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ROADBURN Festival 2016 • THE DAY BEFORE : Hardrock Hideout / Wednesday, April 13th

Getting my wristband and worshipping the festival flag.

Roadburn 2016 started with a bang!

And there you have it, the lamest pun I could possibly begin this review with. (Don't worry, if you don't get it, you definitely will a few paragraphs further down my ramblings.)

It will be a five part review, starting with this one about the warm-up show in the Cul de Sac, followed by the three official festival days plus the Afterburner on Sunday. I would have had the chance to add a personal After-Afterburner on my way back home again, like I did last year, since The Poisoned Glass were playing on board the MS Stubnitz in Hamburg on Monday, but I passed on this tempting offer, because the whole Roadburn experience is undoubtly exhausting enough.

But back to the beginning, which was a smooth six hour plus lunch break drive from Northern Germany ("The Real North" as the new official slogan for the federal state Schleswig-Holstein puts it) and then checking into my bungalow hotel in Oisterwijk, another one than on my last two visits, but only a few hundred meters away in the same recreational area.

Nothing really worth to be mentioned here, so I'll just annoy you with some pictures.

(All photographs in my reviews, no matter how heavily altered they might look, are indeed out of cam and either taken with my japanese Digital Harinezumi 3.0 trash camera or its follow-up model Harinezumi 4.0, which is not only capable of weird colour modes, but also of digital double exposures and a pixels of pain zoom function. Feast your sorry eyes!)

The road to Roadburn my hotel:

And now right to the center of Tilburg!

As I approach the renovated and restructured 013 building (more about that in the next review), the first person I spot in the periphery of the festival is none other than Walter Hoeijmakers, the doomfather and chief music nerd of this whole operation, that has had such a massive impact on countless people (visitors and musicians alike), myself included. A good opportunity to thank the man for the event even before it officially starts.

In the entry of the 013 you can already get your wristband, while the festival's house artists are laying their last (temporary) touches on the building by painting some impressive work on the windows.

The musical programme on this Wednesday takes place in the smallest venue of the festival, right around the corner in the live music pub Cul de Sac .
On one hand this concert isn't part of the festival, as you can visit the bar and enjoy it for free. You also still pay with real cash instead of the 013 plastic tokens which will take over during the following days and blur the reality of how much money you're spending on food and drinks.
On the other hand all the familiar and new faces on the terraces of the nearby bars and restaurants as well as in the tiny venue itself just leave no doubt that this is a hundred percent Roadburn and nothing else.

Three bands were about to play, two of them already on the festival's further schedule, now playing an additional show.

The first of  those two was Bang, a relativily obscure rock band comparable to the earliest Black Sabbath and several power trios of the time when the roots of Metal and Doom started to grow out of the seed of Rock'n'Roll. They had released some records including a minor single hit in the early 1970s and done a comeback in the early 2000s.

This show however was not only the starting shot of Roadburn 2016, but also the first show of these rock veterans in Europe ever!


I have something to confess: In preparation for the five-stages-quality-all-over madness which Roadburn is, my first step is to work myself through the running order, do a quick research on every artist I don't know and mark everything that I think could be worth watching. This first step is close to useless, as it leaves me with only a handful of bands each day which I'm absolutely sure I don't need to see.
I probably catched a really bad Youtube video of them, so Bang were on that very list.

And of course Bang weren't bad at all, but despite being jet-lagged provided a great dose of rock with a tight rhythm section and some seriously seasoned and cool guitar playing. "Retro" bands are still trending, which is generally fine with me, but it's nice to see that there are also bands, who are the real deal and have still got it.

And thus I was reminded of one of the principle Roadburn rules: Fuck your shitty plans and expectations!

The Skull

The evening gradually got roadburnier as The Skull warmed themselves up for two more performances, one being a set of Trouble classics, which seems natural, since the band includes two ex-Trouble members.
But this night they were in full The Skull mode.

Personally I was a bit distracted by my ear protection increasing my regular tinnitus while muffling the music way too much, so I certainly wasn't the most enthusiastic listener in the room. I've also never been a great fan of Eric Wagner's voice, I don't even know why that is. So even though there was nothing bad to say about The Skull's doom , it surely didn't excite me as much as the Bang before it.

And now for some seriously ultra-heavy business, as the exact opposite of what most people would expect a husband-and-wife duo to sound like entered the stage:


Jucifer are notorious for the multiple-times-over-the-top-over-amplifying of Gazelle Amber Valentine's guitar. But because space is limited in the Cul de Sac, only three amps had to serve for this Jucifer-light experience. "Light" in this case means that the guitar still was the most devastating and crushing thing I was to witness the whole week.

The band's raw mixture of sludge and crusty to black metallic outbursts, was a relentless noisefest of sheer sonic brutality, perfectly matched by the ferocity of the frontwoman's shrieks, growls and screams. What I probably loved the most was how she never even once did any switching or controlling on her effect board, but just let the triple-amplified distortion of her guitar breathe, struggle and suffer under its own weight.

Jucifer are just an incredible wild beast that shreds you to pieces.

And I was happily shred. A worthy overture for the following four days!

Curious note: While I absolutely enjoyed being musically brutalized like this, I later had major difficulties to sleep on my first hotel night, because the water or steam pipes used to make uncomfortable noises.

A good thing that this only bothered me on this first night, because after that I would always be too tired and exhausted to care about pipe poltergeists.

more reviews:


The Skull:


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