MCR Psychfest

1 September
Various Venues

"That band was worth the £25 by itself," was one comment made after Baba Naga had just finished their hypnotic set. The band had flooded the dimly lit Night & Day venue with gloriously rich sounds that evoked memories of left-handed maestro Jimi Hendrix scraping the strings on a detuned, right-handed guitar. The Yorkshire-based trio create the impression that they’re merely vessels for immersive and aural experiences. Certainly they aren’t interested in three-minute songs, as that would barely give them a chance to exert their musical muscles.

Judging by the large crowd, there’s an eagerness to indulge in Psychfest, even though the title itself is a slight misnomer, as not all the bands on the bill tread the path in Baba Naga’s direction.

With a name worthy of entry into the New Oxford Dictionary’s next edition, Maddonatron provided evidence of the event’s diversity of sounds. With mischievous glints in their eyes, Stefania, Charlie and Joanie lined up at the front of the stage with Beth sat behind on drums. Once ready, they exchanged glances with each other, before telling tales of their perceptions of people, attitudes, and dreams. Well, if it wasn't their dreams then they have some pretty vivid imaginations.

Their debut album showed that assembling as a band primarily on the basis that a confident attitude counts for a lot, followed later by progressing skills, is still a fine way to craft a musical career. At this event, Maddonatron vocally harmonised when it seemed right, while allowing the mesh of guitars and keyboards and rampant drums to wash over the tightly packed stage front. By the end of the set, appreciative cheers were loud.

To dispel any ideas that you needed to be in a darkened room with the aroma of incense candles or joss sticks in order to indulge in the atmosphere She Drew The Gun took to the stage. The four-piece outfit appear centred around Louisa Roach, who radiates a confident stage presence. So she should, for she has been fine-tuning her works for a while now, sometimes with guidance from the mutual support network of musicians, most notably The Coral. The diversity of her influences is reflected in Roach’s varied output; one song delivered in a solo rap, politically sharp towards its targets, the next with rich, warm keyboards and beats filtering out.

With this latest instalment of the annual Psychfest successful both in terms of crowds and music, the planning for next year can commence.

Ged Camera

Photo of Madonnatron by Ged Camera.