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thesonikdawn 02Chemiefabrik, Dresden, Germany
6th December 2019
Heavy Psych Sounds Festival 2019 with Monolord, Giobia, The Sonic Dawn, Alunah and 1782

Chemiefabrik is a venue in the northwest of the city of Dresden approximately 10 minutes’ walk away from Dresden Neustadt Station. It’s pretty handy if you’ve just flown in because you can get to the venue and then go straight back to the airport if you so wish.

Also, it’s located by a church in amongst some trees and is conveniently not far away from McDonalds, Lidl and an alcohol wholesalers. I like the venue! It has a good-sized stage area at one end of the building with a good sound system. Then there is a bar area with seating in the middle and beyond that is the entrance area with seating and toilets right at the back. I can see myself coming back here in the future when someone of interest is on the roster, I won’t be coming back for the alcohol-free selection though. I mentioned the beer wholesalers around the corner! That place offers a wide selection of booze-free beers but all this place can offer is Becks Blu or a Radler. I mean seriously? Is the walk too far? Anyway…

alunah 04

...Heavy Psych Sounds are a German record label and booking agency that promotes Doom / Stoner orientated Rock music and tonight is one of a 2-night festival co-promoted by GreyZone Concert Promotion, Saturday’s entertainment being performed at two venues in Berlin. Altogether there are eleven bands playing over the two days and the five playing tonight will also play the Bi Nuu venue in Berlin. The bands tonight are Italian three-piece 1782, ALUNAH from BLACK SABBATH’s home city of Birmingham whom I saw at the 02 Islington a few months back in support of TRANSPORT LEAGUE. Then there is Copenhagen three-piece THE SONIC DAWN followed by another Italian band called GIOBIA who are the final warm-up for Sweden’s MONOLORD who headline. The only band I am familiar with is ALUNAH and alas due to having to leave early to catch a train I could not stay to see GIOBIA and MONOLORD perform.


1782

1782 as mentioned above are a three piece from Italy who are signed to the heavy Psych Sounds label. Their name is a reference to the last witch trials in Europe and they are very sludgy in sound. https://www.facebook.com/1782doom

Music & Performance
My first experience of them of 1782 was one of underwhelmed fulfilment. I would go as far as to say boredom but the sound didn’t really grab or excite me. My mind wandered at various points during the set and I did think that a few puffs of a joint would improve my listening experience but I had none to take me into a space of appreciation so I stuck to my professional sobriety.

1782 01

I had no idea what any of the tracks were called and when I asked the bass player for a copy of the setlist none was forthcoming. Back home 24 hours later I listened to the self-titled album, ‘1782’, on Spotify and I still had the same feelings of boredom. There are some good sections especially the guitar filigree at the end of ‘She Was A Witch’ but I find the album to plod along and not really get my mouth watering, which pretty much sums up the live set as well. It’s like listening to rehashed BLACK SABBATH that does not really add or say anything else in a musical sense so I may as well just stick with BLACK SABBATH.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance 6
Light: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 7.5 / 10

1782 02


Alunah

ALUNAH came into existence in 2006 in the musical foundry that is Birmingham, UK. They’ve released five albums to date and the most recent album ‘Velvet Hour’ was recorded with new member Sian Greenaway taking over vocal responsibilities from Sophie Day. https://www.facebook.com/alunah.doom

Music & Performance
Tonight they played six of the eight tracks from their new album ‘Velvet Hour’ and they sure as hell added some interest to the night’s proceedings. The music being more vibrant and multi-dimensional.

alunah 01

Set opener ‘Unholy Disease’ gallops along after starting off with a BLACK SABBATH like duh - duh, duh duh duh bass line that sets a “just after dusk” vibe which conjures up gas lights and mist in my mind’s eyes, the track ‘Hunt’ is sublime in its symmetry and flow. More Stoner than Doom, more Shoegaze joint smoking reverie with a great refrain of “I am the hunter and you are the prey” repeated towards track end. Love it! The track ‘Dance Of Deceit’ with punchy and ominous drums at the beginning leading on to meandering guitars that flit around the canvas with purpose. Sian is right, I always want what I can’t have! The music here is not sludgy, it’s more viscous like a good honey that leaves a satisfying sticky after taste at the back of your throat. Vocalist Sian Greenaway adds the dark glamour to the proceedings and does a good job at making a mullet look sexy.

