Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roadburn Festival 2012- Tilburg, Holland April 12-15th

Just really far out! 

Day 1 Amsterdam

11:00 Magnus arrived at my place soaking wet due to the rain on his bike ride. We headed off for the airport to meet the others- Tom, Sven, Lasse, Nils and Olli. 

11:45 We are all through the security and waiting at the gate. Some of the guys are having a beer. Tom had some Underberg so we all had one of those. Everyone is in a good mood. Weather should be pretty good in Amsterdam today but not that warm. We might go see Killing Joke and Icarus Line. Not sure…  We stay at the same hostel as we usually do. Ole will join us later this evening. 

After an hour or so at the Dolphin Coffeeshop it was off to the Old Wembley Bar, where we hung out for a few hours after the record store and had some beers and the DJ changed from really crap music that he was singing along to and put on some classic rock for us since we were the only people in the bar except for one shady looking black guy who had his one earphones on and was playing those gambling machines.. Hendrix, Ac/DC, Led Zeppelin, Cream, etc.. cool music. I had to run out for a sandwich. 

20:00 We met up with Ole and found another placed with rock music called Excalibur and my friend Pete and his US friend John was there. What a trip… does not look like we will go to the Killing Joke show.

22;00 Some went out for some food finally, since they had been running on that slice of pizza since 15, beer, THC and nicotine. We watched as some played pool and they placed quite a bit of metal at this bar. 

23:30 I spilt from the others and ended back at the hotel and crashed. 

Day 2 (Roadburn Day 1)

8:00 Alarm goes off and people start to come to life. Magnus and Tom had a crazy time out in strange places and could not get back, some weird stuff with a taxi driver and the police and running into Wino and his crew….. they supposedly got back around 4 or 5 in the morning. They look tired… No one else got really drunk, just high..

9:00 We are soon leaving for the train station to go to Tilburg at 9:30… Good timing…
The Sun is shining and people are happy. 

10:00 We all have tickets and the train will leave for Tilburg, with one switch at 10:08. The rest are all over smoking. They are quite heavily addicted to cigs. 

11;50. We are in Tilburg. A lot of folks from the festival around and some cool posters and banners at the train station promoting the festival. We have to wait until 12:04 for the bus to Hilvareenbek, where our hotel is. 

Menu from local restaurant 
12:22 Magnus and I got the same room 213 that we have started for many years except for last year, we had a different one. They keep fixing up the hotel every year and it is nicer and nicer but still cheap. 

15:00 We all have wrist bands and I bought some records: Voivod, the Obsessed, Radio Moscow-Earthless-Premontion 13” split 12”, and Saturnalia Temple on purple vinyl. One  of their last. 

15:30 D.usk/disembowlment started on the main stage. IT is heavy dramatic stuff with a pure growl voice and these mix of slow and super fast death metal parts. We watch 20min and then I got into the room to see Horizont.

Set List: Intro, Tree, Phophetic, Extracted, Burial, Spirit, Cerulean

16:50 Hung out with Kenny from TeePee records and we saw the entire Horizont show and they were very good, just no nonsense deliver the songs like on the record and go boogie blues rock and roll. They write a lot of good songs but need to jam a bit. The biggest disappointment was they had 75min slot and they only played 50mins and split with no encore even. That is lame. YOU get a long spot at the premiere festival in the world and you play 25mins short.. Fucking lame… The set was a mix of old and new songs. Good band.
17:15 I saw the first 20mins of Agalaich from the balcony with Magnus and Lasse. They are heavy and dramatic, mixing this dreamy post rock guitar stuff with a lot of power and aggression at times. It was not really my thing. I headed off for the Swedish psychedelic doom of Saturnalia Temple. I was in the 2nd row on the balcony with Jens Poontang. 

