Roadburn 2019, Day 3
|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 3: SATURDAY, APRIL 13th
Lil Radu: So we were more than halfway there, and the post-festival depression was starting to get some roots in the feeling that the festival was not gonna last forever. But there was also the realization that the cash I had on me was not enough for all the extra merch I was gonna get. Plus, thankfully, we ate somewhere other than KFC.
Rod: Saturday, or, as I like to say, "over the hill!" This day was about to bring us many must-see sets and themes. Especially with the Dutch black metal scene taking hold of the festival! After a quick and large meal, we walked to the Koepenhal for one of the more unique sets this festival offered us.
HAVE A NICE LIFE
Lil Radu: This would not be the first time we'd see Have A Nice Life, but such an occasion should not be missed regardless. This was their regular set, so we didn't know exactly what to expect out of a band that had barely performed before, other than the probability that some songs from The Unnatural World would be performed. And indeed they did perform "Guggenheim Wax Museum", "Defenestration Song", and "Cropsey", but I didn't expect the majority of their set list to still be made out of Deathconciousness songs. So when they started their set with "Hunter" it was quite clear that they weren't gonna leave those songs just for tomorrow's full-album set. I was quite fearful that their music wouldn't translate that well to a live setting, and I was quite right, especially with a lot of the vocal harmonies sounding really awkward live, albeit not as bad as I was expecting them to be; even so, I was able to get past that and enjoy the passionate performance regardless. And you could tell that Dan was putting his heart and soul into the performance and, surprisingly, the audience for this set was much more responsive than the next day's one, with a lot of people raising their hands and shouting "arrowheads!" during "Bloodhail", which really was one of the most cathartic moments of the festival. I did leave early to catch the whole Wolvennest set, but I only missed out on songs that would be performed the next day as well anyway.
Rod: We started the day early with one of the rarest bands to perform at Roadburn. Few could have predicted that Have A Nice Life would be a part of Roadburn (or playing live in general), let alone the fact that this was the first of two sets. An unmissable opportunity, that's for sure. The off-kilter approach to post-punk was translated a bit differently from the studio versions of the band, especially the vocals. It was later made known that Dan had suffered from an unfortunate cold prior to the set, but one could really tell he put everything into his performance, and so did the rest of the band as well. The sound at the Koepelhal stage felt just a bit thin to these ears, and airy, which reminded me of the production of their legendary debut, but it unfortunately carried with itself a pet peeve of mine: I was able to hear way too many people. At the risk of sounding like a grumpy fuck: I'm just not a big fan of people singing along every. single. line. for the entire set. I was clearly in the minority here, considering the large amount of people screaming out the lyrics and having fun. I guess my view of the band is of introspective music and I'd rather see them and just take it all in, especially since the vocals on their songs have never been particularly loud. I felt detached at the end and decided that for the next day I would stand somewhere else and let people have their fun their way up front!
Lil Radu: It's rather unusual for a band to perform a full-album set when that album is pretty much their debut. But I wasn't going to complain, considering how amazing of an album Void is. An album that I reviewed, it was one of my favorites of last year, and of other people as well considering it won its category in our Awards. I wasn't expecting anything less than a hypnotic performance and that's just what I got. I managed to sit down on the stairs in order to concentrate fully on the hypnotic music, even after the security asked the people on the stairs to stand up for some reason. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Wolvennest also performed with Yhdarl's Déhà and The Ruins Of Beverast's Alexander von Meilenwald, so I kinda wish I was paying more attention to the stage as well, but as far as the music goes, it was definitely one of the strongest performances and most successful studio-to-live transitions of a full album.
Big Radu: Wolvennest was another pleasant surprise from this year's Metal Storm Awards for me, though its sound is not what I would expect from something that had been placed in the noise / ambient / drone category. But I digress… I was telling you in the previous article that, for me, the [band]Mono[band] concert was the one that had grabbed me the most; well, Wolvennest equaled that. Their psychedelic nature was in full bloom during the entirety of the show, enticing me to meld with the sound in order to escape this body, to dissipate within the void. The small, almost unnoticeable interludes that helped them transition from one rhythm to another were the only moments when they were letting me take a step back and catch a breath or two, which was enough for my frail human nature not to become overwhelmed by bliss.
