Factory De Joie and Psych-a-Rella Records presents: The Pacers Album Launch at The Macbeth, Hoxton 6 December 2018
Live photographs by Alessandro Gianferrara
Words by Emmally Parsons
Psych-A-Rella Records and Factory De Joie teamed up to bring London a free entry night to remind people that guitar music simply is not dead… and probably will not be for a very long time to come!
The Macbeth was a strange hidden gem of a venue for such an intimate album launch for London-based garage band, The Pacer’s debut album ‘Forget Everything You Know‘. The Macbeth itself was dilapidated on the outside, with no obvious signs or even entry point. It was as if you had to tap on the door like a Shakespearean scene from Macbeth to enter into this London speakeasy-like club. The atmosphere on entry filled you with a real sense of, “this is the calm before the storm”, whilst the mock William Morris wallpaper and Pompeii atrium mosaics oozed an air of culture, antiquity and glamour. Which perfectly tied into the look and ethos of the psych community, embracing the 60’s/70’s attitude, style and innovative sounds of the groovy days.
The liquid loop visuals complimented the sweet scent of incense, which was swirling around the room to its own rhythm, matched with the Moroccan carpets laid on the stage, it all instantly made you feel at ease and opened your senses. It was a refreshing atmosphere change to the ‘hot topic’ of London’s post-punk gigs, emotionally wired crowds ready for a mosh and stripped back stages.
The night began with a set from the Sitar Service – a combination of impeccably ranged vocals from Sameer Khan, mesmerising sitar playing skills from Rodrigo Bourganos and percussion on bongos by Anthony of Flare Voyant, which could only be described as a pure trance of the divine. The only visual comparison which may help stimulate your mind to even begin to imagine their set is to think of yourself endlessly floating on a sea bed of waterlilies. The Sitar Service set encapsulated a melodic and hypnotic spiritual experience through blending late 60’s and 70’s rock with Hindustani Classical Ragas. This somewhat resembled a religious service to psych-music and was a brilliantly subtle and clever play on both performance and their name.
The night continued with 60’s inspired freakbeat band, The Liquorice Experiment, taking to the stage. Vocalist and front-man Alex Amoros transported the audience to a place where they were sipping whiskey on the rocks in Bar 190, back in 1968 where The Rolling Stones recorded their lavish “Beggars Banquet” music video. This being combined with some Brian Jonestown Massacre-esque tambourine left you with your daily dose of 60’s nostalgia. It was incredibly humbling to witness two ‘support acts’ which were headliners in their own rights.
DJ sets from Les Petit Feet (Psych-a- Rella Records), Helénè De Joie (Factory De Joie) and John The Revelator (Have Love Will Travel) made the transition between live sets flow better than holy water. Playing classics such as The Shangri-La’s, The Yardbirds, The Castaways, The Beatles and France Gall, an incredible spectrum of records from the 60’s/70’s, psych classics and even a dip into French yé-yé were spun to keep the ambiance and good vibes flowing.
The Pacers sure enough paced their set brilliantly! Debuting their album ‘Forget Everything You Know‘ in all its glory, whilst also touching upon classic raw riffing tracks such as “I’m Down” and Merseybeat 60’s freakbeat “How Will I Know” which lingers western guitar twangs and is reminiscent of The Seeds’ “I Can’t Seem To Make you Mine”. Front-man Alex Friedl’s raw yet delicate vocals created a beautifully reflective moment for the audience to embrace. The Pacers’ “Losing Touch“ continued this wave of calm, with it’s “Within You, Without You” Beatles sounding eastern intro. While “High’s and Low’s” dipped into the mid-90’s indie scene, they managed to keep their 60’s garage rock approach at the core of their musical style. The Pacers’ encore track, “Mirror Man“, was a perfect catalyst to prompt everyone into having a final boogie before the night came to a close.
Purchase The Pacers’ debut album here
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