THE SILVER APPLES
- Strange Collective
- Whyte Horses
SANKOFA arrive on stage to kick-start this evening’s trip through psychedelia’s various phases. Not the most outlandish outfit, considering what’s to come, but still definitely a strong start. Their aesthetic is direct (with no disrespect intended) and could be interpreted as slightly innocuous. This is powerful, but safe, rock music. Nevertheless, their set is delivered by a band of enthused young chaps who each have a wealth of talent. A solid start to the proceedings.
Next up come STRANGE COLLECTIVE with their energetic onslaught of grunge-infused head music. The bandmates have a live chemistry that verges on the telepathic as they plough through a slew of relentlessly catchy and accessible tracks. This is an exhilarating set with all the zeal of warring soldiers; the crowd is truly captured.
The live six-limbed beast that is WHYTE HORSES displays itself across the stage as the third act of the night. This is the traditional quartet: drums, guitar, bass and guitar/vocals, with the addition of two female backing vocalists and percussion players. Whyte Horses are very definable indeed; their sound neatly fits within the categorisations of dream pop and psychedelia, which unfortunately proves their undoing. Everything about this group fits this persona: the decorative stage adornments of floral patterns and colourful stage wear, the tripped-out mesh of visuals above the stage, the melancholic and over-all simplistic, tame songs – all contributing factors to what makes the band resemble, almost too closely, a dropout project from the 1960s. They receive a warm reception from the crowd and play a strong set of songs but the problem – for me at least – is that the very heart of psychedelic music is supposedly pinned upon lateral wanderings and breaking through accepted musical boundaries. Whyte Horses, unfortunately, aren’t breaking any boundaries. They’re playing out a fitting stereotype of 60s dissident hippies.
Finally, we have SILVER APPLES. Simeon Coxe, looking like an extra from a Clint Eastwood western, strolls onto the stage and helms his monstrous, stacked collection of synthesisers and drum machines. From the outset, the performance is unyielding: a cacophony of feedback and fevered beats certainly makes for a unique spat of tracks. Silver Apples are notorious for having been one of the first groups, in the 1960s, to fuse minimalistic electronic music with accepted rock trends. It’s now gone forty years since their inception and they still sound unlike anything anyone has heard before. Misty Mountain is the first in the set and throughout the performance we are treated to a glut of true strangeness, with songs such as Oscillations, You & I and Ruby still bending the minds of all in attendance. Any fans of krautrock artists such as Neu or Harmonia should already be familiar with Silver Apples, them being considered progenitors of the genre. Perhaps the younger members of the audience do not know quite how to react to some of the music, but each and every crowd member cannot help but be mesmerised. This is true psychedelia: beautiful, strange and captivating.