LIVE REVIEW: Holydrug Couple

Holydrug Couple


Live Review: Holydrug Couple

at the Dalston Victoria, London | 4th October 2013

by Joe Burns


Chilean psych trio Holydrug Couple have become some what of a hit on the worldwide ‘dream-rock’ stage. This year alone they played Austin Psych Festival and last month an esteemed set at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia. Things are certainly looking good going into their Oct/Nov European tour.

As it happened, I turned up to the show about an hour and a half early. This would usually be a bad thing, but with the smallish and intimate capacity of the venue, I looked around and saw the band casually eating snacks in the corner of the bar. Not surprisingly, they’re awesome guys. They spoke about the local music scene back home in Chile and their weekly jam sessions and speedboat rides at a friend’s beach house. Wait, speedboat rides? Yes, check out their new video “It’s Dawning”.

Kicking off the show was a five minute space jam, featuring some layered pedal work by guitarist and bandleader Ives Sepulveda. From the off it’s easy to understand the common comparisons to Tame Impala. This watery jam then burst into the eastern influenced intro of “Counting Sailboats” from the band’s latest LP “Noctuary”, which has perhaps one of the catchiest bass lines in the set. As with most of the show, they took the standard order of their songs and then  jammed out long sections of solos, often segueing into the next song. One notable example of this was the performance of “Ancient Land” from 2011’s “Awe”, which took the show to a whole new, and deeper, level. After finishing the main album version of the song, they proceeded to play for another ten to fifteen minutes to close the set.

Being so close to the group meant everyone could see how tight and focused this band actually are. From videos of past shows it’s easy to dismiss Holydrug Couple as a bunch of amateur stoner-hippies just playing chords for hours, but when you’re so close up, the glances and subtle gestures between the players makes it clearly apparent that the changes and timings have been precisely organised. However, even if these guys were just messing around on stage, their music isn’t about how well they pull off a particularly challenging riff or two. Holydrug Couple create an atmosphere in the room, a seemingly drug-fueled space-jam psych-party adventure into the minds of three Chilean dudes.


Great – the blend of old and new material

Not so great – not even a screaming crowd could get them back on stage after 45 minutes

Check out – “Willoweed”, “Ancient Land” and the video for “It’s Dawning”