When the full line-up for Manchester’s Cosmosis Festival was announced back in October, it is fair to say that there was a general exclamation of “BLOODY HELL” from anyone with more than a passing interest in Psyche, Shoegaze or Drone. Because as excellent as the previous Cosmosis festivals had been (the 2014 edition featuring The Warlocks being a particularly exceptional event), almost no one was prepared for the colossal jump in size, scale and sheer brilliance of the line-up.
Taking place on Saturday 12th March 2016 at the Victoria Warehouse in Trafford, Manchester (best known to many as the venue for The Warehouse Project between 2012 and 2013 and the site of the 6 Music Festival a couple of years back), the line-up for this year’s Cosmosis is without doubt the best single-day festival line-up of 2016 so far, and one unlikely to be matched by anything the summer can show up.
As of now, stage splits are uncertain but the organisers have been at great pains to tell us that they are intentionally running the bill to minimise clashes. Which is a damn good thing considering the bewilderingly brilliant selection of bands due to play that day. Headlining the event are the peerless The Jesus and Mary Chain – legendary amongst so many music fans due to their unique ability to blend 60’s pop, drone and distortion into an intoxicating mix. Also with them are The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Anton Newcombe’s juddering psychedelic caravan of ever-switching styles and innovation – ever unpredictable and never matched. As two of the biggest names remaining on the Psyche and Shoegaze scene, it is a dream pairing to headline such an event.
To the surprise of some, Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods are also found high up the bill but putting any genre classification aside, their brilliantly sparse and energy-stacked live show is certainly worth watching: they really come to life in the live arena. Following with them are the fantastic Danish garage noir band The Raveonettes along with the undercurrent surf-rock of Allah-Las and the distorted noise-pop of Ringo Deathstarr. However, in broadening their outlook, the festival also offers such treats as getting to see the seminal post-punk band Wire and of Montreal’s progressive psychedelia on the same bill together.
The remaining highlights are myriad but just to mention a few: Manchester’s The Underground Youth are always a spectacular live proposition, Brighton’s Esben and the Witch continue to develop and progress into one of the best bands of their era, Carlisle’s The Lucid Dream (fresh from their 2015 breakthrough) will be there to give a teaser into their upcoming new album and another rapidly rising Manchester act – the exceptional PINS – are also on the bill.
We could go on forever, quite frankly. However, this is testament to the effort and broad-mindfulness of the organisers this year. It is one thing simply to expand the size of an already successful musical venture, it is quite another to devise a bill featuring a stunning collection of disparate bands sharing a common musical thread as opposed to being fussy about genre-categorising. In doing so, Cosmosis have brought together a bill for everyone, as opposed to an esoteric brick-wall to those new to the scene. They can only be praised for this and quite frankly, we cannot wait for March 12th. If you are a fan of music and you are not doing something vital for life that day then you really should be down at Victoria Warehouse. Trust us, you’ll not regret it.
Tickets are an excellent value £67.50 per person for the full day and are selling fast but some are still available from the official Cosmosis website here
And the good folks at Dice FM are kindly selling tickets from their website without booking fees here