They started off with the first two tracks from the LP. These are both great and the sound was really cool and psychedelic. The guitar player is great with using these cool effects yet keeping the simple riff. His solos are not very complex but very effective. A lot of delay on the vocals as well. The room was totally packed and people were into it. Guitar was really loud as it should be. They played their full hour and were very good. They had some parts that were very much like a more psychedelic OM, who actually are the next band.

18:45 I was with Nils and Sven to see the first part of OM. They had a black keyboard player who played some samples, tambourine and some stuff on guitar. IT added a new special element. The drummer just seems to do the same patterns and stuff over and over again. I don’t feel OM really have the groove they used to have. Still cool and the 013 was packed considering how strange this band is.

La Otracina
19:30 The NYC band La Otracina was in the Bat Cave and I got there early and met up with a lot of people I know. This was a band I thought would be pretty good but they blew me away! The bass player was really awesome. They really had cool songs and did some jamming and had lots of lead guitar breaks. Very cool dynamics. I did not buy any of their records but damn they were excellent. Best band of the day so far. 

20:45 Nils and I got into Lord Vicar early so were right on the balcony in front of the guitar player. He had his amp turned up really loud. This was the loudest concert so far today. They sound very much like Pentagram. While Lord Vicar don’t have an original sound, they have some great songs with cool catchy doom riffs. The Room was really into it for sure. They also nearly stopped 20 mins early but ended up doing a long mellow building track as the encore. I really enjoyed the set a lot. 

22:00 Now, we went to the new place, which is really a converted church. This place was cool but it was like 30C inside, really fucking hot and packed. Ulver or Orchid and apparently a lot chose Orchid, a San Francisco band that sounds just like early 70s Black Sabbath. The record I heard at Nils was ok but live they really delivered the goods and were great. The new songs sounded really good as well. They steal a lot of riffs and lyrical phrasing from Sabbath so they are not original sounding in anyway. The singer was the best we saw the entire day, he is really good. He sings and his stage presence is a lot like Ozzy as well. I think they played about an hour. Great band..

23:50 I was soaking wet from sweating and needed to sit down as my feet were really hurting so I headed up to the balcony to chill out before VoiVod. Drank a huge glass of water. I was feeling a bit strange as there had been no time to eat. I ate like 10 chicken wings today and a sandwich at lunch and then only beer…. 

VoiVod had amazing sound. I was with my friend Pete right next to the soundboard. They opened with VoiVod and this really got the place going. Then a newer song and then Ripping Headaches, a couple of things they had never played before, one new song and one older song that had just not been played live. NothingFace sounded good like. They closed with the Pink Floyd cover, Astronomy Domine that everyone really loves and you can see they have a lot of fun playing it as well. The sounds and visuals were great and the band really delivered even though the set was mostly the same as what they played last year if you saw both shows. I had wanted to catch some of these guys from Acrimony but never made. Nils said they were pretty good.  A great day. Best bands for me were: La Otracina and Saturlania Temple. 

Day 3

11:30 I had a hard time getting to sleep last night but have been up about an hour now. Magnus had already taken a shower. I feel ok but tired and need a shower as well. Now. A lot of great stuff to look forward to today as well with Electric Moon, Farflung, Witch,etc..

15:00 Bought a few records in the Merch, Obsessed double 10”, Farflung, etc. 

16:30 Wino and Connie Ochs was a great set. I was right up in the front. The room was pretty full but not too crowded. This was the last show of their 6 week Europe tour. They were really having a good time. It was some cover songs (Hellbound Train) but mostly the record they made. The title track, heavy Kingdom was great live. Cool set. 
Wino and Connie Ochs

Set List: Somewhere Nowhere, Labour of Love, Dust, Dark Ravine, Heavy Kingdom, Rake, Hellbound Train, Aiugels, Old and Alone, Traces of Blood, Isolation, Vultures by the Vines, Lost

The weather is really shitty today with rain and quite cold. I wore sandals anyway. I am excited to see Farflung again. I just went and got a sandwich. 

