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2014-05-10

ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2014 • DAY FOUR : The Afterburner / Sunday, April 13th

Sunday - or "The Afterburner" as it is called in Tilburg mid-April - started slow with a nap after breakfast again.

After that my tourist routine walked me through sleepy tranquil Oisterwijk to snap some pictures.

Oisterwijk

a former factory

On my way to the 013 I stopped at the Wilhelminakanaal to fill the last two (of six) panorama frames of the film in my  Belair camera and pulled the good old trick of not taking the lens cap off. Any "lomographic" photographer knows my pain. If you don't, just watch Polly Perkins in "Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow"! ;)


But back to the music now:

Everything is smaller on the last day of the Roadburn Festival. Less stages, no more activities in Het Patronaat or the V19, the merchandise stands went inside the 013 building... only the quality of the artists doesn't diminish one bit!



Can I say what was my favorite performance of this year's Roadburn? - Yes it was the Magma show on Friday. That was definitely an experience for life.

Can I name the second best show? - Uhm... That's already hard to decide, so many great artists, all great for different reasons, so you can't really compare them... good chances for Triptykon, but it could also be Candlemass, Bong, Loop, Monster Truck... or several of the other bands I'm still going to write about here. Yet which one exactly, that would always depend on my current mood.


And then there was a performance that stood out in such a special way that I don't even want to put it in any imaginary competition against the others.

Selim Lemouchi's Enemies

Selim Lemouchi's Enemies
Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies was the new band of the former The Devil's Blood mastermind, where he explored an epic psychedelic rock sound, very much in the vein and succession of the late 60s' "A Saucerful Of Secrets" Pink Floyd.

Sadly in March 2014, only a few weeks before Roadburn, Selim Lemouchi passed away.

His mourning band mates, among them his sister Farida, decided not to cancel the show, but to play it in his memory. The set up was impressive: in a semicircle around the empty center of the stage there were ten musicians, including two keyboard players, two simultanously performing drummers and not less than four guitarists.

The music and harmonic vocals alone without the tragic context would have been able to take you on a trip, from pumping hypnotic rock to beautiful progressive elegy.
But now there were more layers, there was an emotional depth and solemnity, a meaningfulness which the whole audience could feel. This was a musical eulogy - and with Selim Lemouchi watching his "enemies" in baptismal images, being purified under a waterfall, from above - also a celebration of life.

It surely was a very brave decision of Selim Lemouchi's Enemies to play this show. And I'm sure, whether you were a long time fan or friend or a novice to his works - if you attended this performance you will agree with me that it was the right one.

Thanks and my deepest respect to Selim's friends and sister for this hour of music! It was beautiful.

Avatarium

Avatarium
"Candlemass with female vocals" would be the easiest way to describe the formula of Avatarium. But as not wholly wrong as it is (I could at least imagine alternative versions of all their songs on any Candlemass album), this description also falls unadequately short.

Besides the obvious epic doom metal which Candlemass bassist Leif Edling (who was replaced for this gig due to illness) brought into the band, the music also wanders into classic hard rock territory with psychedelic detours. In the context of Roadburn Avatarium clearly belongs to the more accessible side of the spectrum.

The center of attention as well as the icing on the cake that makes Avatarium really stand out is singer Jennie-Ann Smith, who in some quieter passages can fool you to mistake her for a good pop vocalist. But as the music evolves to rock you suddenly find resemblances with Anneke van Giersbergen. And when the sound is finally blown out to  metal she even goes further and channels the one and only Ronnie James Dio!

Considering this highly impressive talent her stage appearance and announcements seemed surprisingly shy. But you always need little things left to work on. I hope this relatively new band has a bright future!

The Papermoon Sessions

The Papermoon Sessions

No intermission for me. Directly after Avatarium it was session time in the Green Room.

Members of the jam rock bands Electric Moon and Papir shared the stage under the moniker The Papermoon Sessions. The vibe among the six musicians (including two bass players) was excellent, and with the crowd hungry for audio hallucinogens nothing was in the way for a great krauty space trip.

Good times!

New Keepers Of The Water Towers

New Keepers Of The Water Towers
The Green Room stage stayed cramped, when the New Keepers Of The Water Towers entered it, bringing a huge load of effects and ground-based instruments with them. One guitarist wore only one shoe and operated Moog pedals with his sock foot.

The band with the brilliantly weird name merges metal, doom, classic and modern prog and pink floydish tunes to a very fluent blend, which is presented with a stoner rock attitude in the most space-trippy manner.

Yet another case of Where the hell do all those brilliant bands on this festival come from and how the fuck can you describe this shit properly?


Yes, this Afterburner was undoubtably blazing very bright!

And Switzerland's finest was still to come...

