Roadburn 2019, Day 2
|Event:||Roadburn Festival 2019|
|Written by:||X-Ray Rod, RaduP, Schimodie, Apothecary|
Roadburn 2019, Day 4 by X-Ray Rod (38)
Roadburn 2019, Day 3 by X-Ray Rod (52)
Roadburn 2019, Day 2 by X-Ray Rod (40)
Roadburn 2019, Day 1 by X-Ray Rod (71)
ROADBURN DAY 2: FRIDAY, APRIL 12th
Lil Radu: After each of us decided that we hadn't had enough KFC the previous day, I went to the "Doing It Yourself" panel, where I was to meet Bryan Funck of Thou for our planned interview. There I also met a few other members of Thou, Adam of Gilead Media, Lingua Ignota, and Emma Ruth Rundle. I had a bit of chitchat with each of them and I had Lingua proofread my questions to make sure that they're certified all right. Given how she laughed after reading the first one, I'd say I did all right. Joining the panel were Meredith Graves (Kickstarter), Cathy Pellow (Sargent House), Justine Jones (Holy Roar, Employed To Serve), and Shannon Ward (Perfect World PR). The panel itself was very entertaining and informative, both for people who were thinking of joining the "behind-the-scenes" part of the underground, as well as for bands who want to get attention from people and labels. I did manage to ask a question about the importance of reviews from blogs such as ours and got some encouraging answers. After the interview, Bryan, Adam, and I searched for a quiet spot to record the interview, but obviously as soon as we started recording people started making noise around us, and I also came to terms with the fact that I would miss Throane.
Rod: Gold came in like a last-minute revelation. I had listened to just a couple of tracks prior to the festival and immediately had to stop. I felt the best course of action was just to show up and let the band guide me through their songs in a live setting. With the odd description of "post-everything" I was curious as to how consistent the set was going to be. And daaaaaamn, these guys are brilliant songwriters. It was a tight set in which the audience went through the motions like a roller coaster. The band changed tone and pace continuously but kept the intrigue alive, from very catchy rocking tunes to pure ecstasy and blissful harshness. Milena's mysterious performance was most definitely the show's raison d'être for me. She was so magical and entrancing, giving off a slight air of innocence amidst the more aggressive moments, yet at times sounding incredibly intimidating. One of the tightest sets of the festival so far, one of those that makes you run like mad to the merch table and just throw your money in the blink of an eye.
Big Radu: I had no idea what Gold would be like, but thanks to Rod I got to know that one of the guitarists had been part of The Devil's Blood and that they could be catalogued as "post-everything," which convinced me to stay in the first queue of the day for Het Patronaat in order to attend their concert. Being among the first in the line, I managed to grab a seat on the balcony to enjoy quite an interesting show - true to Rod's words, the instruments played to a post-rock tune, yet less on the usual, meditative side; the band favoured a provocative, errant sound that enabled them to naturally morph it into post-metal and post-black when the track demanded it. Needless to say, I quite liked the negative, but nothing prepared me for Milena, the singer, with her mannerisms, voice, and apparent innocence in stark contrast with the melancholy, sarcasm, and overall darkness of the lyrics she sang. Thus you can probably imagine that I took quite a bit of pleasure in attending this show and that I'm undoubtedly going to follow them from this point on.
After they finished, I rushed to the Koepelhal to check on their merch, which I can happily report is full of dark humour, so I couldn't abstain myself from grabbing a pair of t-shirts and their latest album (the wait times to buy something, however, were horrendous, i.e. around half an hour per stall at times), before going to back to the main stage for Triptykon.
TRIPTYKON & METROPOLE ORKEST
Rod: This was one of the sets I was most looking forward to for the entire festival. It was near impossible to really foretell what kind of show it was going to be; the expectations where nevertheless high and it's not hard to understand why: Mr. Warrior was going to take his project Triptykon and rediscover some songs and textures previously known under the legendary Celtic Frost banner, particularly the unfinished Requiem series that started all the way back with Into The Pandemonium's "Rex Irae". They band would be tackling this concept with the help of the famous Metropole Orkest! An event never to occur again, that's for sure. Honestly, it's such a shame it was such a wasted opportunity! I camped for over half an hour: second row on the right side and I saw in awe all the arrangements and when it finally started… I heard the drums. And that's basically it, folks. The drummer's cymbals were so damn loud that he managed to drown out all the beautifully dark and elegant arrangements of the skilled orchestra. I felt the timpani and the enormous xylophone worked in general way better than the drums that simply ruined the show for me. Trying to give an honest chance to this project, I decided to move to the back and fortunately I was capable of listening to the composition better. Doomy, slow, heavy, and just so, so sloppy and boring. I felt the band had no idea how to properly connect with the orchestra. There was zero chemistry, just two groups performing on top of each other. Warrior's vocals were lazy and the guitar leads couldn't be any more forced.
