Sunday, April 19, 2015

Roadburn Festival, Tilburg, Holland 2015

April 9th
7:30 I am sitting at the gate waiting to fly to Amsterdam and then catch the train to Tilburg. I did not sleep well last night so I am really tired. It will make today quite tough.. This year I am staying at a B&B quite close to the venue with my friend Anders and all my Danish friends are camping out.

9:30 All went smooth. There were about 10 or more on this flight going to Roadburn, some from Sweden, Norway, Finland as well as Danes…

10:10  We got a train pretty quickly today to Breda and then to Tilburg. A fast train for 20€. I am sitting with some Swedish guys, one from Umeå, who has a band that used to be called Magic Lanterns but are now called UFO over Lapland. His friend Anders is from Malmo. All very cool people. Amazing weather today.. Sunny and warm..

11:09 We are now on the train to Tilburg and will arrive at 11:23.. Quick trip, which is nice as I might get a chance to rest.

12:00 At the B&B and got my wristband and an all access pass this year. Thanks Walter.. I promise to only put it to good use. This will be my 10th year in a row writing about Roadburn! Wow…. 10 years of my life…

13:30 I was starving so I had to go get some food before Anders had arrived. Schnitzel, fries and salad.. A lot of food… and coke.. See and talk to quite a few people I know or have met from Sweden, Holland, Finland, etc… JJ from the Obelisk….  So great to be back at Roadburn. It is like meeting your extended family that you see only once a year. So many cool and interesting people. All here, dedicated to the music…

15:15 I saw the beginning of the Solstafir show playing along to an Icelandic movie. That was really cool and I for sure have to look up and see this film. I really wanted to see the Tower so I had to leave. I quite liked their debut album and was looking forward to see them. They started off slowly with the first two songs being not that good and catching me but then the third song, Lucy was totally amazing. Really cool guitar playing. The singer was really into his own zone, a bit like Joe Cocker at times and then other times just out there.. but totally focused and into his art. The bass player was a colourful character and several people questioned whether it was a man or woman?? Cool bass lines… They next played a new song called Zeitung. Also cool.. I think this is the one I filmed. The Tower ended their set and was a long track with a lot of guitar and singing parts. Great set.

Set List: Adrenalawine, Exile, Lucy, Zeitung, Moonstoned, Wounds, The Tower.

Next up for me was Salem’s Pot, also from Sweden. They were really awesome. Cool masks, dresses, cool movies and a mix of doomy stuff, 70s rock grooves and nice psychedelic space outs.. Wow.. Each track was quite long between 8-12mins perhaps..  They never quite reached the peak of the opening track though..

Set List: Pink Flamingos, The Vampire Strikes Back, Creep Purple, Ego Trip, Nothing Hill.

18:00 Finally, met up with Nils, Sven, Magnus and Ausie at a local bar. They had not seen any music yet and were taking it really slow. I also have been taking it a bit slow but Spidergawd were up next and I needed to see them. I think they will be very good live…

19 Spidergawd rocked the house… with the freight train of a rhythm section with Bent and XX from Motorpsycho, they just kicked ass. The sax player and the guitarist do all the vocals and it is a mix of high energy rock and then some nasty blues but with a lot of attitude and roughness. Amazing sound of the drums and bass just driving through the room like  train! Powerful sound and band. I loved the set…

Set List: ?, ?, ?, Fixin to Die, Crossroads, Empty Rooms, Made from Sin, Is all she Says, Into Tomorrow, Tourniquet, Blauer Jubel, Sanctuary

Russian Circles
I was feeling quite tired so I decided to go sit on the balcony and hear some of Russian Circles and this was really excellent. I had never heard this band before but a cool three piece with a lot of different moods and cool guitar. I get a bit bored with too much of the dreamy post rock stuff that all sounds the same but they made this stuff really cool. I missed some really cool films or visuals.. This would have worked well.

