Monday, May 6, 2013

Roadburn Festival 2013- Tilburg, Holland April 18-21st

I think this is my 8th year in a row attending the Roadburn Festival and writing a long report about this amazing once a year experience. I would call it a festival, which it is but it is much more. It is a gathering of people who are intensely and passionately into music of the heavy kind. Whether it be heavy doom riffs or heavy electronic sounds (think Godflesh) or heavy guitar psych and just about every other kind of intense music. Hope you learn something new. Check out the videos for the full experience...


12:40 I am still in Copenhagen as the plane can’t leave due to windy conditions in Holland. I was already going to be in a rush to try to catch Blues Pills at 16:15 but now it will likely be impossible. I had to leave late for the festival this year due to my daughter’s birthday the day before and me needing to spend some extra time with her since I am going directly from Roadburn to Japan on the Sunday and will miss the amazing Afterburner.. 

15:57 I am on the train and we just past Den Haag and Delft and I will have to change trains in Rotterdam. even more delays as one of the train lines was not running, my bad was one of the last to come off the flight, etc… Probably not in Tilburg before 17:30 now. I really wanted to see Black Bombain from Portugal but that was impossible anyway. But some of the DOOM on the big stage starting the day sounded great as well. 

17:40 Wow.. how my luck changed. I was told there would be no trains to Tilburg before 18 and I would be stuck in Breda but as we were nearly at Breda suddenly they said the signal problem was fixed and the trains were funning to Tilburg. When I arrived ai walked as fast as I could to the O13. Saw Walter just as I was arriving and said hello and went to the baggage check and put all my things in and I was ready for Roadburn. Missed Blues Pills and caught the last song of Penance in the big room. I squeezed into the Bat Cave to see Robert Hampson from Loop, do some strange electronic stuff. I stayed for like 15mins but almost nothing was happening. Some noisy fast ossiclations from this equipment but not a lot of growth in the sound or anything interesting at all. Room was packed when I came and now half the people had left as it was not very interesting. It might become later but he was way to slow to make his music evolve and people lost interest. 

18:50 I watched the complete opening of Gravetemple and it was a similar experience. Very slow for anything to happen. 3 piece band with two guitars (tuned very low) and a guy doing some spoken word stuff in Latin (?) and making some sounds at times. We were all very patient and not much was happening. Check out the video and see what you think. Now I was back at the Bat Cave for Magdalena Solis. This was a duo on guitar and one keyboard and they played short pieces of music to short specific films, so of which they acted in themselves (I think). The sound was not very good though as you could hardly hear the guitar playing at all and I was right in front of him. I liked some of this.

19:03 I am getting some food with Magnus now. He is really tired as they got very little sleep the night before. I helped him to get back on his feet and I think he appreciated it. There is like 15mins until the old Dutch stoner band, Candybar Planet starts.

20:30 Wow.. I really dug Candybar Planet and the new songs sounded really good as well. The crowd was not that big but they were cool and really grooving. Sometimes quite heavy but other times just a bit more melodic.  I did not see the whole show as Magnus wanted to see some of High on Fire so we headed up to the Balcony and it was totally packed and really loud! I am glad I have my new custom earplugs. They make a huge difference but I am still not used to the way they feel. Anyway, HIGH ON FIRE were really intense and I only really liked their first record, which has been more slow than all these almost thrash things they do now. Pretty cool and the crowd was really into it.

21:00 Next up I went over to the Church and saw Nate Hall from US Christmas perform 4 solo songs on electric guitar. He seemed a bit distant, stoned or something.. drugged.. did not have the passion of his records but it was nice to see him as I love his record. I also spoke to him for like 15mins later this evening. Super nice person. Next, John Balzley and Katie Jones joined Nate and they played some Townes van Zandt tracks and Katie sang and also played violin and Nate switched to acoustic guitar. This was a really cool and nice change. Great stuff. 

21:45 I hurried over to squeeze in the room to hear Maserati. I missed the first song or two but totally got sucked into the groove when I moved close to the front. This was pretty cool stuff. Two guys on guitar, prerecorded bass and some sounds and an intense machine drummer who just kicked ass. The one guitar player does all the delay guitar stuff while the other guy does more of the leads and noisy guitar stuff. They don’t do a lot of leads though, it is mostly just groove music but damn cool. Not a single band has had any cool visuals except the films.

