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08 December 2012

[Live Report] The Reverb Conspiracy @ The Shacklewell Arms, London 10-11/11/2012

[Live Report] The Reverb Conspiracy @ The Shacklewell Arms, London 10-11/11/2012

London was gloomy once again so as soon as we set foot on the capital's soil that Saturday, on the 10th of November, we headed east for the highly anticipated festival taking place in The Shacklewell Arms, a pub in Dalston.
The Reverb Conspiracy, curated by the Bad Vibrations crew, Fuzz Club Records and The Reverb Appreciation Society was the psych event which inevitably could not be missed.

[Live Report] The Reverb Conspiracy @ The Shacklewell Arms, London 10-11/11/2012

A two-day festival with a cracking line up to suit all tastes of psych rock and shoegaze... Lola Colt, Dead Rabbits, The Underground Youth, Radar Men From The Moon, Wall of Sound, The Telescopes, Singapore Sling and many more; everyone representing psychedelia and shoegaze from around Europe gathered in this London underground venue to convince even the hardcore disbelievers that the European psych scene is growing rapidly and is ready to explode.
[Live Report] The Reverb Conspiracy @ The Shacklewell Arms, London 10-11/11/2012
I am not going to bother about who played when; you can see that from the pictures. It was such an awkward moment to have all those bands together wandering around in the beer garden, inside the pub itself and occasionally in the toilets as well. The organization of the festival was sound. No mix ups (even though tickets were electronically booked) Keith made sure of that, the crowd's behavior was awesome and often they were more vocal than the bands. The excellent beer garden at the back of the premises gave a warm welcome for artists, crowd and promoters to relax, drink and chat in between sets. Fuzz Club records had all their goodies lined up for anyone interested to buy colored vinyls, picture disks', patches and t-shirts of all the bands. I really liked the Dead Skeletons one but as I had already bought one, Victor bought me a Fuzz Club patch to satisfy my psych need. It was only 2 quid after all. Casper from Fuzz Club was there as well making sure everything was going nice and smooth. After all he was the one to “blame” for this amazing weekend! 

We missed The Wands, who, according to many, was one of the best acts. We all knew that the blow they grow was magic and their beatlesque divinity too but the London Tube is to blame!!!! Our first pint was accompanied by Black Lizard; the sound was a bit squeaky but the guys delivered with dignity a nice warm-up set of 7 songs, if my memory serves me right. Ancient River took the stage shortly afterwards with the iconic Slash look-alike guitarist and played a very seventies' set with psychedelic guitars hovering over the tight rhythm section. They seemed to be really honoured to be a part of this festival as they later said.

Hanging around with Craig and Olga, 2/3 of The Underground Youth, we quickly realized how our little country is treating good music and bands. They were completely amazed by the crowd's response in their recent Greek tour and on top of that our hospitality is something they are really looking forward to experience again. One can easily say that they had some of their best shows ever in Greece. As I had seen them a while ago – back in July 2012 at the same venue – I was eagerly awaiting to witness again their vintage sound dressed up in a rock 'n' roll disguise. The likes of I Need you, Morning Sun, Delirium and a majestic Rules of Attraction really rewarded all those who came down. More solid performance than the one back in July but hey….they have some live performances under their belts now. The only missing factor was the cute blond tambourine player who, I had earlier found out, will be joining them soon again…..from Russia with love.

The KVB hit the stage with their doom pop and people had some time to sit back and chill. That eighties new wave smell of Never Enough, the dark atmosphere of Lost made us think that we were part of a Peter Cushing film. The duo from Southampton played 8 songs including the marvelous Sleep Walking which completely blew me away. The doom and gloom of that tune is really something. Another break, guitars, amps and pedals in the van…time for the mighty Telescopes to step in and define the festival's quality. They have been around for quite a while and the memories of their ATP I'll Be Your Mirror performance in 2011 are still vivid. Personal opinion: you listen to The Telescopes and you can realize how this whole scene was reformed from the seventies; The Black Angels, The Warlocks etc. they were playing shoegaze before it became a trend and their psych roots still branch out around the scene. The Perfect Needle, Violence, Oil Seed Rape, Suicide, Nothing were some of the songs I can recall. All in all, they played like a bloody boss owning the place.

Lola Colt was surely the band to see. I am not quite certain but they might have a bright future ahead of them as they appeared much better than the previous time I saw them in July's Bad Vibrations Festival. They have been playing in venues in London (The Macbeth, The Victoria, Corsica Studios and around the East London area of Stoke Newington, Dalston, Shoreditch) for the past 2 years with the likes of Bonfire Nights, The Lucid Dream, The Medusa Snare and the comments/ reviews they have received so far are promising. The first thing striking somebody at a Lola Colt concert is the terrifying vocal resemblance of Gun Overbye with Siouxsie Sioux and Patti Smith but in a more pompous way. As if she commands the audience to look at her straight in the eye!! She sings very passionately and has a strong stage presence commanding respect by giving no less than 100%. Boom Boom Blasphemy was immaculate and I Get High If You Get High really got the crowd going. It was a nice mix of Americana new wave and shoegaze played by The Velvet Underground if you ask me but again labeling music is my worst nightmare, I've never been good at that.

