It was an odd evening with Psych Dancehall at the Shacklewell Arms on Wednesday. I have the feeling that it didn’t got to plan. Frontman Chuck Rowell’s frustration seemed to build throughout the show, which is understandable considering the babble that was coming from the back of the room. I think this sort of thing makes for a good night anyway: inter-song patter can really detract from the mystery of a live show when it’s the same old boring bull-shit. But when there’s tension you can get a really good gig. And there was plenty of that. “We’re Psychic Dancehall. This is the first and last time you’ll see us” Rowell said (or words to that affect) at one point before heckling a couple as they left. And when it all finished, the band hastily disappeared.
Anyway, I hope it’s not their last show because Psychic Dancehall really have created something good and honest and different, both live and on record. I say honest because being different alone isn’t necessarily (or usually) a good thing, but Psychic Dancehall have managed to mix the slow-building climatic groove template of the VU with Crocodiles’ dark instrumentation and put it to a dancehall beat.In fact, Psychic Dancehall does exactly what it says on the tin.
On paper it doesn’t seem like a recipe for pleasurable listening, but I assure you Psychic Dancehall are something special. Listen to their album on their bandcamp and keep an eye out for future dates (but don’t hold your breath).