Live Review: Eight Miles High

12 June 2012 | 11:51 am | Brendan Telford

Last year saw the inception of the Eight Miles High festival, a showcase for local and interstate acts that delved into the realms of psychedlia. It was an overwhelming success, and this year sees the festival heading to Sydney and Melbourne. The DJ plays music by the likes of Black Angels and 13th Floor Elevators, whilst lava lamp colours float above the stage and '60s drug-fuelled films are projected onto the side wall. Local “supergroup” Teen Sensations kick off proceedings, the quartet sporting Beach Boys-esque striped collared shirts, and their set peppered with sunny guitar pop and '60s paraphernalia. Lead Jeremy Neale wobbles his head and grins like a teen idol, whilst tracks like Chick City namecheck drag races and T-Birds – the boys are on song, especially during a particularly burnt surf instrumental that really strikes a chord.

Drone trio Dreamtime truly mine the depths of psych-rock, offering a brace of songs that err to the side of down-the-rabbithole stoner improv jams. Zac Anderson's traditional poncho and Tara Wardrop's long flowing hair allow for visual throwbacks, yet there's a strength in these thunderous numbers that roots Dreamtime firmly in the here and now. “New” member Chris Campion adds further weight with guitar and effects, whilst Cat Maddin's forceful bass and crooning vocals tie everthing together, especially on prowler The River, before they finish with a great motorik dirge that melts into an ear-melting squall.

The Otchkies hold the mantle for the most genuine '60s garage pop (complete with fashion accoutrements such as turtlenecks, vests and ill-fitting suits), and their set is one of nonstop rollicking rock'n'roll a la Cream and their ilk. This is true Delorean time travel stuff, with nary a modern note to be discerned. It's all incredibly structured and maintained, and they are further proof that The Doors fluked their way into the global consciousness – THIS is what true music sounds like.

The only band on tonight's bill to have played last year's festival, raucous quintet Howling Rabbits drive forth with an incredibly loud set that proves to be indelibly darker than the source material that they derive their sound from. Fire is an hypnotic highlight, and the boys maintain a level of intensity that never truly breaks the tension. Their new material is sounding particularly tight – expect a big year from these guys.

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Rounding out the eclectic line-up is Velociraptor, whose umpteen members crowd onto the stage to proffer their multi-limbed take on the garage rock oeuvre, the gang proving to be their typically rambunctious selves as they smash through a slew of songs such as In The Springtime, Sleep With The Fishes, Hey Suzanne and Cynthia to the adoring crowd milled before (and occasionally amongst) them.