Saturday, August 16, 2014

Deep Space Destructors- III (Self Released)

The Northern Finnish trio, are back with a third release. They also have a special guest in a fellow named Olli, who has constructed some of his own unique sound devices (called the Black Deck) that he mixes into the band’s sound. It features 5 tracks and starts off with Beyond the Black Star. This track kicks in immediately and the band reach maximum cruising speed quite quickly as the a slow spacey groove is reached and some vocals sing the word freedom over and over. The guitar line is really spacey on this track and I wish it was mixed a bit higher actually. Nice track. Spaceship Earth has a fast pace and is driven by a very cool bass line and drums while the guitars play the melodic and spacey lines. Very catchy stuff that really has you flying. The track slows down and becomes a bit more dreamy and you can hear the keyboards a bit more clearly and some windy sounds as the melodic guitar line goes on. There is a bit of an abrupt harder change around 7½ mins. Sometimes this track reminds me of Litmus. Cosmic Burial starts off with some spacey sounds as the guitar line slowly fades up with the rest of the band. This track is more slow and slightly doomy as it takes is course with a cool guitar theme but still that overall spaciness to it. There are some nice layered vocals on this track as well. I love the spacey guitar lines at the end of this track. An ode to an Indifferent Universe is another nice spacey track lasting 15mins, that starts slowly but the bass line eventually drives the track to higher ground as the group takes off. A lot more singing on this track but what a cool groovy ending with a lot of spacey sounds as well. Love the bass line. IIkunien alku is the closer and starts with some spoken words in Finnish and then a high energy, more Hawkwind-Dark Sun like track takes us to the end of the trip. A very cool record and a nice progression from the last. I should also mention a new project that these guys have called the Oulu Space Jam Collective, which sounds cool and like something I would like to join!

7 and 7 is (Fruits der Mer Records Crustacean 51-57)

So what is 7 and 7 is??? This is a box set of 7 7 inches by 8 different bands doing cover songs of 8 different bands from the 60s. I think it is a bit strange they had 8 bands and not 7, since this ruins the whole 7 theme, oh well. The Bevis Frond plays Clearlight, the Higher State do 13th Floor Elevators, The Chemistry Set plays LOVE, Sendidelica plays the United States of America, King Penguin the Byrds, The Gathering Grey plays Moby Grape and Black Tempest (plays Spirit) and The 7th ring of Saturn the Grateful dead… Since I also love most of these bands this was a great to hear the take on these songs by these cool, mostly UK bands. Most of the versions are pretty true to the original, as I guess people consider these to be truly classic songs and you should not fuck with them too much. A highly enjoyable set of 7” records.

Switchblade Jesus (Bilocation Records 018)

This is a five piece US band playing hard edged heavy stoner rock with a fistful of riffs and grooves to get the earth shaking. The singer, has a quite rough voice but it fits the vibe of the music well. Each side of the record has 4 tracks, mostly about the same length of 3-6 mins each except the short intro song on side A. Into Nothing starts things off with a soft acoustic guitar before you get dragged into the groove with Bastard Son which is a great song with some cool wah guitar. The Wolves really speeds things up and Sick Mouth is just a nasty song, with a hard riff, almost heavy metal at times but a killer groove. Equinox has another heavy down tuned stoner riff and a vocal that reminds me a bit of Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. Renegade Riders kicks the groove up an notch. Copperhead does not change things much and is another mid-paced and melodic track with that nasty riffing guitar that is characteristic of this band. This track has a guitar solo though. Oblivion is the longest track on the record at over 6mins. This track has a sort of intro and then it starts to pick up and it features some cool guitar parts as well. I don’t know if the band would agree but I think they sound a bit like a stoner rock version of Black label Society without the over the top solos. Pretty cool record..

Simones- Majic Ship 7” (Fruits der Mer Records Crustacean 50)

Al Simones is a US based underground musician who records all his own music like Nick Saloman used to do in the old days and is pretty secretive. Anyway, Keith at the label finally got Al to provide two original tracks for a cool 7” record for the label and that is what you have here. Majic Ship, rings in at nearly 6 mins and has this low fi home recording sound and vocal but there is something very special about his raw sound. The psychedelic guitar solo that jumps out at you around 1½ mins really caught me by surprise but it fades away quickly into the acoustic section and then back to the main song theme again. Seize the Moment is about 5mins and features both acoustic and electric guitar in a very nice mix to start the track before the bass and drums kicks in. Again, a very distinct psychedelic guitar pops in and out at different times during the song. The mid section is quite heavy with some cool guitar. This is a great 7” if you are a fan of early Bevis Frond stuff.

