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Cosmosis Festival – Was It Ready To Play With The Big Boys? | Festival Review

Spoiler Alert…..YES!


Source: Official Logo

Shifting location from the intimate settings of Manchester’s Antwerp Mansion to the city’s gargantuan Victoria Warehouse (home of warehouse project), Cosmosis Festival was making an obvious step up. Those questioning Cosmosis’s ability to contend with the pysch big-boys were left in no doubt when the 2016 line-up was released; boasting the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Sleaford Mods and The Jesus And Mary Chain as its noble headliners. So, we headed up north to check it out and see how it compared to the highest of expectations.

Arriving at the warehouse it was clear that, like us, the psych community’s eye had been caught by the mouthwatering line-up – the psychedelic setting packed out with some unmissable outfits and haircuts.

First of the big-hitters came relatively early in the day, with veteran London Art-punks Wire taking to the stage – playing a set touching on their blistering back catalogue and classic album Pink Flag, but mostly weighted towards their recent self-titled EP. It was a great set, and certainly the most lively of the day so far with those jagged guitar-lines and cut-throat vocals. Following Wire, we headed over to see the brilliantly-named Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats, whose modern brand of stoner metal hit the roof; those deafening riffs smashing you right in the Celiac Plexus before the perfectly synchronised dual-vocals bounced off the expansive walls of the huge main stage area for a massive set.

Following a bit of a gap we caught Denmark’s Raveonettes. If all you’ve done is listen to the two-piece at home then, like us, you will not expect the giganticism of their live sound. We expected the electronic rumble to sit nicely behind their dual-guitars to make for a nice, atmospheric set, but rather than a rumble the electronic pulse sent blast-waves through the warehouse, leaving crowd-members dumbfounded. Though the duo voiced frustration at sound problems – “we can’t hear ourselves at all,” we fucking could, and it was spell-binding – an early contender for act of the night.

Next up came the mighty Brian Jonestown Massacre, probably the most highly anticipated act of the night if band-t-shirt statistics are anything to go by. Playing material spanning the 25+ year back-catalogue the band mesmerized fans throughout. The undeniable brilliance of Anton Newcombe’s brainchild was prevalent in the live performance, with his completely original brand of neo-psychedelia combining elements of his favourite 60s British psych-sounds to create a unique beast of his own. The set saw material from their recent Mini Album Thingy Wingy, which sounded shit-hot – a definite highlight being his accompaniment by Tess Parks for their quintessential ‘Anemone’.

Overlapping slightly with the end of BJTM’s show were Nottingham’s main offenders Sleaford Mods. And though the beginning of the hip-hop/spoken word boys’ set was plagued by sound interruptions, you’d never have known from the rowdiness of the crowd, and as soon as the technical difficulties were sorted the set properly ignited. After a little while of slow, woozy pysch, Sleaford Mods hitting the stage was the exact type of pick-me-up that was needed. Justin was on fine-form; barking his nihilistic lyrics over the gloomy, minimalist beats of Andrew. Humorous as ever, Sleaford Mods had the audience grabbed by the bollocks throughout; the set flying through, leaving no spare moment to catch a breath.

Next up were the night’s headliners The Jesus And Mary Chain. With an artistic influence that probably covered the majority of the night’s line-up, it was no surprise to see them top the bill. The Glaswegians played a huge set, covering the iconic album Psychocandy rather extensively as well as the best of the rest; those unmistakeable distortion-drenched, touching melodies leaving the audience in awe for over an hour of brilliance – no doubt the kings of the night.

So, did Manchester align itself among a psych-fest-constellation which has lived undisturbed for the past few years? Absolutely – cosmo-realignment.

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