You know you are disappointed when your favorite moment was the rendition of "Winter" from Monotheist, the third and last part of the Requiem in which the band does not play. Just the orchestra. I think that says everything.
Big Radu: I have to admit, I'm a sucker for Celtic Frost's Monotheist, whose sound was partially integrated into the more doomy Triptykon by Mister Warrior, so I, obviously, hoped to have my poor soul crushed and dispersed into the void by Triptykon's absolute nihilism. However, especially after Day 1's Molasses, I tried to temper my expectations because I knew that this wouldn't be a regular show due to their collaboration with the Metropole Orkest. Now, to be fair, my soul had indeed been crushed, except not in the way I was imagining - it had crumbled, dismayed by their arrangements. I'll give them that they wanted to try something different, but I think that their fantastically weird form of extreme doom doesn't translate well at all to classical music - the menacing and, at the same time, claustrophobic atmosphere that this band can evoke through their music was nowhere to be found as it couldn't be replicated by the fragile sounds emitted by violins and cellos, not to mention that the mania-inducing repetitiveness of extreme doom lost its purpose in such a context.
As I couldn't endure this musical torture till the end, I left halfway through to give myself time to forget that this ever happened, to browse through some more merch and to manage to get in time to the Hall of Fame where A.A. Williams would perform her show.
Lil Radu: At this point I had a bit of time before Anna Von Hausswolff started, so I decided to get to the Koepelhal for some merch and in the meantime I got to check out a bit of post-punk revivalists Soft Kill, who were performing two albums in their entirety, Savior and Heresy. Having listened to both of the albums, I can say that I wasn't blown away by those and found them pretty monotonous, which is a sentiment that sadly leaked into their live performance as well. I did enjoy it, but I fear that may be due to how much I like post-punk and how few post-punk bands I've actually seen live compared to other genres.
Big Radu: As I've mentioned before, I'm a sucker for these gothic, folky, posty, dreamy, etc. gals that this year's Roadburn seems to have been centered around, so I couldn't really miss AA's concert. She was a late discovery compared to Chelsea Wolfe, Zola Jesus, Emma Ruth Rundle, Marissa Nadler, & others, as I first listened to her discography after I decided to check out the artists from this year's line-up a month prior to the fest, but damn if she wasn't one of the few whom I still remembered; thus I was hopeful that her delivery would be at least decent. Fortunately, it was even better than that since she was joined by a band (guitar, bass, & drums) that gave her nostalgic melodies quite a different touch (plus a tad more oomph) as they opted for a post-rock sound bordering post-metal with increasing intensity towards noisy breakdowns during the culminating points on some of the songs. Don't fret, though, as she did interweave these louder, more bombastic sounds with some of the more sensible tracks in an almost unaltered form, making this a full experience and letting me leave with a smile on my face.
ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF
Lil Radu: This was one of the artists I regretted most having missed at a festival in Romania where I could only go for one day, so I was reasonably excited to finally see her and on a much grander stage. I went with Che, who, for some reason, wasn't as blown away like I was, so I was able to enjoy the rest of her performance alone. Other than the obvious Heilung, I think it was Anna Von Hausswolff who had the best stage lights, which made the whole set have a very transcendent feeling despite all of the musicians sitting still near their instruments. And while the entire set was great and had such a strong atmosphere, I can't act like I wasn't spending the whole set waiting for "The Mysterious Vanishing Of Electra". There's always a different feeling between finally seeing a band that you love live and finally seeing a song that you love played live by the band. It was amazing.
Rod: Anna has escaped from my attention for far too long. I've been aware of her existence for almost two years, yet somehow I never listened to her music. With only a vague idea of what was going to happen, I went to the main stage after an hour of hanging around in the merch stands. The set was a much-needed palate-cleansing after the huge disappointment that was Triptykon's experiment. I must have arrived roughly 10 minutes late, but Anna managed to grab me by the throat instantly with her enchanting organ, unreal vocals, and hypnotic compositions, with an incredibly tight live band to boot. At first I felt at ease with the soothing ambient/drone/folkish mood until "Ugly And Vengeful" started playing and I slowly but steadily fell into a trance and began shaking and nearly dancing with the seemingly never-ending beat of the later part of the song. The roar of the audience by the end of this monstrous track was loud and proud: we had witnessed one of the key performances of the festival… by an artist who will get even bigger in the future and most deservedly so!