Domadora- Tibetan Monk (Bilocation Records 25)

I have never heard of this band and it is not at all what you might think based on the titles. No throat singing meditation music here.. the opening track is a like a massive crescendo as if the band is ending the concert or record but this is just the beginning of some killer mostly instrumental heavy jamming stoner rock from France. The band is a trio and after the opening track they go into the awesome Ziggy Jam. This track really captured all the things I love about heavy, spacey, stoner music… Killer sound and great guitar by Belwil. Naïroya is a 12½ min track that starts side B in a slow blues with some nice bass lines and guitar with a little bit of delay on it. Gradually the whole thing gains intensity as Belwil speeds up the guitar soloing although at bit repetitive at time. Intense track.  Chased and Caught is the first track with vocals and ends side B. It has a cool catchy groove and reminds me of someone else??  The 2nd LP is quite short with only a 13 min long track called the Oldest Man on the Left on side C and two short songs, only 11mins of music on side D. The Oldest Man has a repetitive riff and groove that goes on for quite a while before the track comes down and there are some vocal samples as Belwil builds up the spacey wah guitar intensity and all instruments except the guitar disappear and then the original bass returns and they go into another grooving jam but no more intense soloing. Cool track. Side D starts with the 9 min Domadora jam. This is a pretty hard edged jam with some solos at the beginning but a long with stoned repeated groove for the last half of the song.. Pretty stoned… Wild Animal Skin (only 1:19 long) ends the record with a short piece that sounds like a tiny part of a jam that maybe did not go where they thought it would so they just took this melodic section. Solid rocking album.. Hope to catch them live….

Buffalo Tooth/Creepers- Split 7” (Under the Gun Records 024)

This is a pretty cool split 7” from two SF bay area bands. Side A starts with Buffalo Tooth, are a trio with two of the three members from the band Glitter Wizard. This does not sound anything like Glitter Wizard, just to let you know. Their track is called Shit Show and is a very short 2½ min song. I don’t know how to describe this but it is fast, frantic, crazy high energy raw rock and roll… Very low fi but powerful stuff.. Flip the red vinyl over and remember it plays on 33rpm for the Creepers. Memory Fog starts off quite mysterious, and you might say creepy, with a sort of surfy like guitar and reverbed vocals but the track slowly builds up especially the drums as it all gets faster and then the break and a more melodic section that reminds me a bit of 80s King Crimson (the melodic elements) meets Pink Floyd 1969. Cool song even though I would like some lead guitar and not just the melodic theme repeated over and over and over. This track is nearly 6mins. I don't know how many of these they pressed.. Check it out.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Burg Herzberg Festival 2014

Thursday July 31st

7:30 I picked up the van at 22 last night and we are waiting for the Swedes to arrive and then we will load up my stuff, the merch and their stuff and go pick up Nick, Birk and Mogens at Mogen’s place. This is a great van and we will have plenty of space. These Mercedes vans are great. We pay 98€ a day with 400 free KM a day.

8:45 We are packing the van at Mogen’s place now and the weather is beautiful today. I have programmed the GPS for Sabine’s place so hopefully we will get there without getting lost. Says we should arrive at 12:15! I highly doubt that.

11:10 We are in the cue for the ferry now. We just missed one by a few mins so we have to wait 30m more mins. Not that big a cue and we had no problem buying a ticket, since we had not booked one in advance. 113€ one way though.. We heard Afrobeat Nirvana, Black Sabbath- Born Again, Pothead- Dessicated soup on the way to the ferry.

12:00 We are just about to leave the ferry now. We got cokes, had our schnitzel and have Siena Root- Root jam cranked up on the stereo.

14:15  We finally made it after some hassle since one of the roads to Sabine’s was closed and we had to figure out how to go a different way.. This part of hamburg is so tricky… Anyway, mats will drive now. Sabine greated us all with a cup of fruit, which was really nice and refreshing as it is a hot day. We are now hearing Antibalas- Who is this America?. Great album.

