Various Artists — The 17th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival Live
(Fruits de Mer winkle 40, 2019/2020, 2LP)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-12-04
Starting in 2015, Fruits de Mer Records started co-sponsoring the annual XXXth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus festivals in the Cellar Bar in Cardiff, Wales. The 17th Dream festival took place over three days in August 2019. The 18th Dream was scheduled for August 2020, but for obvious reasons they are skipping a year and, fingers crossed, it will happen in August 2021. The 17th Dream festival saw a pretty amazing line-up from well known bands such as The Bevis Frond and Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs to new FdM artists like Moon Goose, Elfin Bow, Three Dimensional Tanx, and Sara Birch, to label favorites like The Chemistry Set, Sendlelica, Mark McDowell, and Alain Pire. The three days produced a ton of great music, and Keith Jones had a difficult time culling the best tracks to showcase the festival for those of us not fortunate enough to attend. Plus trying to limit the run time to 20 minutes a side proved a challenge as well since bands like Sendelica tend to think that 20 minutes is the typical length of an intro! Over the course of the 80 minutes and four LP sides, we get to experience the dreamy acid folk stylings of Sara Birch on “Reverance,” Mark McDowell and Friends’ cosmic raga rock mind journey “Starstreamer,” The Alain Pire Experience’s trippy melodic psych flower power “Lazin’ in the Afternoon,” the Goundhogs’ blasting British blues rock song “Garden” from their third album released in 1970, my new favorite FdM artist Elfin Bow, who eclipses Crystal Jacqueline, with her cover of Steve Marriott’s “Autumn Stone,” the excellent pulsating psych jam from a Sendelica side project The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers on “Taith Yf Afon Telfi,” a droning raga rock cover of Jimi Hendriz’ “Love or Confusion” by the Chemistry Set, Sendelica’s mind blowing excursion into the ether on “Nine Miles High,” Three Dimensional Tanx’ stoner rock “Racing Car #9,” Moon Goose’s loud psych jam “Second Life,” and to cap it all off, The Bevis Frond’s “Pale Blue Blood.” The 17th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus is a powerful sample of the festival leaving you hungering for the entire performances by each artist. Especially for me, Elfin Bow (Elizabeth Kearney). Her beautiful voice, exquisite musicianship, and Alice in Wonderland persona fascinate me. Unfortunately, this double LP set sold out on pre-orders, but you may be lucky enough to snag a copy on eBay.
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