DEAFKIDS & PETBRICK
Big Radu: I got to Het Patronaat, where I decided to spend my time for the rest of the day halfway through Deafkids & Petbrick's show. Their music was not necessarily my cup of tea, but I can't say I disliked it either; the people around me, however, seemed to have a great time and some were even dancing to the quite energetic, punky music. As the show ended I had again secured myself a seat on the balcony with a great view to the stage and prepared myself for what was to come.
[b]Lil Radu: I was once again back to having a lot of free time before a set that I really wanted to see, and with that set being Thou's collaboration with Emma Ruth Rundle, I felt a bit guilty that I was to see all of her sets and none by her partner, who played with both Young Widows and Jaye Jayle. So I went to see Young Widows performing their 2008 album Young Widows in its entirety. Their performance was not surprising for a post-hardcore band: very energetic and vitriolic. But I felt very weird, like I wasn't enjoying it as much as I should have been and feeling guilty about that. Rather, I felt like never in my life have I witnessed so much great music in such a short span of time and I felt like I had an overdose of that. So I felt guilty because there was something wrong with me, not with the performance itself.
Big Radu: I had listened to Fauna's music on record, but since I couldn't for the life of me remember how they sounded apart from the fact that it was some solid atmospheric black metal and as there was nothing else of interest running in parallel, I had the perfect excuse to reminisce to their soundscapes.
True to their name, the guys had clad themselves in furs just like our stone-age ancestors and arrived on the scene while arranging a small altar for a ritual dedicated to Mother Nature herself. The show itself alternated between the reenactment of ancient rites on a background of eerie acoustic melodies and full-on aggressive black metal sections echoing nature's moody weather to great effect. In retrospect, I don't remember hearing the usual background noise of people chatting during the quiet parts, which speaks volumes about how much we all were drawn into their artistic act (at one point they literally drew somebody from the audience onto the stage and made him part of a rite). All in all, I enjoyed their performance quite a lot and my only gripe is that they could not maintain the suspension of disbelief for long due to the small stage of Het Patronaat that forced them to switch between acting on the quiet moments and singing on the violent ones (props to them for having smooth transitions though).
Rod: The trance achieved by Anna Von Hausswolff was to be replicated again at all costs and there was simply no other option for me than the gorgeous and savage sound of Fauna. Contemporaries of the mighty Wolves In The Throne Room, it should be considered a crime just how overlooked this band is. The Cascadian black metal style of these Americans is dripping with atmosphere and raw elegance. The serious tone of the band was set immediately once they arrived on set and performed primitive dance rituals while hauntingly beautiful acoustic music played in the background. It was honest and true. I couldn't look away as the music suddenly turned violent and harsh black metal poured from the speakers. By the look of the people close to me, it was clear that many of us did not expect such a loud and intense performance. Calm and ceremonious acoustic interludes kept us on edge as we watched the band leave their instruments every now and then and perform short yet intriguing rituals, even going as far as to make the audience participate by bringing one person up on stage for a "cleansing" with leaves, feathers, and water… and marking everyone on the front rows with a blood-like liquid (no, it wasn't blood) on their foreheads. Fauna's brand of black metal and beautiful aesthetics made me wish they could play on a bigger stage and with guest musicians who could perform the acoustic interludes instead of using a backing track, which kind of takes away some of the magic they obviously possess!
THOU & EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
Lil Radu: For me this was one of the most surprising announcements, because while I knew Thou would have to do four sets that would have to be quite different, and that Emma is no stranger to heavy music, I never really put two and two together and thought that this was actually in the realm of possibility. And the two worked surprisingly well together, with each building upon each other's strengths. For some reason, sound-wise, this sounded better than Emma's previous performance, and the sludge sound didn't feel like it was taking away from the emotional impact. Bryan's voice felt instead more like another instrument that worked to emphasize Emma's voice, and having just interviewed him, his performance and his antipathetic attitude towards the crowd became a lot more entertaining. And while I knew every song for Emma's previous performance, this one made me that much more anxious to finally hear the final product of this collaboration.
Rod: Early on Friday, just as we were heading for our second day, Roadburn announced that a surprise show was going to be a second set by Mono at the smaller but adequate stage Het Patronaat. Not only that, but it was rumored that these masters of post-rock would focus on some of their dark sounds. This was clearly a no-brainer for me. So right after Fauna finished their set, I camped in the first row for nearly an hour. The smaller stage that was way closer to the audience brought an intimacy that I can't compare to their previous set… It was just different, and fucking brilliant! While half of the set focused on their latest album, Nowhere Now Here, the other half explored some of their back catalogue. The constant throughout this entire set was the sound in general. Mono decided to take no prisoners this time and went for some of the noisiest and rawest waves of crushing riffs and melodies they could create. I still can't believe how violent and emotional it was. Black metal bands would kill to have such an intense and imposing wall of sound. Guitarist Taka, who abused his guitar and pedals ad infinitum, was without any doubt the shining star of the whole day for me. At the end of the set, my body was swimming in feedback, wishing for more!
