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ROADBURN Festival 2015 • DAY THREE : Friday, April 10th

Good morning Friday! Good Moring Oisterwijk!

When I had come back to the hotel the previous night, there were already significantly more cars in the parking lot, indicating that more Roadburn visitors had arrived.
Indeed there were some guys I knew from last year, as well as new faces at the breakfast tables.
German readers will probably all know Götz Kühnemund, former chief editor of the famous RockHard Magazine and now head of the high praised new print magazine Deaf Forever.
At breakfast I told the anecdote, that the first person I met in the Netherlands on my first Roadburn trip in 2012 was Mr. Kühnemund in front of me at the hotel reception.
And what happened now after breakfast? I sat in my room with the door open to let some fresh air through and who steps out of another room? ... Right!

For the unlikely case that I could get bored and not be too tired to read at the same time at some point I had fetched the previous Deaf Forever issue right before my trip and thus I had only read a few pages of it. And now I was in the same hotel as the magazine staff and also got the new issue for free. Still didn't have the time to read much of that one either, but it was an appreciated surprise!

I did go on a photographic walk after breakfast, but I kept it significantly shorter than yesterday's two-and-a-half-hour-wanderlust.

After lunch in Tilburg I was back at the 013 at 3 p.m. to get infected by the first band on the main stage.


from Norway opened the day with some really sick experimental shit! I loved every minute of it, especially watching the weird, often dissonant and crazy and at the same time laid-back guitar play unfold was just a joy.

Undoubtly inspired by Voivod their experimental metal totally sounds like a 70s version of "Nothingface" from a parallel universe.

This is a band I should have been worshipping for years already. But you know how it is: you discover some great stuff, but then there are only high-priced import albums to buy und it slips from your mind...  I'm glad I added "The Black Flux" to my record collection now; and it won't be the last Virus album there!



The vast landscapes of Iceland provided the suitable backdrop for the post rock of Sólstafir.

Having last seen them in Het Patronaat three years ago and at least resolved to get their much-praised "Ótta" album one day, I still like what those four cowboys are doing, but I also find some unnecessary lengths in their performance.
I love when they build those soundscapes that blend Russian Circles with Sigur Rós. I also like when they remind me of the latter in fragile passages. I'm also perfectly fine with them rocking out wildly and touching their metal roots.

Yet there are some songs (or parts of songs) in which Sólstafir medium rock with no recognizable reason and I'm just going: Tension! Suspense! Emotion! Come on, I know you can do it!

Please leave those out next time, because the predominant rest is damn fine.

Fields Of The Nephilim

Fields Of The Nephilim


Do I need to say more?

The legendary Fields playing twice this year was a dream come true for me and the prime reason on the running order why I couldn't miss Roadburn at any cost.
As a teenager I had worshipped their early albums to death, but after the temporary break-up and "Zoon" and lost track of them, partly because I wasn't so keen on the stronger metal influences of the following material.

With the "Ceromonies" live album which I only bought at the Roadburn merch stand I'm beginning to get into that stuff as well, but on Friday shortly before 7 p.m. I was mainly in for the classics, especially since this was the very first time I saw the gods of dark rock live.

And when they started with "Dawnrazor" it was just pure bliss. "Moonchild" and "The Watchman" were there, "Love Under Will" and the mighty hypnotizing bass of "Psychonaut".

And Carl McCoy - what can I say? What a phenomenon! That guy just stepped out of a time machine, wearing the same (and I mean the identical) shabby western outfit and unmistakable hat than a hundred years ago back in the 80s. Not only an absolutely timeless presence in his appearance his deep voice was as entangling, haunting, demonic as ever.

I'm far from being anywhere close to objectivity here, but what Fields Of The Nephilim delivered was utter dark perfection. There is just no band with a comparable sound remotely close to the masters. The normal festival duration of the set felt much too short for me. Thank God Roadburn there would be a second, longer show tomorrow!

Unfortunaly having to see the Fields I was facing a monstrous running order clash now, as the very much alive dutch prog rock dinosaurs Focus were already playing in the Green Room for almost half an hour now.
But there was still more than half of their show left, so my plan was to watch that second half at least. Shitty plan! There was no way to get into the room. The main entrance was totally packed, and trying to get in there through the corridor from Stage01 I ran into the hottest and most deoxydegated air you could imagine and immediately turned around. This band was obviously way too big for its venue. So sadly no Focus for me, even though they had been one of the bands I had been most excited about to see. After Fields Of The Nephilim, who beat every other priority, of course.

Robert Hampson

So what now?

