An intense dive into noisy dark psychedelia
Here it is, the long-awaited festival report from the impeccable Fuzz Club Festival Eindhoven 2019! At the end of August, the London-based record label threw their second signature party in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Spanning over two full days, the festival hosted precisely 33 (!) bands from all over the world and from various corners of the musical spectrum. However diverse and contrasting some acts may have seemed, they all wholeheartedly fell under the electrifying denominator of the Fuzz. Precisely the one we hold so dear here at More Fuzz. Because there can never be enough, can it? Fuzz Fuzz Fuzz…
Mr. Witchfinder: I had waited quite some time when I finally got to see that unique Swedish formation. As they canceled their appearance at Red Smoke Festival 2019 (review here), seeing them at Fuzz Club a month later seemed like a natural course of action. Dead Vibrations was the second band to hit the small stage, which despite its decent size was already rather packed. The air smelled with sweat and electricity, the atmosphere was tense and you could tell people were truly hungry for some live madness.
And then came the band. Kicking off with a collection of shoegazy riffs, Dead Vibrations quickly began painting their sonic landscape being surrounded by warm and flashy lights that fitted the music just well. The instrumental blend between noise, psychedelia, drone and the aforementioned shoegaze sounded pretty sweet live, however making it all a bit louder and bringing out the vocals might have worked even better. While I’m aware that Christian’s voice was meant to be floating around instead of dominating all the rest, it was at times barely audible (my hearing is still good in case you’re wondering!). Apart from that, everything else sounded on point. A fantastic way to begin the evening.
Mr. Stone: This was one of the gigs I mostly expected of this weekend. I really dig The Myrrors special dark smooth desertic vibe, their music always seemed to me as the perfect soundtrack to a shroom trip in the desert (not that I’ve ever made any), looking at the sky around dusk, and welcome the night and all its glorious splendor. It was my first time seeing them and I must say it didn’t disappoint, even though it might have been a bit too early, but still.
Trippy melodies going up and down like cosmic waves and solar eruptions in the tranquility of space. The drums and bass kept a nagging rythm all along, numbing us in a second state, watching at the kaleidoscopic flowery visuals projected behind them, while the guitar and violin wandered on melody trails, exploring the musical space created before our eyes.
Mr. Witchfinder: These guys have been around for over 20 years now and if anything can be said about The Warlocks, it’s that them boys are jolly fun and that they stick to their well-honed sound. After seeing them play at Effenaar where the acoustics are one of the best I’ve heard, I must frankly say that their recordings don’t do full justice to the band. At least not in terms of the sound feeling complete per se.
The massive wall of their typical melancholic noise seemed to be so thick and multi-layered that it hit me hard. The resonating waves of mellow riffs and Bobby’s soft voice filled the room to the brim and had sounded crispy to say the least. The overall performance wasn’t wild or groundbreaking in any sense but it was precisely the contrary. Soothing, melancholic and kind. It was this type of gig that despite its rather somber appeal, was still able to put one to dance or make on cry.
The Underground Youth
Mr. Witchfinder: Here we go, one of the most pleasant surprises of the festival. All dressed in black, The Underground Youth played the main stage and took off in a rather gentle way. Playing a variety of tracks from their discography, the guys swiftly cranked up the tempo and let go of all earthly matters. The guitar work was just excellent! Add to that Craig’s hauntingly beautiful vocals plus some moody drumbeats and you got a performance that is both tense and relaxing.
Until then I’ve only been accustomed to the band’s softer and more optimistic side of things, without digging that much into their darkness. In what shock was I when I witnessed the sheer brutality that at times revealed itself! The moment Craig dived into the crowd and continued playing amidst the people was perhaps my most vivid memory of this gig. This move, however simple it might have seemed, ignited some wicked energy in the people and made it all feel as a one-in-a-lifetime moment. Incredible.
Iguana Death Cult
Mr. Witchfinder: You probably know this feeling when you give something a try and it turns out to go way beyond any of your expectations. This was what happened to me just 5 minutes into the gig of these Dutch freaks going under the name of Iguana Death Cult. Post-punk? Garage rock? Some psychedelic stuff? You name it, they got it covered.
