Live Review: Portsmouth Psych Fest – 28/04/18

Two Saturday’s ago saw us finally attending our first Portsmouth Psych Festival after last year’s very unkindly clashed with Live At Leeds and my birthday. But all was restored this year and with an even bigger and better lineup it was certainly something that was not to be missed regardless. Taking place across three venues on Southsea’s Albert Road, an eclectic mix of 18 psychedelic bands performed at Wedgewood Rooms, the Edge of the Wedge and Acapulco on the day. Bright and funky psychedelic lighting and visuals on the day were provided by Innerstrings and Velvet Candy and projected onto the musicians across all three venues involved in the festival.

First up was meant to be Violet Mud but for one reason or another they were unable to play meaning an hour later start. This was the only mishap of the day and everything else ran as smoothly as possible. Starting the day off for us, Mystic Peach, a band who we’ve been intrigued about since their debut single ‘Downtown’ packed out the tiny, sweaty room that is upstairs at Acapulco. For anyone who’s never been to Acapulco (previously Al Burrito/Bar 56 since 2014) it’s pretty much a converted bedroom which in the right situation and when packed, sweat will drip from the walls and it’s one of the most intimate venues you will find. Mystic Peach were somewhat different to what I imagined following their debut single, but not in a bad way. Their sound may not be refined just yet but their live performance is compelling.

I hadn’t come across any of the following three bands I was about to see before, but the surprise was good. Hotel Lux were the last band that I saw at Acapulco on the day. Drawling through a monologue of post-punk monotony, Stella can in hand for the most part, almost as a stage prop. Hotel Lux’s performance was powerful whilst still managing to be brutal at the same time, almost effortlessly. Following this I briefly caught Lucid Rising up at the edge of the wedge for their bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll music. Their performance was brimmed with attitude and energy, almost the opposite of Hotel Lux but definitely putting into perspective the amount of varied music on offer on the day.

Next up were Barbudo who brought funky, psychedelic rock with a disco twist to Wedgewood Rooms. Originally I didn’t think that disco, psychedelic music sounded appealing, but once you see them live it all makes sense and changes everything. Favourites of ours, Number 9 changed the pace from something funky to more mellow with their 60’s inspired psychedelic rock. Although their set can start to sound repetitive in places, overall, their sound is rather refreshing and they’re always good to see live.

I’d actually decided to head off for some food at this point but noticed that there was an overlap and someone already playing on Wedgewood Rooms stage so decided to stick around to hear one or two tracks despite being adequately starving by this point. One or two tracks turned into the remainder of their set after what nearly turned into me missing out on one of the best live bands of the day, White Room. Their dynamic, flamboyant live performance is not to be missed.

The weird and wonderful world of the London based band Creatures needs to be seen live to be truly appreciated and they lit up the Wedgewood Rooms with their charm. Madonnatron dazzled with their performance was also both hypnotic and captivating. Yassassin followed Madonnatron at the Edge of the Wedge and they weren’t anything less than I expected. Their set was electric, filled with boundless energy and fun. What a way to end Portsmouth Psych Festival 2018 for me anyway.

The festival continued into the night with Melt Dunes and The Wytches up next followed by headliners Flamingods. As festivals go, Portsmouth Psych Fest combined the best of psychedelic music in a very well though-out manner. I’m pretty sure that even if you’d never heard of any of the bands playing on the day, you’d have found at least one or two that could’ve ended up as your new favourites. Next year’s Portsmouth Psych Festival is set to take place on 4th May 2019 and here’s hoping it doesn’t clash with anything else!

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