Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sonic Blast Festival- Moledo, Portugal Aug 9-11th, 2018


We decided to arrive on the Thursday for the warm up down at the beach this year. We left the house in plenty of time to arrive to see the first band, Heavy Cross of Flowers at 17 but due to an accident, it took us an hour to cross Porto and we were late and missed them. We were told they were very Kyuss inspired, perhaps a bit too much. The bar, Paradão 47 was a small place and the bands played upstairs on the outdoor patio. I guess 100 people could smash in there. I managed to hear one song of Sombra (Spain). They were an instrumental trio, where the guitar player also played saxophone. I thought some of it was pretty good but it was hard to hear down on the street as they did not play very loud and there was no space upstairs. Weather was great but windy.
Somba (Spain)

We hung out with some of Paulo and Ana’s friends and had a couple of beers before we decided to go eat at a local pizza place (Hamilton’s). It was very good and interesting pizzas.
Audience outside listening to Somba
After dinner we went back to the next bar (Ruivo’s) and had a Porto beer called Noberta. I had tried a few of their beers but not this one. I needed to stand up and get some air so we went outside in the courtyard. Acid Mess (Spain) were soundchecking and this sounded like it was going to be really good. 
Acid Mess Soundcheck and audience
They had a keyboard player as well as guitar, bass and drums. Pledge, we hear a bit of the soundcheck. It was about 23:15 now and Pledge had still not started. There must have been 3-400 people waiting though. I was not feeling well and got a bit sick and so we went back to the house we were staying at and sadly we did not get to see any of the bands.

Day 2

We are to meet up with Martin and Kate around 12:30. First band, Solar Corona are on the pool stage at 13:30.  A bit more wind and cooler than last year.  
Solar Corona
We arrived about 13 and got our wristbands and found a nice place to set the blanket. It was not so hot today and anice breeze but not too strong. Solar Corona was the first band on the pool stage and they were fantastic. They remoind me a bit of Pyramidal from Spain. Really nice dynamics, great driving bass lines and some nice guitar. They also had a saxophone player who used a lot of effects. Some cool music. They have not recorded much yet.

Set List: Fire, Rebound, Gold Ray, Speed, B

Next up was a 4 piece instrumental band called Desert Smoke. They had a really good mix of heavy guitar and great solos with cool use of effects and more dreamy stuff. A really good energy and flow. People seem to like it a lot.
Desert Smoke
At 15 I had an interview with Astrodome, a very good band from Porto. The band was 10mins late for the interview and then had to run off to get ready to play next. A Spanish band, Ativisomo took too long to set up so now the festival was 15mins behind schedule. I missed all but the very end of their concert. They started with a sort of flamenco rock thing. The end was more percussive. Crowd seem to like them.
Ativismo
Astrodome was next and played an excellent set of new and old material. Below you can hear my interview with the band. Anyway, this was for sure the best band for the day on the pool stage. They are also instrumental inspired by the stoner rock scene but do their own thing. The guitar player Kevin, also played synthesizer a little bit.  Our friends Martin and Kate also really liked them. Here is a short interview with the band. Enjoy.

Astrodome Interview

Set List:  Mirage, Into the Deepest Space (modified version with a new jam in the middle ending with the last part of Dawn Gardens), Sunrite, Coronation

Astrodome
The last band on the pool stage was Electric Octopus, a very improvised band from Ireland. The tall guitar player with a mountain of dreads on his head was very funky. The drummer looked like Mitch Mitchell in the old days but was not as dynamic. They stayed pretty funky for most of the concert and I did not feel like they responded well to the energy of the crowd, which was getting smaller and smaller. They wanted something more rocking.

Electric Octopus
Conan was the first band on the main stage but we really needed some food. We had been sitting in the pool area for 5 hrs and needed to get up and move around.  We heard Conan was intense. What do you expect??

We did make it back after some nice tapas down at the beach to see most of Ufomammut. I have seen the band many times. The sound was so incredible this year on the main stage. Wow..  The band had their usual films but due to the sun shinning directly on the band as it set, you could not really appreciate these until the very end of the show. I thought they were great. The crowd was really into it as well.

Set List: Babel, Warsheep, Zodiac, Fatum, Prismaze, Core
Wombdemonium, Psyrcle, Hellcore, solo guitar riffs, God

Nebula, was a band that came to Denmark every tour since their first trip so I had seen and hung out with them quite a few times. I even saw Fu Manchu back in 1994 on their first US tour opening for Monster Magnet when Eddie was still in the band.  Eddie was tall, thinner and had dyed blonde hair now but he could still rip it up. Voice was a bit weaker but still sounded good. The set was a mix of songs from all eras of the band and they even played two new songs, one called Man’s best friend, that this was the live debut. They will have new material out in December he said.  Great show. Here is a short interview I did with the band. Enjoy..

