Fuzz Club Eindhoven 2019 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, October 25th, 2020  

The Gluts at Fuzz Club 2019

Fuzz Club Eindhoven

Fuzz Club Eindhoven 2019 in Effenaar, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, August 23rd, 2019

Sep 11, 2019 Photography by Anna Louise Yorke Web Exclusive
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In Europe the August Bank Holiday is traditionally one of the year's busiest when it comes to music festivals. Yet while the likes of Creamfields, Leeds, and Reading might attract six figure crowds with blanket television and radio coverage to boot, those with a more intimate feel undoubtedly provide a more satisfying outlet for the music connoisseur.

Take Fuzz Club Eindhoven for example. While still only a fledgling event, this being its second year, the success of the 2018 edition meant a lot of those present first time around came back for this edition. Indeed, the resurgence of psychedelia as a 21st century movement has created a new wave of fans loyal to its cause and ethos, and of course the musicians and labels at the heart of it.

In assembling a line up of over 30 acts from various corners of the globe, Fuzz Club conspired to put together a truly international bill once more. While many of those playing either have or had records released by the label, it's more a celebration of the diverse musical elements that placed together make up the broad church of psych.

Of course the lineage can be traced back decades, not least by way of The Telescopes' pivotal role at this year's event. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of seminal debut Taste, their presence throughout the weekend represents a major coup for Fuzz Club and the festival itself. Indeed, there are parallels between Fuzz Club and one of The Telescopes' former labels, Creation. Both emerged during a landscape of austerity, providing a platform for (mostly) left field artists whose voices were unlikely to be heard elsewhere before going on to attain a wealth of recognition from the music industry forthwith. Okay, so it's still early days yet for Fuzz Club but their nomination as best small independent label at this year's prestigious AIM awards is surely the first of many for a label that's consistently championed acts many of their peers would never have taken a punt on.

Back to The Telescopes and their overwhelmingly uncompromising nature, which is almost certainly one of the reasons they're still a big draw nearly four decades on. Their late night set during Friday's twilight hour comprises everything we've come to expect from a band that's never rested on their laurels. Or are ever likely to either for that matter. Material from recent long players Hidden Fields and As Light Return finds them at their most pertinacious, particularly closing number "The Living Things," which is about as visceral as this weekend gets. Elsewhere, "Violence" off the aforementioned Taste highlights just how far ahead of its time that record was. While new single "Strange Waves" takes their wares full circle back to the experimental garage thrash of those formative years.

This time last year, it's probably fair to say very few people were aware of The Gluts outside the band's native Milan. However, having played arguably the set of the festival in 2018, their return this year already ensures the Effenaar's smaller downstairs room is packed to the rafters before they appear on stage. Having released their third long player Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip in April to a fanfare of glowing reviews, it seems the entire festival is present for the band's raucous set. The four-piece, not to be confused with The Raincoats' Gina Birch equally uncompromising side project of the same name, make an unholy racket that encapsulates then ultimately transcends any number of genres.

Livewire frontman Nicolo Campana is equal parts Mark E. Smith and Birthday Party era Nick Cave. Veering between stage and audience while giving his keyboard the most brutal of batterings in between, Campana carries a demeanor about him that demands attention. Campana is flanked by guitarist brother Marco and Claudio Cesena on bass, which alongside drummer Dario Bassi provide a visceral musical backdrop that's equal parts metal and post-punk as well as being obligatory psychedelic in its delivery. Quite simply they're a phenomenal spectacle whose output is finally receiving the recognition it deserves.

Sticking with musical anomalies, Copenhagen's Iceage have spent the past decade operating outside of any preconceived box. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Saturday's early evening show is something of a revelation. While not exactly fitting the template of psych rock in its most traditional format, Iceage exude any genre-defined formula. Preferring instead to focus on delivering a set that's intense and brooding, yet also masterful and unnerving. 

As with their equally mesmerizing performance at Juliana's MENT festival earlier this year, Iceage's setlist encompasses the band's entire career. Unsurprisingly it's heavily weighted towards last year's excellent fourth LP Beyondless, while the welcome inclusion of "Pain Killer" from 2011's debut New Brigade generates the first moshpit of the weekend.

(Photo: The Underground Youth)

The Underground Youth have been mainstays of the Fuzz Club roster from day one. Label founder Casper Dee having started Fuzz Club in the first place to release the band's records back in 2012. Formed in Manchester but now based in Berlin, they're yet another example of the all inclusive, all embracing musical smorgasbord that makes up psychedelia's diverse landscape and by that alone, are one of its most enticing incumbents.

This year saw the release of their eleventh album in as many years, making them one of the most prolific bands on the circuit. It also means they have an abundance of riches to try and cram into an hour long set as early releases "Morning Sun" and "Mademoiselle" slide effortlessly into the more recent likes of "This Is But a Dream" and "Death of the Author" off this year's Montage Images of Lust & Fear.

Fellow psych traveller Tess Parks has also spent time in Berlin, her two collaborative albums with The Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe being among the genre's finest releases in recent years. Her set showcases an impressive mix of songs from both records alongside an excellent rendition of "When I Am Young" off 2013's debut Blood Hot that peaks at several junctures, most notably during an alluring "Cocaine Cat" and penultimate number "Right On." Playing a bunch of songs that are refined yet intense while drawing comparisons with fellow introspective dreamers Josefin Ohrn and the Liberation, Parks has steadily blossomed into both an assured songwriter and live performer.

If the 2018 edition of Fuzz Club Eindhoven was notable for The Wands' one-off show after splitting the previous year, then 2019's follow-up will also be remembered for the return of two of the scene's most popular acts. Stockholm's Les Big Byrd may not have played live that much recently, but they've still been busy; crafting away creating new music culminating in last year's excellent Iran Iraq IKEA long player which might just be the foursome's finest collection to date. Unsurprisingly, they play to a large crowd here that goes particularly apeshit when singer Jocke Ahlund treats us to a flawless rendition of "Vad Hande Med Dem?," the song he wrote with Anton Newcombe.

Also making a comeback to the live arena are Icelandic fuzz merchants Singapore Sling, whose eleven songs set verges on the brutal at times. Drawing on nearly 20 years' worth of material from 10 albums to choose from, "Suicide Twist" and "All the Way In" off this year's Killer Classics bristle with a revitalized urgency while a discordant rendition of "Roadkill" from 2002's debut The Curse of Singapore Sling ably demonstrates why we fell in love with them in the first place.

Elsewhere, Medicine Boy's affluent, dreamy folk reminds us of a young Mazzy Star, while death disco merchants The KVB's engaging, electronic New Wave brings choreographed shapes to at least one area of the dancefloor. Which is just how it should be and no less expected from such a comprehensively diverse gathering.

(Photo: Medicine Boy)

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