Monday, May 4, 2015

Heavy Days in Doomtown IV- The Final Edition 2015

Heavy days in Doomtown (HDDT) has competed the cycle of four amazing events dedicated to do it yourself (DIY) production bringing together amazing bands and artists from all around the world. It has been a huge success but also an amazing amount of work for the volunteer staff that pulls this together for 4 years in a row. There are more artists than ever invited this year with nearly as much space in the booklet for the artists as the bands. The list of the artists includes: Cuero De Cuerno (Spain), Manuel Tinnemans (Germany), The 13th Sign (Germany- they make the cool posters and logos for the festival), David S. Herrerias (Sweden/Mexico), Johanna Engdahl (Sweden), Marald van Haasteren (Holland), Stiv (Germany), Kati Knox (US), Mattias Frisk (Sweden), Chris Alliston (UK), Jane Lives (Ireland). Not all were displayed on the first night.

I arrived at Loppen in Christiania about 20 and there was a lot of people outside drinking and smoking and mostly dressed in black (I wore purple..).. After saying hello to Rune and some others I know I went inside to see the art that was being displayed. There were about 40 people inside and I ran into the Gas Giant guys, a band that I played with from 2001-2004. They have reunited with two of the original members and have started to play again.

Martin Mordor played amazing selections of 70s rock to start and then later switched to metal. Cool to see him and hang out. I also spoke a lot with Elizabeth, the singer from the SF band, Castle. She is really cool and a very interesting person. Making cool drawings in her book…. Nice people..

21:30 Gas Giant hit the stage and this was their real gig in Denmark with the new line up and also their first at Loppen since 2001… They opened for Nebula and Unida back in 1999 here. Anyway, the band opened with a brand new and very heavy track called Ancient Trails. The people really liked it and it slowly got more and more crowded. The sound man was not that good. Guitar was too low and the vocal way to dry…He did add some effect to the voice eventually which was good but never fixed the guitar issue.  Anyway, they played mostly tracks from their Mana record and their single Mama Cool. The sound is a bit different now than 15 years ago as they have stripped away the big muff for a more focused and less massive sound and there is no jamming anymore. Jesper is still a great front man and these great songs still sound cool today.. They put in Back on the Headless Track after Moonshake which was not on the set list.. They ended their 40min set with the classic song, Too Stoned. I will release their debut record from 2000 on Space Rock productions on vinyl next month… A great return and you can hear the show below... 

Set List: Ancient Trails, There’s One, Moonshake, Back on the Headless track, Mama Cool, Never Leave this Way, Too Stoned.

Jesper- Gas Giant
22:45 It took a little extra time to switch the stage around for the Swedish band, The New Keepers of the Water Towers.  I had never heard them but the description sounded pretty cool. They were quite different from Gas Giant and played only 2½ tracks in their 40min set and the band said it was all new material from the next record called The Cosmic Child? It was all pretty spacey music with synthesizer, two guitars, bass, drums and Taurus pedals. A cool sound the band had and both guitar players did interesting parts when they were not playing the more hypnotic spacey stuff. I wish they would have soloed more though as sometimes I was waiting for more to happen. I filmed a short doomy part, maybe 7mins long.  Prog rock, doom, post rock???

24:00 Castle hit the stage and just rocked like a mother fucker and hit us like a freight train! This was the band’s first gig on their 4th European tour.  They are a three piece metal band fronted by a female singer who also plays a mean bass. The guitar player on the first track really reminded me of Piggy of Voi Vod.. This guy is also a riff master…. Not a lot of straight up guitar solos but tons of changing riffs and small solo parts all the time. Intense…   I could see they had 3 CDs and a couple of vinyls and 7” records, which is cool.. I liked the slower numbers the best at the end of the set when they played Black Lands and Evil Ways. They got an encore as well. People dug it but they had the fewest people but still 200 or so to play for.

Set List: Descent, Temple, Corpse, Be my Ghost, Killing Pace, Powersigns, Total Betrayal, Black lands, Dying, Evil Ways, ??

Castle (SF USA)
The metro was not running so I had to wait for a damn metro bus to get home but it was a great first night..

Day 2

14:30 I left the house for the metro and Ungdomshuset so I could check out the artwork in the library adgacent to the venue and hope to catch Katie Knox doing some solo art music performance on the main stage at 16. Weather is clouding up with some very dark clouds and it looking quite ominous.. They said there could be some heavy rain and hail today..