23:15 Now there was a bit of a break and I talked with a lot of old and new friends and popped outside for some air and some chicken wings and a beer. Saw a couple of songs of the slow Mournful Congregation but none of Lord Mantis or Intronuat or Primoridal. Now it is time for Psychedelic Warlords, whom I was supposed to guest with but it did not happen, which is a pity. 

01:00 For psychedelic Warlords, Nils, Ole, Tom, Sven, Jesper and some other all hung out to the right side of the mixer. The sound was great, the vibe good and some ok visuals but not that impressive and nothing like Hawkwind would have in the 70s and they used no strobe lights at all. The band was playing very well and I think this was the 6th time they have played Space Ritual live so they do it well. I still think it is funny that one of the headline acts is a cover band but that is the way it is. Eugene, who was a guest sax player on one of the jams at the end of the Herne Bay Space Ritual show was playing the Nik Turner parts. Ray did all the vocals except for the great Rob Calvert (Julian) parts. Rich Om was great on the spacey things. Nate from US Christmas came out and played on Brainstorm, Master of the Universe and one other song. It was a great set and the crowd really liked it as well pity they did not have the lights real low and more dark spacey visuals and strobes, it might have then blown people away. 

We did not hang out long and were back at the hotel at 1:30…. Pretty cool first day..

Day 2

9:30 I have a single room right next to the bathroom so it is pretty noisy here. Sunny with some clouds but it looks like it is getting more cloudy not less. Today is the Electric Acid Orgy. Should be cool.

12:10 Had some juice, tea and a sandwich and am feeling good to go now. Everyone is sitting out in the garden and having some beers and joints even though it is quite cold. The first act we will see today is Dream Death. I have their first one or two records including a rare test pressing! 

12:35 Sven called me and said the guys in Goat could not find the person who is to pick them up at the airport in Dusseldorf and could I help them contact Walter. I used to have his phone number in my phone but not now so I hurried off to the venue to find the personal and let them now. They took care of it right away. Turns out that they were all in the wrong places and just missing each other. 

13:50 We got all the GOAT stuff sorted and I had a nice chat with Nate Hall and he said US Christmas was not dead but just sleeping. He said it was just a lot easier to do his solo stuff these days and he was enjoying it. In the Bat Cave they have turned it into a theatre and they will have films and some live music all day today. The Electric Grindhouse Cinema and it features Niklas Barker (My Brother the Wind, Anekdoten), Shazzula, Adertaling and Void ov Voices at different times playing to the films. I checked out the first film and it was a strange erotic horror thing about a girl who got off on killing people in strange erotic ways. The musical soundtrack was killer though, lots of acid guitar solos and wild drumming. Cool… 

15:30 I saw most of Dream Death and although they have a dated sound they still sounded pretty good and they have some really great songs. They even played a Penance song that he said was written when Dream Death was still a band. I wanted to see Kadavar but the room was too full so I came back and caught the rest of Dream Death. It was good. 

16:45 Nils and I went to see the Finnish stoner band, Tombstoned and they were pretty cool and the room was damn packed with people. Very loud. These are young kids and they had never played to a crowd like this. The bass player is not really playing that well and just slapping the strings in time with the bass to get this heavy sound but the guitar player who also sings plays cool stuff to make up for it and the drummer rocks. He is not very comfortable singing and has a long way to go to develop his voice so don’t focus on that as they have some damn cool songs. I liked them. 

17:55 I ran over and got some food and heard 3 songs by Witch Mountain. They have a female singer who is almost like an opera singer. Doom with operatic vocals. Most of the time it worked very well but sometimes he was nearly irritating. I could have used some more lead guitar but when he did play he really ripped it up. The song that I filmed was excellent and they said it was one they rarely played live. They were great.. Crowd really liked them a lot as well.

19:00 Uncle Acid.. Huge expectations from everyone on this one and the room was totally packed.  They had a great sound and really cool film visuals going on the huge screen. Clips from several common movies that we have seen before like Mark of the Devil, El Topo, etc. Looked great and sounded great. They more or less played the songs exactly like the record but a few solos seemed a bit extended. They were clearly having a great time and the crowd was digging it as well. Really solid set from this promising new band… 

Set List: I’ll cut you down, Crystal Spiders, Mount Abraxax, Mind Crawler, I’m here to kill You, Valley of the Dolls, Desert Ceremony, Death’s Door, Poison Apple, Over and Over, Vampire Circus

22:00 I watched a bit of MOSS and as I expected it was a bit too slow and depressive for me but I know the people who like these guys were blown away once again. I think the lack of a bass player takes too much power away but he is a powerful vocalist and the drums and guitar are slow and doomy as hell.. Anyway, the Pretty Things, I did not have a huge expectation but it was one of the absolute highkights on this day. To see a few of these guys in their 70s still totally rocking was awesome and they wrote some many great songs. Dick Taylor was really ripping it up on the lead guitar as well and they got really psychedelic with the two guitars on several occasions in the set. Crowd was really into it as well and the sound was amazing. I wish I knew the set list they played. I hope they release this one! 

