Words by Kathleen Savage
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself romanticising about being around in a different era, what it must’ve been like to be a sweaty face in the crowd at the infamous UFO Club in the 1960’s; well, as I stepped through the doors at The Victoria in Dalston for Factory De Joie and MOOF Magazine’s ‘Playground of Psychedelia’ (a collaboration to celebrate MOOF Magazine’s first birthday and two years of Factory De joie) I got a teeny tiny glimpse into the hedonistic hippie days of ’67… Only it was better, because it was happening right now.
The night eased us in gently with some acoustic music from Tim Briffa of My Drug Hell, guitar and poetry filled the room as the crowd began to grow and the night was getting started. Of course it would only seem appropriate to have some sitar music on a night such as this, so Rodrigo and Anthony of Flare Voyant took us on a voyage to south Asia with a sitar set; gracing us with a hypnotic cover of ‘Venus in Furs’ by The Velvet Underground and injecting some exotic charm into an old favourite. All the while, the captivating Sonia Shahid of Voodoo Trip (a clothing brand and creative hub of dancers) had joined them on stage; her body melting into the kaleidoscope of colours from Velvet Candy’s liquid light show, her gaze atop a jewelled veil as she snaked in and out of the sounds.
After our journey to strange and sensuous lands, we found ourselves in the Appalachian Mountains with The Mason Dixon Brothers Band. A bluegrass country band so authentic to the genre, that I wondered if their horses might be tied up outside the venue. The East London six piece pumped a raucous energy into the room, reminiscent of a Texan saloon bar.
I’m not sure which land Wax Machine took us to, but I’m pretty sure it was not even from this dimension. Ethereal sonic waves filled the atmosphere as the liquid lights bounced off of silver star shaped balloons that were on stage; a truly cosmic experience. Wax Machine intricately weaved their instruments in and out of one another, creating a shamanic dance of jazzy woodland psychedelia. Following Wax Machine were The Pacers, whose classic rock ‘n’ roll energy echoed The Beatles during their Cavern Club days. The Pacers were a perfect prelude to the headliners Twink & the Lysergics, both bands oozing a raw sixties/seventies power and followed on seamlessly from one another.
As Twink performed songs from his 1970’s record ‘Think Pink’, I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that generations after its initial release, I was standing amongst a room packed full of people who were just as appreciative of the music as if it were released yesterday, perhaps even more so. Joining him onstage were The Lysergics, with haunting keys and raw 70’s force driving them, I finally knew what it would feel like to be a face in the crowd at an infamous 1970’s club.
DJ’s played a range of suitable genres as doll-faced gogo girls gyrated their hips on stage before The Diamond Dahlia teased the crowd with a burlesque routine. Sparkly outfits and bare skin invoked feelings of smoky underground Parisian bars. And did I mention that a tarot reader was sat just outside the door? A mystical foretaste of what the night had to behold.
As I left the venue to catch the train back to reality, I imagined that this is what Alice must’ve felt like when she came out of the rabbit hole. The organisers of this event did a brilliant job at curating a dreamy realm of 60’s hedonism tucked away in modern day London; giving us all a space to be freakishly whimsical and bringing us closer to that groovy time that we seem to yearn for so much.
With thanks to photographers Emma Lucy Aylett and Alex Amoros
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