15:15 I arrived with the bus and they have a new entrance this year which is much easier. A German guy who I met getting out of the bus and I went straight up to the art gallery on the 3rd floor of the library. A lot of super cool art was on display and most of the artists were actually there at this time. I took some pictures. Kati Knox, had a video instillation and was to perform an acoustic set at 16, so I just hung out and spoke to some beautiful long blonde haired girl from California, who was living in Wyoming. Rad chick, man..

Kati started a little late and opened with a track where she stomped her foot to make a rhythm and then played some finger picking guitar and sang. I filmed this track but it was clear she was just getting in the mood and she would sing much better later. She did a couple of cover songs, Sweet Dreams by Roky Erikson and Play with Fire by the Rolling Stones, the rest were originals from what I understand. I liked the one called tiny Flowers. I think people liked it. They were mostly sitting on the floor..

Set List: Poem- Reveal the Truth, I am the Chaos, Conception, Goodbye Sweet Dreams, Meditation, Men who Seek, tiny Flowers, Play with Fire, This is a Story.

At 17 Black Cobra hit the main stage and this was pretty packed. There was for sure more people than ever this year. Both rooms were always packed so you needed to plan a head. This US duo are damn heavy riffing, pounding drums and screaming angry vocals. No guitar solo but massive intense guitar riffs and power tracks. I was pretty blown away after 5 songs and went outside. They did a few slower numbers but it was mostly just hard and fast all the time. People loved it. It was now cold outside. Mostly sunny though and it had only rained a little earlier in the day.
Black Cobra

Set List: Five days, Chronosphere, Avalanche, Red Tide, messenger, Corrosion, Bestial, Storm Shade, Abyss, Obliteration, Swords

I managed to quickly dash out and get some food at a close by new Pakistani place and that was great. A bit of naan bread and a hot lamb curry and a drink for 80kr…

18 A Danish band WEAK were up in the Dødsmaskinen room. This was a three piece that also was super loud and intense. The room was packed and they had a guitar player that was a bit mad and made some wild tortured guitar at times and the music had this sludge meets a real punky edge… Phew… very intense…

19 Acid Witch from Detroit were in the big room. This place was totally packed. They had some really awesome looking album covers and cool shirts at their merch stand. I found a good place close to the front for the first 6 songs or so and then I moved further to the back. This was a really cool band mixing a doomy sound with a bit of Italian horror music. The singer was very theatrical and totally into it and also played a small KORG synth sometimes. The bass player introduced a lot of the songs and made funny introductions. The lead guitar player came across as a fan of Victor Griffin but played more shredder style guitar solos.. Fucking excellent set…

20 Evil Spirit from Germany were next up in the small room. This place was always insanely packed. If you don’t get there early, forget it as it is impossible to get past the bar part. You can hear the music great from just outside the door but can see nothing. These guys were also very intense trio with a drummer that sang the vocals. They started off mostly pretty doomy but it slowly became more and more heavy metal but no guitar solos, just riffing like mad. They had a special intensity with the five string bass, not sure what it was.. Powerful band.

21 Horisont had the main hall totally packed and I think people were ready for something really different and they loved it. They had a great reception from the audience and played an excellent concert for nearly one hour. They played two brand new songs, one I think was called Bad News, which I filmed. They play all the same old songs nearly every time I seem them with only one song sung in Swedish and others like Nightrider that people recognize. Tom Sutton is now a permanent member of the band and does great to drive the other guitar to solo like a maniac. He does most of the solos and Tom most of the rhythm guitar but they do a lot of harmonies on the newer stuff and both get solos as well. Fantastic show and just want I wanted!

Set List: Break the Limit, Diamonds in Orbit, Bad News, Crusaders of Death, Time Warrior, The Unseen, Nightstalker, Writing on the Wall, She Cried Wolf, Visa Vägen, Just Ain't Right, Nightrider Ice of the Fog

Mantar, another German band was in the small room and it was so insanely packed I could not even get my head into the room so I could not even get a picture.. Sorry… they sounded like a more classic doomy band..