15:30 So much highway work. A1 was closed so we have to take A7 now. Says we have 344 km to Burg Herzberg. I am glad that I am not driving with this crazy two lanes stuff. The van is so wide it is a bit nerve racking on these small lanes. You get really close to the other cars and trucks. Now we hear some Kenyan Jazz from Mogens CD collection. Some cool stuff but a bit mellow for driving. I would fall asleep..

16:41 We just had a break at a gas station… We still have 211km to go on this highway and it says about 2½ hrs left. we will see. We are listening to Frank Zappa- Joe’s garage Parts 1-3. This is a pretty rude record for the two ladies in the van but I think I was the only one who thought of that.

17:30 Look to be about 1½ hrs away and we have to get gas for the first time soon.. No way we are going to see Blues Pills.. Oh well...

19:15 We arrived to the Freak Stage area but the guy there had no band listed for Øresund Space Collective and he had to call some people to confirm we were playing and allow us into the site. This all took some time and he is sending us to another place now. Pretty unorganized.

20:30  We are finally at the tents now and have driven the van through the festival site. Some places are very muddy. The guys said it rained like hell the week before the festival and was just drying up now. Lots of mosture in the air. We have no sleep mattress yet but they will come. Our contact at the Freak Stage is Freddy. She seems very cool. The Moroccan food place was great. It is one of 4 places we can use our food coupons.

24:00 I am very tired. We only managed to see MOE, a US jam band and not really anyone else this night.. Off to bed…

Friday Aug 1st

9:00 It was a bit chaotic last night and we were promised food and drink for the entire festival, tents with sleep mattress (the pump did not work properly and we were all tired)….. and we did get this (1 meal ticket and 5 drink tickets for three days) for the most part in the end but it was a lot of talking back and forth. Freddy was very cool though but it still was not what we should have since some of our members are quite poor and unemployed, etc…  I gave 20€ to Birk, Nick and mats to help them out with the food costs. We are sleeping about 10m from the Freak stage and about the same distance to the toilets, so it is hardly a good location but we will manage. I think the band finished around 2 last night but the reggae café seem to go til 6 in the morning before it was quiet! There are no sources of water to wash your hands anywhere around here, which is terrible. The showers are like 1km away and the source of fresh water 500m. we get free bottled water and apple juice in the backstage but nothing else.

The sun is shinning on the tent and I feel like I hardly slept last night. It is hot and sticky during the day and damp at night. MOE was really good. Lots of long jams and cool interaction between the two guitar players and vibraphone-percussionist.

Last night we met Uli, one of the folks from the Zappanle festival in Northern Germany. a good friend of Sabines, and he has been so kind to allow us to set up our merch where he is selling records and cds.. Super nice man.. Sabine, Sue and I carried the stuff over and set up a stand. 

11:30 Mike from Space Invaders came and visited us at our camp and invited us to play at 17 up at their camp site, where they have a stage set up. They have a full PA and backline. This will be fun and cool… The first bands start at 13:30, which is cool. Not too early. The distances between the three stages (Main, Freak and Mental) is not so far.

12:00 Sue and I found a good place for lunch, where they make fresh pizzas. The ham and feta was good.  It is hot but there is a nice breeze and some clouds now and then. We also had some nice cold mint tea at another café place.

Rogues from County Hell
13:30 Rogues from County Hell, a German Irish folk rock band are playing on the Freak stage. They have a very good sound man here but a db limit of 98 so none of the bands are that loud.

Rosaria Smowing
16:00 I am too blasted today so I have just popped around and seen a few minutes of each of the bands playing. Octa logue, who played two years ago on the Freak stage but now are on the main stage were interesting. Hard to describe but it was not my kind of music. Some gypsy ska party band called Rosaria Smowing, is on the freak stage. We saw a few songs of the acoustic Moe set. I liked the electric set better. Nice to see so many people taping a lot of the shows at each stage.
Moe Acoustic

