Tilburg, Netherlands was the place to be this weekend if you appreciate heavy music AT ALL. It's my 2nd trip to Roadburn, and not likely to be my last. This is the festival that screams community in all the right ways. The festival's head, Walter, crafts a lineup from the roots of doom, rock and riff heavy original rock to the latest avant garde satanic acoustic bands, and it all works! This is the companion post to go with my program airing today, April 19th from Noon-3pm (if you're reading this late, well go check out the archive!!). I hope listening to the music creates the feeling of what goes on at the fest; not likely though, as good as it may sound! There is just a sense of overwhelming appreciation at Roadburn, this year with one day curated by Voivod, and featuring a one man art show by drummer Away who has illustrated many album covers for Voivod and others, who also designed the main festival poster. The banners for Roadburn were waving at me when I walked out of the train station and I was happy to wave back to Away's artwork! Note the little flying saucers on the top corner of the banners! Feast your eyes on 200 photos below...and the rest of the experiences after the jump!
Here's a list of some bands I missed in order to see who I did get to see at Roadburn: Devil, 40 Watt Sun, Tombs, Jucifer, Alkerdeel, Bong, Black Cobra, Electric Orange, The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, Aun, Gnod, Solstafir, Hexvessel, Nachtmystium, End of Level Boss, Celeste, Conan, Valient Thorr, Black Breath, Chelsea Wolfe, White Static Demon/JK Flesh, Om, diSEMBOWELMENT, Michael Gira, Christian MIstress, La Otracina, Hammers of Misfortune, Spiders, Ancestors- that list alone could make a fine festival!
Because Voivod was curating one day of the festival, lucky for everyone there, they got to play twice! Away sold the last of his german language copies of "Worlds Away" a comprehensive look at decades of the Voivodian's imagination put on paper in book form. Favorite bands of mine first day were: Austin's Ancient VVisdom; believe it or not, they feature an x-Integrity member or two; Norway's Virus mesmerized the crowd with lurid baritone vocals and disharmonics. Horisont from Sweden was one of the first bands I saw, and needed to see; they were very 70's inspired and very UP- just the thing to keep my jet lag at bay. Orchid, Voivod, Killing Joke, Year of the Goat and Red Fang (who had their own ale for the fest) rounded out the day, and poof! It was over.
Friday started off early with a Voivod Q &A session; informal and fun. Later that night they would perform all of Dimension Hatross from start to finish, which was quite a highlight. Years ago, Voivod contributed to a Die Kreuzen tribute release: Lean Into It, and tonight, Dan Kubinski, vocalist for Die Kreuzen was going to perform the Milwaukee based group's "Man In The Trees" as a duet with Snake and with Voivod backing. Die Kreuzen drummer Erik Tunison was also in attendance, and I can't believe that I could ever have been happier - now THAT's what I call a highlight! THEN Voivod played Jack Luminous off of The Outer Limits record; a song they've never performed live. Shucks, and I didn't even get to tell you about Yob, Final, Kong, Farflung or Dopethrone! That grouping was my favorite for the day, and then the finale after Voivod was DOOM; crushing crust punks from the UK. The venue was sweaty, packed and frenzied and Doom was flat out serious. I felt like I'd been punched in the head after their show. Definitely time to get some rest!
I didn't even know how I was going to do it on Saturday; a total of 25 bands were listed on the Roadburn lineup for the day, and I wanted to see 17 of them. Concessions had to be made; I saw most of the bands from furthest away and was satisfied the way it went. Oranssi Pazuzu from Finland gave a magnificently wicked performance that I only caught by watching just a small section of doom masters The Obsessed's set. Coolest mix moment; listening to Necro Deathmort and Sleep at the same time for about 10 minutes by sitting at the intersection of the two performance rooms. There were moments when it sounded amazing, and moments when I thought my head would explode from, um, unamazingness. It had to be done! Josh Graham was handling Sleep's visuals; not darker Neurosis style scenes, but sublime and fun for sure. With Jason Roeder helming the skins for Sleep, the Neurosis energy was felt. More than that was felt, as the main performance room was over packed - you couldn't help but feel something! I popped out to see Necros Christos flatten the Green Room with their brutal yet atypical brand of death metal and came back for a little more slumber, San Jose style. Bongripper was the perfect band to finish off Saturday with; their performance was at Het Patronaat; a church annex building new to the Roadburn experience. It was thundering with the chunkiest riffs imaginable and the crowd needed the final band of the evening to rock enough so everyone could make it out of there, and brutal enough not to be forgotten anytime soon. There was something about that building regardless that it is hand in hand with a church, that reminded me of a giant Amityville horror house. Several times through the weekend I imagined it creaking and closing it's own doors, trapping people inside. I may have felt like I suffered a concussion during Jesu's set on Saturday there, but it clearly had nothing to do with the structure at all.
The Afterburner on Sunday is technically not 100% Roadburn per se- many will tell you it's just added on as more of a cooldown, as artists performing. But how the hell are you supposed to cool down and chill out with Internal Void, Yob (yes, they played twice), Atlantis, Bongripper, Urfaust, Coroner and Black Cobra playing? A day of inner turmoil is all I can say "I really want to sit down and chill out...MUST see next band..." I watched complete sets from Dragged Into Sunlight and Fleshpress that were both punishing in their own way. What sacrifices we make for music, I'll chill out when I get home!
I was also treated to a viewing of Puzzle Face, a Slasher Musical starring Voivod's vocalist as Dr. Von Sprechenzedeutsch, who reminded me of Christopher Lloyd's character in Back To The Future, and featuring a couple of Voivod songs. Also being shown in the Roadburn Cinema was an extended trailer for Slow Southern Steel, about the metal scene spawned by our bretheren in Dixie. Generally, the beauty of Roadburn is it's variety, and yet somehow everything is a cohesive unit. It's thoughtfully put together by those that are in charge of the festival and it shows. The feeling is mellow, most people are psyched, and it's a smaller festival, and gives you a feeling that you're in a safe little colony. The announcement has already been made that next year Godflesh will be performing all of PURE from start to finish and Jus Osborne of Electric Wizard will curate one day's performances. I can only hope he can get Witchfinder General to agree to play!