23 Acid King were up.. I had been looking around for them but had not seen them. Seems they just came in from Spain or something. Anyway, the place was totally packed and the room smelled of weed as people wanted to be stoned for this band that plays very stoned music that often take you on the same trip for every song. They opened with something new I think that had some pre-recorded stuff and then Lori had them turn it off. Anyway, they sounded awesome but exactly the same as when I saw them 8 years ago… Just pure simple stoned guitar riffs and heavy steady drums and bass and then her occasional spaced out vocals. Not sure what new songs they played as I could not find a set list. They played just about an hour. I dug it.. Missed my friend Nils for this set though..
 Set List: Intro, Red River, Silent Pictures, Infinite Skies, Laser Headlights, 2 Wheel Nation
Sunshine and Sorrow, Electric Machine, Coming Down from Outer Space, Outro, War of the Mind

24 Night Viper, another band that Tom Sutton plays with were up in the small room and I managed to sneak in and get a spot up in the front right just in time for the first song and they were really intense. They are a five piece heavy metal band that has elements of Metallica (Kill em All era), Slayer (Show no Mercy) and Iron Maiden… Wow.. the short powerful Asian female singer can really belt it out as well as they just had the place headbanging and crowd surfing. Tom is the true lead guitar player in this band and was ripping and banging and having a great time. They killed it.

Set List: Warrrior Woman, Faces in the …, The Hammer, Curse of a…, Night Viper, Run for Cover, Enslaved, Dagger, Wolverine.

01 By this time, there were lot of drunk and wasted people lying about as Dopethrone hit the mainstage to the smell of marijuana. This was very intense, Electric Wizard inspired dope doom with an intense vocal. Some great riffs and powerful stoned stuff from this three piece. The singer said their 2nd song was about your friend stealing and smoking up all your stash. Asshole… the crowd had thinned a little but still a lot of people for an intense set. Band was smoking onstage and people were crowdsurfing. Far out concert and very intense.. I was pretty blasted and headed home. A great first day.. Wow…

Day 3

16:30  I was running a little behind today and I missed the Danish band Reefer who played a short 35mins set. I walked from the bus to the club with the guys from Serpent Throne. Super cool people..

17 Guevnna are from Japan. They opened the main stage and played a intense set of doomy Iron monkey-Bongzilla riff rock. The drummer really hit the drums super hard and broke two sticks in their set. The singer used one of these old 50s microphones so had a very special sound. I thought the guitar player had a monster sound. They were pretty intense but sometimes I would have liked a bit more groove and a guitar solo here and there please. Till People seem to dig it but the room was not too packed at this early time and the weather outside was glorious.. Sunny..but cold if you were in the shade.

Set List: Conspiracy, Confession, Lengthy Therapy, This mortal Grave, Deathbed

18 Saturnine is an all female doom-death band from Italy. This was really intense and a bit scary. They had a lot of candles on the stage a huge amount of incense was burning that it nearly burned your throat. These were intense, heavily tattooed lady with a lot of make up and far out hairdo (some of them). They had the look for sure and when they started to play it was pretty cool. The small female vocalist who was crouching down low at the front of the stage to start you could hardly see but when she put her mouth the microphone it was like someone from the depths of hell had just entered the room. What a fucking voice!!!!! Holy shit! I have never heard a female voice like that. The music was pretty cool melodic doom most of the time and the guitar player on the left could rip some good solos. I had to get out of their though as I was choking on the smoke from the cigs and incense..
Set List: Escape, Moloch, Empire, Abyd, Bathory. Fangs, Bones, Orgy

19 Here there was two choices, Mirror of Deception from Germany in the main hall or a psychedelic folk band called Ill Wicker in the library where the gallery was. I went for Mirror but after 15mins I left. I really was quite disappointed. The singer who also played rhythm guitar played more or less the same guitar riff on every song and he other guitar played quite few solos so I was already getting bored. 

Set List: Vanishing, The Riven Tree, Ghost, Mirthless, Magnets, The Ship of Fools, Entgleiten, Sojourner, Student

I ran to the library and was blow away but Ill Wicker. This was a young band that sounded a lot like Comus with male and female vocals, fiddle, stand up bass, hand drums, guitar, another like 8 string guitar like instrument and some keyboards some times. The songs were strange, the vocals different but cool and just amazing stuff. My friend Stojs, did the amazing oil bubble and other proijections. Very cool.. I loved this and stayed until nearly the end but left during what must have been the last song as I really wanted to see Epitaph and was a afraid I would not get in the small hall.

