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A Guide To Raw Power 2022 By Julian Marszalek
Julian Marszalek , August 3rd, 2022 08:40

With Raw Power festival's annual celebration of all things loud, weird and challenging returning to Tufnell Park in just a few weeks, Julian Marszalek delivers your essential guide to the best acts on this year's bill

Workin' Man Noise Unit perform at Raw Power 2021, photo by Eleonora C. Collini

From August 26 to 28, Raw Power festival returns to its spiritual home of Tufnell Park in North London. Spread over the inter-connecting venues of The Dome and The Boston Arms, this celebration of all that is heavy, psyched-out, weird, challenging and highly original is a testament to the idea that music should forever be moving forward.

Not that the Raw Power festival is above celebrating the pioneers – witness previous sets from the likes of Faust and Loop for evidence – but its ability to handpick and spot contemporary talent that pushes at preconceived barriers of what music is supposed to do remains undiminished.

This, then, is a celebration that proves beyond a doubt that the areas of psychedelic, experimental, progressive and utterly heavy music are continuing to undergo something of golden period. Add in elements of boundary pushing folk and electronic exploration, and Raw Power is the go-to event for those who like their music neat, hard and undiluted.


Five years from our first encounter with confrontational Polish duo Siksa at a festival in their homeland and your scribe is still reeling from the encounter. A unique and idiosyncratic blend of performance art, punk rock and righteous anger at the patriarchy’s continued stifling of anything that doesn’t conform to its narrow and blinkered worldview, Siksa is a live experience quite unlike most others. Unrestricted by the confines of the stage, singer Alex is usually to be found exorcising her rage in the middle of the audience while bassist Piotr shows little regard for what his instrument was designed to do in favour of doing what the hell he wants with it.

Alison Cotton

Like her haunting music of eldritch beauty, Alison Cotton’s steady and gradual rise has been a wonder to behold as her presence has begun to register on an increasing number of radars. Fusing folk and psychedelia, Cotton has created a distinctive vernacular that’s propelled by a sense of bucolic mystery and a strange feeling that what you see isn’t necessarily the whole picture. Whether playing the violin, viola or harmonium, Cotton’s music transports the listener to a world of natural beauty where the power of nature reigns supreme. Transposed to a live setting, the effect is increased all the more by the potency that spills forth.


Driven by the rapid-fire invective of frontperson Kingsley Hall, Teedside’s Benefits are a howl of undiluted rage that articulate the utter shitstorm that could well be the opening overs of the Apocalypse. Or if not the end of the world then certainly the closing of an epoch that has gradually morphed from the age of austerity through to the self-inflicted wound that is Brexit before alighting on the chaos of corruption, shameless lying and a twisted stage of self-entitlement. And yet, for all that, this is music that could articulate any the world for fury, ire and anger need no translation.


As displayed by an ever morphing and developing back catalogue that discarded the rearview mirror a long time, Salfordian collective Gnod absolutely refuse to be pinned down. Be it noise rock, acid-infused repetition, space rock, slabs of industrial power, free jazz and ambient sweeps delivered at near punishing volume, Gnod’s mixing of all of these ingredients ensures ensure that no one’s ever entirely sure about what they’re getting until it’s time to get peeled off the ceiling by the time they finish. Thriving on festivals including Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia and Roadburn, Raw Power is the natural environment for what promises to be a thoroughly immersive experience.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Newcastle’s Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs may have streamlined their sound over the course of three albums with shorter songs, but they haven’t lost an ounce of the sheer brute force of their monolithic delivery. More importantly, the remain a sharp riposte to the misguided notion that rock music is dead – a theory that’s been doing the rounds for the last 60 years. Indeed, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs are the torchbearers for the kind of tar-thick riffing and gloriously rude volume that emerged from the pock marked landscape that fuelled Black Sabbath and is contemporaneously filtered with an acid-drenched sensibility.

Luminous Bodies

Luminous Bodies are a band that encapsulates the ethos and spirit of the Raw Power festival. An underground supergroup of sorts that features members of Part Chimp and Terminal Cheesecake among others, this collection of wide-eyed mavericks and deliverers of sludge-infused noise are bolstered in their madness by the deployment of a twin drum attack. No strangers to the festival, their opening night set is likely to set both the bar and the template for what will follow over the weekend. Loud, pummeling and thoroughly obnoxious, this will be as deadly as it is fun.

Natalie Sharp presents: Marra!

Artist and musician Natalie Sharp has been making waves in a number of guises over the past few years. Originally a member of Mancunian collective The Bottomfeeder, she reached a wider audience as Lone Taxidermist. Harnessing the power of multi-media delivery, her performance pieces as Trifle and latterly Body Vice found her dealing with a number of sensitive topics including those of pain and disability. Turning her attentions closer to home, Natalie Sharp presents: Marra! is an electronic examination of her Cumbrian background as she considers the slow erosion of the area’s customs and cultures in the face of an ever-changing world.

Raw Power takes place August 26 to 28 in Tuffnell Park, London. Tickets are available for the whole weekend here, Friday here, Saturday here, and Sunday here