Moaning Cities
Moaning Cities was a suggestion from my Finnish friend Arto, so I got there early so I could be upfront. This is a Belgium band with a female drummer and bass player and two male guitar players, one of which plays the sitar.  They played really well and had cool melodic psych like songs with short focused guitar solo parts but everything was just too pretty and nice somehow. They never really took the music to the next level, not even once.. I liked the three pieces with sitar as well. He can play it quite well, not just a simple twang twang.. drone.. Nice. It was a nice set. The room never was that filled or hot.

Set List: Bread, Panic, New Tim, Please, Easter, Slap New Vel, 2voix, Vandel, ?

21.30 Anthroprohh, a side project from the HEADs folks was really far out. It started off with a very krauty hyptnoic repeated drums with the bass player also playing drums and then the guitar player doing a riff and over and over and then some solo and freaking out on the keyboards… wild stuff. After that the bass player kicked in the band went wild with hard to describe but crazy experimental music. Some great sometimes too out there.. People seem to dig it..

22:15 I had time to catch the last three songs of Wovenhand, as I had heard so much about this dark Americana guy and it was about time I heard it for myself. He usually plays by himself or as a duo from what I understand. This was a 4 piece band with two guitarists. I don’t know how to explain it. The songs were, just songs, with some groove but it was not really heavy or bluesy or…… I don’t know. The room was full but I just did not connect with it at all. Martin from Litmus said he felt the same way..  People really seem to love it though.
23:30 Kandodo with Robert Hampson was very cool and super intense. You could choose this or Eyehategod on the main stage. Helms Alee was also playing at this time. Very repetitive and a lot of spacey E-bow guitar from the Heads guitar player. Robert played more of the heavy stuff.  A lot of the bass and drum lines were very straightforward and repeated over and over. It created a cool wall of sound for the guitar parts to just space over and in and out. It was very intense being right up front. Phew…. I had to go outside and rest after that mindblower.
Set List: Kandy Rock Mountain, Dawn Harmonix, Lord Hyena, Swim>Sun, 3-l ‘e’

I had wanted to catch a bit of Lazer/Wulf before Mugstar, who were also overlapping with Bongripper playing their record Miserable.  Anyway, I have known the Mugstar guys via the internet and finally met them in Portugal last summer and they are lovely cool people. I bought a couple of their records that I did not have. They gave me a shirt! Anyway, Mugstar were probably the highlight of the day with a 65 min set of almost entirely high paced, intense psychedelic rock with dual guitars and a bit of synth here and there and just super intense drumming. Wow… That guy was amazingly powerful and drove the band to the stratosphere!  End of the night for me and straight back to the B&B…
Set list: Sunburnt, Unearth, Serra, La Valléé, Black Fountain, Flemish Weave, Fuel to Burn, Axis, Ourboros, Bethany

Day 2

Was up about 10 and feeling pretty good. Had an excellent breakfast. The weather looks awesome outside. Anders is off to Utrecht for the worlds largest record fair and will be back later. Today I plan to start with these two Enslaved side projects: Einar Selvik Workshop and Ivar Bjørenson’s Bardspec.

13:30 Hanging out with Gustav and Mikael at a local café and chatting about music. Really cool guys. I will check out Einar first off..

15:45 The Einar Selvik Workshop blew my mind. What an amazing human being. He started off for 15mins and spoke passionately about his connection to Nordic history and nature and now music. He was very passionate and into his art and try to convey the path of looking closely at nature and your surrounding and becoming one with the earth again. He played 3 or 4 songs on these cool ancient instruments and that was just amazing.. He reminds me of my friend Jesper from Gas Giant… These guys share the same spirit. I spoke to him afterwards and told him how much his speech and music had touched me. I was really taken. Wow..

Ivar Bjørnson Bardspec was not very interesting for me. Some spacey visuals and a laptop computer and a few modulations on some pre-recorded stuff.. I did not find it that good. I left to catch up with my Danish friends over at Majeure. This was one guy making 1970s Tangerine Dream like soundscapes. It was pretty trippy and cool but again with a lap top computer and mostly pre-recorded stuff and a few modulations here and there. He had a korg synth but I never saw him play it. Maybe it was midi controlled?