Lil Radu: After finishing Wolvennest's amazing set, I wasn't sure if I could fit in any other set before Sumac's, but seeing as the Patronaat queue wasn't as long as expected, I tried and managed to get in to Turia's performance. It was too packed to see much, but seeing a three-member, female-fronted band was quite a sight, and even more of a surprise hearing how otherworldly the shrieks sounded. The instrumental part was great and vicious as well, but I was taken aback by the vocals. Regardless of how one-dimensional those may have been, they really did what they did well. A fine first taste of the Dutch black metal that this edition was showcasing.
Rod: After coming back from the highly hypnotic Wolvennest set, I decided it was high time to get a proper taste of Saturday's main event: the celebration of the vibrant Dutch black metal scene that included five different bands and a "collective" performance. All of them were to perform in Het Patronaat. Due to some of the infamous queues that have taken place at this stage, I feared the worst. Fortunately, I waited barely 10 minutes or so. Beer in hand, I decided to skip the idea of being up front for Turia and just go with the flow. This was the perfect band for which to do so! Their brand of black metal can be called simple, but it's so damn effective with the droning, highly atmospheric aesthetic. I just closed my eyes and let the intensity of the band wash through my body. Consisting of only a drummer, a guitarist, and a singer, Turia managed to do so much with the bare minimum. The riveting wall of sound came down on us like continuous waves during a grand storm, but the vocals were certainly the main attraction for many. There wasn't much variety to them, but the intensity of her shrieks was a sound to behold.
Big Radu: If the state of bliss cannot be maintained in perpetuity, one cannot help but feel miserable - it's perfectly natural as nothing after can compare with the previous state and we need some time to pass in order to start forgetting the sensation. Now, don't get me wrong, that feeling of misery doesn't last more than a few minutes as it's replaced by something bittersweet; however, what if we add so much bitterness that it completely overwhelms the sweet taste? My answer is that the misery comes back with a vengeance, just as it did for me, and it was so horrible a feeling that I couldn't bear it for too long.
If you couldn't tell, Sumac was disappointing live: static, boring, and uninspiring. I won't bother you with details about why I was so disappointed again, because the emotion is similar to the ones experienced in the previous 2 days with Triptykon and Molasses and I've written enough about them to give a good idea of what irked me here… I only wish Mr. Aaron Turner had seemed more enthusiastic.
Big Radu: I'm not overly passionate about Morne - they're a good band putting out decent sludge albums - but it was exactly what I needed to wash out the bad taste I got from Sumac's performance. Sure enough, the songs sounded great live as well as they do on the album, as the band seemed to be set on putting in the necessary effort to make it as seamless an experience as possible. On another note, I believe that they are one of the bands that were actually benefited by the Koepelhal's acoustics due to the natural noisiness associated with sludge. All in all, good band, great performance, and, most importantly, they helped me get over Sumac.
Rod: It was once again the time to go all "camping mode". After chilling out with Turia, I set foot dead-center on the first row, waiting for Laster. Ever since I reviewed their debut back in 2015, I've known these guys would turn into something very special. This feeling only grew stronger once I saw their short but interesting set at Roadburn 2017. Now, on a bigger stage and with brilliant production on their side, they pulled off what was without a doubt my favorite performance of this day. The sound was loud and clear for all instruments, with the agonizing shrieks and intriguing clean vocals hidden a bit, lurking in the mist. There was something I did not expect, though: Sure, there has always been a kind of bounciness coming off Laster's music. There's this very odd catchiness and infectious vibe seeping from their rhythmic sound. In a live setting, these vibes were turned all the way up and I found myself dancing and headbanging all the way through! Looking around me it was clear I wasn't the only one who did not see this danceable atmosphere coming! It's difficult to describe properly their presence and overall performance due to the difference I felt from their studio work. Needless to say, their shows come with the dearest of recommendations as they are one of the more unique black metal bands in the current scene. I can't wait to hear more from them!
Lil Radu: After managing to catch a bit of Sumac's set and not being too impressed, it was time to hurry up and catch a good spot for Laster, who were the Dutch black metal band I was most familiar with out of the ones on display. Surprisingly I managed to get quite close to the stage and enjoy one of the best shows of the festival. Those masks and outfits may be a bit gimmicky, but they do convey a lot of theatricality and only increased my investment in the performance. And their performance was absolutely amazing, with their bouncy take on black metal, almost danceable as Rod puts it. The trio felt completely in control of the sound.