On the small platform of Stage01, the room also known as "bat cave", which I hadn't ever seen close on my previous two Roadburn visits, the familiar face of Loop's (or as yesterday Kandodo's) Robert Hampson was preparing a solo performance.

The setup with lots of effects, a laying guitar and a glowing apple reminded me of Justin K. Broadricks solo project Final. And with Hampson (who also featured on Godflesh's classic "Pure") and Broadrick being very like-minded, it was no wonder that it also was close to Final musically.

I did it like most people in the first rows and just sat down and closed my eyes for most of the time, letting the waves of noise, which sparkled with underlying cathartic beauty, wash over me.
"Normal" people might cover their ears, shake their heads in disbelief and leave when confronted with this kind of advantgarde, but for the attending Roadburn visitors this seemed to be a welcome opportunity to meditate and find energy for the rest of the night.

Mr. Hampson wasn't willing to overdo and kept the whole thing much shorter than scheduled and then ordered us to go to Het Patronaat: "Now go see The Heads!"

A good suggestion, but I rather stayed here in the 013.

Since there was some time before the next band in the cave started, I could still see a good portion of the next artist on the main stage. Virus, Sólstafir and Fields Of The Nephilim had all been part of this day's curated event, which I haven't mentioned until now, just because "Houses Of The Holistic curated by Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Kvitrafn Selvik" is a hell of a shitload to type.

The grand finale of this event came in three acts, being the performances of Wardruna, Enslaved and finally Skuggsjá, a collaboration of both bands, creating "the sound of Norway`s Norse history) and originally composed in celebration of the anniversary of Norway's constitution.
Sounds interesting on paper, especially for my personal concert visitor résumé, since I`ve already seen a Laibach composition on the very same occasion this year.

But alas the whole Enslaved part of this concept isn't my thing, so I was content with just watching a part of act I.


Wardruna were impressive and very different from anything else I've seen this weekend.

It was Nordic, folk-ish, based on a rather exotic instrumentation including strange horns and harps and wooden sounds on a tree trunk, and with a strong emphasis on voices.
There were choir arrangements as well as impressive solo performances reminiscent of the highest range of Lisa Gerrard on one one side and deep guturral chanting on the other with many steps inbetween.

Wandering from minimalistic simplicity to sheer bombast, the whole performance always seemed like a great spiritual invocation. Interesting and intense stuff.



Back in the Stage01 I came early enough to save myself a good spot in the soon to be very crowded room, as the legitimate successors of the short-lived The Oath were to hit the stage.

With a recent discography of only one 7 inch Johanna Sardonis' new band Lucifer could have played it safe and cover some hits from the critically acclaimed The Oath debut, but luckily they didn't. Instead they showed the strength of their own new Lucifer material, which tended a little bit more to pure classic hard rock and doom.
It is undoubtly what you call retro and occult rock these days. And it's just fine like that.

I really dug all their songs, the drive of the band and Johanna's stage presence and vocals, which are growing more and more on me.

If it's anywhere near this live show that soon-to-be-released album will be damn good!

After Lucifer the running order kept being clashy.

My initial intention was to see Death Hawks and then rush over to Cul de Sac to experience the black thrash rage of Mortals.
Only, since I unfortunately hadn't seen Focus, there still was a strong yearning for 70s prog rock in me...



Good that Agusa from Sweden came on next in Stage01 to play a long set of their instrumental pieces!

As classic as their line up (guitar, bass, drums and organ) was their approach to prog rock: very jam-based and seemingly loose, rooted in the 70s or before and not shying away from citing any great prog or hard rock band from that era, as well as the inevitable Pink Floyd.
There were in fact these two times where I thought: Ok, that's almost a little too much "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" / "Stairway To Heaven".

But all this doesn't mean Agusa sounded random. The performance was fresh and a joy to behold. Especially the guitar player had a characteristic voice in his riffs, licks and leads that was very captivating. And during that last song - when you look around yourself and see those pinched faces with closed eyes doing strange grimaces , you know that this is the best guitar solo of the festival.



It was long past midnight when I entered Het Patronaat for the first time on this festival day.

Pyramidal from Spain spaced and rocked and progged the venue fine, but I soon realized that directly after the trip with Agusa I was just saturated. And I was also tired, so even though the band was undoubtly very good, I called it bedtime after a couple of songs.

So that was another stunning day at the Roadburn Festival.

The best moment on the drive to my hotel was when I suddenly realized that there were still two more full days ahead.

DAY ONE (Wednesday) here!

DAY TWO (Thursday) here!

DAY FOUR (Saturday) here!

more pictures from Friday:

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