Man Of Moon/Déjà Vega/Psyblings - Live Review
Prior to a few days ago I hadn't been in The Castle on Oldham Street in Manchester for some 10 years and this is now my second visit in a week. It is a cosy little room at the back of the pub which has changed drastically and now has a good sound system and more lights than some bigger venues albeit they are not bright enough... there is also a stage!
Anything with Greg Dixon’s name attached to it, be the God Complex or this evenings performance from PSYBLINGS, is always going to be interesting as he brings elements of chaos, dynamics and unpredictability that most bands can only dream of. It’s rock’n’roll and it is dangerous.
PSYBLINGS are like a psychedelic acid cocktail of late 60’s music in the style of The Beatles, The Doors and Hawkwind with an added modern twist. The band are tight yet loose enough to allow Dixon to fall all over the stage ending up in a foetus like position when it all becomes too much only to bounce back again especially on Lemon Whiskey Herbal Tea. His mannerisms and forays into the audience have a distinct nod to Jim Morrison too.
Jordan Lythgoe (bass) and Ellis Cullen (drums) provide a tight rhythm section onto which Dan Coleman and Sam Bullock pour some colourful guitar playing; Dixon’s dynamics work perfectly over the top. Highly entertaining.
I caught Déjà Vega live at SoundControl three years ago and at the time they impressed me, I thought they had disappeared off the planet so I was pleasantly surprised that they would be bringing their psychedelic/indie/pop/rock sounds to The Castle.
They still remain very impressive with their Manchester inspired sound and music. And drumming this solid needs to come with a public health warning, it’s unwavering and it’s hammering against my head as I try to take photographs at the front, but it's totally necessary as is the cutting, growling, gnarly bass sounds coming from the Rickenbacker centre stage. This, along with great songs and some stellar guitar playing make Déjà Vega an aggressive modern psych band.
Set closer The Test is an absolute stomper that moves along like it is rocket powered, and live it is extended with vocal and guitar processing; it is unrelenting and very pleasing. Déjà Vega are still hugely impressive.
I knew nothing of this band before arriving and when they started they reminded me of Joy Division and New Order with their synth driven stripped back style.
The songs often started with drum activated audio samples from Mikey Reid but the Edinburgh two-piece soon rocked it up with Chris Bainbridge’s crunching guitar work. As the set progressed you could hear the Can and Mogwai influences coming through creating a distinct sonic feel which in turn creates an interesting atmosphere for what seems like a dedicated audience who are very appreciative. And the band are tight and close, regular touring has made them this way and I am sure this is not the last I will hear of them. Interesting stuff.
Words/Photos: Anthony Firmin