Lil Radu: I felt really bad knowing I would have to write about this. I wasn't really familiar with Cave In before they were announced to play and, realizing how important of a band they are, I feel like I hadn't really absorbed their music properly despite having binged all their albums. So when I saw their performance I felt like there was something missing that didn't let me properly appreciate what was going on, almost like I should have waited until their music clicked with me at home before going to see them on stage. I could tell that they were really good at what they were doing and their old-school alt rock/post-hardcore sound is something I'm generally into but I haven't really dived in as much as I should. I really didn't like the vocals, but felt bad since I was sure I could grow to like them. And now, as I revisit the bits of footage that I captured, I'm sure I would much more. So what should I say about their performance objectively without making it all about myself? That their metalcore stuff works live way better than their alt rock stuff.
Lil Radu: I wonder how many hipster credibility points I would lose if I admitted that this was the set I was most excited for. Out of the two Sleep sets, I decided to go with the obvious choice of watching the full performance of their classic Sleep's Holy Mountain album. But with two sets, each two hours, it was obvious that they'd play more than just the album that they were advertised to play. They did start with said album, one that I had been listening to quite often in the previous weeks, so seeing Al Cisneros and the obviously shirtless Matt Pike performing it so flawlessly was such a treat. Warm, fuzzy, and all the buzzwords you could use for a usual stoner metal gig, but taken to colossal heights by pretty much the biggest name in the genre. And this performance has certainly proven that it is deserved. Once "Nain's Baptism" was over and the band went offstage for a bit, the projectors accidentally showed the Dopesmoker cover art (the desert caravan, not the rider one) too early and just for a split secord, but enough to send the entire audience into applause and cheer. And with it being quite obvious what was going to come next, I readied my phone ready to capture the infamous "Drop out of life / With bong in hand" line, one that obviously still took a lot of time to get to. They didn't perform the entire song as it seems they left the "Cultivator" part for the following day. Instead they played "The Clarity", which is the song that got me into Sleep in the first place, and one of the songs that I never thought I was going to ever see live. While I didn't see their set for the upcoming day, I did check the set list and was surprised to see that they haven't played anything from their first two releases; instead, the extra stuff that they played was the aforementioned "Cultivator", some more songs from Sleep's Holy Mountain, and "Leagues Beneath". Oh, and I may be wrong, but I think I saw someone smoking a marijuana, the Devil's lettuce!
Rod: Holy Mountain. Is there anything else to be said? Over the last couple of years my interest in stoner rock/metal has declined a bit, but I would have had to be a moron to miss out on this opportunity. It had been a while since I listened to any Sleep, so I relived some past memories by spinning my copy during the week before the festival. Resting my tired body by the balcony, I watched in awe how the crushing riffs and slow pace of the drums hit me harder than any drug ever could. All adjectives could be used and you'd still need to magnify the effect by 10. I stopped focusing my vision on the stage and closed my eyes. It was by far one of the loudest sets I've witnessed in quite a while. The further addition of Dopesmoker (at least part of it) further enhanced the vibe of the audience, knowing we were experiencing something special. Unfortunately, the festival was starting to take its toll on me, as a part of me couldn't shake the desire to lie in bed. The reason I persisted might sound slightly shallow, but I felt that, even though I'm far from being the biggest Sleep fan around… some sets must be witnessed just out of respect. Sleep truly are one of those rare bands you have to witness live to fully grasp how big and important they are to the genre (or music in general).
Lil Radu: Then came the biggest clash of the festival, where I kinda wanted to see all five of the bands that were playing. There was Uran GBG, a fun Hawkwind-eque band; Doolhof, a collab between members of dälek and Isis; Jaye Jayle, Evan Patterson's Americana project; Thou, who had just announced their secret Misfits covers set; and last but not least Maalstrom, which was the last of the commissioned music sets and the culmination of the Dutch black metal showcase, with members from most of the other bands. The latter being the earliest to start, I decided I would watch half of it and then switch to whatever else I decided on. I expected to see a lot of people on the stage, but instead saw only four and thought that maybe there was one from each band and the incestuous nature of the scene was to blame for them being in multiple bands. But after the first song, a few of them abandoned their instruments while the others kept an interlude playing and some new people came to replace them, and I realized that this would be a revolving lineup and I suddenly almost didn't want to leave anymore because every song was now special. But I also felt like this performance was unearned, in the sense that out of so many Dutch bands that had performed, I had only seen Turia and Laster, so seeing a lot of members of bands that I hadn't seen felt akin to watching the last season of a show while only having watched a few other episodes before. Of course, the point is somewhat off since a few of the bands had not yet performed, but regardless, I enjoyed the performance anyway. Other than the industrial part that was unreasonably loud for some reason and made me thankful that I had earplugs. It was eventually time to leave for another set after negotiating with myself to stay an extra few minutes, so I left wanting more from this project and being anxious to hear whether it would eventually make its way onto record.