I quickly got some ribs and beer and then over to squeeze into see Pekko Käppi and K:H:H:L in the Bat Cave. My friend Arto had suggested this. I loved it. Very raw, emotional simple passionate freak flag blues stories.. Pekko is so into what he is doing and playing this far out lyre like instrument with wah and some effects and the way he sings like he is possessed by a Haitian voodoo priest..  far out…

Pekko Käppi
Brimstone, I had only seen one time many years back when they had only the first record and were called the Brimstone Solar Radiation Band. The room was full of Norwegian folks and I think the word had got out that Kenneth the drummer from Motorpsycho was playing with them. Anyway, most of the set must have been new songs as I think I only recognized one song as I only have the first two albums but did pick up the 3rd and 4th today! It was for sure the same singer but he can’t really sing the way he did before but they most played cool proggy tracks with cool grooves and solos from all members. A very solid show and people were into it.

Set List: Hogweed, Rubberlegged, A Norwegian Requiem, Voodoo, Sjö &Land, Medic, Flapping Lips at Ankle Height
          Straight away I was up on the balcony for Focus. I had seen this classic prog band from Holland about 5-6 years ago as Sweden Rock and thought they were excellent. Today was no exception. High quality mostly instrumental jazz-prog rock that takes you right back to the early 70s. The band plays the same classic songs every show plus a few new songs. All the players are really excellent. Amazing guitar player.. The room was so hot I was going to pass out so I had to go get some water and then I came back. Great concert.

Set List: House of the King, Eruption, Sylvia, Ode to Venus, All Hens on Deck, La Cathedrale de Strasbourg, Harem Scarem, Flute & Keyboard solo, Hocus Pocus

          Wardruna was on the main stage next and I had no idea what to expect and it was awesome. The guy next to me had driven 10 hrs just to see this concert..  This was a 10 piece band with many singers and three drummers and Einar as their spiritual leader for this one hour earth ritual dedicated the spirit of the earth. It reminded me of native American Indian singing rituals and a bit of Gregorian chants and quite simple rhythms and some cool instruments. Amazing stuff… I have to search out their CD. It was a powerful performance.

The Heads
I immediately ran off to catch the rest of the HEADS and that blew me away. Wow.. they were just a sonic steamroller of intense fuzzed out noisy space rock… they did like 3 long totally jammed out pieces and I saw the last 1½.. I was with Sara and Benni and Jack (Toner Low) and we were totally into it. Fucking hot in there. Amazing show, which I had seen the rest. No way they will be able to reach that kind of intensity in the main hall tomorrow…  Saw the first two songs of the Death Hawks but the sound was not very good. The synths were just painfully loud at the expensive the guitar. They had a really cool spacey sound, even more so than before. It was a laid back set, much more so than the last time, where the keyboards were not the main focus of the sound. 

My friends Agusa, who I have played with 2 times were in the Bat Cave now and they had a real struggle at the start with problems with the organ so were a bit late and then Tobias had some problems with the bass tuning so the first song was a bit of a mess but they eventually pulled it together and I think people really liked it a lot. It was full to start and half full at the end but a lot of people headed out to see Skuggsjå on the main stage.

          I did not really like Skuggsjå very much. A mixture of Enslaved and Wardruna people. I saw the first two songs and then I went off to see my Spanish friends Pyramidal. A lot of people and mostly Spanish and Dutch people up in the front. The bands seemed very happy to play. It was a powerful set including songs from both the records. I don’t think they played the new jam track that is coming out on the new split Lp with DOMO this summer. I loved them. Great concert and way to end Day 2.

