Cosmosis Festival: 12 Hour Party People Round II
By François Cattelin
You have to make choices when you attend a festival and Cosmosis Festival in Manchester is no exception. I was well prepared for my adventure: 33 bands in 1 day, and even after 10 years of beating the ground in venues across Europe, my first time at Cosmosis was certainly a unique one. The festival presented itself as a road trip for me and my friends, but we weren't the only ones to travel so far (France). Music fans travelled to Manchester from far and wide. If you remember the Primavera Sound live report last year, just as the Brits made it over to Spain, the Spanish and all the others made the return leg to the UK and to this very special event; Cosmosis festival: 12 hour party people round II.
We arrived in the red brick city and as always we didn't find the festival easily. The Victoria Warehouse is lost in the suburbs of Manchester with no directions leading to it. We eventually followed a crowd into the hidden venue, and got involved in The Watchmakers, a local psych band. It was our first band of the day. They kicked things off with what we think was a cover of Spacemen 3, and gave us a great introduction to the aptly named "Fire Stage" (there were 5 stages Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Aether).
Before travelling to Manchester I jotted down 10 names to see, already a tough call for a one day festival. But of these names, one of the highlights came in the early afternoon where we encountered Rev Rev Rev of Shoegaze and "wall of sound" success. Less than 50 people were at the show, but the set played incredibly fluently. Above all, the female vocals on show were not only strong, but quite intoxicating.
Holy Wave killing it on stage ©Coralie G.
A festival is always full of surprises and here's the biggest one of all: Wire are still noisy. Really noisy. I couldn't stay more than 3 songs in the front row. From the back of the crowd, however, the sound was good and the band put in a strong performance. I'll bring earplugs next time. One of the biggest expectations was the band Holy Wave from Austin, Texas. They play Psych-Rock to the highest level despite their youthful appearances. It was fuzzy guitar and adventurous keyboards, and above all the crowd were really pleased. Their label The Reverberation Appreciation Society deals with many great psychedelic bands, with Holy Wave being one of the jewels in their crown.
The Raveonettes having a blast ©Coralie G.
The Raveonettes came on stage later in the evening and to put it in simple terms; they were awesome. I've seen them more than ten times over the past year and they sounded noisier than ever. Front man Sune has the same charming voice that attracted me many years ago, singing in the same ranks as greats such as Dylan at this point in time. The crowd clearly reacted in the same way as I did, and nodded along as they killed us with their reverb and sudden bursts of flashing light to the sound of Aly Walk With Me originally by Lust Lust Lust.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre have still got it ©Coralie G.
Then appeared The Brian Jonestown Massacre. As per usual Anton and his crew stumbled on stage and began to play a set list of anything they wanted, and as per usual the crowd sang along to his every word. Do I need to tell you that Joel Gion played tambourine? No? Regardless, the band appeared very excited to be playing Manchester and we witnessed what was in many ways a true psychedelic show. Anton's voice was healthy and their sound made us travel right back to the 1960's.
At this point of the night you begin to feel low on energy. Beer is desperately needed and all you can see on the line-up is The Jesus and Mary Chain. Here you have two choices: you think they are too old and rock on back to the hotel, or you stay and discover just how they sound 30 years later...
Next time I won't think twice, and I'll run to the front row. It was the loudest performance of the festival despite only five people being on stage. On the right, William Reid stole the show with his guitar solos that everyone knows. If I say April Skies does it ring a bell? In the middle, Jim Reid gave a solid performance, dropping the mic just as he did in the 1980's with a crowd favourites such as Some Candy Talking. It's fair to say it went mental, and by the time It's So Hard rung out our ears were killed.