There’s something oddly exciting about lurking around unknown industrial areas, slinking down darkening alleyways, searching for that elusive warehouse that will be transformed into a psychedelic wonderland of sight, sound and messy, merry mayhem.
At first, I thought Serafini Chains might be the name of a band.
Then I turned a corner.. in the creeping darkness.. the mystical twilight.. and there.. before me. a massive, 20 metre high chain “dangling” at the entrance to this gritty old warehouse – emblazoned with its’ factory name. SERAFINA CHAINS is a literal- steel-metal-chain manufacturing business. There were chains of all sizes everywhere. Some links – I estimated – were over a metre long. The weight must be enormous. Enough to anchor ships on the high seas. Hope they are securely attached to those rafters. Just one loose link crashing into the mosh pit could cause some mighty ugly havoc.I was so intrigued by this place that I did some research.The founder of the business was an Italian migrant who landed here in 1956. Apparently via England, with just two shillings in his pocket. He worked for another chain-making business in Brisbane, learning the trade, before commencing his own steel chain manufacturing company – Serafini Chains. At first a small 6 x 12 metre factory, it expanded to over 5000 square metres as it is today. It’s fitted with high-tech, computerised, torturous, medieval looking, chain making machinery.
It produces chain from 3mm to 150mm diameter. It’s the only one of its type in Australia. Is fully Australian owned. The largest link manufacturer in the country. Exports to all over the world. It was officially opened in 1994 by the then premier, Wayne Goss. It is a multi-million-dollar success story.But tonight the deafening sounds of the chain-making machinery will be replaced with the sounds of big, deep psychedelic music. The grimy recesses of the factory are flashing with intense, amazing light works, bouncing off the walls, people and machines. Two main warehouse rooms, two stages, and the concrete driveway and car park outside, filling up with weirdly dressed people of all persuasions and inebriations. BYO alcohol. Eskies everywhere.
First band up is RUED MOOD, a Brisbane trio ( they are all Brisbane-ish bands except for
one Byron ring-in) of long hairs lead by Bradshaw on Vox and G box, with Cameron on low frequencies and wringlety wranger extraordinaire, Luke, beating skins. They have been together for a couple of years now. Started out more thrash-metal, gradually drifting into more heavy psych sounds. To quote Luke, “We were taken over by our Psychedelic Tendencies.” Yeah . Now that could be the name of a band. Nice work boys. And nice hair.WINDREST are next. It was a bit hard to tell when the sound check was done and the set began. Once they got into it though, the crowd did too. A bit of a country-psych twang here and there. A bit more interaction might be appreciated. Backs to the audience for most of the set is a bit self indulgent I reckon. This is the band’s last incantation as WINDREST. I think that’s what they said, with future moniker LAZY DAISY on the horizon.One of my fave acts of the day/night follows. ACID ON ANDY epitomise – in my mind- intelligent psych-folk-rock. Without being too hippyish. Six piece. Four guitars all in a row.
Facing forward. It is the brain-child/baby of frontman Andrew Jelnek. Beautiful harmonies. Thoughtful lyrics. Though the fest was running to a tight schedule, the crowd just wouldn’t let them leave before “one more song”. With a rebel yell, they cried more more more. Impressive.
A bizarre attired mixture of flowing robes and footy outfits next step on stage. HOUSE OF GIANTS proceed to “transcend and tone our senses”. Quite an instrumental tour de force. “We make abrasive, beautiful music to consume the human psyche. Chilled-out yet oh so groovy.” Cool man. Trippy.
Another highlight of the fest is SACRED SHRINES. I saw and met these guys a few weeks earlier at Currumbin Creek Tavern and was moved. Literally. I HAD to dance. Looking and sounding very Dandy-ish I thought, they say their influences are 13th Floor Elevators, Stone Roses, extra-terrestrials and Cults. I infiltrated their secretive circle .. a little. Holding their cards close to their chests and serving out some delicious psych- garage-rock n roll.
Yes Phil, I do still have the badge. Several in fact. And the autographed CD has been on high rotation at Radio Carmela. Like.
The denim clad Byron representatives, THIS OLD SUNN, are more on the stoner rock side of psychedelia. A bit Doors-ish at times. Deep, droning sonic sounds. Swaying. I was hoping to catch up with the lads for a chat, seeing as I spend half my life down the road in Byron and know many of the bands from there. More and more are coming out of the woodwork. The Woods. The Sea.
IN VOID have quite a haunting sound. Murky, dark, psych rock. “Music that collects in the Void”. Mesmerising.
In a car park interlude-intermission-refreshment top-up, I run into drummer David from MAGENTA VOYEUR. Sporting a broken right hand from a motor bike accident the week before – cast and slung – he said he wasn’t sure how the gig would go one-handed. I offered to be his right-hand-woman…. It went down mighty fine. Rocking psych, “Chem Rawk. Music debauchery”. Sweet. Majestic magenta.
OMEGA CHILD is a one-man-band. One handed drumming (is there a trend here?) from his huge drum kit, his other hand occupied fiddling madly with electronics. Big full sounds from this mysterious, multi-talented musician.
Back out for refreshments in the car park, I’m approached by a friendly, concerned stranger. I’d left my zebra pen in the driveway. He said he would go back and get it for me. He came back sometime later with a very worried look on his face. He couldn’t find it. It had sat in one spot for ages then passed around various people. I went back with him to join the hunt. Many folk had seen it. I traipsed down the steep smoke filled drive-way in search, asking huddled groups of people if they knew of its whereabouts. Did it roll pass them on its solo adventure? All were concerned. A gorgeous young guy came up to me and said, ” I have pencils. You must have a pencil”. He held up, then handed me a treasured 2HB. It was an “Excaliber” moment. Such was the vibe at this wonderful wonderland. We hugged. As for the rogue run away zebra pen .. I hope it has many more tales to tell.
BASKERVILLAIN lure many from the maddening crowd in the car park and treacherous drive way into their cruising psychedelic groove.
Sadly I had to depart this mothership of musical and visual wonderment. Had to catch “that midnight train to Georgia”, missing the, I’m sure, magnificence of DREAMTIME and brilliance of TWIN HAUS.
Also, sadly, this is the last of five years of PSYCH NIGHT. If the reason is because of noise issues then I simply don’t understand. The SERAFINI CHAINS warehouse is virtually under a freeway, surrounded by deserted factories on the weekend, and masses of concrete walls. The massive machinery of chain-making manufacturing must surely make more heavy noise pollution than the sweet deep sounds of groovy psychedelic music.
Thank you PSYCH NIGHT. A whirling treat of sight, sound, colour and merriment. To quote the words of founder and member of MAGENTA VOYEUR, “every end is a new beginning “.
Transcendental vibes will Rock n Roll on. Somewhere, away across the universe…