Far Out Magazine headed for a high-octane Saturday night at Manchester’s Deaf Institute in the company of one of the most enthralling bands in the UK to emerge in recent years.

Carlisle’s The Lucid Dream have three albums under their belts, but unfortunate events meant recent shows did represent something of rebirth. The band were forced back to the drawing board after having a wealth of equipment – including some true one of a kinds – stolen from them in Paris.

However, with a little help from their friends and a healthy amount of grit and determination, this juggernaut of a live outfit were soon back on the road.

Even before The Lucid Dream take to the stage, it’s a healthy crowd for support act Hey Bulldog, who rattle through a dextrous take on 60s blues-rock with effortless tightness.  It’s a fantastic undercard, but then comes the time for the main event.

The Lucid Dream make their way onto the stage to rapturous applause and despite their roots being found more than 100 miles away, it seems to feel like a homecoming.  Frontman Mark Emmerson jokes about telling every city they’re his favourite, but there’s simply something special about this one from the off.

The Deaf Institute floor can be felt bouncing down the front, as a boisterous crowd spanning generations bound up and down in unison to a pulsating groove that kind of feels like one large sprawling canvas. Psych is a style hundreds upon thousands of bands have latched onto in recent years, but with The Lucid Dream there’s never even the slightest risk of anything contrived rearing its ugly head. Last year’s single ‘Bad Texan’ is a soaring slice of motorik that tears off the roof.

Once we try and break past the engulfing feeling of euphoria that this gig is drenched in, it becomes apparent that perhaps this band’s greatest asset is their versatility. A space-rock smorgasbord.

Driving beats that almost feel like a Chemical Brothers gig at times are woven alongside dub reggae basslines that leave you wondering when Cumbria got so cultured. But sometimes it takes a lack of a scene to really bring out a band’s individuality – there simply isn’t a box sturdy enough to contain The Lucid Dream.

As the quartet leave the stage at the end of a thudding main set closer, they look genuinely humbled. The response is simply too much to refuse an encore. Emmerson endearingly keeps the chat to a minimum, stating they’ll finish with “a couple of old ones” – before sending the whole venue into one more state of fuzzy elation. For old fans and new, this has truly been one to remember.

Patrick Davies

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