These guys not only knew how to set up a proper party but also how to sell it. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing artificial or insincere about their music, the exact opposite I’d say. Throughout the whole gig, IDC was relentlessly shoving sonic treats down the crowd’s throat, Oh Sees style. Riffs, blasts, screams, jumps… all at once! The energy this band had brought about was insane and got quickly picked up by the crowd only to be returned with double the power. One of the few gigs where I totally lost track of time and fully immersed myself into the performance. Most unexpected discovery.
Mr. Stone: Another gig I was looking forward to, it’s been a few years I haven’t seen Night Beats and that’s a shame.
The Seattle trio has a really laid-back yet lively garage blues vibe that should make you stomp your feet and shake your booty.
They kept their energy intact, but I felt this gig was more far-out than I remembered them, but that’s never gonna be something you’ll hear me complain about 😉
Especially since it fits so well with their music and even more the very distinctive voice of Danny “Lee Blackwell” Rajan Billingsley, again emphasized by the wonderful visuals we had this year in Eindhoven.
Mr. Stone: I LOVE THIS BAND.
There, I said it, I’m always looking forward to any of their gigs, and I could see them every day without getting bored. They have that wonderful krautrock vibe, but in a very British way, oscillating between groovy breaks and noisy psych take-offs, playing with our nerves.
These British dudes started by mesmerizing us into their haunting shimmer, before changing rhythms to make us dance, then losing us in spacey bursts of speed, ultimately building to a crazy climax, groovy, noisy, dirty and spacey as hell, all at the same time.
Mr. Stone: I didn’t know The Telescopes before, but Fuzz Club seemed to hold them in high esteem and given what I think of Fuzz Club, this had really my interest. There was even a documentary about these long-time British rockers, projected (way too early for me) on Saturday.
I entered the big hall of Effenaar not knowing what to expect but still surprised by this thick noisy droning sound and crazy weird visuals, giving the room a surrealist atmosphere. They then moved on slowly to some tribal dark noise psychedelia, still as thick, and keeping the whole room in a sort of trance, following the raucous grungy voice of Stephen Laurie, surfing on waves of fuzzy sound reverberating all over the place.
Definitely a gig to catch your attention, make you travel and leave you kind of exhausted but somehow different from before.
Mr. Witchfinder: Quarter past midnight was precisely the moment when the psychedelic Italian overlords climbed the stage and showed no remorse. The Gluts came to us straight from Milan and with smiles on their faces and passionate determination in their eyes, they started the fun. After just a few minutes I could tell that there was something special in these guys. A few minutes later, I was already sold and fully into the performance.
Merging noise rock, punk and sweet psychedelia, The Gluts heated up the place to an unimaginable extent by simply acting naturally. Brothers Nicolò (voc./synths) and Marco (guit.) Campana seemed as if they were possessed by the music that escaped their bodies and had all the fun they could. Despite a rather late hour, the crowd was insanely energized by the performance and one could see people moshing, crowdsurfing and putting their vocal cords to some dire tests. But when Nicolò stepped down into the whirlwind of sweat, screams, and joy, the room exploded. Relentless drumbeats and heavy riffin’ dictated the tempo to which both Nicolò and the people surrounding him adhered full-on. There was no escape.
The Gluts were among my favorite acts of the festival not only because I was totally captivated by the electrifying performance, but also because one could see the honesty and passion bursting out of these Italian freaks. These musicians were smiling, interacting with each other and with the crowd, hugging the people, slamming high fives and literally owning the stage. I live for experiencing moments like these.
Radar Men From The Moon
Mr. Witchfinder: With the addition of a vocalist and an extra drummer, the Eindhoven-based Radar Men From The Moon unveiled their new form in front of the ever-hungry Fuzz Club crowd. Minute after minute, the room started resembling a space capsule floating somewhere far out.