I only could see about 20 mins of Eternal Tapestry before Electric Wizard but they were really cool and trippy with low lights and focus on the projections. They reminded me a bit of Carlton Melton like vibe but with more synths. Would have loved to have seen more of them. Damn..

00:00 Wow.. What can I say, Electric Wizard, the headliner for Roadburn this year totally delivered the goods with a set of really heavy jammed and spaced out doom rock. As soon as the lights went down, people started smoking joints and there was a great smell in the air as the band kicked into DOOM gear for the next 75 or so minutes. Lots of guitar solos, amazing sound and visuals that just combined into an amazing trip. I was totally blown away, especially with the last track of the concert and the amazing projections. Amazing set.. 

I wanted to go see GOAT but it was totally full so no chance to see them perform. We got up close in front of the young guitar player for Satan’s Satyers and you could tell this was going to be a crazy rock and roll party for sure. Most of the Danish folks were in the same area and they love this band so they were totally up for it. I had only heard a few tracks and it was really a raw and nasty sound and I was wondering how they would pull that off. Well, I have to say that guitar player had the most dirty nasty distortion I have ever heard. It was like on the verge of breaking apart into noise all the time. Crazy…. Reminds me of Blue Cheer, Dzghenis Khan, Orange Sunshine… raw, nasty rock with super loud guitar that almost drowns out all else. Far out! 

01:00 I went over to check out Psychic TV and man was I glad that I did. I think I saw the last hour and they had probably the coolest visuals of the entire Roadburn Festival and played mostly cover songs when I was there. The first song I saw was a pretty psyched out rock song with spoken word vocal delivery. It was a strange band of men who are now women and women and a very tall and think lead guitar player. He was amazing and played killer guitar solos. The long 15min version of Maggot Brain with some spoken word poetry was really great. They followed this up with Hurry on Sundown by Hawkwind. I was told that they opened the show was a strange version of Silver Machine.  What a great way to end this totally amazing day of high quality and varied performance. I saw a lot of music this day, nearly non-stop..

Day 3

10:30 My feet were so tired last night and my back was aching a bit. So much volume and intensity yesterday, it was pretty draining. This is my last day as I have to fly to Japan for work tomorrow morning. So I will miss the afterburner once again. Damn.. 

12:30 We are in the buss and heading into the festival site once again. I will first go get my train ticket for tomorrow sorted out. 

13:50 I met up with the guys in My Brother the Wind at their merch table and bought the limited edition 7” they were selling. Only 200 copies. They flew in yesterday. I will go check out some of the Ocean. Not a lot of people in the main hall yet. It is sunny outside but cold and maybe people are a bit drained after that intense day yesterday. Met the guy from Soul Manifest and he has a new band called Bright Curse. A bit more heavy but still very jamming he said. I can’t wait to see Wo FAT today..

The Ocean started off with really amazing visuals and play some riff rock with pre-recorded samples and synths that they play along to. A bit post rock and dreamy at times, a mix of beautiful, heavy and intensity. Not a lot of guitar solos. This opening instrumental piece was really good but then this guy came out and started like screaming, and was really angry and it just totally destroyed the vibe that the band had created. It did not work for me at all. It was different reactions from different people in the crowd. Some got more into it and others like me were like what happened??  Ok.. off to See Black Magician at the Church..

Black Magician played traditional doom but with organ. Singer was a bit like Lee from Cathedral, who were a clear influence on this band. They had some cool films but they were drowned out by the too bright lights. A decent crowd but not too many people so early in the day yet. They were good but did not offer up much new or fresh in the DOOM area. 

Monomyth, one of the guys from 35007, were next playing all instrumental psychedelic groove rock. I loved what the guitar player did and they had great interaction with the two synths players and solid bass and drums. Wow.. They have an album out in May on Burning World, I am told. Great show and I shot one video. I think I saw the entire set. Awesome band and a total surprise.

15:50 I am getting an early dinner as I can’t see any big breaks later and I don’t want to miss any music. One of the tough things at Roadburn, never any time to eat! 