19:00 Farflung was really spaced out today. I have no idea what the set list was but I really liked the show. Longer spaced out versions of some songs. They played some new songs as well. Sound in the green room almost always has the drums too loud with this sound guy. He does not pay attention either as you could only hear the guitar player on the left or Dave from White hills, his brother who plays all the cool spacey stuff could only be heard in the real quite parts so mostly not at all! Pity.. This was a common theme in this room that the sound guy was not very attentive and also the kick drum was always too loud. I still wonder why they get a 90min slot and play like 65 mins. It is pretty lame. 

Now, Sólstafir from Iceland was too packed to get in, and Danava in the bat Cave was alos too packed so I went to check out some of KONG. They are a special Dutch band that had some films going on and some samples and heavy riffs. They reminded me of Ministry without vocals. I saw 3-4 and then went to see Witch. 

19:00 I did not know what to expect with Witch. The band was for sure stoned, laughing and having a good time. They played really high energy stoner rock stuff with some wild solos. My problem with them was they did not write anything very memorable. Just one high energy rocking show. Again, they had an hour and only played 43mins and no encore. 

Again, Conan was so insanely packed it was impossible. Valiant Thor was also the same so did not see anything at this time. I really think they need to sell like 300 tickets less and raise the price a bit as there are just too many people now and this really decreases the overall quality of the festival experience. It is never really a problem in the main hall but all the other rooms it is quite an issue of the band is quite popular. 

Electric Moon
20:45 YOB is next in the main hall but I will go see my friend Dave’s band, Electric moon. I have heard a lot of recordings and records with them but never seen them live. Electric Moon were really spaced out. I think they played 4 jams and they are all improvised but it seemed that a few guitar riffs sounded quite familiar from some of the live records. Very cool effects in some parts with both the bass and guitar. 

22:00 VoiVod on the main stage. Wow… this was a very intense show with the great dimension hatrass record played. The sound was totally amazing. The house sound guy is really pushing it both with volume and intensity. The sound has never been so good or loud. They also played a few other selections and the special guest was the singer from DOOM who co-sang one song. This was a bit disappointing and not an exciting guest at all. They did an encore and played Astonomy Domine by Pink Floyd again. It was much cooler the first day and just to repeat it was not very interesting. They should just have played one of their own songs but an intense one and said bye! Great show though..

00:10 Anekdoten from Sweden was the band to close the main stage and the room was pretty empty. 400 people max I would say. I think they played a pretty cool set but their own soundman did not do a very good job. The guitar was always too low and the mellotron too loud. Pity as they could have sounded amazing if the house guy had done the sound. Anyway, they played some cool stuff, even one from their first record but the highlight for me was the brand new song. Wow.. this was a really great song so this will be promising if they make another record. 

Another damn cool day but tomorrow just looks insane. We did not hang out too late tonight and headed back to the hotel. Who was best today??? Farflung?? 

Day 4

13:30 We are all sitting in the backyard of the hotel and people are in a good mood and very psyched for what looks to be a very intense day! We just missed the bus so we have to wait another 60mins or take a cab. 

15:40 I just heard most of the St. Vitus record and they gave you some St. Vitus rolling appears when you came in the door. It sounded pretty good but it is short, only 33mins long. JD. Mascus of Dinosaur Jr stood next me for one for one song but three were not many people, less than 60. Soon it will be one of the highlights, Dark Budda Rising! 
Dark Budda Rising

Dark Budda Rising

17:00 Dark Buddda Rising really blew our minds even though the drums were mixed too high so that the guitars were not really crushing like on the record. The lead vocalizer was just dark, evil and very intense, Phew….. He really put on a show. They could have used some cool visuals. They did change the projection a few times.  Really dark spacey doom...

