August bank holiday is synonym with the mod pilgrimage to Brighton, a massive migration of hyper accessorized and pimped up scooters, but this year something was lurking beneath the green tide of parkas and amongst the hip suited gents crowding the sunny little town: the fuzz sect was in for a blitzkrieg!
And I, was called, along with fellow high priests (introducing – George Martin “Theme One”) Alexander Cozzi Lepri of Embrooks fame , Andy Roseaman and Our Lady Holly Calder of the Glaswegian Church of Lysergic, to celebrate the heretic ritual.
First act took place at the Volks, under the arcade on Brighton seafront. There was the usual buzz of mods gathering, some veterans of the night before, some others just arrived and keen to open up the weekend and start the prelude drinking antics in the warm afternoon sun.
To shake this nearly pantheistic idyll here they came, from south France, Les GriGris. Glowering under their fringes, a riotous gang of five took over the stage. Thrilling the air with their mendacious raw rhythm and blues, the way it was, the way it should be, these chaps made their sweaty set of classic covers and standards and, believe me, the word that first arose in mind was “Authentic”!
Singer was sporting a deerstalker hat, Don Craine style, and it was pretty obvious what they were going to deliver… harmonica fuelled stormers from the likes of “Baby what you want me to do” and “Maybelline”, the sort of trembling guitars and raucous vocals renditions that would make the Strypes cringe, and make the Pretty Things, the Primitives and Wally Tax’s Outsiders proud parents; and with lead guitarist Romeo Kizmiaz casting pure hendrixian virtuosity and staging raving stunts definitely the best R&B act since the Jaybirds ruled the 90s. Mods around gave their nodding and finger tipping appreciation.
So the first night of Fuzz For Freaks was due to start and, before getting changed I managed, with Ale to have our own initiation passage rite and see the deepness of the obscure knowledge that comes before or in other words a pizza dinner with our very own god of hellfire Berto ‘d Sera.
The Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, the venue chosen for the night, had a massive cellar complete with stage and a nice bar. At 9 the music was already on, with Lady Holly setting the pace and putting the beautiful people in the right vibe for what had to follow.
They say they hailed from Birmingham but they seemed more like being catapulted straight from the Middle Earth club circa 1968, ladies and gentlemen: The Exploding Sound Machine!
Organ propelled, these folks, who I already have seen at the Blues Kitchen in Camden, were just outstanding as both in the outfits and sound. You instantly got tripped up in a music journey, an all round whirlpool of psychedelic colours and kaleidoscopic noyze. Impressive in the use of all studio trickery, phasing and reverberation they built up the acid frame to inlay the rest of the night.
The venue was packed and the crowd we keen to sweat to the deceiving sound of the swinging sixties and shake their hair to garage punk stompers which the DJ crew was shooting at 1000mph.
At 3am we had to put the word end to the show, but the fun was yet to finish and we moved to the main venue, the Komedia and joined the rest of hardcore dancers till I dunno, but the sun was already up and the seagulls screaming…
No rest for the wicked, so after just a handful of hours I got back to the Volks, which if possible was even more crowded than the day before. The glare of the chrome on the hundreds of scooters in the sunset was epic. So it was the dinner later…one of those memories you always recall with affection, relaxed atmosphere and top, top people were sharing it with me (you know who you were). Back to the B&B to refresh before heading to Sticky Mike’s again.
Two bands were scheduled for the big final. Local band The Dials played an eclectic mix of genres from more gentle pop with a hint of 60s to stronger rock material. The atmosphere was a bit quieter compared to the night before, no matter the second band, The Hypnotic Eye, thought well to shake it up a bit, their way.
Keeping faith to their name, all the audience was indeed staring like they were hypnotized by the seductive vocals of their lead singer. Despite the frantic guitar riffs of Lindsay Murray, another devoted follower of the holy church of the Sixties Underground, I wouldn’t define them as a garage band they don’t fit the role of a revival band, but make their own sound which mixes well their ancestral heritage to the new millennium age.
Hipswinging tunes restarted just after the gig and despite the wreckage of the energies exhumed the night before, people seemed to be tireless so much that once again, captained by psychedelic Rambo Berto, strolled back to Komedia once again at 3 am…
Dr Rob was smoothly conducting the night upstairs and was relieved to see all of us back, and not lost through the Brighton alleys which given our state and the hour could have been a possibility…
If we ever needed to tone ourselves a bit more help was on hand from Mr Royston, who in his kindness, turned up at 5.30 am with a last serving of jagerbombs! We definitely wanted to make the final rush of the weekend at a cavalry charge pace and danced till death!
That was awesome and will be repeated next year. I personally wanted to thank all the night creatures that turned up, the New Untouchables DJ team and all those who managed to chat and put a wide grin on my face. May the fuzz be with you!
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