Cults vs Warpaint @ the Great Escape Festival 2011, Brighton, UK, 12.05.11
Next up on the bill is Fixers, described in print as psychedelic. I bump into them in person as I nip out for some sea air and a cigarette. I borrow their lighter and they tell me about their band. They come from Oxford and they are young and gorgeous and like everyone else they too are excited to be here. I rejoin my friend at the side of the stage as Fixers begin setting up. The atmosphere is cool and people are friendly, talking to each other in that way that only seems to happen in a festival setting. We make friends easily, drinking and chatting about Cults (above) and other bands we’re here to see. The people who saw Big Deal assured me that I hadn’t missed much, but I’m not so sure. I like to make up my own mind, and with the state of British indie music right now in general, I am not sure if I can trust their opinions.
The venue, as I mentioned, is on the end of Brighton Pier set among a backdrop of fairground rides and arcade machines and flashing lights. It’s a charmingly novel place to go to see the hippest band of the moment. The ceiling is low and the lighting is warm and inviting, the place is filling up and people are edging ever closer to the stage and talk turns to Cults and Warpaint – the two most important bands right now, fresh in from America. The lights turn down low and Fixers take their places under the trippy lights and projections which transform the room into another world. Centre stage is a keyboard covered in a psychedelic hippie cloth as the singer approaches the mic and gets the party under way.
At first I am confused about how this band can be described as psychedelic beyond their styling. But as the set goes on transforming again and again from one song to the next, I realise that what at first listen seems to be epic full-on mellow sounds owing more to the 80s than the 60s becomes ever more tripped out and delightfully warped. Psychedelic music has moved on a lot in recent years. By the time Fixers finish, I feel like I’ve been spun down the rabbit-hole and landed with a bump back to reality.