Rod: After getting my lazy groove on with Sleep, I slowly walked my way to the Koepelhal to watch one of the most intriguing sets that was commissioned for the festival. Doolhof consisted of Will Brooks from the mighty industrialized hip-hop group dälek, Aaron Turner (post-metal legend, 'nuff said) and the Belgian noise/visual artist Dennis Tyfus. There were no clues of what to expect, which was the main reason I HAD to attend. It just took a couple of minutes to realize that we were not going to be treated to any sounds reminding us of dälek. It was simply unrealistic to do so. What we got though was equally intriguing, if you ask me: dense noise, chilling sounds, and never-ending loops. Doolhof means "maze" in Dutch and I kept thinking about this word during the whole set, like a mantra. The more I thought about it, the more this sonic assault made sense to me. It was unnerving and ultra-intense. Drone, death industrial, dark ambient… Plenty of influences crept through the speakers, but the unshakable fear was constant. The relaxed feeling I had after watching Sleep disappeared immediately; this was no dream, but a nightmare. The maze concept was truly on point, as I felt claustrophobic by the end of the set. Sure, it wasn't really what I had expected them to pull off, but when looking at what they were trying to achieve… well, it was nothing short of a success! Quite the ending for the night!
Big Radu: I knew nothing about what Doolhof was or would be, yet, fortunately for me, I got some info on who the band members were from Rod on our way back to the Koepelhal from Sleep. I didn't know what kind of show they would put on, but I admit to having expected some very aggressive hip-hop on top of some crusty/sludgy metal background. Well, it definitely was not that, as they went for an ambient/noise approach to their collaboration and I admit to not necessarily liking it. I didn't hate it either, mind you, but I couldn't get into it at all, so, instead, I started focusing on what each one of the three performers was doing to achieve those sounds (you can hear many of them in similar forms on other ambient/noise/drone albums). I was amazed at how modern devices can transform the sound of a voice and make it seem to be creaks and cracks as if made by an old forest swinging in the wind, by thunder on a stormy day, by water hitting a sandy shore, and so on. Anyway, after ¾ of the show I decided to get out and smoke a cigarette while waiting for Rod, who seemed to be quite into it.
Lil Radu: After leaving the main area after Maalstrom and heading to the Koepelhal for Doolhof, I encountered Che, who told me that Doolhof was disappointing and that we should see Uran GBG instead. We were met by no fewer than 11 musicians onstage (one vocalist, two drummers, three bass players, and five synths). Quite strange indeed, especially since they seemed quite old and in their outfits they seemed taken out of a '70s sci-fi show and with a projection that seemed taken out of an ironic vaporwave meme. And the music was so goddamn groovy and danceable, unexpectedly so for a festival like Roadburn, but that allowed us to unwind so much after such a day. I don't really know what the vocalist did, since it was very hard to discern anything close to vocals out of their sounds, but frankly I didn't care; I was jamming so hard. Cosmic jams.
CONCLUSIONS AND SUCH
Lil Radu: This was going to be our second-to-last night and, considering some of us had to leave really early and this day's shows were over quite early, we managed to have some bro time with some beers and anime at our accommodations, with hopes that we would do the same thing next year. As far as the festival was concerned, we had gotten over quite a lot of clashes and over the worst one as well, but no matter what, there's always something you're gonna regret missing. And damn do I regret missing that secret Thou set of Misfits covers. And also barely getting to see some of the Dutch black metal made me wish I could have squeezed in some more. But that was decent compared to other Roadburn specials, like the EOM or Holy Road showcases, which I completely missed. Alas, I'd need to be able to time travel to see everything I wanted to see.
Rod: I'd say this was one of the easiest days for me this year, as I did not have any clashes with bands that I considered "must-see". When it comes to experiences, though, I regret one thing: that I couldn't divide myself in two and stay in Het Patronaat and watch every single one of the Dutch black metal bands. It was a highly interesting theme and I enjoy all the bands that participated in this event. But, alas, one can't have it all. One last article coming your way, assuming our procrastination doesn't once again 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 3 more closely in our Gallery, right over here.
Roadburn celebrates the artists just as much as the music they perform… And one presence was felt by many during the third day. We in Metal Storm must acknowledge the tragic death of an important figure in the Dutch black metal scene: Michiel Eikenaar, most known for his vocal duties in Nihill and Dodecahedron. May you rest in peace.
||Written on 04.06.2019 by An extremely lazy reviewer but he's so cute you'd forgive him for it.|
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