Though the overall performance had a rather tense vibe to it, it was still richly interwoven with groove, spacey effects and the signature RMFTM multi-layered sound. There even came a sax at one point. All the gradually growing instrumental avalanche was being constantly backed with aggressive yet highly emotional vocals. If I could compare this gig to anything, it would be a supersonic run through an asteroid field. One where there is no room for mistakes, only complete focus, stellar landscapes and mind-boggling beats spinning in the background…
Mr. Witchfinder: The first out of two Japanese bands that were invited to Eindhoven played the second-to-last gig at 2:15 am. One might think that it was too late for anybody to be still alive yet surprisingly the room was relatively full. Minami Deutsch kicked off without hesitation and went off directly to what makes them who they are. This means building a MASSIVE wall of sound composed of swirling guitars, loops, hazy vocals, and some hypnotizing drumbeats.
Having seen the band play the open air Freak Valley Festival earlier this year, I was amazed by how different my perception of their gig was when seeing them play a club. The confined space of the main stage at Effenaar combined with astral visuals and excellent acoustics made for a perfect match and served Minami Deutsch just perfectly.
To be honest, I couldn’t really distinguish which songs they were playing. I was deeply buried under the sonic fantasies that just kept on pouring. There was no end, the wall of sound didn’t seize to grow and seemed as if it was planning to crack the venue open and devour the whole town.
Saturday was upon us, waking up a bit late, after all, the day before was a bit tiring, and without mercy, from the long drive to the marathon of wonderful gigs that followed. We decided to take a bit our time and skip the projections to be in good shape for the almost 12h(!) of concerts waiting for us today.
We still got there a bit late, Mr. Witchfinder got a glimpse of Acid Baby Jesus, but our first real gig of the day was the next, in the big room :
Mr. Stone: I was really looking forward to this Juju gig, first, because they share a bandmember and musical DNA with Lay Llamas, also because I missed them last year and I was a bit late again, but it was definitely as sweet as I hoped.
The Italian trio weaves fuzzy kraut vibes to mesmerize you in a second state before the tribal grooves take over, warm and numbing. These never-ending melodies were taking the second hall on an inside-trip but also outside, with some occasional burst into space delivered right on point.
Les Big Byrd
Mr. Stone: After properly starting the day with Juju, I was really curious of what Les Big Byrd could bring. I had never seen them before, and I knew their sound resonated in me, so I was eager to find out.We were welcomed by some nagging repetitive rhythms, echoed by some distant synths layers and while the guitar licks seemed to be reverberating over the big walls of the mainstage at Effenaar. Les Big Byrd took us on a kraut trance, our emotions being hauled around by the nose, building up headily to climaxing moments, liberating the kind of frustration into a beautiful burst of joy.
Mr. Witchfinder: Some time before the actual gig I managed to take Tess for a quick round of portrait shots around the venue. Having briefly talked with her about the upcoming gig, the setlist and about life in general, I was even more anxious to finally see her on stage with guitar in hand. So it finally happened, Tess Parks and her band hit the main stage at 8 pm sharp and started the fun.
Everything seemed to be in place, the swirling guitar work, the typical nonchalant voice of Tess or the faithful bass lines humming in the background. Even the seemingly effortless vibe that she always brings around with her presence was there. Yet, I missed something. It might have been some sort of genuine contact with the crowd, maybe the smiles that rarely accompanied Tess’s alluring moves… I can’t precisely tell.
Music-wise, I was more than content. Speaking of the performance though, it lacked the energy that would add a whole new layer to it. And before you hunt me down, I’m aware of what Tess’s music sounds like and what it aims for. Nevertheless, even with sonic melancholia of this kind artists need to back their live music with something going beyond merely playing it.
Mr. Stone: NONN is a Swedish trio with haunting vocals discrete guitar licks, dragging bass lines, ambient keys, and machine drums. Don’t expect energy or anger here, this is a smooth minimalist shoegaze/darkwave band we got here, but once you’ve accepted that, you can let yourself totally go in a numbing self-absorbing state of self-exploration. This gig was a perfect meditation break in the afternoon, gathering some energy for the rest of this wonderful day.
Mr. Stone: After witnessing their brilliant show at Desertfest Berlin earlier this year, I knew for sure that this gig was about to be grandiose again. And it seems I wasn’t the only one waiting for this, the big room of Effenaar was pretty full for the second Japanese band of the weekend and I guess they weren’t disappointed. Kikagaku Moyo never ceases to get better in my eyes since the first time I saw them and they delivered this time again a top-notch quality performance.