19:45 We just had a really fun concert for like 75mins at the Space Invaders camp. Mike from Space Invaders played guitar on a couple of jams, their drummer Dennis took over from Birk and another drummer named Simon played on the last jam. Mats played guitar first and also bass later. I guess around 60 people were checking this show out. It was quite fun. It was recorded and most of it video taped as well. This was a great warm up for the big gig tomorrow and everyone was in a great mood. I wish we had been able to promote it more. Check out the audio HERE
Audience early on in our show at the Höllenschuppen
Purple Rain
Space Invaders with Horst!
21:30  Purple Rain played a good hard rock set. I thought they might be a Prince cover band, but thankfully not. They had a lot of guitar solos and played All along the watchtower and Whole Lotta Love in their set as well. Cool… were on at 19:30 and played a very heavy intense Hawkwind like set with Horst from the Psychedelic network making some spaced out sounds with the band. Fun stuff.  Patti Smith and her band was actually really cool. A lot of positive energy and vibes from her and the band and everyone was really enjoying themselves. She spoke about how lovely a festival and I think it is totally awesome that her and her husband spent 2hr walking around the whole place. We never did see her but it is great she put the effort into check it out.. . A very cool concert. I liked it a lot. We missed Poil, Reverend Shine Snake Oil Co. was to have played a cool show. I saw them at Kildemose festival and they were a fun band.
Space Invaders played a quick 40min set with Horst from the psychedelic network joining in on some space sounds. Normally this band is more stoned, laid back and spaced out but this was a high energy Hawkwind inspired set. Fun band and super nice people. 
Patti Smith and her Band
24:00 The Crimson Projekct was great (see pic below). They played nearly all 80-90’s KC songs plus some of their own Adrian Below trio and Stickman songs plus a Fripp solo album track. They played Lark’s tongues and Aspic and one other 70s track plus Indiscipline, 3 of a Perfect pair, Frame by Frame, Thrack, Sleepless and a few other tracks.

I was too blasted to stay up to see Big Elf at 01:00 or the reggae band Six Nation (but we heard them as we were sleeping or trying right next to the stage….)

Aug 2nd (day 3)

12:45 Tonight we will play, which is very exciting! Sue and I just had some mint tea and pizza again. There are a lot of cool bands today as well but not sure how much I will see as I really had to be well rested for our long set tonight starting at 23:15..  Peter Bursch’s Guittenkurs was really fun to see on the Freak stage, as he gave basic lessons to people sitting in the field. Funny…

14:00 I really enjoyed the short Marblewood set on the Mental stage. They had played around two gigs at other places in the festival site the day before and just before this set they did another set of improve stuff.  The set we saw was tracks from the album.

Mister Mississippi
15:00 Mister Mississippi had a lot of gear and like 10 guitars.. They played this melodic, dreamy music, some of it was quite beautiful and sometimes quite boring as well. Chromb! Was a crazy band and very hard to describe but I really liked them. Drums, bass, keyboards and a wild sax player who had a load of effects and used them really well…

17:00 We saw a good part of the Martin Barre concert and he did a mix of stuff from his new solo record, a Gov’t Mule cover (Thorazine Shuffle) and of course Jethro Tull songs. In most cases he had played around with the arrangements a lot and he had a guy who played sax and clarinet instead of flute. It was fun but he has really messed with the songs so I think it was a bit much for many people but cool to hear some obscure ones like Song for Jeffery and Teacher.
Martin Barre (previously of Jethro Tull)
20:00 RPWL played a set of Pink Floyd songs and some pretty obscure tracks mostly material from 80-90s era and solo albums. They did not have any cool lights since they played at an early time. Pretty cool..


Gypsy Ska Orquesta

21:00 Did not see much of the Gypsy Ska Orquesta. What I did hear though, they were really uptempo all the time. No let up at all. Intense. but we heard a bit of Grained, a high energy Nirvana inspired band. They really put on a great show and rocked the place including at least two Nirvana tracks. The guitar player was the sweatiest guy I saw at the festival.. just dripping wet….  I did manage to speak to Stefan from Colour Haze backstage for 15mins and that was so nice to see him. I wished him well and a great concert but sadly neither of us would get to see each other’s bands.

22:00 The entire band, we are all just hanging out and drinking some water and talking about the show. It has been really hot and draining today but everyone has been taking it easy and not partying today so we can give the best show possible.