Inteview Nebula

Set List (from the drummer’s memory):
Giant/Clearlight, To the Center, Perfect Rapture, Down the Highway, Out of your Head, Wytching Hour (new song), Smokin’ Woman, Aphrodite, Man’s Best Friend (world debut), Let it Burn, Strange Human

Causa Sui, friends of mine, who I only had a brief chance to talk to do were so excited to be back playing here again. They had such amazing sound. Wow.. and the movies were incredible to watch. Great lights. The band was in great form and played the best show of the festival so far. They played a wide mix of songs including two from the latest record and one from the 1st record which sounded so different with Rasmus playing organ. This was the first time I had ever seen Causa Sui where Rasmus was mixed equal to Jonas (guitar) and it sounded great they way they complimented each other. Killer concert.
Causa Sui

Set List: Homage, The Source, Mireille, Seven Hills, Red Valley, El Paraiso, Dawn Passage, El Fuego, Soledad

Samsara Blues Experiment was the last band we saw on this long day of music. I had run into Christian two times as I have known him since 2002 when he played in Terraplane. Great guy. Anyway, they started off with a sort of cool jam like track and then into their normal set from these days. They did play one brand new song. They came across more heavy and with fewer long guitar solos this time around compared to the last time we saw them here in Portugal.  The crowd really was into it and they also had great sound.
Samsara Blues Experiment
Set List: Vipassana, For the lost souls. Into the black, New song, Hangin' on the wire. Center of the sun, One with the universe

Mantar closed the set and our friend Paulo said it was very loud and he was too tired to get into it. Others said it was so amazing and intense and one of the best shows of the day. 

Day 3

We stayed in bed til 11 so we were pretty rested and had a great breakfast. We arrived just in time to find a place near the pool with our friends Martin and Kate. The Spanish band, Wizards hit the stage right on time and played a straight up NWOBHM style rock and roll set. Great tattooed front man. Both guitar players had Gibson SG guitar and the left one was the main lead guitar player. They rocked but the songs were not that memorable. Crowd was really into it up in the front of the stage.
Wizards

Talea Jacta, a new band from Porto, that supported Øresund Space Collective when we played in Portugal in June, were next. They took 40mins to set up though so there set was cut down to just 3 songs and 20mins so we could stay on schedule. Pity, as it was one of the most unique bands playing at the festival. Just drums, guitar loops and spaced out guitar on the top. Crowd liked it for sure but it was too short.  I did an interview with the band so you can learn more about them. Check it out.

Talea Jacta Inteview

Greengo was a crazy bass and drum duo with a very angry vocalist. They had a lot of force, drive and energy and people were going a bit crazy at times. There was even a sort of mosh pit in the pool! Never seen that before.  Musically, it was not very interesting at all but they had energy and were fun to see and hear.
Greengo

Ruff Majick from South Africa was a rock and roll trio. I did not think they were that good to start but the songs and energy of the end of the concert was great. There was one point where the bass player gave his bass to a friend and then jumped into the pool and came back and played again.  Audience liked it.

Purple Hill Witch from Norway closed the pool session for the day. I had last seen them 3-4 years ago at Heavy Days in Doom Town in Copenhagen.  Their set was in the vein of the occult doon music with some of it reminding me of Witchfinder General.
Purple Hill Witch

The main stage opened pretty soon after and the Greek band, Naxatras played. I had actually never heard of these guys and it was amazing. What a really cool band and probably the biggest surprise of the whole festival for me. I will for sure need to look for some of their records.  I was very impressed.

Naxatras
We were starving and went for some food so we missed the Atomic Bitchwax.  I have seen the band many times and last time was at  Roadburn and they killed it.. Great show. I spoke to Jonas from Causa Sui and he said they were great. Super intense from start to finish!  Their last records have been very intense.. Great players.

1000 Mods, I had seen at the Athens Desertfest but today, they had such an amazing sound and energy from the audience. Wow.. It was a killer show. This is the real deal when it comes to classic stoner rock. I love the way the two guitar players use a variety of effects to make their riffs and solo sounds very unique and cool. It was a great concert. We all loved it.