Big Radu: I had missed Mono's concert from Day 1, so after hearing that they were going to be the ones playing the secret show in Het Patronaat during Day 2, I felt relieved that I wouldn't miss them again and, for the love of anything that one holds closest to their hearts in this universe, am I glad I stayed because this, my friends, was the best show of the fest (well, it's actually equaled by another one that I won't spoil for now, but let's not stress about these details). You heard me speak about atmosphere and intensity a lot throughout these review snippets and you might also know that Mono are masters of these aspects of music so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that they delivered this time as well, only that you need to multiply that by a hundredfold for me - don't ask me why, I don't have the words to verbalize the state their music pushed me into, yet what I can tell you is that something in me clicked around the 5-to-7-minute mark and that after what felt like a moment later it was done with me not wanting for it to go away (even if it did, just like all good things from this life of ours do).
AT THE GATES
Lil Radu: I had no intention of seeing this set. I had seen At The Gates before and I would rather have seen Drab Majesty instead. But I realized that, since my "see every band by switching between venues" hopes were squashed, there was some rearranging to do, mainly because I wanted to see both Messa and Black Bombaim & Peter Brötzmann and Drab Majesty's venue was too far away. Anyway, I knew At The Gates promised quite a special set, so there were some expectations that things would be different. The fact that they started with a cover of King Crimson's "Red" was surprising to say the least, but they continued with some familiar songs before I decided to leave for the Green Room. But having checked the set list later there were some actual special performances and surprisingly just one song from With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness, considering that Tomas Lindberg's curated bands had the label "The Burning Darkness".
Rod: It seems that my expectations for this set were highly influenced by the name of the set and the band's main collaboration with Roadburn: "The Burning Darkness". It was promised to be a special set and indeed it was. It just wasn't my type of special, I guess. I'm one of those metalheads who believe At The Gates's best material is confined within their first two albums. So naturally I focused too much on the name of the event and expected older songs. Unfortunately, only three songs were from those two brilliant albums and half were just from their two latest albums. I highly appreciated the presence of guest artists like Anna Von Hausswolff, The Jo Quail quartet, and Matt Pike, with the latter contributing with a crushing cover of Trouble's "The Tempter". Other than those guests and covers… It just felt like a regular At The Gates show, which still means it was incredibly solid and showed that Tompa still is an incredible front man… but it did not meet the expectations of "unique" that a Roadburn appearance usually brings to me.
BLACK BOMBAIM & PETER BRÖTZMANN
Lil Radu: I'll admit that I had never heard of Black Bombaim before this and I still haven't listened to any of their albums other than their collab with Peter, but I promise that I will. I was here to see free jazz legend Peter Brötzmann, who has been breaking the laws of jazz for about 50 years. And while I'm not really that into free jazz itself, I always loved it blending with forms of psychedelic rock and heavy drone, which is what Black Bombaim provided here. For some reason, Mr. Brötzmann and his saxophone reminded me of Uncle Pecos from Tom & Jerry, as they both had mustaches and a powerful aura. Knowing that queues would form at the Patronaat for the Messa performance, I cursed Roadburn once again for having me leave a performance that I loved.
Lil Radu: Feast For Waters was one of my absolute favorite albums of 2018, so this was the band that I really, really wanted to see today and I was sure a lot of people also would, which is why I had to get there very early, but in retrospect I could have stayed maybe 10 more minutes at the previous performance since I didn't really get to keep a nice spot anyway. But man, was the place packed and the performance great. Messa did bring the saxophonist from the record, Lorenzo De Luca, to play with them, which brought the performance the lush, jazzy feeling from the record as well. Out of all the psychedelic bands from Roadburn, at least the ones I had seen so far, Messa were the tightest. And not only was their set luscious and entrancing, but the heavy part in "Tulsi" sounded even more menacing than on record.
Big Radu: I'm happy I had made my mind to simply spend my evening in Het Patronaat, because after the Mono experience I needed a bit of time to become somewhat lucid for Messa - after all, it was one of the concerts that I had been anticipating since it had been announced.