Coogan's bluff
03:00 We missed Billy Bragg, JJ Grey and Mofro, and Colour Haze as we had our own show to focus on. Coogans Bluff played a killer concert. Wow. What a great band and good warm up for us. They went 10 mins over time though and it was like 15 before they started to get their gear off the stage so we were pressed to start when we were not quite ready actually but it all worked out and we were flying pretty quickly. It was an amazing audience. We have never played to so many people and I think we did a great job. I am not sure how many pieces of music we played but I think we did 6 or 7 in the first set (the keys A-F) and then we took a short break and of course most people left. We all had to pee really badly but the break saw 70% of the people leave. The last set of about 50mins (up until 3am), there was still a few hundred people but not the like 2000 before Colour Haze (only about 25% seem to leave) started at 01:00… Amazing night.. one I will never forget.. There was a lot of people video taping up front and taking pictures as well..  I should also say that Mats slipped on the grass when he step off the stage in-between the barrier to get a beer and smashed his head into the barrier (I did not see it) and had to get some medical attention so we played the first 20mins of the 2nd set without him. The doctors told him not to play more but he came back and played a killer solo right away. You can hear the concert at this link: BH Concert 
ØSC Audience at the Freak Stage
Day 4 (Aug 3rd)

Mats, our guitarist
10:30 We got lucky and it was cloudy and not so hot today. It rained earlier in the morning. I guess I went to sleep around 4 after we finished at 03:00 and packed up the gear. Phew.. What a show.. I think we would have played longer if they let us but it is understandable, the sound people and stage crew are back to work at 10:30.. I got the audience to sing the sound guy (Thomas, 49) and main stage hand (Christoffer 30), happy birthday.. I think they appreciated that.  Mats was doing ok today and cracking a lot of jokes.. Crazy guy.. We have a lot of fun with him..

Sue and I more or less just hung out at the Freak Stage so we could sell some merch and meet the fans and we saw a lot of good bands here today. I never made it over to the main stage except to see Kraan. Octafish were a very cool King Crimson meets Dixie Dregs like band. Fantastic music.. Dr Krapula (Columbia) were just fucking amazing and one of the bands I liked the best of the entire festival. A super great live
Dr Krapula
band mixing rock, roots reggae and ska in a cool way with Spanish words. People were totally into it including myself… Wow… I could see they played here just a couple of years ago as well. Carpet played some dreamy psychedelic rock stuff that some of it was very cool. We heard most of this set in the tent though as it is pouring down rain now. I hope this does not last too long or the place will be very muddy and we might have trouble getting the van out tomorrow.  Zodiac really rocked the place and did a nice cover of Blue Jean Blues by ZZTOP and also Cortez the Killer, like they did at Freak Valley. Nice guys as well

We saw most of the set by this young 70s rock band called the Dues on the mental stage. The young guitar player was sporting a Taste shirt! They ended their set with a cool cover of Maybe I’m a Leo by Deep Purple.

22:30 KRAAN played about an 80min set and we had a great spot near the center and the sound was fantastic. They had some pretty cool visuals and the three piece was great. They started off a bit slow but the last 45mins of the concert, especially the encore was really excellent. Great bass playing and he really turned up the guitar playing a notch as well. Most of their music was instrumental and I think a mix of old and new stuff. They looked like they were having fun but I could not understand what he said to the audience.
01:00 Baby Woodrose cancelled due to illness, which really surprised me as I had just seen Guf outside Neil young the 3 nights ago and he seemed excited to play this festival. He had no idea we were playing. Anyway, the replacement was Monkey 3! I don’t think anyone complained about that. They had a huge crowd and delivered a great show. I still like their older stuff and am not too keen on the last two records I have heard but they do a good live show. Great dynamics..

Monkey 3
Well, that was the end of Burg Herzberg 2014…. One of my favourite outdoor festivals I have ever been to. For sure the best vibe…. No more Roskilde Festivals for me after this one. I had a great time and met so many cool and nice people. Thanks to Elmar for inviting us to play, Freddy, Thomas and Christoffer for doing a great job helping us out at the Freak Stage and especially to all the great fans to came out and saw us play, bought our music, etc.. I pray I get to play this amazing festival again. I highly recommend this one to everyone.. Finally thanks to my great band, Sabine who takes the photos, helps with the merch and translations, and Sue for making this an amazing experience. Peace and Love…