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2022-05-15

ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2022 • DAY FOUR: Sunday, April 24th

- Sinner get jazzy! Jammer get heavy! -


"I fell asleep in my hotel bed between 3:30 and 4:00 in the morning."

And yet here I found myself wandering through the dunes again immediately after breakfast, sleepy-eyed and saving showering and all that jazz for afterwards. What can I say? The last Sunday of April traditionally is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day and I had brought a modified Agfa Clack camera filled with expired Redscale film to celebetrate it.


But more of that stuff later in a seperate post...






Speaking about wandering around: I'm happy to say that my footgear game was a complete win and Roadburn didn't become Shoeburn at all. Fuck yes! I actually tried two different worn-in pairs of sneakers for the festival and learned that wearing very flat and thin soles may be the ideal indoor festival solution. Moving from venue to venue you might feel every little stone, but most of the time I'm either standing or sitting in front of a stage anyway. And while doing that I remained surprisingly comfortable and never got any issues like so many times before.

So all my issues almost exclusively originated in... you know what's coming...

CLASHBU... No, let's actually wait with this at least for the coming eighty minutes, which still went smooth and exactly as planned! 





Terzij de Horde x Ggu:ll

Once again the festival day started in the Koepelhal, where The Terminal stage was crammed with amps and two drumkits for a joined Dutch underground show of black metal blasters Terzij de Horde and sludge droners Ggu:ll. The moment the complete mega horde would be assembled on stage however didn't arrive until the finale of the long show, which was quite cleverly structured:

At first Terzij de Horde began with an alternate vocalist, who basically almost functioned as a hype man. Of course this was neither the musical nor the contentual equivalent of Danny Ray welcoming Mr. Sex Machine James Brown, but it seemed to serve as an introduction nonetheless.
From the second song on the signs kept staying on total annihilation with Terzij des Horde raging through their longtracks with enormous vigor and stamina, while their intimidating frontman mercilessly stared and growled the audience down from the edge of the stage.
The transition to the Ggu:ll part of the show came with a smooth intermediate step, as at first only the drummer was switched, so instead of their usual high speed inferno Terzij were backed up by a doom metal drummer's power grooves.

After this track the vocalist left and the guitar and bass players were exchanged, so the crawling evil dirt of Ggu:ll was in charge. You guess how their set ended: Again the other band's drummer came on stage, so now the sludge crushers had to modify their style accordingly, before at last all members of both bands came together to send the audience off with a majestic display of gargantuan blackened doom to end this fantastic double performance.





But now! Time for...

CLASHBURN:
Today the clashs were especially brutal. Even though Sunday is always a little more relaxed - or at least supposed to be - with a shorter overall duration from 14:00 pm until around midnight and one stage (The Engine Room) remaining closed, I ended up completely missing three shows I had been absolutely confident I would at least see good chunks of. Well, in case of the Swiss trio Schnellertollermeier it hadn't been my fault, because the band had to cancel their appearance on short notice.

The next clash however had been staring at me in all its mercilessness all along, but I had just decided to will it away by ignoring it: Solar Temple joining forces with Dead Neanderthals, then Lingua Ignota, then Mizmor with a "Cairn" full album show - of course I'm watching them all! Right?
Well, if there's no break, but all the distance from the Koepelhal to the 013 between them, and you want to be close to the stage, there had actually never been a way to make that work.
And given that I probably would have to cut Mizmor short anyway and there was always a second performance of the Dead Neanderthals (as two thirds of Twin Sister) together with Radar Men From The Moon later, I made my decision.




Solar Temple x Dead Neanderthals

So does this even count as reviewable by me? Maybe I could have stayed for half or two thirds of the show, but the wall of sound created by Otto Kokke on synth, Rene Aquarius on drums and the two Solar Temple guys both on guitar started so promising that I just said fuck it, I hope they'll release that later and left rather earlier than later, when it would probably would be much harder to do so.










