Arriving at Broadcast, BM noticed there have been a few changes. The downstairs stage and bar have changed places, giving overall probably a bit more room and better sightlines, although the stage is maybe narrower but deeper. Just as well given some of the acts on tonight!
First up are the band BM really bought the ticket for – Glasgow-based psychedelic rockers The Kundalini Genie. They have put out several released on Bandcamp but were under BM’s radar until a recent tip.
Despite being on at 5pm on a sunny Sunday they drew a good crowd, the place being at least half full. The lineup comprises 4 guitar players, bass and drums, and boy the sound they make is quite something, the first proper live guitar meltdown that BM has experienced since early 2020, so it was much appreciated.
Led by the charismatic Robbie, whose banter cracked everyone up, they launched into several lengthy tracks which channelled late 60s garage rock, shoegaze, and possibly some Oasis/Beatles vibes… The sound mix was spot on, in such a small venue the bass could easily have deafened and detracted from everything else… BM thinks they played tracks from a forthcoming release including ‘Half In, Half Out’, along with older tracks such as ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Mind’ and ‘It’s All In Your Head’.
It’s fair to say that the crowd went completely mental, with much jigging and jumping… Banter continued when lead singer Robbie broke a string and then got the loan of a very nice looking Stratocaster from one of the other bands (of which more later). BM’s tipper was not wrong, this is a band who draw the audience in, great musicians one and all. It is not easy to get four guitars to all sound in tune but they were spot on and the result was a tuneful cacophony of epic proportions – what more can BM say, this was worth the admission price alone!
Next on, Scottish three-piece Polly gave us some more traditional rock riffs but built things up to some memorable crescendos with some excellent guitar playing – at least one of the songs was about life during lockdown, and it resonated… Cue some actual moshing (some of it instigated by Kundalini Genie band members!)…
English four-piece combo Modern Woman then gave us a very varied and interesting set with female lead singer and guitarist playing off a furious keyboard/percussionist and a bass player who also played some sax. Musical influences, well it’s hard to say, some slightly gothy vocal lines and not afraid to be atonal, maybe not fully formed yet but some definite promise, and the audience took to them, a good reaction to their first Scottish gig.
Another band playing their first Scottish gig were next on, Mandrake Handshake, hailing from Oxford. A highly eccentric nine piece, including a maraca-playing six-foot ginger, Boater-hatted Bez-esque cheerleader, a diminutive female lead singer with a massive voice and an Eno-esque synth maestro – they barely all fitted on the stage and took a wee bit to get beyond first gear (there were quite a few orders to the soundperson but she took it in her stride), but my God when they did, they were incredible.
Like something between The Happy Mondays and Jefferson Airplane, they soon whipped the audience into a massive frenzy and the pace became furious. The previously borrowed white Strat had been returned and played a major part in proceedings. This is the sort of band you couldn’t really make up, and they fit any idea of a traditional line-up, but hell they provoked the sort of reaction you just cannot manufacture and should surely be wowing audiences at festivals the country over by next summer…
A spontaneous call for an encore got them improvising on the audiences “Mandrake Fucking Handshake” chant and they went off into another massive jam, the lead vocals booming out above the total (but well-drilled) musical chaos – no wonder people were freaking out, just what you want at the psyche fest!
Last up were TVAM, from Manchester (and yes BM thinks that TVAM and Modern Woman played the far larger Manchester psyche fest last night, ie Saturday). This combo have a slightly higher profile and brought with them a large TV, which played graphics and some of the song lyrics on text like a karaoke machine. A four-piece (BM thinks, through the gloom and pints of Tennents…), they use more keyboards than the previous acts but still invoke a pretty intense reaction, with some hard-hitting drums, slightly wispy vocals but astounding guitar, bass and drums.
To be honest by this point (5 bands in 5 hours) BM’s judgement was a bit impaired and couldn’t really keep track of the individual songs, but the overall effect was dense, edgy and very sonically effective.
This was exactly the kind of gig that BM loves, bands and audience chatting to each other and making new connections, or gassing with complete strangers, united by a common love of unusual or new music – and the five bands all gave each other moral and physical support.
And all credit to promoters PCL for putting something like this on when we are just out of Covid (most people were sensible with masks) – let’s hope that this sort of event can continue, we all got a bit of a taste of freedom, musical and physical, tonight!