To launch their new monthly night of Manchester psych, promoters Astral Elevator bought three giants to Gullivers to trample all before them.
The night started off with Rhys Bloodjoy. Alone with his guitar, his head was bowed and cowled in a hoodie that made him look like a scally monk. When there is just one man and a guitar on a stage, there is nowhere to hide, you have to possess the skills to make it work. Luckily Rhys can. Thumping his guitar and then looping it to make a beat, Rhys made songs long and hypnotic, both mellow and intense at the same time. His guitar playing is wiry, fast and agile and with looped vocals as well it made for a woozy brew.
Psyence are a wind machine of a band. Due to the sound mix the keyboards seemed to be barely audible but this didn’t harm too much. If anything, Psyence sounded like what ‘rock’ music would sound like if ‘rock’ music had balls. This is a huge sound with riffs and clear, foregrounded vocals. The most impressive thing was the rhythm section, absolutely tight as a drum and the talk among punters after their set was the skill of the drummer. A talented band with an accessible style.
Finally Helicon nearly tore Gullivers to pieces with their Warlocks inspired blend of shoegaze and space rock. I am not normally a fan of having too many guitars, but Helicon had 3 of them and a sitar player. It worked… cavernous, deafening walls of noise ricoched around the venue. These noises were blended, caressed and fuelled until the release point. It’s not all about the guitars though as Helicon combine this with space rock grooves that would make Space Ritual era Hawkwind crap themselves. A testament of their skill was that a 50 minute set seemed to pass by in just 5, leaving the crowd dazed, breathless and yearning for more.
Luckily, Astral Elevator have more tantalising shows in store for Manchester’s pleasure…
Thanks to mancmusic for the vids! https://www.youtube.com/user/mancmusic