Day 3

          This looks to be an amazing day of contrasting styles. I rested at the hotel until 14 and then Anders and I headed off to meet Gustav and Mikael for a beer before some Briqueville in the green room. I think they are Belgium but they were a 5 piece band all wearing black robes and hoods and special pointy masks. It was very cool DOOM music with great dynamics, where the drummer seem to really be the one pointing the way. They only played 30mins but they were great..  Next I caught the first 3 songs of Coma Wall, which was two women singing dual vocals, a bass player, drummer, who also played banjo on one song and cello. It was quite dark music, like acoustic versions of Alice in Chains songs or something. Some quite beautiful at times but sung in exactly the same way each of these songs. Next I saw a few mins of Goblin playing along to the classic film, Dawn of the Dead..That was really cool to see the film on the big screen and have the band play along every now and then. The room was full and but you needed to see the whole thing.

Coma Wall

          Death Penalty, the guitar player from Cathedral’s new heavy metal band. They are fronted by a powerful (German?) female singer. She reminded me of Doro from Warlock on the faster songs. This was straight up 80s metal. The guitar parts and riffs were really good. It was nothing new at all but hard rocking metal. I think I saw 4 songs..

          Miava was the first band I have been able to see a bit of in Cul de Sac as it is alwasys so packed it is impossible to get into. This is the worst venue for the crowds. This was an instrumental 4 piece bands playing really groovy dynamic stoner rock. The guitar player on the left looked a lot like the guy from Monkey 3. Musically they had some similarities at times but this band rocked harder. Cool stuff..

          Acid Witch had a line down the street so got some Mexican food with my friends and headed into catch Domo from Spain. The singer and guitar player from Pyramidal is the bass player and singer in this band. I was right up front behind the short Spanish girls (probably the girlfriends of the band!). This was an excellent set of mostly instrumental stoner rock with a lot of lead guitar playing. The tall guitar player on the right was a bit inspired by Colour haze the way he played riffs (not solos), while the other intense guitar player was very charismatic when he soloed and played. The band had a great vibe and energy. Best show I saw so far today. I dug the entire set and bought their vinyl record.
          After Domo I tried to see a bit of Messenger but it was really laid back neo-prog folk but I could not really see them and it sounded a bit boring..  The Heads were totally awesome and Walter did the cool visuals with a library of stuff borrowed from Jacob of Causa Sui, who did some awesome visuals for bands here years ago. Powerful shorter songs with only one really long piece. The sound was not right on the big stage though. The drums and bass were just too loud and the guitars were supposed to be really in your face and sometimes you could hardly hear the lead guitar player. Pity.. it would have made the experience more intense like it was upfront in the church. Phew.. Killer…
Zotlan had a lot of analog keyboards and no laptops but was bass, drums and synths. They sounded like Goblin without the guitars. They had some cool movies. I really liked it but I did still miss the guitars. Undersmile was the same as Coma Wall but electric and I did not like this at all. It was just hard to describe but it drove me away.

          Mugstar played along to a film called Ad Marginem, which has also been released as a DVD. I had never seen or heard it so I was upfront just behind the short Spanish girls so had a great view. It was very loud and intense but a cool trip. The band played one extra long track that was heavy and spaced out.. the bass player more or less plays one note on this jam. They remind me a bit of Circle at times but much more noisy. 

Hung out with my Danish friends for Zombi and this was pretty cool for the 20mins or so that I saw but the synths were mostly just preset sounds and not that much real playing but he had to play the bass as well. Still some pretty cool music. 


I did not seem much before going to the green room to join the Finnish people to hear the melodic progressive rock band Sammal. This was really a great concert. I loved it and is was the most happy music I heard at the entire festival and the singer was amazing. Fantastic voice and although they don’t play really long prog songs, they do them all really well and have a great guitar player. Excellent concert. Wish they had played a bit longer though. Great come down after an intense day…. Amazing day of music. One more to go…

