Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reverence Festival, Valada, Portugal Sept 2016

Sept 8th

Sun Mammoth
We arrived at the festival around 17:30, got our wristbands (I got the ones for the band as well), checked into the Quibis, and we were ready for something to eat and a cold beer. I could park the car right next to the stage we were going to play on and sort of in the shade so this was great..  On the Rio stage, the only stage where bands were playing today, they were running a bit behind so we managed to see the last 3 songs of Sun Mammuth, an PT instrumental stoner band. They were not bad.. Very colour haze inspired at times, not many guitar solos.  

Flavor Crystals, also played at Psycho Las Vegas but we did not see them. We caught some of their set. A US band playing dreamy post rock psych stuff. We did not see much of their set but you could still hear them where we got some food. The Sunflowers were a wild PT garage punk duo with a hell of an energy. This was wild and really fun stuff. We started to run into some people we knew like Artsi, Heke, Sabine, Lone and others so did not pay a lot of attention to them.

Blaak Heat was the highlight of this evening for sure. Wow.. What a great US band. They were a 4 piece and mostly instrumental but also some singing but a great combination of progish stoner 70s rock with some cool ethnic touches.  I was pretty blown away.. Great band.

Blaak Heat
J.C. Satan, from France were a wild and crazy band as well. They started off pretty uninteresting punky garage but then suddenly the concert turned into a totally psychedelic freakout event and they really were awesome..  Super fun concert.

JC Satan
 Riding Pãnico, another PT band was 6 piece instrumental band playing some really cool music. Although they had 3 guitar players, they played solos sparingly at the start but then really let it go later in the show with some great solos and interaction between the musicians. Impressive playing. Cool band.
Riding Pãnico
We were too tired from the 3hr drive, the experience with the car the night before, etc. so we totally missed Thee Oh Sees but I heard really good things about them with their two drummer approach to garage psych.

Sept 9th

Pigs x7
We were up pretty late like 11. Lucky last night it was not super loud until 6am like the next couple of nights. I was due to play at a special event called Papir and Dr Space which was replacing The Papermoon Sessions, since Sula and Lulu did not make it to the festival due to specific requirements that the they wanted and the festival could not provide. Pity… Anyway, there was some huge arguments and angry about his event from Mogens (from ØSC), who basically lost out on playing a gig. I had hoped we could just do a sort of different ØSC gig but there was a lot of miscommunication between, me, Papir and the organizers so in the end it was just me jamming with the Papir guys.  Before we played though there was Pigs x 7 who played a very heavy bass driven (sounded like 3 bass players, even though two were guitars!) stoner doom stuff. Very animated front singer, who was getting fried in the direct sun but not a lot of dynamics in the music.. just heavy and stoned doom…. We did not see any of the Black Wizards.

Paper meets Dr Space (foto by Sabine)
Yawning Man w/dr Space (foto by Sabine)
It was a great audience for the Papir and Dr Space  and we played 3 or 4 songs of Papir but with more stretched out versions. I was finding my feet during the first track but soon I felt comfortable in finding my space/place in the band songs. The audience was totally into it and tripping out. The band was really on fire. Wow… I managed to record this one. We also missed LSD and the Search for God, that I really wanted to see. Did not see the Silver Apples but I met him briefly. Yawning Man was next up and I had never seen or met these guys but they are good friends with Robb (3rd Ear Experience) and we talked a lot. Gary, Mario, Bill and the female bass player were all super cool. We got on great and they talked me into playing with them on the last two songs of their set! Anyway, they were really cool and the audience really liked it a lot. They have songs they play but they jam a lot. A sort of dreamy desert psych stuff. It was great fun..
Dead Meadow
 Dead Meadow was finally a band we could check out. They had played at Roadburn a few times and lots of times in Copenhagen but I never managed to see them but finally.. Wow… This was a great 3 piece and the first band to have some really cool visual projections.  Fantastic…

The Ravonettes
The Ravonettes, a Danish band that has travelled the world playing dreamy post rock, pop psych stuff… A lot of people for their concert. We saw a few songs but it was not my style of music but people were really enjoying it.  The Brian Jones Town Massacre was next and I had talked a bit with the guys at lunch as we were sitting at tables next to each other. Very cool guys.  I had never heard their music before. They were a big band, 8 members with keys, three guitars, tambourine, bass, drums.. They played this sort of very stoned smooth grooving music. Several of the guys sung lead and backing vocals. It was pretty cool but a bit too much the same after a while. I was waiting and waiting for them to do some great jamming and guitar solos but they didn’t unless that was at the very end, which we did not see.

