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…

1 comment:

  1. playlist with videos from the Burg Herzberg Festival 2014: