The DJ Sessions


Say Psych: Live Review: Meltchester 18.05.2024

Backseat Mafia | May 25, 2024

On 18 May, independent Manchester promoters Sour Grapes Records hosted Meltchester, a one day festival of all things psych, garage-rock and punk. As with the previous editions it will be hosted by Projekts Skatepark, a unique venue for a unique day. The event offered up live bands, DJ sets, food, drinks and of course free skating. BSM was there to check out what all the hype was about.

Entering the skate park, the uniqueness of the day immediately hit home – the outdoor, yet sheltered venue was spared the intensity of the rare Manchester sunshine allowing fans to stay cool, in both temperature and countenance. The stage is carefully placed to make the most of the acoustics on offer and as the day goes on, the importance of this becomes more prevalent.

Opening up are newcomers The Pseudo Raft Foundation, a five-headed musical chimera born from a fatal collision of psychedelic whimsy and sonic chaos. Embracing the quirks of a range of styles, melding noise rock, folk, raga and breakbeats into a hypnotic odyssey. Live they are a complex proposition, with layers of sound so intense it becomes difficult to disentangle them. With Grace Slick style vocals, and Hawkwind-esq melodies, these guys are ones to watch for anyone of a psych persuasion.

Gold Cup could not be more different. Another band formed in the Manchester underground from members of other bands, there is a wealth of talent on display here and expectations are high – they do not disappoint. They play loud, abrasive garage rock that channels elements of surf and classic rock into the bargain. Their set is fast and high octane, and almost zooms past too fast, a testament to how good they are. If you like your music loud and fast, these guys are for you.

YOBS are a four piece from Liverpool who recently released their debut LP on Fuzz Club Records. This merry bunch of misfits have a lot to offer as they formed from the ashes of now-defunct Liverpool bands Weird Sex and Ohmns, YOBS was kick-started in 2022 and has gone from strength to strength, with songs that speak loud messages, even though they tell us this was never the aim. They draw the crowd close as their set starts and full crowd engagement is mandatory rather than encouraged. They get everyone down to the floor at one point only to fire them back to the stratosphere. The stand out track is the caustic ‘Plastercine’, which gets stuck in your head now matter how much you try to binge it out. The sky is the limit for these guys.


Wax Head are intriguing, no matter which way you look at them. They produce a blend of garage psych that most haven’t seen the likes off before; quite a feet in such a saturated market. They recently released an EP which they describe as an “exploration of pro-punk psychedelia.” These are not normally words one would put together, yet with these guys the description is spot on. Another set that its impossible to tear your attention from, even for a second and the crowd lap them up. The pair brilliantly with YOBS and for me, the combination of these two make them the best bands of the day.

Frankie and the Witch Fingers have been a constant in the psychedelic (and loosely related) scene for the best part of a decade. They have become a mainstay on bills like this, and those much bigger besides. They were a draw for many, and with their intense live performances grabbing attention worldwide, who could blame them. As they take to the stage its started to go dark, letting the light effects come into their own, adding to the heady cocktail of garage, surf and heavy psychedelia they peddle. With a band this experienced you would expect them to be flawless, but its also hard to know how that would be possible given the ferocity they play with. They are of course brilliant from start to finish, playing songs such as ‘Electricide’, ‘Reaper’ and the phenomenal ‘Dracula Drug’. It takes a lot of perseverance and something special to stay around as long as these guys, whatever it is, they have it.

fan love for Frankie & the Witch Fingers

Having seen Night Beats in Eindhoven a couple of weeks ago, I know how good their shows at the moment, so having them on the bill again today is more than welcome. The band led by Texas born, LA based Danny Lee Blackwell is another artist who needs no introduction in these circles. He creates music like one might assemble a puzzle. The Western psychedelic auteur builds his work from one moment, an initial spark, that must fit a certain criteria: it must give him goosebumps. If that sensation arrives, Blackwell will pursue the idea relentlessly until he has a new song; if not, he moves onto the next moment, constantly looking for the perfect molecule of a song. Complete with a live band, his set tonight includes greats such as ‘As You Want’ from 2013 LP Sonic Bloom, and fan favourites such as ‘Puppet on a String’ from their self-titled 2011 debut. Another band at the top of their game who once again blow the roof off.

Night Beats

Sour Grapes should be really proud of what they put together today, this type of event has so much talent on display its easy to forget it takes no small amount of skill to put it together. The whole thing has gone without hitch and you can’t ask for more than that. SGR, take a bow and lets do again next year please..?

Written by Backseat Mafia


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