Review of the gig in the Voodoo, Dublin, 29 June 2006
Psychofest rolls round once more, and all the heads descend on Voodoo for some rock n' roll fuelled debauchery. A good night, some great bands, even better performances, yet all in all it just fell short. Psychofest is a brilliant idea, and that's the reason I'm a bit harsh. It deserves to be huge, and against the potential, anything less than amazing is bound to come up short?
The CLUAS Verdict? 7.5 out of 10
Innovative, loud, sexy and back again? Psychofest #2 rolled into the Voodoo Lounge and kicked right in where its predecessor left off. Organised by The Things as a mini-festival to showcase their take on the scene, Psychofest is a great and much needed concept. This year saw more bands, more people and unfortunately, the usual lack of mainstream attention. A sad truth but the mainstream just isn't biting, Hotpress don't want to know (the twits) and as a result righteous indignation lashes out from every corner. But maybe its time we threw up the hands and stopped to think. Sure, this is a great idea, sure it deserves notice and support purely on that basis, but the whole kick, the entire Psychofest trip was built on a "get out there'n'sort shit out for ourselves" attitude and, delusions aside, this fell far short.
If this is ever going to really kick off, it needs something massive, something genuinely psycho and deserving of attention; the UFO club of '67, the blissed out mayhem of a Manchester warehouse, or all the deviant glory of a night at the Heart of Darkness. Until that happens we can only moan, (somewhat justly? obviously) and accept that that's the way it is. It takes sensation to make headlines. You might disagree with this, and that's cool, but how involved are you and can you step back and try to dig it from the outside? How many new faces did you see the other night?
Voodoo was near empty at 8, busy from 10 but never gonzo, over blown or debauched. Whose fault this is I'm not sure. Maybe it's the World Cup, the steep 15 euro price tag, us in the audience, a lack of promotion, or maybe (possibly more tellingly) a lack of diversity. How many of these bands draw on the same audience? If the music policy is widened it should bring more people in through the door, and that can only be good. But whatever the reason, whatever the cause and wherever the cure, Psychofest is under hitting, and that is a shame. The bands are there, the enthusiasm is overwhelming, and the brew seems just about set to boil over?
The music on the night came from a who's who of bands on the scene at the moment, some stalwarts, some new talent. Most were decent, some were distinctly average and one or two just managed to set the whole thing alight.
Humanzi were faultless, tight and obviously well supported. Why that is though, I really don't know; a big deal, video-play on MTV? all good and damn impressive. The songs even have everything great tunes should; dirt, fuzz and hooks. But there is something missing, something in the lifeblood, the tunes just don't shimmer, never vibrate and swing, shooting up your spine like the first gorgeous tinges of a psilocybin rush, "the great thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain?" Maybe it was just on the night, but maybe that's just looking for an excuse?
The Mighty Stef? Goddam! A show stealing performance for which there are no words, only a head full of amazing memories; a swirling mass of charisma, talent and white hot energy. The glorious combination of a talented band playing straight from the soul, (dig the guitarist on "Down at the Radiotron,") a fistful of new tunes, passion, a waistcoat? it all just meshed. Beautifully. A set that was this good and can still leave out "Liars" is something special in any scene, and if some of the Stef's eh, stefness can ooze out and infect the other bands, Psychofest #3 will definitely be something special. I was blown away.
All in all Psychofest #2 was a (relatively) successful night; well run and fairly well attended, the bands turned up and played at least as well as expected and for some that might be enough. But it shouldn't be. Psychofest is bigger than that, grander, and more deserving. The potential is huge, the future possibly brighter than Jesus on MDMA, and here's to it.
Check out the discussion sparked off by this article on the CLUAS Discussion board.