18:00 Church of Misery had a rough start where they changed out the bass heads two times as Tetsu was having trouble. It ended up he had a cable loose and there was nothing wrong wit any of the gear. Anyway, when they did get going they were really great. Tom’s guitar was insanely loud, maybe too much and the sound guy never did get the right balance of bass to guitar was not that right. Great set and a couple of songs they did not play when we saw them two weeks ago, like Born to Rise Hell. Walter had provided a really cool serial killer movie for the background. Awesome. A really cool band but now they have played 4 years so until they make another album, we should have a rest from COM. This is the last tour with Tom on guitar so they have some changes ahead. 
Church of Misery

I managed to get a decent stop for Purson in the bat cave and it got pretty packed and hot but they delivered a really solid set but they also had some technical problems and had to abort their hit single, Rocking Horse! They kind of tried to get a little jam going but they are so young and not very experienced they did really know what to do. I really like their well crafted songs with 12 string guitar and some simple keyboards. They played a lot of cool songs like the Contract, Two and Ones. They played about 56 mins. Great to see such young kids playing cool music. I can’t wait for the record. 

Set List: Wool, Maverick and Mystics, Rocking Horse- abort, Spider Wood Farm, The Contract, Well Oiled Machine, Sailors Wife, Leaning on a Bear, Twos and Ones, Sapphire Wand


19:15 Next it was straight back to see Leafhound and got right up in the front with the Australian guys who also stay at our hotel. About 4th row. They really rocked and the sound was good. Mostly songs from Growers of Mushrooms but also one called Unleashed that was really good. Crowd was digging it and the groove was good and Pete French sounded excellent for a guy that age who does not really sing that much. Great stuff… Had to run.. 

20:00 The Obsessed. Not sure what this was going to be like but it was pretty intense, short 2-3 min uptempo biker rock anthems that are not very catchy. They would just blast through 4-5 songs like a long medley before stopping. Pretty cool. They sounded really good and Wino was in top form both the the riffs and the vocals. Very intense set for one hour. I just got the live record from Amsterdam 1992 and his voice is really bad on this night, he sounded so good today. 

21:40 Now was the first time in like 5 hrs I had more than 15mins break. My feet were hurting and it has been a very loud day but I could see that they had set up a lot of amps for SLEEP so it was going to be very loud. This was the most packed I had seen the main hall. SLEEP just pulverized the place! Mike was a madman starting the show off with a lot of heavy deep feedback and then off we went. It was loud, massive, stoned and grooving. The new drummer from Neurosis, he was very good and groovy and not industrial or mechanical. I left after 40mins I could not really take any more of this heavy riff rock and needed a break badly. They had some cool visuals as well. Fucking amazing..

22:30 Rested my feet and when to see Admiral Sir Cloudesly Shovell in the bat cave and there were not many people but Martin and Ole and I hung out and they rocked! The singer from Purson was right next to me for part of the show and she was into it. This was an uptempo rock and roll act with some borrowed riffs from ZZTOP, Buffalo, Cactus, etc.. really energetic stuff with lots of solos and cool parts. Sound was great, not too much bass which is often the case in the bat cave as the sound guy does not mix for the middle of the room where most of the people are so the bass is usually too much and the rest of the instruments too low. The sound is good in the back of the room for those 40 people but not so good up front where most of the audience is. This sound guy never seems to learn like the guy in the green room.

Set List: Mark of the Beast, Devil’s Island, Cursed Earth, The Last Run, Scratchin’ n Sniffin’, Red Admiral, Lady Snowblood, I Death, Robot Colossus

Heavy Jam
23:50 Now it was meeting up with the rest of the Danes and my friend Pete, for Heavy Jam. This was one 45min min guitar battle between the guy from Witch and the DJ mascus from Dinosaur Jr and the rhythm section of Earthless… Really intense uptempo stuff that just never let up. When ever JD tried to really rio it up and match the guy on the right, that guy would just take it to another level with a killer solo or heavy riff. They are awesome. I could have used some mellow spacey stuff after all this heavy but what a fucking day. Probably one of the most intense days ever at Roadburn. 
Final day- The Afterburner

11:30 I am up really late today but people still seem pretty fresh for another day even though nearly everyone was really drunk last night except for me. 