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Why the mullet has bad press in certain quarters is beyond me, I had an orange one way back in the eighties and I looked bloody awesome. Sian and I have the bone structure to carry it off, I wouldn’t want there to be a mass resurgence of the mullet though, and you don’t need its coolness ruined by everyone and your mother having one, eh? The track ‘Velvet’ is another great track replete with clean punchy bass satisfying riffs and a cavernous vocal that's not too echo heavy. This was a short set of around 30 minutes and just like the last time I saw ALUNAH I was attentive until the last note, a good set indeed.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

alunah 02


The Sonic Dawn

Band N°3 on the bill tonight were THE SONIC DAWN. Hailing from Denmark and being in existence for around five years, they have released three albums to date. Their vibe is very sixties with flowery shirts, a Hohner bass guitar a la THE BEATLES along with a psychedelic vibe that brings to mind movies such as ‘EasyRider’. What do they look like? Think STATUS QUO from the ‘Matchstick Men’ period with the hair of PINK FLOYD and not Mod cuts. https://www.facebook.com/thesonicdawn

Music & Performance
The set is fired into motion with a track called ‘Psychedelic Ranger’ If you have ever seen the crowd dancing on the 1960s music show ‘Ready Steady Go’ then you can get a feel for the beat and vibe of this track. I can see the girls now with their arms up and upper body jerkily moving in time to the bass and drums.

thesonikdawn 01

‘All The Ghosts I Know’ carries on that jerky but easily recognisable sixties sound, the muddy thump of the bass holding up trippy guitar licks. ‘Forever 1969’ floats along in a reminiscing manner due to the easy bass that feels like its hovering over a gossamer blanket which at various points shows us the embroidered riffs of the guitar. This is not really my type of music but the aforementioned tracks are ones that perked my interest and made the experience a worthwhile one. The crowd were respectful throughout the set and offered respectful applause at the end and I’m sure THE SONIC DAWN went away with many more converts to their brand of psychedelic head candy.

thesonikdawn 04

Speaking of the crowd, many people came early and what impressed me was the fact that the venue filled out so only a few pockets of floor space were vacant at the back. Every band had a good number of bodies in attendance whilst many pairs of eyes and an equal number of ears gave attention in return. I’ve said before that in London I have been to shows and there’s hardly been anyone around to see bands lower down the bill, they only appear as the headliners come out of the shadows. None of the bands this evening had to look out towards an unobstructed view of the mixing desk, which is always good to see!

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 7
Light: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 7.5 / 10

thesonikdawn 05

Unfortunately I could not stay behind to see the remaining two bands because my plans for the night had to be changed at the last minute. I’ve listened to GIOBIA on Bandcamp though and what I heard sparked my interest instantly. They are very spacey and trippy and HAWKWIND like! If one was so inclined, they could lay back on a pile of cushions and wrap themselves up in a cloak made solely of hash smoke and drift off into a dreamy warm place of their own making. Check out the live album called ‘Live Freak’, it is brilliant! The same goes for MONOLORD. I would have enjoyed this band also, until I do see them live their new album ‘No Comfort’ will be of some comfort. https://www.facebook.com/giobiaband / https://www.facebook.com/monolordsweden

thesonikdawn 03

But to sum up, Chemiefabrik is a good venue in a convenient location. Heavy Psych Sounds did a good job in putting on some good bands. I hope their excursion to London in the new year is as successful as this installation.

All pictures by Claudia Black
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