20 Epitaph, are an Italian band with some members of the now legendary 80’s doom rock band called Black Hole. They released some really cool demo tapes in the 80s that I received when I was putting out my metal madness magazine. They had a cool stage set up with lots of candles, a skull on a pedestal at the front of the stage, a huge caldron in front of the kick drum and a hooded lady who would come and bring different props out. The singer was very funny and theatrical and gave an amazing performance for the crowd who really liked it. The music was a bit dated sometimes but in this context was it just cool. During the Black Hole Medley (I think), the singer from Carpilla Adiente, joined on additional guitar. It was a great show and I saw the whole thing. Fun..

Set List: Beyond the Mirror, Ancient Rite, Sacred and Prophane, The Battle of Inside, Black Hole Medley, Daughters of Lot, Necronomicon, Confuse the Light

21 Serpent Throne, is a US band from Philly and this was the first show ever in Europe. The band has released 4 records, I think and they were so happy to be here. I had met them on the bus coming to the venue today. Anyway, they had a few sound issues at first as the guitar player on the right was just way too loud and blasting everyone so you could nothing but him and the sound guy was really struggling.. I told the sound guy to tell him to turn down otherwise the show could have been destroyed.. He did and it sounded so much better.  They were totally awesome. Lots of harmony guitars, heavy riffing and on Backstabbath, a huge 73 Scorpions influence. I thought it was really funny the way he introduced the song and said this one was about my neighbors fighting with swords in the street.. This one is about if there was a car crash and one car was listening to Still in love with you by Led Zeppelin and the other car was listening to Pagan Alter.. that is what this sound would sound like and it did!!!

Set List: Ride Satan Ride, Wheels of Satan, Rock Formation, Good Night Humanity, Backstabbath, Battle of old Crow, Introduction to Satan, White summer Black Winter, Satan will guide us, LSD

22 I had seen a lot of music the last hours and needed a bit of a rest so I did not see any of Head of the Demon from Sweden. I just rested outside and talked with mostly Swedish folks and a cool guy from Austria.

23 It was time to get our heads totally blasted with fucking CONAN! This band plays so fucking loud and intense it just steamrolls your body and mid with the intensity. Tonight the band played the most uptempo show I had ever heard. Last time they were quite slow and pummelling but the speed of the bulldozer had been turned up quite a lot. Dave Perry, a local boy for the last few years was back in the line-up for this show. The drummer is also a monster in the band and just kicking ass with such intensity. It was just as loud as last time up in the front where I was. Damn, knocked me out nearly… this is a band I can’t listen to at home but the live experience is something to behold…   Heavy fucking shit….
CONAN with guest vocalist

24 I was totally blasted by Conan and hearing Profetus from Finland play ultra slow Funeral Doom was perfect.  Keyboard, three guitars and drums, slow, heavy, melodic at time. I felt like people were in a trance in the room, with eyes closed and just a slow slight sway in the head and body for not to fall asleep as you drift off to lay down in your coffin and bid this world fairwell…..

0100 Bongzilla was running a bit behind but the mood was crazy and people were getting really drunk and were totally stoned now. The place was really filled up with a lot stoned looking and smelling people. Mike, the lead singer and guitar player for Bongzilla was smoking his pipe all the time on the stage as they were getting ready and passing it to the bass player who also sings and plays bass in Weedeater! Not many bands were smoking on the stage but these guys and Dopethrone did.. Anyway, the started the real set about 0115 and played like one hour of very heavy stuff. The drummer was really leading the material and kicked ass, while the guitar players seem to just play small variations of the same super stoned heavy doomy guitar riff as mike screamed out strange stuff about who knows what. What a crazy fucking band but people loved it and were going totally mad in the front so I had to leave from my great position in the middle about 15 feet away. Sounds was totally massive… I was pretty blown away as were my ears after that and Conan…
Mike- Bongzilla

Wow… well, that was the end of my Heavy Days in Doomtown IV.. Sadly, for health and work reasons I missed the last day but I heard it was great and featured such band as Bell Witch, The order of Israfel, Abysmal Grief, Hooded Menace, King Dude, Capilla Ardiente, Hoopsnake, Night Profound and The Hyle.  I had attended all four and played at three and this was for sure a one of a kind festival with some of the most brutal and intense music that is being made on this planet and highlighting the talents of so many amazing artists that support the scene with killer artwork... Highly successful and Daniel (and his girlfriend Mikhaila, who also works hard) should be proud as this festival will live on in name and hopefully inspire others to try to do the same or even better! We will miss this festival. 

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