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Applauding Manchester Psych Fest 2023

Manchester Psych Fest came through this year with a range of artists and venues to tickle the fancy of a broad range of the Mancunian crowd’s music tastes. A festival covering most of the length of the (in)famous Oxford Road, from the smaller rooms in YES and the Canvas venues through to the beloved Albert Hall and O2 Ritz, and with it a flurry of some of our old favourites and a range of new-to-us acts blazed the stages with powerful performances.

Last years event captured our hearts and won us over with amazing bands such as Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Kurt Vile and Tinariwen to name a few! This year we were eagerly anticipating what was to come - the day was fully packed and we were stretched to see everyone, below are our highlights of the event.

(All Photos by Jay Fisher)

Jemima Coulter in the Basement room of YES MCR
Jemima Coulter in the Basement room of YES MCR

An excellent performance by Jemima Coulter over in the Basement room of YES left a whiskey-smooth taste to remember, mixing songs of melancholy memories and others of uplifting surreality - they’re an artist we’re sure many will be able to find solace on a rainy day (or a hot September’s one in our case). Coulter’s music felt personal and familiar, and their presence on stage made us feel like a crowd of friends all connecting together over drinks and music.


 Allah-Las at Albert Hall Manchester Psych Fest 2023
Allah-Las at Albert Hall MPF '23

We mentioned Allah-Las as one of our top five to see at Manchester Pysch Fest this year and it would appear that everybody got the memo. Albert Hall was packed to its high vaulted ceilings from front to the back. Without missing a single beat Allah-Las kept the crowd moving in sweaty unison throughout their set, singing as one. Their groove and rhythm enhanced by vocal melodies that danced across the stage and through adoring fans, the band collectively performed with style unmatchable energy.

We consider you check out their 2014 album ''Lahs" - just amazing!


BODEGA band O2 Ritz in Manchester
BODEGA rocking O2 Ritz in Manchester

If any act were to compete for crowd interaction and energy it might be over in O2 Ritz, where BODEGA took the stage. Pulsing bass and guitar riffs, BODEGA played their (often) authority-defying tunes with eye-catching flair - at one point half of the band even fell to the floor to finish the song. Bold, patterned and ready for the rest of their tour, enjoy them live whilst you can in 2023. With a mixture of post punk, indie rock and that sizzling rythmn Bodega raised the roof as per expected - we recommend listening to their 2022 album "Broken Equipment".


The Prize being cozy in Canvas MCR
The Prize being cozy in Canvas MCR

The Prize were a band we’d not heard about before Manchester Psych Fest but were happy to stumble upon in one of the Canvas rooms. A punky feeling act (with a tint of a feeling of early days Green Day), they rocked the room. Their drummer kept a hefty pace throughout their set, simultaneously singing backing vocals, the rest of the band supported the pace with hard-hitting riffs that kept swinging at you when you were already KO’d. Definitely one to watch out for.


Snail Mail on stage at Albert Hall MCR Manchester psych fest 2023
Snail Mail on stage at Albert Hall MCR

Snail Mail AKA Lindsey Jordan changed up the pace back in Albert Hall, chilling us out with melodic guitars and gentle vocals that had us all swaying along. As the sun was spreading the last of its light through the beautiful panes of Albert Hall, the atmosphere seemed well soundtracked by Snail Mail’s presence. she has been constantly on the rise since her inception back in 2018 and we love the dream pop synth psych rock vibe that she oozes and we were so happy to catch her this year. Check out her album "Lush" .


Dublin’s The Murder Capital brought a definitive swagger to the stage back at O2 Ritz, claiming it as their own. Their set was dramatic, their music powerful and their sonics as impactful as their presence. Moments of interaction between them really captured the feeling of unity between this five-piece whilst engaging the fans in a way not easily managed by every band. A highlight of Manchester Psych Fest 2023. Check out their 2023 album "Gigi's Recovery" if you wanna listen to what they are up to musically!

Manchester Psych fest has outdone itself year after year, the amount of talent and scope of genres is insane, the music production at each venue is outstanding and the overall essence is impeccable. Its a great day every time - as always, we wish it was over a few days!

What will be on the horizon next year for this festival? Put it in your calendars now - August 31st 2024 - tickets can be bought here - Make sure you don't miss out as we can assure you, it will be an unforgettable day.

As always, see you at the front!


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