Brian Jonestown Massacre
That was it for us. We did not see A place to Bury Strangers or the Ozric Tentacles. I really wanted to see OT as it has been some years and they are one of my fave bands but they were not playing until 3:30-6am… I was later told they did not even start until 4am and that they had bad sound. Way too much bass. We could feel it in our wooden hut 1km away as it was making the door bang against the wood!!!  It kept Sue and our neighbor Paulo awake! All we could hear was the bass though…

Sept 10th

Øresund Space Collective (foot by Sabine)
Today, my band Øresund Space Collective are due to be the first band on the main stage at 16. We had to be there around 14 to meet the crew, choose backline gear, and do a soundcheck. Everything went perfect and the staff and crew are just amazing and so professional. Every one of our needs was taken care of. Just awesome…  Due to playing, selling merch, meeting the fans, I did not see a lot of bands this day.  Anyway, ØSC played to a smaller crowd than Paper meets Dr Space yesterday but it was still a lot of people (400??) and they really enjoyed it. I think we only had 3 jams in our 50min time slot but it was good. It was damn hot as we were in the direct sun while playing and it was about 30C outside! Phew… I met a lot of nice people and we sold 300€ worth of shirts and CDs. I sold the CDs for 1 for 10€, 2 for 15€, 3 for 20€ and our old t-shirt design for 5€ and the new colour ones for 10€…. Better to have people where them than to have them in a box. We still make some money at these prices..
Papir killed it.. What a great band and they had a bigger crowd. The people that saw Ozrics were now starting to come back to life and go to the gigs. Steak, who I met later and had dinner with, we totally missed as they were just after ØSC. Cool people. We hardly saw any of the bands on the Rio stage today (missed The Veldt, Radar Man from the Moon, and Earth Drive). They moved some bands around as Killing Joke had cancelled. We also missed the Cult of Dom Keller. Nik Turner’s new Space Ritual had been moved to the Rio Stage and Mécanosphere to the big stage. Quartet of Whoa moved from the small stage to the Rio stage.
Quartet of Whoa

We caught a bit of the Quartet of Whoa and I loved these guys. Organ driven, stoner rock meets 70s rock style stuff with great grooves and cool vocals (especially the organ player) and riffs.  

Nik Turner's new Space Ritual
Nik Turner was next and we had met him back stage. It was nice to see the bass player and guitar player that I had played with in Feb. Nik was in a great mood as where the other guys. They had a sound effects guy named Nigel, who is good mates with Vince, who I made some recordings with last year. Very nice guys. Anyway, we missed Nik last night, where he played songs from his Space Gypsy, Space Ritual and other albums, while tonight it was all Hawkwind songs except Watching the Grass Grow. They opened with Born to Go, Watching the Grass Grow, Children of the Sun (I had never heard him play that one), Steppenwolf, Master of the Universe, and Brainstorm. There was one more as well. Fun show. Nik is showing his age now though as the vocals are a bit weak at times and he has trouble with his R’s..  Audience loved it and Nik and the band give a solid performance, with driving bass and drums, spacey sounds and a more heavy metal guitar, not a spacey one. Fun. Méchanosphere was a strange electronic set up with stand up bass, two samplers, drums, saxophone… a 2nd drum kit as well. Dark electronic music.
The Damned had a huge crowd and what crazy outfits these guys have. The audience was really loving it but it was a bit too mainstream pop punk stuff, neither Sue or I could get into it. Some great guitar solos though! Jiri and Nick from ØSC really had a good time at this show.
 We saw a bit of Sisters of Mercy but this for sure was not for me. Singer, guitar and bass playing along to sampled drums and music. 80s goth pop sing-alongs. Ugh….. People were having fun and they had some very cool lighting with all the fog and intense colours. That was cool…

Sisters of Mercy
With the Dead was a huge surprise and this the 3rd time I have seen them this year. It was a massive sound. They were pretty fucking awesome. Wow.. I think they get better and better. Much better than the record actually. I don’t think they performed any new songs but we did not catch the end.   Later this night until 6am was Radar man from the Moon, Mars Red Sky and then a Summer of Hate and guests jam session which was some PT guys and the Mars Red Sky guys. I heard it was pretty cool..

There was also a third stage but we sadly did not see too many bands over there but I would like to mention Twin Transistors, which was pretty cool stuff like Loop, Wooden Ships and we really liked what we heard of these guys.

We also so some of Ossos D'Ouvido an instrumental band, a bit jazzy and doom. Intense drumming. I wish the guitar player would have taken more solos though.  A promising young band for sure.

Just a great festival. We could tell it was a bit on the cheap this year, with one less big stage, not the cool entrance or flyovers, no art instillations, not very nice or many bathrooms… but this festival has really been struggling and does not get the support it needs from the audience. A few things that could improve would be some sort of schedule by the entrance or the stages as since some bands cancelled and the schedule was altered and unless you had internet access you had no idea what had changed compared to the printed program. Also, information about the shuttles was really bad and people at the ticket box did not even have a clue... I also saw that access for handicap people was very difficult as the entrance was this deep sand and people on crutches and wheelchairs really had a hard time. This needs to be improved.

In the end if this festival is to continue, more people need to pay to come. This could be the last year. We do not know. Nick, Pedro and Alex did an amazing job with the lineup, the great hospitality, etc… There were some better food and drink places this year as well but beer was much more expensive. They made you buy a plastic cup, which I think is a good idea as there is not all this trash all around but beers used to be 2€ and now were 3.5€. Anyway, fantastic festival. Highly recommended..

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