Day 4

          White Hills are the first band on today. I will meet them before and after the show as I will play with them in two days. Feel pretty fresh today for the 4th day. Had lunch with Arto and Anders and then headed over to the 013 to see if the White Hills people were around. We hung out and together for 30mins before their set and I met the new drummer, Rodney, from the LA band Farflung.
16 White Hills played a really new set for them. Gone was the electrified sonic psychedelic wall of guitar sound and in fact two of the new songs had almost no guitar at all. A bit like the NY band Suicide, perhaps. All but one of the first like 6 songs was from the new record. People were happy to hear Condition of Nothing a bit of blazing guitar. The visual movie with all these doors and windows I found a bit creepy and disturbing. Ego said that was good. They were inspired by a Robert Wilson play they saw. Anyway, the next part was a medley of older track including H1P1 without the long guitar part (bummer!) and then the really cool space DBA and that was really great. I liked that best. Eternity and Peace of Mind closed their 55 mins set. I liked it but I have to admit it is really different and not what people expect from White Hills. Some of my fried liked it and a lot did not, they totally missed the great guitar solos and jams and that wall of sound, which is pretty much totally gone now.

Set List: Intro, No Will, Lead the Way, Condition of Nothing, Wanderlust, LSD or USB, We are what you are, H-P1, Don’t be Afraid, Eternity,

 A heavy metal band, Argus was next up but I was not at all in the mood for that. I talked with White Hills for a while and then caught some of Bongripper. These guys are just massive but again I could not handle this wall of doom with our guitar solos for more than 15mins. People were totally into it and that is cool…. Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell played a kick as set and this was perhaps the best I had seen them since the first time they played in the Bat Cave. They really had a great energy, humor and rocked! They did not play any new songs tonight, which was a bummer as they apparently played mostly new songs at their other show at the Cul de Sac two days ago..  I also hung out with them a bit backstage and they were really funny and cool people..
GOBLIN played along to the classic Dario Argento film, Suspiria in the main hall and this you need to be there from the beginning and take in the whole experience. I was not really up for that and I had seen the film many times. The place was filled and the sound was great. My friend Nils said it was awesome.

I caught the first 3-4 songs of Lo-Pan, who have the largest band member of the entire festival. The singer Jeff is a huge guy but super cool. I spoke to him before the show and wished him luck. He had a nice Simpsons shirt on. They were really powerful stoner rock but the songs were nearly all the same and only at the last song (which I came back to and heard) was there any lead guitar really… Very powerful with a melodic and not at all screamed vocal. People were into it for sure.

Set List: Eldorado, Re Gulus, Land of Blind, NPD, New. Colussus, Vox, Eastern, Duke

Abrahma was a huge surprise. I only have their split single with Wo Fat and these guys blew me away. I saw nearly the entire show and they were great. Singer has a cool voice and I dig the variation in stoner, a bit doomy, high intensity jammed out sections.. Very cool band. Saw all my dutch psych fans there again… Awesome and what a surprise.

Set List: Fountains, Offspring, Headless, Heavy, Neptune, Omens 1 and 2. 

Anathema was next on the main stage playing a retrospective show with some of the old original members as well. I only saw the first two songs and I did not like it at all. Some sort of pop music, ugh…  Anyway, my friend Anders said it was a very impressive show and they started with their new material and slowly worked their way back to their oldest material where the old members joined and it got more and more heavy and more metal. He was very impressed.

Terminal Cheesecake was a mindblowing show. I stood and watched this show with Rodney, the new White Hills drummer. This is the singer from the UK psych band, GNOD, their old singer. I thought this was a new band but Dave from White Hills said it was an old band and that he actually helped push them to get back together! Anyway, this was super intense high energy psychedelic rock with crazy vocals, wild guitar, pounding drums, and bass lines.. just totally over the top madness with a Ramones like singer who was out of control.. Madness of the highest order .. Intense and far out.. Phew…
Terminal Cheesecake
I ended the night with the Golden Grass which took me back to the days of Humble Pie, Grand Funk Railroad, Captain Beyond…. Amazing New York band. They played a great set for 50mins and people were totally into it… What a great Roadburn, once again. Still the best festival in the world! 
The Golden Grass

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