Kadavar, were supposed to play last year but cancelled, I think due to one of the members partners having a child. Anyway, they came on with a very fast and heavy track that I had never heard them play before. They are super professional, rehearsed, tight, a bit too perfect. No improvisations, jamming, long guitar solos, everything is totally by the book and like the record. They have a lot of great songs and a cool vibe and deliver a powerful doom heavy 70s rock show. Audience loved it. It was one of the best times I had seen them but I always miss something with them. 
Kadavar
Set List: Creature of the Demon, Pale Blue Eyes, Skeleton Blues, Doomsday Machine, All Our Thoughts, Into the Wormhole, Die Baby Die, Forgotten Past, Living in Your Head, Thousand Miles Away From Home, Come Back Life

Earthless.. what can I say. They came out and just fucking ripped for like 15mins with Uluru Rock. Insane intense drumming and lead guitar. They had something to prove.. Wow.. They played two songs with vocals (Black Heaven, Electric Flame) from the new record and they were great but this show was all about being intense on all instruments and just driving out into to lead guitar heaven. Incredible. We were all blown away. The main set was like 65mins and then they came out and did Cherry Red (Groundhogs) and Communication Breakdown (Led Zeppelin). Both were played fast but CM was like a punk rock version Super fast and you might not even recognize it as the Issaih struggles to sing the vocal so fast. Far out.  Earlier in the evening I did an interview with the super cool drummer, Mario. Check it out below.
Earthless
Earthless Interview

Set List: Uluru Rock, Black Heaven, Electric Flame, Gifted by the Wind, Violence of the Red Sea, Volt Rush, Cherry Red, Communication Breakdown

Black Wizards from Portugal closed the show. We only hear a few songs as we left as we were so tired by this time and Earthless just knocked us out!  BW are a 4 piece band with a charismatic female singer and lead guitar player. I think she was inspired but Issiah and really felt like she had to go for it. I have never heard any women play lead guitar like this. I was impressed and they really had some good rocking songs. Wish we had heard the whole show.

Fantastic festival and nice to see a lot more people from Denmark, Germany, France visiting the festival as well. Congrats to the organizer Ricardo and his wife Thelma. See you next year. 

My favourite bands:

Causa Sui, Earthless, Astrodome, 1000 Mods, Naxatras

Friday, August 3, 2018

Automatism- From the Lake (Tonzonen TON039CD)


Automatism is a sort of Kungens Man offshoot you could say as it features guitarist Hans Hjelm and bass player Mikael Tuominen. Jonas Yrlid plays the drums and Gustav Nygren the other guitar. Andreas is credited for percussion and Jesper Skarin on drums (tracks 3,4 and 6) also. Peter Erikson plays the synths. The guys got together in the studio and just jammed it out live and then did some overdubs and what you end up with 6 tracks ranging from a bit over 2mins to nearly 13mins in length. The album starts off with the 12min track Standing Wave. It fades up and a nice groove is going with the two guitars interweaving melodic solos and exchanging riffs here and there. Some nice spaced out sounds here and there by Peter keeping the track from being normal. Great grooving space rock.  At Sea starts with a nice bass line over which the main lead guitar line glides. Very nice and spacey. October Swim is a very short track just over 2mins, like a small piece of a jam where they only liked this part as it fades up and then out again. Nice vibe. Propeller Propulsion is a hypnotic one, very Neu, CAN inspired. Great driving music. Floating Downstream has a bit of an eastern flavour to it especially the guitar lines. A nice mysterious vibe as well. The ends with the 4min track, Ice Flows has a programmed drum which is quite different. There is a special effect on one of the guitars that makes it have a psychedelic feel. Great record guys. I really like it a lot.


Melody Fields- Melody Fields (Kommun2; K2-44; Sound Effect Records SERC047)


Melody Fields is a new Gothenburg, Sweden area based band. The band is 5 main members but there are also 5 guests adding to the sonice stew. The promo bio describes the band as shoegazing pop meets Swedish counterculture psychedelia. I have to say I don’t like this description at all. Anyway, the album is released in 3 colours and also on CD (with a bonus track, a simple reprise of the opening track).  Morning Sun is a brilliant track (see video below) and reminds me Assemblehead of sunburst sound a bit. It has a bit of mystic eastern sound with some cool percussion sounds mixed into the song. The harmony vocals are excellent and this track has a long saxophone solo as the main solo. The track ends as a drone after a bit more than 4 mins. Liberty is a bit more dreamy and happy. Octopus Syng has written some tracks a lot like this one. Run has a more 60s fuzzed out guitar and harder riff to start off and then the dreamy vocal and melodic elements similar to the other songs reappear for the vocal sections. This is a very beautiful track. Rain Man starts with some reverberating guitars before the band and gets into its groove. Some very nice psychedelic effected guitars on this. Fire, this is the best track on the album and I just get transported away. My wife also loves this one. Amazing song. Trädränsen (the Tree Line) is the longest track and most experimental on the record and it starts slowly and mysterious in nature but a sense of beauty and wonder also comes across as it slowly takes form into a great psychedelic rock track. Morning Sun (revisited) ends this great record and one that I have heard the most the last few months.

This is music that just makes you feel happy and is great on a spring or summer day. The band uses a lot of the same type of vocals and melodies on many of the tracks so sometimes they sound a bit a like. Crank it up and smile!