. The absolute highlight of Day 1 was no doubt the phenomenal set from Brooklyn noiseniks A Place To Bury Strangers……………..Mostly obscured in a haze of smoke and a barrage of strobe lights APTBS were visceral to the extreme with a 60 minute ear splitting assault on mind and body with an eventual coming together of band and audience in psychedelic communion. After nearly 15 years of solid touring and recording it seems that APTBS time has finally come.

If the first day was about hanging out and checking the bands, it was Day 2 when the party really kicked off. After great sets from both The Oscillation and Tales Of Murder And Dust it was Sonic Jesus that got the party started with their 80s influenced dark psychedelic Synth Pop which eventually ended up with countless people on stage and Bez style freaky dancin’. In reality JuJu is a solo project from ex Lay Llama Gioele Valenti where Krautrock, Afro-Beat and Psych Rock are effortlessly blended together and last year’s debut for Fuzz Club was a huge critical success turning on countless new folk to this spellbinding band ……….JuJu live is a solid hour of groove where the pulverizing bass lines, heavily-reverbed guitars, textured walls of sound, gospel drones and crooning vocals from the records are all present and correct and with its rhythmic, otherworldly psychedelia alternating between the Teutonic sheen of Neu! and the funky Afro-Beat rhythms from Western Africa, Gioele and his heavy friends summon all kinds of spirits from down town Lagos to the neon lit streets of Dusseldorf. One of the highlights of last year’s Liverpool Psych Fest, JuJu again totally nailed it with a killer set among their Psych Rock peers.  Another band that has slowly been gathering fans over the last few years is French duo The Limiñanas. With a sound that is akin to Serge Gainsburg being filtered through the narcotic haze of the Velvet Underground, they have been releasing records since 2009. With BJM’s Anton Newcombe at the controls for their last record, Shadow People, they have developed a much harder, rockier sound that is really evident live. One of the unexpected highlights of the weekend………..with the drums right up at the front of the stage and in your face (and a guy in a suit……erm…….dancing on the riser where the drums usually are set up) and the sound bulked out with a load of additional musicians, The Limiñanas were gloriously loud and messy with a set that featured songs drawn mainly from their excellent  last record with a few choice cuts from 2016’s Malamore. 

The Black Angels are arguably the most important Psych Rock band of the last decade and the perfect choice to headline Fuzz Club’s first ever festival. Slowly crossing over to a more mainstream Alt-Rock audience (but on their own terms), they have been touring the world and other planets since last year and hitting the major European Alt-Rock festivals this summer. Road hardened from nearly a year’s worth of gigging, The Black Angels live have morphed into a mean, lean Psychedelic Rock experience that’s both utterly thrilling and absolutely mind bending justifying without a doubt their headliner status. With the addition of some well chosen older tunes, the set list comprised mainly of songs from Death Songs with the pulsing ‘I Dreamt’ and the sizzling ‘I’d Kill For You’ being particular highlights. With a barrage of eye popping visuals, The Black Angels are the consummate Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll band playing an easy blend of trippy tunes and more guitar heavy Rock songs with a solid spine of Nuggets influences, retooling them for a modern audience.     

For a first festival from Fuzz Club this was brilliant……..Eindhoven may not be as expansive in terms of visuals and scope as Liverpool yet, but give it time. Both rooms sounded great which is always a plus and once the lights kicked in on the main stage retinas were duly frazzled. If it turns out to be a one off, then it was legendary.……….we are expecting the Fuzz Club festival to return bigger and better as the response from the PsychHeads who made it there has been more than we have not had this much fun at a Psych Fest for absolutely ages and we could not recommend more you getting your ass to Eindhoven . 

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