It's been a stellar year for The Lucid Dream in the psyche circles where they're increasingly being perceived as the leaders of the pack. They played their last gig of 2015 before they retreat to record their third album in the claustrophobic surroundings of Manchester's Soup Kitchen supported by The Boris Johnson Massacre, an unholy combination of the city's demons Purple Heart Parade and Freakout Honey.
Two bands want to support their favourite band is a dilemma. Not if you decide the only amicable solution is to join forces, create a supergroup of sorts and play the show with just one practice session behind you. Oh, and create a name that's both a play on one of your heroes' bands as well as an apt political statement of the times we live in.
What we get is a whirlwind of sound driven by duelling guitars creating a dark, brooding imposing wall, the impact heightened by the intentionally dim lighting in the room. The sound is so dense that Pete Cowap's vocals are barely discernible for the first couple of songs, not that the crowd mind one bit. As Pete makes his way down into the crowd for a tumultuous run through Purple Heart Parade's Starfucker Blues, he's replaced centre stage by Freak Out Honey's Natalie who leads the audience in shimmering shamanic dance. They finish off with a nine-minute behemoth that ends in a chaotic but somehow perfect jam and in our heads the bumbling Tory oaf is well and truly slain.
Live, listening to The Lucid Dream is like a brutal assault on the hearing where any semblance of traditional song structures are kicked to the floor and smashed into a million pieces. Volume is one of the weapons in their canon, but it's far from the only one. As the drums crash together incessantly driving the music along, there's melody and rhythm forcing its way out and through and soothing the onslaught.
Opening instrumental Mona Lisa is seven minutes plus and sucks us into a whirlpool of distortion and aural chaos that never lets up throughout the hour plus of the set. Even as the set progresses it's virtually impossible in parts to hear Mark's vocals such is the deafening wave that circles and threatens to devour us before crashing around our ears. The repetitive bipolar ferocity of new song Bad Texan, a sign that the third album they're about to go off and record will take us into new stratospheres, is immediately contrasted by one of their earlier songs Heartbreak Girl, a throwback to when their songs were short sharp trips rather than mind-bending journeys, and the longing delicate (by their standards) You And I.
Unchained Dub is the point where the term psychedelic makes most sense when describing them, a kaleidoscope of instrumentation shredded through effects and it's at this point we veer off anything resembling a chartered course to the end of the gig. Sweet Hold On Me feels like it's never going to end as it rumbles away before Morning Breeze explodes into life and the band and crowd alike lose themselves in a final sacrifice to the gods of noise.
The Lucid Dream are a real one-off, the band in this circle that are revered and looked up to by all, the ones whose impact the others wish to emulate. Much more than simply creating a noise, they ratchet up the intensity, power and passion in everything that they touch and suck everyone into it involuntarily.
The Lucid Dream's website can be found here. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.
Purple Heart Parade's website can be found here. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.
Freakout Honey are on Facebook and Twitter.