Friday and Day 2 of Reverence Festival Valada comes alive, shimmering with evermore glorious sunshine. Breakfast fit for a king, at Quinta Da Marchanta, courtesy of the infectiously ebullient Chris, heralds a new dawn, pregnant with musical promise.

I made sure I caught Danny London‘s programme opening DJ set, showing solidarity with my brother in (tone) arms…

dsc0080-1024x683I also wanted to catch Twin Transistors, who had put on a stellar show earlier this year, when I had the chance of seeing them at Lisbon Psych Fest. Once more they delivered on all fronts…

Having left Sarah lounging by the pool, my plan was to head in to the venue, stick around long enough to see Danny and Twin Transistors, before heading back for Sarah and returning to the gig, just in time for Newcastle, noisemongering psych sludgers, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

A semblance of neural soothing returns via an aural massage, delivered by San Francisco quintet, LSD and the Search for God

By now today’s beverage of choice, Sangria, was beginning to kick in, packing an Iberian punch, akin to the incendiary, high octane performance of Lisbon troubadours, Beatriz Rodrigues and Ricardo Ramos – aka The Dirty Coal Train

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Psychedelic, electronic pioneering Silver Apples, was a real honour to witness. Simeon and his synthesiser avatar, came wafting through the trees, meeting you with the warm embrace, of a friend who’s inestimable influence and legacy, can be heard in every artist since, who has shared a penchant for minimalistic, experimental discord…

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Around this juncture, it was time for some dinner. Despite them all being there, in the dark somewhere the night before, this was the first time I actually saw Pedro and João, then André form 10 000 Russos – here this year as fans, soaking up the atmosphere. Not to mention the ever present, effervescent Lee Winter, There was also Casper Dee, who was every bit as prolific with his Dj-ing, as he is with the releases at Fuzz Club Records.

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Next up on the Sontronics Stage, was a band who Désirée Hanssen at Lay Bare Recordings, had helped lock firmly in my sights – Yawning Man, the epitome of all that the 80’s desert scene has come to define, their sublime renderings, adding meat to the bones of their, “non-conforming, unorthodox and home-grown…from an immeasurable, yet familiar distance…”, credo…

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Then came something truly unexpected. Nik Allport, curator at Reverence Valada, had been sharing tracks by Fat White Family – a band I hadn’t really come across, prior to this festival. I’d made a conscious decision, not to dig too deep into their catalogue, saving my initiation, to be fanned by the flame of live combustion. Every now and again, you consider yourself blessed, to have witnessed a performance, like the one this lot put on tonight. This was a Performance with a capital P – the band and particularly front man Lias Kaci Saoudi, simply oozed charisma from every pore. It was impossible not to watch, mesmeric, as the Tesla currents arced through the night air, holding everyone transfixed. This was history in the making…

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I bumped into and had a brief chat with Lias a little later. A totally sound and charming individual, clearly able to distinguish between his onstage persona, and the now mundane task, of queuing anonymously for food, along with the rest of us.

They were coming thick and fast now – back on the Sontronics Stage, it was the turn of veteran psychedelic mystics, Dead Meadow. As good fortune would have it, a week or so prior to the gig, I had stumbled across the John Srebalus movie, to which the Dead Meadow track from their 2005 LP, ‘Feathers’, had leant the title, ‘Such Hawks Such Hounds’. The band contribute a number of tracks to the film score, a vital document in the history and evolution of rock music – I urge you all to see it…

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Just before Dead Meadow took to the stage, I was presented with the opportunity to snap a fellow photographer in the “pit”. As happenstance would have it, he turned out to be none other than the celebrated, master music photographer, Clemens Mitscher – someone that event Promoter, Jason Fletcher had suggested I meet, earlier in the day. It was a moment that was clearly meant to be. Clemens later told me, “my wife just said that your image of me in front of the stage, is the best she saw of me inside a pit” – high praise indeed!

The social juggling continued apace, the genuine sense of camaraderie pervading this event, is a joy in itself.

Danish duo The Raveonettes, bring their palette of off-kilter, harmonic distortions – their chiaroscuro, painting long switchblade shadows, on the seedier underbelly of the american dream…

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There is an all too brief respite, before ‘Their Satanic Majesties…’, The Brian Jonestown Massacre hold court. Carried along with the throng, toward the Sontronics Stage, is one Kristina Mavar. Virtual acquaintance, DJ at Kristalni Oscilator, and kindred spirit, all the way from Zagreb. There is barely time, for an affirming hello and hug, before I join the crush into the photography pit – the melee underpinning BJM’s headliner status. The band sedately trips it’s way through their greatest hits, the highlight for me being a rendition of personal fave, ‘Vad Hände Med Dem?’. Their laid back delivery, establishing a set-defining tempo…

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By 20 past midnight, and 8 uniterrupted hours of thrills and spills, hard as I try, there’s just no way of keeping Sarah’s eyes open the half hour until, A Place To Bury Strangers are due to take command of the Rio Stage. Much as it pained me to miss, what would have been the perfect finale to the day, I took some small solace from the fact that we had seen them last year, in the intimate, shoe-box by comparison, confines of the Voodoo Club in Belfast. That night, as with every other night it seems, this Brooklyn trio brought the noise, and harnessed the raw power of the spectacle. In 30-odd years of attending all manner of gigs, I thought I’d pretty much seen every trick in the book – but when these guys decamped their gear from the stage, and brought their mobile rig into the heart of the crowd, it was a unique memory making moment, a show defining tour de force…

I would also have loved to witness the Sunrise Session with Ozric Tentacles, but they weren’t due on stage until 03:30 and scheduled to play on through to 6 a.m. Besides, there was the small matter of needing all my beauty sleep, ahead of my mainstream DJ-ing debut at 1 p.m. the following day. We contented ourselves, with the by now familiar, half hour ziggity-zaggity saunter home, with the bats filling our sangria soaked belfry’s…

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Day 3 to follow…

(all images © ian robertson / chromaticism)