It seems that a summer of festivals has rendered them with a confident and effortless dynamic.
The first Wednesday of this month (as unassuming as they usually are) brought us a true treat in the form of Gengahr’s eerie yet captivating set. This being their first headline tour since supporting Wolf Alice, it was interesting to see if their rise in popularity could hold its own. Upon arriving, a queue that wrapped around the outside of the Exchange immediately answered my question.
Support firstly came from the ethereal Pumarosa, who brought us reverb-soaked vocals, drumsticks used as guitar bows and some pretty airy dancing. Reminiscent of the ethereal sounds of Warpaint, it gained the general approval of the crowd. Cash+David shortly followed. Despite strong vocals and dance-driven tunes, it ultimately became slightly underwhelming, a performance heavily-laden with vocal tweaks and effects.
Gengahr then took to the stage with instantly-enchanting opener ‘Loki’. It took no more than a few seconds to realise why this band have been hurled to the head of the psych revival. The dualism of the grounded guitar melodies and Felix Bushe’s transcendent vocals created something which in that moment felt at once tangible and immersive. Quickly though, ‘Heroine’ transported this vibe to heavier places.
It seems their persistence with support slots and summer festivals has rendered them with a confident and effortless dynamic, one which only became more evident as the night went on. As I let my eyes scour the quite packed-out setting of the Exchange, we had a refreshingly varied crowd in, with ages ranging from teens to middle-agers. Prevailing, though, were Gengahr doppelgängers, all shouting in waves of admiration.
Far from just cheering, the room soon became wave-like as bodies swayed and bounced to every tune, occasionally disrupted by an unexpected stage diver; all lending itself to the passion and vitality that Gengahr evoke. With just one record to choose from, every favourite from debut album ‘A Dream Outside’ was played out. From the sultry tones of ‘Dark Star’, to the catchy and rhythmic ‘Embers’, concluding with the heartily egged-on encore of ‘Lonely As A Shark’ and ‘She’s A Witch’, the audience singing lyrics back at full whack.
This evening created a feeling of oneness for everyone involved — and was certainly one of the better ways to spend a Wednesday.
Check out ‘She’s A Witch’ right here: