Stewart Parsons has been staging gigs in libraries for ten years under the banner Get It Loud In Libraries, often on a shoestring and certainly at the expense of an ‘easy life.’ But when you chat to Stewart his passion for music and libraries as a vibrant communal space as well as a seat of learning shines through, or as he put it in a recent interview, he wanted “to make libraries meaningful, useful and enjoyable for young people who hadn’t visited in years, if at all.” And Get It Loud In Libraries have quite a track record for spotting and supporting nascent talent putting on the likes of Adele, Florence and The Machine, Wolf Alice, Warpaint, Ellie Goulding at early stages in their careers.
Tonight the headliners are Swedish psychedelic space gazers Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation, they’ve not been on the scene that long yet have still managed to record two majestic and critically acclaimed full-length albums in just over a year. Apparently, their latest release the beautiful ‘Mirage’ the follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut Horse Dance was originally intended to be an EP, but the songs just kept arriving. Sometimes the muse hammers at your door so insistently and it would be somewhat rude not to let her in and at least have a chat.
Last year the band delivered THE stand out set at Liverpool’s much revered International Festival of Psychedelia producing a set of raw power and tender reflective beauty. DJ Cherrystones who will apparently be collaborating and co-writing a number of new songs with the band opened the evening with an eclectic set that artfully built the anticipation for the main event. The futuristic setting of Liverpool library’s ‘Discover’ room provided the perfect backdrop for Josefin Öhrn’s space -psych-dream pop which mixed light and shade, sonic power with motorik rhythms and dazzling swirling keyboards as they elegantly wove elaborate psych pop tapestries that gradually expanded into every space and sweep of the circular venue.
Josefin’s nuanced glacial vocals floated above the swirling mix adding an otherworldly feeling to proceedings but providing the melodic glue that held together the band’s propulsive sound. The set comprised of tracks such as the gorgeous hypnotic ‘In Madrid’ and the beautiful undulating ‘Rushing Through My Mind’ from their latest album as well as choice cuts from their debut such as the monolithic ‘Dunes’ and the sensual ‘Take Me On’ as they produced a flawless performance.
The music combined with jaw-dropping kaleidoscopic psychedelic projections from Innerstrings transformed the library into a pulsing temple of sonic beauty and tripped out visualisations. Josefin Ohren was equally hypnotic – offstage she’s generous, gentle, warm, polite and softly spoken, but on stage she’s transformed into an imperious spellbinding psyche warrior queen, swaying and losing herself in the undulating loops and rhythms of the music. As we left the venue the words of American writer and scientist Isaac Asimov came back to us with a fresh resonance – “it isn’t just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the universe,” for 60 minutes Josefin Ohren +The Liberation, did just that, they liberated our minds and made our spirit soar with a magisterial performance of grace, power and beauty. A perfect union of art, artist and location which one felt privileged to be involved in.
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