Ostensibly I went to Raw Power 2015 on the Sunday to see just five bands: Blown Out, Hey Colossus, Kawabata Makoto & KK Null, Black Bombaim and finally The Cosmic Dead. However, due to a nifty bit of scheduling on the part of the organisers, I actually ended up watching several more on account of there being no clashes, including Jiboia, Satelliti and Acid Baby Jesus.
As good as it sounds, this turned out to be something of a double-edged sword for me, as it meant that there was zero downtime to sit, chat and chill. As a result I was completely shattered by 2200 and skipped out before headliners Circle took the stage, but nevertheless happy having been blown away by my ‘main’ bands and thoroughly entertained by the ‘extras’, as it were.
I’d have loved to see Gnod and Earthless on the Friday and Saturday, but sadly the added expense plus other commitments put paid to that.
As for the venue, the Boston Arms is a lovely Victorian building that is immediately visible as you exit the tube station, and The Dome is to be found tucked away to the rear. One lovely feature of The Dome is the wooden floor that provided an additional connection to the band through the ample bass it transmitted up through my feet.
Both venues were blessed with excellent sound and good lighting, which along with sensible numbers meant that seeing and hearing the bands was relatively effortless, making for a totally immersive experience. The food was good, as was the beer, and the merch was plentiful compared to some events I have been to. Indeed, the only thing lacking for me was the provision of smoke free sitting areas away from the music. I previously mentioned that I was exhausted by the end of the night and I suspect the fact that I was effectively on my feet for eight hours contributed to this.
And so to the bands! For us the day started with Blown Out‘s rolling bass filling The Dome and coming up through that lovely wooden floor. Despite the outwardly ponderous nature of their music there is an awful lot going on within that deep, rumbling framework, and I found myself dancing throughout, mesmerised by the bass, chasing the drum beat and all the time blown away by Mike Vest’s guitar. In short Blown Out are an amazing band that had me hitting Bandcamp as soon as I got back home!
Next up were Hey Colossus who picked up the pace a little and and then added some aggression to really drive their set home. I danced throughout, but just the fact that I got to dance to Hot Grave was enough to ensure that I went home from Raw Power a happy man.
Kawabata Makoto & KK Null were on next and this was my first live experience of the legendary Japanese axe-wizard. KK Null’s structure (and theatrical delivery) provided the perfect framework for Makoto’s glorious, spacey riffing and bowing.
Black Bombaim were squirrelled away on the smaller stage within the Boston Arms, and delivered a terrific set mercifully free of the (crowd-based) distractions that sadly took the shine off their Liverpool Psych Fest set for me LPF 2104. The lithe bass, driving Latin drumbeats and powerfully questing lead guitar combined to produce an awesome sound that totally transported me, mind and body.
Finally, for us at least, The Cosmic Dead took to the stage, with James looking somewhat squiffy as he swigged from the sacred Buckfast bottle and wobbled over to his station. The band quickly ramped up to speed and the proceeded to attempt to harness some raw chaos into their jams, with Omar egging James on and Lewis finally piling on in to the on-stage shenanigans while Julian kept it all together and steered a steady course to the climactic explosion and inevitable disintegration of the their crazy jams.
Raw Power 2015 was an incredibly intense experience, despite the fact that I only attended for one day, and I seriously wonder how I would fare over the entire weekend. Oh well, I’ll be adding it to the list for next year, so maybe I’ll get the chance to find out!