The fifth edition of the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia is scheduled to take place later this week on the 23rd and 24th September. Held in a warehouse situated in the city’s old industrial heartland in the Baltic Triangle, Psych Fest 2016 will feature over 100 artists and DJ’s from all over the globe performing across four stages at Camp & Furnace, Blade Factory and District. The two jam-packed days of music will also be complemented by 3D visuals and virtual reality art installations, a cinema, a chat-show and a pop-up record shop selling merchandise and releases by releases by festival performers.
After playing host to the likes of Spiritualized, Factory Floor, Goat, The Besnard Lakes, Ty Segall’s Fuzz and Spaceman 3 co-founder Sonic Boom in past years, the expanded 2016 edition has the potential to be the most memorable Psych Fest yet. On top of showcasing the best of today’s neo-psychedelic revivalists from the UK and around the world, this year will also feature a vast array of genres catering for a wide range of tastes. Over the weekend you’re also likely to hear a bit of shoegaze, noise, drone, industrial, Krautrock, stoner rock, space rock, jangle pop, folk, various forms of electronica and just about everything that exists in between.
Top of the bill this year are the one and only Super Furry Animals, with the Welsh-five piece bringing their unmistakable blend of neo-psychedelic pop to the main stage as Friday night headliners. With a reputation as one of Britain’s best live acts, they’ll certainly be the big draw for a large number of those attending this year’s event. And with a new best of compilation covering their 20-plus year career scheduled for release at the beginning of November, you can expect to hear a varied setlist covering a bit of everything from their superb nine album back catalogue which runs from 1996’s Fuzz Logic to 2009’s Dark Days/Light Years.
Closing the main stage on Saturday evening this year will be The Horrors. With four UK Top 40 albums under their belt since the release of their 2007 debut Strange House, the Southend-on-Sea five-piece have earned plenty of critical praise for their psych-tinged blend of garage rock, post punk, shoegaze and 80’s inspired goth pop. They have something of a mixed reputation as a live band, but if they’re in the right mood their Saturday night headline set could be one of the highlights of the festival. There’s very little doubt that they’ve got the tunes for it with “Endless Blue” and “Sea Within A Sea” among those likely to be given an airing.
A first for Psych Fest 2016 is the PZYK Colony, “an immersive, 360-degree audio visual installation” which will run each evening at Camp and will feature performances from eight artists and two DJ’s. Highly influential late 60’s American electronic rock pioneers Silver Apples, led by surviving member Simeon Coxe III now in his 78th year, will bring their oscillations across the Atlantic on Friday night. This will be followed by ambient techno duo Demdike Stare, who will travel the short distance down from Manchester for those who like their electronic music a little on the dark side.
On Saturday evening the PZYK Colony will play host to former Stereolab sonic architect Tim Gane who will be performing alongside former Stereolab drummer Joe Dilworth and Holger Zapf on synths in the electronically-infused Krautrock trio Cavern of Anti-Matter. On the Friday night the decks are occupied by former six-time World Snooker Champion Steve Davis, and on the Saturday night they’re manned by co-founder of the Finders Keepers records label and festival favourite Andy Votel. Across the weekend there will also be DJ sets from the likes of Marc Riley from BBC6 Music, Tom Furse of The Horrors and Cherrystones, among others.
There are plenty of other potential highlights to look out for too. The Veldt were largely misunderstood during the mid-90’s with their blend of shoegaze and psychedelic soul, but as time has gone by the four-piece from North Carolina, USA are finally being appreciated. London-based duo Ultimate Painting offer up some no-nonsense jangle pop fun on Saturday afternoon for those still feeling a little bit tender from the night before, while it will also be one of the last opportunities to catch Gwenno performing tracks from her excellent Welsh-language dystopian-inspired debut Y Dydd Olaf for a little while.
In a UK exclusive show Pure Phase Ensemble 4 will reassemble to play a one-off gig at this year’s event. Set up by former Spiritualized saxophone player Ray Dickaty as a revolving experimental collective to play at SpaceFest in Gdańsk, Poland on the Baltic coast, previous collaborators have included Simon Scott of Slowdive and Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab. Most recently led by Mark Gardener of Ride, the current line-up will bring their chilly mix of space rock, shoegaze and psychedelia to Liverpool for the first and very likely the last time.
Psych Fest 2016 also expands its international reach at this year’s event, with Lorelle Meets The Obsolete from Mexico, Trementina and La Hell Gang from Chile, Methyl Ethel from Australia, Gnoomes from Russia, Harald Grosskopf from Germany, Dungen from Sweden, and Flamingods from Bahrain being among those to keep an ear out for. They’ll be playing alongside several UK bands including The Wytches, Eagulls, Helicon, Pure Joy, MDME SPKR and Sean Lennon’s latest project The Moonlandingz, as well as a host of artists from the United States.
Expanding on the international reach of this year’s festival, there will also be two very interesting label showcases taking place on the Friday. Fête Souterraine will be curated by French underground pop label La Souterraine and will feature performances by France, ARLT and the intriguing trio of Aquagascallo. The second showcase will deliver sounds from even further afield with Tokyo-based Asian underground label Guruguru Brain presenting its Narrow Road to the Deep Mind showcase featuring performances by Kikagaku Moyo and Minami Deutsch from Japan, Nawksh from Pakistan and Prairie WWW from Taiwan.
In addition to what will be going on across the four performances spaces of Camp & Furnace, Blade Factory and District, there are also a number of areas to explore. PZYK Pryzm returns again after a successful debut outing in 2015 and will feature several performances including one by Radiohead collaborator Oliver Coates. Also featured will be three specially commissioned virtual reality art installations, he most notable of these is Perambulator v.1 which sees Super Furry Animals illustrator Pete Fowler and the bands guitarist Huw Bunford collaborate with local company Draw & Code.
On top of all this there’s also a PZYK Cinema with the programme run by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and Liverpool Biennial, the return of the Musings in Drone chat show featuring conversations with Steve Davis and Huw Bunford, among others, and Dig Vinyl will also be running the Psychedelic World Of Wax Wonders pop-up record shop selling a selection of material from artists performing at this year’s festival, as well as an array of band merchandise.
To get you through the rest of the week, we’ve put together a 100-track playlist featuring a little bit of everything that you can expect to hear at Psych Fest 2016 this coming weekend. Enjoy!