Northwest Gig Highlights – September 2015
Behold! The month of psych is here, with Liverpool Psych Fest dominating proceedings, while we also have a rather special event up our sleeves
September may well be the month of 18-year-olds learning what it is to throw up on the pavement of a new city, but for us here the first month of autumn has become synonymous with the suspicious must, driving repetition and mind-mulching experimentation of psychedelia.
With all due respect to 60s tokers Hawkwind (Manchester Academy, 3 Oct), we’re talking about Liverpool Psych Fest, which this year expands to add District to the Camp and Furnace, and once again pulls apart the strands of psychedelic music, from the pulverising techno of Factory Floor, to the garage rock-influenced Hookworms and woozy balladry of veterans Spiritualized, while Chicago and Chilean labels Sacred Bones and BYM will be teaming up on a showcase. Give your third eye its kicks on 25 and 26 Sep. For those of you already planning to go and fearfully awaiting the inevitable Clashfinder, then the good news is that plenty of the lineup will be making an extended jaunt to the Northwest, giving Manchester a chance to catch Fuck Buttons man Blanck Mass (The Deaf Institute, 24 Sep), while both Manchester and Leeds can see lo-fi pop producer Sun Araw (Soup Kitchen, 27 Sep, and Wharf Chambers, 29 Sep) and Russian shoegazers Pinkshinyultrablast (Night and Day, 29 Sep and the Brudenell Social Club, 1 Oct).
Mancunians don’t even need to head to Psych Fest to get your fill of groove-laden mind messing this month. For a dronier take on things there’s locals Desmadrados dos Soldados de Ventura (Soup Kitchen, 21 Sep), ostensibly a local super group of sorts, with recent Marc Riley-endorsed songwriter Irma Vep, Kiran Leonard live drummer Andrew Cheetham and Sex Hands’ Dylan Hughes among those in Golden Lab Records head honcho Nick Mitchell’s outfit — in fact, Irma Vep also supports the haunting, strummed soundscapes of the Thrill Jockey-signed Circuit des Yeux at the Eagle Inn in Salford (1 Oct).
For those yearning for something a little more instantaneous within the psych spectrum, meanwhile, the prolific Ty Segall brings his motley crew of bong-huffers Fuzz to Manchester and Leeds for another whirl around their Black Sabbath-esque riffs (Gorilla, 1 Sep, and Brudenell Social Club, 3 Sep) while at the poppier end of things the supreme Unknown Mortal Orchestra return to the country, still basking in the afterglow of the reception for their shimmering third record Multi-Love (The Ritz, 26 Sep, and Brudenell Social Club, 29 Sep). In Liverpool, meanwhile, Invada Records founder and Portishead member Geoff Barrow brings his motorik-inspired rhythm troupe Beak> to The Kazimier (3 Sep), the group true masters of the sustainment and release of tension within their rhythm.
Respected jazz and avant-garde label Denovali Records have two artists in Liverpool this month – and on the same bill! What a boon. Oneirogen – the moniker of Mario Diaz de Leon – comes to Liverpool fresh from a residency at The Stone in New York, and his cinematic synthesized sprawl is coupled by Moon Zero’s maximalist drone. What we’re really excited about on this bill though is the first Liverpool date for Dawn Ray’d, featuring members of the much missed Liverpool screamos We Came Out Like Tigers (The Kazimier, 29 Sep). Heaviness in a different form comes from Samuel Kerridge down the M62 in Manchester a few days earlier, the industrial techno maestro bringing the punishing new material released earlier this year on his own label Contort to Soup Kitchen’s grimey basement (25 Sep).
It’s been some year for Julie Campbell, aka Lonelady: the Manchester-based solo artist has enjoyed plenty of acclaim for the steely glint of her post-punk inflected second album Hinterland on Warp, and she’ll be playing her biggest hometown show to-date at Gorilla (1 Oct). Before then, though, there’s a special Central Library show in Liverpool (12 Sep), as part of Get it Loud in the Libraries, which has previously seen the likes of Young Fathers and East India Youth play among the books.
Two artists follow each other across Salford and Liverpool in the middle of the month, with the ever-stunning Northeast folk wordsmith Richard Dawson calling in at Islington Mill (15 Sep) and then The Kazimier (16 Sep). After a sell-out tour in February, this time he’s bringing acclaimed Georgian folk saz artist (the saz is sort of like a long-necked lute) Asiq Nargile with him. Following the pair at both venues just one night after is drone maestro William Basinski. With his four-strong series of Disintegration Loops albums still some of very finest contributions to the ambient canon, Basinski appears as part of the Saisonscape tour, and will perform music befitting the autumn season.
What else is there to tell you about? Too much, frankly, so we’ll keep it brief. A pair of potential next American songwriting greats tour together, with Stephen Steinbrink (signed to Manchester-based Melodic Records in the UK, no less) and Julie Byrne, whose 2014 debut LP Rooms With Walls and Windows was an understated delight, playing both Manchester (Eagle Inn, 11 Sep) and Liverpool (Studio 2, 12 Sep). A songwriter of a wholly different hue in the form of Nadine Shah caps her own very successful year in Manchester (Gorilla, 30 Sep), the Tyneside-born artist incredibly adept at pulling apart the fabric of her undeniably pop-driven songs, without losing any of their immediacy. A couple of damn fine rock troupes from North America to tell you about, too: Calgary post-punks Ought play Manchester's Deaf Institute (2 Sep), while at the same venue just six days later, Los Angeles garage rockers Girlpool make a welcome return (they also play Leeds at the Brudenell on 10 Sep). All this and we can only just about squeeze in South Bronx no wave legends ESG, with Glaswegians Golden Teacher supporting them at what's sure to be a mighty party in The Kazimier (27 Sep).
Do Not Miss: Trof and The Skinny present Weirds, False Advertising, Fruit Bomb + very special guests
The Deaf Institute, 25 Sep
We remember starting at university, standing helpless as a tide of flyers, posters and other promotional paraphernalia came crashing towards us — sure, you want to go out, meet people and get to know the best of your new home, but where do you start? Well, handily enough The Skinny and The Deaf Institute have teamed up for a super special gig featuring some of our favourite emerging bands from the region, playing at a venue that we suspect you'll come to know as a second home over the forthcoming year. Leeds-based hypnotic psych-rockers Weirds, smart DIY outfit False Advertising and thrilling Manchester fuzz-poppers Fruit Bomb will take to the stage alongside very special guests to be announced, plus DJs – and advance tickets are a ruddy steal at just £3, thanks to our ticketing partners, DICE.
It's a chance to see Manchester's False Advertising before everyone else starts talking about them, with their brash debut LP out a couple of weeks later. Manchester's Fruit Bomb, too, will be showing off a new release – Goin' Home, the followup single to this year's excitedly received Normcore Girlfriend, all loose, carefree vox and citrusy jangle. Leeds' Weirds, meanwhile, can boast Hookworms man and Suburban Home producer MJ on their single credits.
Weirds will bring the noise, their first clutch of releases having offered up sabre-tooth riffs and acid-sharp grunge. Check out their current 7”, Off the Hook/Heavy Rain, out now on Too Pure Singles Club, to see what we mean. Be sure to keep an eye out for the announcement of those special guests too – you won't be disappointed.