The Fixers – live review
A five-piece collective hailing from the city of Oxford, Fixers have been making waves.
Their skewed, D-Lysergic brand of Sunkissed Psyche Pop has landed them a record deal, a headlining tour, and, in the shape of ‘Crystals’, one of the weirdest songs to have ever made the Radio One playlist.
A surreal, vaguely sinister blend of Brian Wilson at his most catchy and The Tom Tom Club at their most playful, complete with baffling references to Julius Casaer and Haight-Ashbury and a ghostly cloud of faded Hollywood grandeur haunting it’s exquisite vocal harmonies, it’s a bold, brilliant pop statement.
The fact that it is currently being pumped into millions of radio’s, computers, TV’s, houses and workplaces across the UK alongside the likes of Justin Bieber is hugely heartening and potentially revolutionary! Who knows how many young ears may be inspired to make music in a similar vein in the future? This could be the start of something big, and tonight the boys have got to convince London that they’re onto something. Behold, Fixers!
Before I mention the gig, I would like to talk a little about the musical backgrounds of the band members.
Frontman, organ player and songwriter Jack Goldstein has a truly fascinating past. Once a powerfully built, long haired rock singer, he is now a slender beacon of retro indie cool.
His previous projects included a grunge/desert rock outfit called GunnBunny, who once supported Kings Of Leon before anyone had heard of them and had an E.P. produced by legendary U.S. producer Jack Endino, best known for his production work on Nirvana’s debut album “Bleach”; and also a punk band called The Dresdens, who supported The Buzzcocks and Discharge and went on tour with infamous mohawked punk rockers G.B.H.
Oh, and he’s still only 25.
Guitarist Rhoo Bhasin earned his medals playing in the cult Oxfordian doom metal outfit Sextodecimo, whose live shows were the aural equivalent of vomiting blood whilst having your toes tickled with a feather duster by Lucifer, Bass Guitarist Jason Warner used to play in an industrial indie band called The Delta Frequency, whilst rhythm guitarist Chris Dawson and drummer Michael ‘Fish’ Thompson are also certified veterans of the Oxford music scene, with Thompson having shared the stage with Goldstein previously in the second incarnation of GunnBunny.
Fixers themselves have been around for little more than a year and a half, but with CV’s like these it’s fair to say that they’re no strangers to the live circuit.
Okay, let’s move on to the gig.
The build-up to the gig is apocalyptic. An eerie tape loop repeats a line from a Fixers song again and again against a dark background of spooky electronic music.
A smoke machine blows wraiths of smoke ominously around a darkened room. Kaleidoscopic holograms dance on the walls of the venue like fireflies.
Already behaving like megastars, the band take to the stage approximately one hour after the support D.J has finished playing.
Arriving in darkness, the band launch into ‘Another Lost Apache’, and suddenly there is colour. Lots.
A giant screen fixated into the back of the stage switches on, and projects a dazzling array of psychedelic images into the crowd. The band play it as though this is their – and everyone else in the room’s – last night on Earth, which it may well be. Nothing is unfeasible in the presence of these guys.
Looking every inch the rock/pop 21st century schizoid icons, Fixers prove they have the tunes to back up the cool by ripping into a truly jaw dropping rendition of debut single ‘Iron Deer Dream’ – a three-headed psychedelic pop behemoth of a song which you’ve probably also heard somewhere down the line.
What becomes really apparent watching Fixers play live is their feel for and understanding of the songs they play; every note, vocal harmony and rhythm is expertly intertwined, like a group of sirens singing lullabies on a rock enticing passers by with their sweet music and unearthly tones.
There is always a highly communal feel to their shows, a sense of belonging, of joining in, feeling like you’re part of one big family. ‘Crystals’ is also present and correct, providing the biggest cheers of the night, and similarly anthemic tracks such as “Uriel” and ‘Passages’ meet with similarly enthusiastic crowd reactions.
The band play a dizzying, euphoric 30-minute set, a breathtakingly tight, honest and emotive gospel/psyche/dance/pop fusion. And then something weird happens.
When the rest of the band start leaving the stage, Jack Goldstein remains sat in front of his trusty organ. He continues playing. Weird, disembodied sound effects rise up, seemingly out of nowhere.
He starts sreaming. Or is he singing? It’s hard to tell. the sound effects get louder.
The on-screen visuals get more intense. Smoke starts filling the stage. Jack’s vocal intonations get higher and higher.
Your jeans start flapping, the sheer volume of it all seems to be getting to them. You find yourself staring at the stage, bewildered, slightly scared yet utterly transfixed.
You begin to see how Dorothy felt when the cyclone blew her to the Land Of Oz! When all is said and done, Jack kicks over the organ. The audience stare, open mouthed The sound effects continue, dying down yet still very much embedded in your head. That was some trip.
Fixers are, to my ears, the most exciting, forward looking and relevant band on the psychedelic scene at the moment. Their potential is, quite frankly, extraordinary. If they pull it off, we could well see the beginning of a completely new music scene; they sound like no other band on the planet, and hiopefully we’ll see a glut of new acts following their lead.
Go see them next time they play in your area, only a fool (or a Luddite) would miss them.
Fixers new E.P., Here Comes 2001 So Let’s Head For The Sun, is available to buy now on CD or MP3 Download.