I stumbled upon Messa shortly after their debut - I remember that at the time I had been entranced by Mizmor's Yodh and that I was looking for similar things through various methods, one of which was the artwork. Now, what those two album covers have in common is the black-and-white art and the feeling of solitude (for Yodh it's the despairing kind while for Belfry it's the serene kind), and while their music is not of the same genre, they do share common subjects at times. Anyway, for me this was yet another great discovery (which is why I will always remember one band in relation to the other) that scratched an itch I never knew I had: the psychedelic doom one.
On stage, Sara bewitched us with her voice, which seemed even more powerful than on record, and the presence of Lorenzo, the saxophonist, made the psychedelia genuine, tangible. While I didn't feel the show was as powerful as the previous one, it still represented quite a delightful experience and it was probably exactly what I needed to cool down to a comfortable feel-good mood.
Rod: It was past midnight and I didn't think my body could take it anymore. Tired of standing around, tired of sitting down… But I pushed through and went up front to the first row of the Green Room. My knowledge of Bosse-De-Nage was quite limited prior to the festival, as I only discovered them back in 2011 with their sophomore album, but for some odd reason I never listened to anything else they had released since! That was about to change, as their set blew me away and I even got a small portion of energy back, closing my eyes and moving back and forth with the waves of riffs upon riffs. You either focused your attention on the agonizing and fierce black metal riffage and intense hardcore-ish vocal performance… or you probably did what most of the audience was doing and watched the drummer with your jaw on the floor. His ferocity and ability seemed endless and served as the glue that held all the chaos together. As the set ended, the euphoria quickly disappeared and my body finally gave up.
Lil Radu: At this point, I have to admit that I was exhausted, so I was happy that the next set would be at the main stage, where I could finally sit on the stairs, have working wifi, and scroll a bit on my phone. I really wanted to see this classic space rock band and early shoegaze originator and I did try to be as attentive as I could and noticed how full of energy and life they were despite their age, and also the immense number of strobe lights of the show. But I was too tired to appreciate it completely and I didn't really like the vocals all that much, since I was used to them having a lot more reverb for this type of music.
Lil Radu: I was already tired as hell for Loop, so this felt like an endurance test, and I admit that I would have gone home like everybody else, but I wanted to flex on Che, who is also really into Street Sects. Sadly, I can't say that I saw Street Sects. Not because I wasn't there for their performance or anything, but their stage had so much fucking smoke that one couldn't see anything but some lights and some shapes if you really, really paid attention, so technically the only time I actually saw them was before their set when they were fixing the gear. But even so, the performance was crazy and energetic, and honestly too much for me in that state. I enjoyed one or two songs and then decided that it was time to finally get some well-deserved sleep.
Lil Radu: If there was any day from Roadburn I wish I could live through again, it would be this one. Not because of the performances that I really liked (though I wouldn't mind seeing Messa and Anna Von Hausswolff again), but rather for the other ones that I didn't enjoy as much as I could because I was dealing with getting used to Roadburn or being just too tired. Or I could have stayed for Morne's secret set in the skate park, where I stumbled upon them while wasting time after Young Widows, but due to having no internet and them still not having started playing, I decided not to stay. But honestly I would wanna relive each day, since I could make a great schedule just with bands that I haven't gotten to see.
Big Radu: As the saying goes, this was a day to remember - in the true, literal sense of the expression - and it would've been entirely positive if Triptykon had sung their regular set, but I digress. After sitting on the same chair for more than four hours straight, my ass was begging for some movement and I happily complied by going home. I remember deciding against seeing Bosse-De-Nage, but I cannot tell you what pushed me to do this since I cannot say that I was tired (judging by the fact that I sat down for the majority of the concerts) - whatever the reason, I regret it in hindsight just because I had the possibility and I didn't take it, but as you'll see in a later article I'm quite good at making this kind of decision.
Rod: In terms of endurance, this was by far the most brutal day, as I started with Gold at 14:00 and finished with Bosse-De-Nage at 1:20! A day of extremes without a doubt: extremely beautiful and entrancing music matched with some pretty extreme disappointments by two well-established acts that unfortunately didn't do it for me, at least not by the standards I set for a "Roadburn experience". With Mono and Anna Von Hausswolff being among the most memorable performances of the entire festival, I can't say I didn't go to bed with a big smile on my face.
Two more of these bad boys coming your way, assuming our procrastination doesn't soar in the coming weeks and none of us end up bailing. Who knows? Anyway, in the meantime you can always check out the pics from Day 2 more closely in our Gallery, right over here.
||Written on 12.05.2019 by An extremely lazy reviewer but he's so cute you'd forgive him for it.|
Comments: 4 Visited by: 37 users
Hits total: 2237 | This month: 24