Lingua Ignota

It's safe to say that Kristin Hayter aka Lingua Ignota not performing in the middle of the crowd, but actually on the Main Stage was a highly anticipated event. Never when I had arrived for a show here so early, did I have to resort to such a far away spot before. Luckily it was still near enough to observe the singer's expressions - and she mostly stood on a pedestal, so I could still take at least halfway decent pictures without dislocating my arm.

The grand piano on stage was a bit of a mystery, as Kristin never sat down to actually play it. It had been "prepared" with stuff being placed on the strings however and then... used as a resonating body for the backing track? I'm not sure what exactly was happening there.

What I know is that her show was emotionally clutching and terrifying like nothing else I had seen over the course of the festival. Even though the feral intensity of screaming and wailing directly into the faces of the audience had been exchanged for a more grand, traditional (and probably also physically more maintainable) approach, the fearsome strength of Kristin's feelings still sent chills through the whole venue. Apart from "Do You Doubt Me Traitor" all songs were live premieres from "Sinner Get Ready", plus the Baptist hymn "Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus". I loved the selection and was stunned by her live renditions of it.
After Roadburn Lingua Ignota toured through North American theaters with this material and on several occasions people passed out. I can totally see why. She just puts so much more into her performance than you can possibly prepare your body for.

My only small complaint about the show would be that whenever there were backing track vocals for cacophonous choir effects, those could have been lower in the mix to focus more on the amazing live voice. But that's it.

And surprisingly that would also be it for me and the 013 this year. Both on the Main and Next Stage I actually only saw one single person performing the whole day. That's a Roadburn stat I'll probably never be able to repeat.










Martina Verhoeven Quintet

In the Paradox you sometimes had to wait in line beside the bar for the room to open, while the artists were still checking sound inside. And since the name "Martina Verhoeven Quintet" didn't exactly give away very much of what was to be expected, I was quite relieved about the little preview of the pace of the coming performance, since the lack of sleep I had last night was now rapidly catching up with me, and if I was going to close my eyes during a show I at least wanted to be shaken up again immediately.

With Dirk Serries (Yodok III, guitar) and Conçalo Almeida (Albatre, now not electric but upright bass) two familiar faces from the previous days returned into my view, while I finally saw my first show with Roadburn regular Colin Webster on saxophone. Completed by Dutch drummer Onno Govaert and of course the band leader herself on grand piano, this ensemble surely went under the radar of most festival guests for being an exclusive jazz act alone.
But holy shit, what a completely bonkers hour of free jazz insanity that was! I won't even try to get into all the details of the craziness which went on here. It often looked as if everyone was giving it all in his/her own seperate performance, each one on a different planet. But miraculously the stars still aligned somehow.
Also, just like during the Zaäar show on Thursday, my subjective perception at this point was heavily altered by drifting into sleep to music which wasn't necessarily meant to swing you into sweet dreams. The special thrill about it this time was that there were no mystical layers, no psych trippiness, no avant-gard black metal influences or any of that jazz embedded into the sound. Nope, this was just pure brain-smashing jazz insanity. The festival claim "Redefining Heaviness" perfectly fit this show in its very own way. Zoning in and out to the Martina Verhoeven Quintet definitely was one of the most transcendent out of body experiences I had during the whole week.









Grey Aura

Most surprise shows so far either had no chance to break up my personal schedule anyway or their announcements just reached me too late to even consider them. The last experience I wanted from Roadburn was to stand in line for a hyped show and never get in, because not enough people left the room in time. Take my advice: If you find the end of a ridiculously long queue in front of you - which luckily happens not nearly as often as it used to during the Patronaat heydays -, just turn around and find some place else where the grass is greener!

But this time everything fit perfectly, so I took my very last chance to attend the Ladybird Skatepark, which due to the construction work around the building wasn't open for the skating public like in 2019, but only let wristbanded people in for the duration of the shows. And other than in the old days there was a (still pleasantly small) proper stage inside now.