Triptykon (from my upcoming "Roadburn 6x6" photo series)

Triptykon

Triptykon

Is there a need to elaborate on what a crucial role Thomas Gabriel "Warrior" Fischer's musical vision has played for metal and several of its subgenres? I won't do it, because Roadburn has now almost been a month ago and I really want to finish this report. If you're reading this you'll probably have at least an inkling of this man's importance. And if not - this is the internet, information source for everything you need to know about cute cats as well as metal legends.

When the former frontman of Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Apollyon Sun and again Celtic Frost entered the stage with his follow-up band Triptykon, the expactations were high. Having seen them as a short-time replacement for Cradle Of Filth in Wacken 2011, where they were my personal highlight, I was pretty sure that there was no danger of disappointment.

Triptykon started right away with a brand-new song from their second album "Melana Chasmata", the 12-minute evil epic "Dark Snow".
The whole show concentrated on the very dark, mostly slow Death Metal side of the band, with the two longest tracks from the debut, "Goetia" and the still overwhelming "The Prolonging" also being part of the setlist.
The room left for other pieces was filled with faster "Melana Chasmata" tunes, the inevitable classic "Circle Of The Tyrant" and the even older Celtic Frost classic "Visions Of Mortality".
Personally I would have preferred more new stuff to the ancient Black Metal of Hellhammer, who I never really cared about, but a good part of the audience appreciated them playing "Messiah", so I won't go nitpicking on that.

The band was feeling comfortable here where they had played their very first gig in 2010. You could see that in the way Thomas was joking with the audience and you could feel it in the energetic brutal delivery of the music.

Especially the bass play of Vanja Slahj never ceaces to amaze me. There's something special about how very loose yet rich those strings vibrate on the deepest end of the scale. Sick!

As a side note the concert of Triptykon was the only occasion where I experienced some organisational confusion, when me and some other photographers after a while were asked to step out of the photo pit, which was totally ok by me. But while I was considering where to go next, another official came to me and told me I could still shoot there. Ok, if you invite me... I went back to the pit, sqeezed myself through the knot of camera pointing people gathering in front of the middle of the stage and finally had the chance to take some pictures from the side of guitarist V. Santura, where I was immediately asked to leave again - official photo staff only. Uhm, what now?

But apart from this one little glitch in four days the whole organization seemed pretty smooth to me.

Anyway, Triptykon were fantastic. See them live, buy their album!
In my mind they are one of the most important bands in today's metal world.


After all this great music with so few and short breaks I was seriously hungry. So I was content to grab something to eat in the city and call it a day.

I did the first thing but then I couldn't resist to say goodbye to the venue, as it lay on the way to my car anyway. I took a short peek at the Cul de Sac, a live music bar that was also part of Roadburn, but I hadn't even been there for a minute until now. I catched up on that minute, but then I moved on to the 013, because the venomesque rock'n'roll of Heretic couldn`t convince me to stay.


So it was one last look on what was happening in the 013. The Green Room stage had a keyboard-heavy setup, a prominent gong and was entered by white-cloaked gestalts with likewise white masks and glowing LED eyes. Ok... I needed to see what was about to happen here...
  
Lumerians
Lumerians
Lumerians are yet another very trippy band, yet also highly distinct from anything I had heard before during the course of the festival.

With vocoder vocals, a shifting focus between keyboards and guitars and very danceable rhythms, this is more space funk than rock. It's hard to pin down anything specific as a reference. In this music you can find glimpses of Krautrock as well as The Beach Boys or Daft Punk.

This is some weird futuristic stuff, but catchy, entertaining and uplifting.

I stayed for the whole show. This was the perfect ending for a perfect Roadburn Festival!



So this was the last part of my review series. See the other days here:

DAY ONE / Thursday, April 10th
DAY TWO / Friday, April 11th
DAY THREE / Saturday, April 12th

There are still lots of pictures to edit, digital as well as my special medium format film photographs, so Roadburn will probaly still stay on my mind for quite a while.

And I can't say if it will be next year, but I'm most definitely infected and will go there again. This is just the best metal (and beyond) festival there is!


Goodbye, Oisterwijk!

Let me finish this report with a small anecdote about Dutch and distances:

In a conversation at the festival it was brought up to me that the Dutch, living in a relatively small country with everything nearby, have no idea about travel distances by car.

On Monday morning I got proof for the truth of this thesis, when I was asked about my destination (an hour north of Hamburg) and the questioner assumed I would drive two hours.

Now THIS is what you manage to drive in two hours, you just cross the Dutch/German border - if you don't take a lunch break as I did...

No, with much rain and four Roadburn days in my bones the whole drive took a little bit longer. Luckily I had a bunch of new records on my passenger seat to entertain me. :)

Moin Hamburch!

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