My ventures in the premises took me in the actual pub to get another drink where I bumped into Mr. Singapore Sling a.k.a Henrik Bjornsson and his lovely wife. He remembered me from the Dead Skeletons concert in Birmingham, another legendary performance with the icon named Nonni Dead. I finally got to meet the other half of The Go-Go Darkness and the person responsible for all the female vocals in Singapore Sling records. Our anticipation to see them on stage could not be described, and after a ten minute chat and a promise to come and play in Greece they headed backstage and we took our front row seats next to The Underground Youth and just waited. The bass of Godman vibrated the venue ploughing in the brains of everybody. Singapore Sling are known for not touring regularly, so when you have them at your own back yard playing, you SHOULD take advantage of the situation and cease the day. The intro guitar of Life Is Killing My Rock 'N' Roll left me personally speechless.
A feeling which I would only compare to GVSB song In Like Flynn… Come down to my level, so I can talk to you, Mr. Scott McCloud used to quote back in the nineties and now the Icelanders are giving voice to degenerates, scum, dead poets and trash of the 21st century. Straight out of Iceland… I wanna die young but I'm getting old, this life is killing my rock n roll….maybe stolen from Suicide’s Rock 'N' Roll is killing my life?? Who knows? Who cares at the end of the day??? I consider myself lucky to have seen them live because it does not happen regularly and it was quite an experience actually. Martial Arts, Overdriver and Curse were also included in the set list which I try to keep up with and not let my excitement take charge.

A lot can be said about their stage presence, you know the shades, the dark look, the avant guard presence of Elsa Maria Blondal. Some may argue it is fake, others that they are a cheap imitation of Jesus and Mary Chain or The Cramps; well that is just your opinion as the great Jeff Bridges said in the Big Lebowski…and since you have an arsehole you are all entitled to an opinion!!!! Until next time, take care of yourself and each other.
[Live Report] The Reverb Conspiracy @ The Shacklewell Arms, London 10-11/11/2012
Day number two! Since everyone abandoned me and no one didn't want to (or couldn't) come to the second day of The Reverb Conspiracy and having consumed the expected number of pints, I made my way to the Shacklewell Arms. It was rather early and the gig hadn't started yet. By the time I had greeted Keith and had my first pint, Oscar Suave came on the stage. Whatever I write cannot do justice to the experience, since the whole two-day event was awesome and all the bands where excellent. Half an hour and a few remaining cigarettes later, it seemed to me that there were plenty of people for the time being – among them all the usual suspects from the day before – the time had come for the Dead Rabbits. In my opinion they are one of the most distinguished bands of the whole event and one of the bands that prompted me to travel from Greece to the Shacklewell Arms in the first place. Their set included several surprises. The band's most powerful tracks were there along with a very good performance for the "friends" from Southampton. I kept thinking to go and ask them afterwards why they didn't play "All You Need" since it's the song through which I got introduced to the band after long hours I spent on internet.

Radar Man From The Moon decided to surprise us, especially since they were the heaviest band of the line-up of the whole event, by setting up the backline (amps for guitar, base guitar and drums) on the same level with the audience and I ended up standing next to the guitarist! People were wondering which was that band and the Dutch had set their minds into simply destroying us. After several changes and with the band back on the stage as usual, it was the turn for the French Sonic Jesus with the underground tracks "Monkey on my back" and "Lost" (if I remember correctly) which were among others they shared with us that night. A multi-talented band, judging from the fact that they all changed around in the percussions with plenty of zest even if the sound wasn't favorable all the time.

And while the time was passing by and my trip back to St. Albans was approaching the pain in my spine from the "good times" of the night before was bringing me to my knees. Adding to this that I had run out of cigarettes and money which would be necessary if I wanted to get some "vitamins" (pints), I took a deep breath and held it together in order to see The Lucid Dream since I got the impression that they are amongst the most experienced bands. Seeing them stressing and trying to set up 3 guitars, the smoke machine (they don't go anywhere without it) and a strobe light I got convinced to stay for one more magnificent performance by RC (and I keep this brief since my brain is starting to abandon me and I forget the songs they played). Everyone was under pressure and they played Heartbreak Girl without any mistakes and although the singer seemed to be annoyed by something, in the end everything went just great.

It was around that time that I decided to go back from where I came; to crawl inside a hole and take any muscle-relaxant I could get my hands on since the pain was now unbearable and I couldn't go on standing or moving whatsoever. I still keep beating myself up about leaving 20 minutes before the appearance of Wall Of Death and The Blue Angel Lounge but I am sure that both bands must have played superbly and I'm also sure that sometime in some tour, in some dark bar we will meet and then this report will be finally concluded as it should!

Congratulations to all involved: organizers, sound technicians and to everyone that was there to support this two-day event; I can imagine (without having the slightest clue) that it can't be easy to organize more events like this in England just like in Greece where we see more or less the same bands (in their old age) but without the accompanying support for this scene (whether it's local or not) and with the recession not being necessarily the reason for this lack of enthusiasm.

Report, photos and videos by Dirty Gimmicks (Pol Lord & Victor Malkievic)
A big fat thanks to both guys for taking the time to write the whole report and for the audiovisual material!

Check out a bunch of photos from The Reverb Conspiracy:

And here are some videos:

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