Bringing along that oriental vibe we like so much, the sitar never stopped to take us on sonic journeys, backed up by the amazing guitar melodies and hypnotizing rhythms of the bass and of course drums. If you’ve seen them already, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?
Mr. Stone: Lumerians have a packed background of amazing albums, and they always manage to surprise and expand their universe to new horizons. Every one of their shows feels honest and rooted in the moment, they must channel the energy of this somehow to include it in their performances. Exit the glimmery robes and red LED eyes, welcome black hoodies, and hats, and blue LED eyes 🙂
After a cheerful funny mostly keyboard ear-worming intro, they went on adding more and more to their nagging and thick web of noise and melodies, venturing beyond the barriers of space and time. The club went on an increasingly exhilarating trance with them, hypnotized by those piercing blue eyes into another dimension.
Mr. Stone: I was totally surprised by that band, that I didn’t know before, and man, that was crazy! These dudes, dressed like tribal bayou spirits or gurus, took us in a wild ritual. The contrast felt a bit odd, their looks being more primitive and the music, mostly electronic with some pounding drums and ancient percussion, even some weird homemade sticks making crazy noises depending on where they hit them.
I could say this is some sorts of mix of krautrock meets post-punk meets electronica with a fanatic visual concept, but this shallow description wouldn’t do them justice, they describe themselves as aggrocultural punktronica from analog dendrophilia, if that helps 😉 This all builds into a loony shamanic tribal dance 2.0, getting the big room of Effenaar, with its fitting visuals everywhere and crazy lights, to shake their booties on these insane rhythms until everyone just wants to jump their ass off.
Mr. Stone: I didn’t know these guys before either and I regret it a bit, these moody tunes could have helped some cold dark moments 🙂 And that’s what you should expect from them, some tortured dark noisy psych-rock, echoing as if in the distance, slowly, smoothly taking you on a shady path, to explore some underground gloomy yet beautiful landscapes, the sound reverberating from every direction.
That’s actually one of the things I really like about Fuzz Club Eindhoven, there’s a HUGE load of really good bands, all centered around this love for noise, dark atmospheres, and psychedelia, of course. But every one of these bands brings its personal touch on it, their personal experiences and daemons I guess, and bring some nuances that almost always manage to touch something deep inside of me as if beholding all the different facets of a diamond and enjoying the little impurities that make each of them unique.
Teeth Of The Sea
Mr. Stone: I knew I wanted to see these guys badly, I loved their gig in Nantes at my sweet second home La Scène Michelet, but to see them in that big room, closing two days of wonder and psych delights seemed perfect (I still head over to 10.000 Russos for one last spacey fix before going, don’t worry).
For those who didn’t know these British lads, I guessed it must have been surprising at first, to see those three dudes, all dressed in white, no drums, just a trumpet, a guitar player who uses his hands as much on his guitar as on his pedals, conveniently put at waist height and the last one behind some machines and a computer. The whole blue and white-flashing lights surely must have helped to get in the mood right away, and how not let yourself flow on those delightful trumpet smooth take-offs? Their music definitely takes its time, echoing and answering to itself through melodies, beats, and noise, to build up slowly to some sort of spacey swirl of analog and digital ritual, going up and down, holding your breath and taking your mind far far away.
Like last year, Fuzz Club delivered an amazing two-day festival. Handling even better, in my opinion, the tough task to order the bands so that you can see all those wonderful moments of space, time and music, but also to coherently shift the atmosphere and keep us interested throughout these really long two days.
That would actually be the only improving point I could ask for, keep the same number of bands, but spread them over three days instead of two, making some room for breaks would make Fuzz Club Eindhoven even more pleasant and would definitely help everyone to enjoy the festival fully.
Besides that, the place, the rooms, the sound, the merch, the bands, everything is perfect, it can get hard sometimes to navigate through the crowd and into the club, but that’s also what makes the atmosphere so boiling at times 😉
See you next year!