14 We sit and have a 11% Belgium beer to start the day in a little café near the venue. It is a bit cold, gray and windy today. Not usual Roadburn weather, that is for sure. Nils is going to interview BONG at 14:30. 

15:20 I went to see the Away art display at a local gallery. That was really cool. He was not there though, even though I spoke to him last night and he said he would be there from 15-17. Saw 1 song of the Mount Fuji doom jazz orchestra and that was really excellent but I need to see Electric Orange. 

17:00 I really did not want to leave Electric Orange as they were really cool and spaced out and with a great groove and cool films. I was really enjoying this one. It will be hard to top this today. Cool stuff. 
Electric Orange

17:45 Internal Void are an old Maryland melodic doom rock band. For sure inspired by Pentagram but they had some unique sound. They started off a bit rough the first couple of songs but then they became really good. Standing on the sun, Voyage and some others were really good. Singer was quite special with his strange presence. Some people were a bit turned off. He was just doing this thing. He was very honoured. I thought they were pretty damn good, even though some of the songs came across a bit dated. I like this style of music. 

19:10  Wow.. Bongripper was really heavy and intense music but by this 4th day, I had already heard so much of this down tuned doom riffing that I grew a bit tired of them. If I had seen them on the first day, they would have had more of an impact on me. A very intense band for sure and people were really into it but I really missed some guitar solos, some more interesting mid-sections, something… Still very intense! Great artwork on the backdrop.

20:45 Before YOB, I caught a couple of songs of Atlantis but this was not my kind of music. Three guitar players all doing riffs, no solos, a bit like Pelican style post rock meets Isis with some keyboard samples. Something like that.. Only saw 2 songs.. But damn, YOB playing Catharsis, that was cool. I had been listening to this album at work many times over the last half year and it is probably my favourite YOB record (I don’t like the new stuff at all) as it has a more spacey guitar and more solos and feels really “alive”. It was great to hear live as well. Maybe the best YOB show I have ever seen. A bit short though..

22:30 Coroner, athough I only saw the first 20mins or so before I had to go see the Finnish band Fleshpress, were really good. I had expected fast thrash metal but what we got was really cool fast and slower complex heavy metal with some spoken word samples or keyboards and just damn good songs. I wish I did not have to leave but I might never get a chance to see Fleshpress. They play so rarely live and this is one of the few shows they have ever played outside of Finland. They only played 3 songs. I filmed the first one but they got more and more intense. I am not sure how to describe them. Heavy, angry, hypnotic? Extreme.. with a name like Fleshpress, they should be. They only played 30 mins leaving us all wanting more but we were not going to get it. 

24:00 Now, our minds were just totally blown. BONG is a band that a lot of people just can’t get but damn, they were totally amazing. They played the entire new record, Mana-Yood-Sushai, which just came out. It is two long tracks and they played about 50mins even though they had 70mins. Not sure people could handle more but still disappointing to see yet another band not use even close to their allotted time. Anyway, BONG are extreme psychedelic drone doom. I really like this band a lot and they blew us away. What a way to end Roadburn 2012. My big wish for 2012 in the green room is a new sound guy. He just does not listen or watch the bands very closely, as for BONG, you could only hear one of the guitar players and the other was totally buried and the kick drum was too loud. Pity….

This was the most extreme music event, festival, days, I have ever experienced in my life. The sound was so amazing on the big stage. The best sound I ever heard live with the house guy was doing it. He really knows that you need to hear the guitar more than the drums in this kind of music and the volume was LOUD…  Roadburn continues to set the standard for music events world wide. Respect…   hope for some more psychedelic stuff next year…

So who were my favourite bands? Heavy Jam, Saturnalia temple, BONG, Farflung, La Otracina.....


  1. Orchid is from San Francisco, not the UK.

  2. heard Heavy Jam on youtube... such tasty space jamming. I'd wish J Mascis with fellows from Earthless and Witch released it as live album