19:00 I saw the entire WO Fat show from up in the front and stood for a while with HP from the Obelisk! We had never met and had a great chat before WO FAT. He never seems to get a chance to see a band play an entire set as he goes for being up in the front to get the best pictures so he has to go early for all the bands and always misses the ends of bands sets. The sacrifices we have to make to see as many bands as possible and to write about them. Anyway, WO Fat opened with the Black Code and just kicked ass! Doomy stoner rock with an nice groove.. The room was pretty packed and people were really into it for sure. Not a lot of stoner rock at Roadburn anymore and I think a lot of the fans miss this. They played like 8-9 songs and mostly from the new record. I wanted to hear Analog Man but they did not play that one.  

I met with Nils and we tried to get up front to catch In Graved, Victor Griffin’s new band with the old drummer from Trouble playing keyboard. Victor was late, having left the stage just like 1min before they were to start and just disappeared leaving everyone just standing there for like 5 mins. A bit annoying and even the band were like what the fuck is going on as we were just about to play and he just left.. Anyway, they got it together and played a great show and no Pentagram songs. They played the entire new record and a few older tracks, I think one from his first solo record. 

Next Nils and I stumbled into High on Fire and heard three great songs, one was really slow and massive and he played this pretty long almost blues solo, I had never heard Mike play like that ever, so I was so surprised. Very cool. They were on top of the game giving a very powerful performance.  Next we popped over to check out Jess and the Ancient ones. They played at Heavy Days in Doomtown last year but I did not see them. Svart has released their record as well but I did not know their music. They were a big band with like 7 people on the stage and reminded me of melodic folk metal and she has a great voice but it did not catch us right away so after the first song we squeezed into the Bat Cave for Teeth of the Sea.

Teeth of the Sea are from the UK and reminded me a lot of the Swedish band Flowers must Die. The guitar player with the Plasmatics shirt on played some really space guitar stuff. Their 3rd song they had some like techno beat rhythm that seem to turn some people away but they really built off of it really nicely. One of the guys even played trumpet (like Flowers must Die) on one of the songs. Psychedelic stuff… I really liked these guys and wish I could have seen more than 3 songs but I really needed to go see Elder and I know this one was going to be packed and if I was late I would not get into the church to see them. 

21:20 Elder was really hot and packed with people. Elder delivered just what this crowd wanted and needed, jamming stoner rock!!!!!!! I had never realized how inspired the guitar player and singer was by Stefan of Colour Haze but he riffs a lot like Colour Haze but has a completely different guitar sound and does some really cool guitar solos and mixes up the riffs a lot which is great. All the Elder songs are these long complex journeys. They were excellent but I did not see the entire set as I needed to see the Finnish band, Mr Peter Hayden. I have all their 7”s, records, cds, etc.. and really wanted to hear this show.

The room was not as packed as I had expected it to be (Godflesh on the mainstage?). They played one long hr long trip (the entire latest record) and once they turned down the bright lights and you could join the trip along with the visuals it was really cool. It was like a space doom trip on acid! A mix of BONG, Dark budda Rising and space rock vibes. Pity I hardly knew anyone in this room except a lot of Finnish people and this band was one of the best of the day. I was pretty blown away. Awesome stuff and much heavier than most people had expected. 

I only was able to catch about 30mins of My Brother the Wind and they played fantastic and had a really great like Spanish inspired jam. I shot a video of one of the tracks. The crowd really liked them a lot and it was pretty packed as well. Nicklas even had the mellotron a long which adds a lot. I have seen them with it and without it before. I think they had a new drummer since last time I saw them. 

00:45 I just had my mind completely blown by the Cosmic Dead… WOW… what can I say. Pity the crowd was so small. I guess maybe 60 people at the end when the band just blew the place to bits with high intensity space rock grooves. They played about 4-5 pieces of music, most from the new cassette release (I think) and they just built up such an intensity it was really hard to describe. Lots of really cool guitar from the guy on the left and he had so much energy. He must have run, jumped 10km during their set and really cool guitar but hardly any guitar solos from these guys. I would love if they added another lead guitar player. 

I went into the main hall to sit down and hear some of Endless boogie but after one song, jam.. I had to go outside, my brain was blasted by the Cosmic Dead and I would not recover for an hour or so… What a way to end Roadburn….  I am blasted to another universe once again…… 

My favourite bands this year- The Cosmic Dead, Electric Wizard, Mr Peter Hayden, Momomyth, WO Fat, The Pretty Things

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