About Grey Aura I knew nothing except something with black metal, so the coming show was a surprise in every way. The Dutch band indeed had a lot of fun with the genre, mixing it with all kinds of unexpected influences and even hints of mr. bungleish attitude and jazz. I still feel that there's room to grow in there, but the energy and spirit of this colourful (and not grey at all!) extreme metal show alone made it worthwhile.
I enjoyed most of it and quickly grabbed (and paid for it, no worries!)  their album from the merch table, before I powerwalked over to the Paradox again.





CLASHBURN (reprise):
Seeing Grey Aura had only been made possible by the aforementioned cancellation of Schnellertollermeier's show in the Paradox. And I've already revealed that Lingua Ignota had been the only 013 performance for me. So how the hell did I miss that presumably quite monolithic Twin Sister x Radar Men From the Moon finale on the Main Stage?




Kanaan x RRRags

Well, there was a direct compensatory show in the Paradox, but it started much later now, so the overlapping was just too big, especially since this spontanously arranged "Heavy Jam", featuring members of two bands which had never even met before, didn't seriously seem to offer the option of leaving early.
The line-up for the following seventy-five minutes was: Rob Zim and Ron van Herpen of the power trio RRRags on bass and guitar, as well as Ask Vatn Strøm and Ingvald André Vassbø from Kanaan on guitar and drums!

Any jam constellation with a drum animal like Vassbø demands all eyes on the craziness behind the kit and a very stable bass to balance the madness. That man is just a force of energy, creativity and entertainment, never going for the most obvious solution, keeping himself busy like a hamster in the wheel and just being an impressive show within the show, constantly making the audience grin and shake heads in disbelief.
Meanwhile his performance didn't take away anything from the overall flow and quality of the jam at all.

Heavy it was indeed, but it also found the time to accentuate the power rock with more subdued dynamic passages of blues, Floydisms and fusion. Maybe there was some point around the fifty-minute mark or whenever, where I thought "Haven't we heard that before?" for a minute or so, but overall this masterful and super motivated jam flew by extremely easy, considering it was over an hour of unplanned free-form music.
A welcome compensation for not having seen the full Kanaan show the day before and an absolutely worthy sendoff for Roadburn 2022





After staying in the venue for a while after the show, any chance of even catching the finale of the Main Stage soon was gone. I did however enter the 013, which was on the way to my car anyway to see how packed the actually final show of the festival on the Next Stage would be. It was Thou, who had become their own surprise show meme by now, covering Black Sabbath, with a guest appearance of Lingua Ignota for the song "Black Sabbath".
This constellation had already premiered in the Skatepark before and of course promised a wild party. But since folks were already standing in the adjacent floors, I didn't bother to sardine myself inside and left the premises, fully satisfied and overwhelmed by the whole experience once again.


Could I rank this edition of Roadburn? Was it as strong as let's say the in my eyes legendary year 2018?
I didn't feel that it had a conceptual  line as strong as previous years, but that might just have been due to my personal path. Or it might have been caused by the wild mix of current bookings and curation with all the remnants of the never realised 2020 edition and elements being brought over from Roadburn Redux in 2021.
But most importantly: This wasn't even bad at all! I loved the variety and the almost perverse abundance of special performances. I loved just being there and feeling the magic happen. And that was what Roadburn 2022 stood for the most: the relief of finally coming home.

After one year of total utter shit and another one of slowly digging out of it, this festival was a beacon.

Yes, in truth everything  is still fucked and we are all doomed to binge-watch the world collapse. But at least we have this to cope with it. And it means a lot. A damn lot.

Thank you Walter, Becky, everyone, you know who you are, for making this happen!



reviews of the other festival days:

- Burn your burdens in the Temple of Rebranded Ignition! -

- Tumult of magic, turmoil of transcendence. -

- One day you will find me here
Hiding behind the sun with a thousand loaded guns -

- The call of a thousandfold sounds:
Once upon a time in the Church of Cartography -