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ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2018 • THE DAY BEFORE : Hardrock Hideout / Wednesday, April 18th

- Attakk of the Evil Belgians - 


So here we go again! Given that there is a lot of other stuff ahead of me at the moment, my Roadburn reviews will probably take a couple of weeks.
Naturally the first day in Tilburg with only three bands to cover is the easiest to write about, but as I'm still in the ropes from the whole experience, it's enough of a challenge for me right now.

No challenge at all was traveling to Brabant this time. The weather and traffic were so friendly to me - I only lost laughable twenty minutes around Hamburg and arrived in my hotel a couple of minutes north of Tilburg a full hour before check-in, which luckily caused no problem.

Fast forward a couple of hours I have arrived in Tilburg, checked out the walking distances to the new Roadburn venues (more about them in my later reports) and got my festival wristband, which was not handed out at the main entrance of the 013 venue, but at a tent next to the Patronaat building.

The rest of the night took place inside one of those little bars in the "Weirdo Canyon" just around the corner, in front of the stage in the Cul de Sac, where the official free pre-party (not always too aplty) named "Hardrock Hideout" took place.

To be brutally honest, even if it's embarrasing for me: Not only did I just after writing "Weirdo Canyon" a few lines above, find out, that there indeed was a "Weirdo Canyon Dispatch" fanzine this year, which I totally didn't see anywhere on any day.

No, I also didn't remember that I had already seen the first band of the night on the same stage in 2016. But I needed to type the labels for this blog post to remind me of that. Yet to be fair: I've already written about six different bands with "witch" in their names here, so Witch Trail probably just isn't the most memorable moniker.

Witch Trail

So were they so forgettable last time?
I actually liked their post black and thought it was promising, but in the big picture of the whole Roadburn experience they didn't leave a particular imprint.

Not too much has changed in that regard, but I think they have indeed evolved in their performance. And besides the black metal, sludge and doom I felt stronger punk and "proto metal" vibes in their sound. It is quite an original mixture. And even while I'm struggling to describe it, it actually is easy to understand, so all in all Witch Trail were certainly a great choice to open this whole madness.

And yes, last time I intruduced them as "a young Dutch band".
Shame on me, they are actually Belgians.

And so were the following two groups, who defined the direction of this night as something totally anticyclic to what you would expect from the mainly doom and stoner festival Roadburn at least once has been: a full-on fucking speed metal assault! 

Speed Queen

Speed Queen were... come on, we all know what you're thinking once you read that name, and you are absolutely right:

Speed Queen were cheesy, campy and catchy. And that's all part of the charme and brilliance. Everything in their music is optimized for air guitar shredding, chest thumping and heavy fucking metal fist raising. I guess I don't have to mention that they are rocking fast, right?

I must admit that the whole genre has always escaped me. But now I began to feel that I might have missed something. I still wouldn't listen to this stuff at home much, but live this was masterfully executed headbanger party material.


And that goes even more so with the metal-ümlauty Bütcher.

Where Speed Queen represented the denim, leather and rock'n'roll side of speed metal, Bütcher added facepaint, spikes and evil. And we Austin Powers fans all know that those Belgians can be damn evil!

The singer was an absolute beast on stage, his voice bellowing and shrieking like the meanest and rawest version of Rob Halford. The music turned the speed and brutality to eleven, which made the small Cul de Sac erupt in a sweaty sulphury moshpit.

Fuuuck, this was so relentless! And what a counterpoint to all that gloom and doom to come. Roadburn hadn't really begun yet, but I already (and unexpectedly) had seen one of my favorite shows.

Ok, there were so many favorites again, which you can't really compare with each other... Well, at least this was definitely the best *METAAAAAAAAL* show of them all, haha.

And only like twenty-five-ish shows to go! More about that soon in my following reviews!

reviews of the other festival days:

Thursday, April 19th

- Put me down where I can see the Bong of Doom and Christmas -


Friday, April 20th

- Go Spread Your Psych -


Saturday, April 21st

- If it doesn't make us wiser
Doesn't make us stronger
Doesn't make us live a little bit
What are we doing? -

Sunday, April 22nd

- Leave the lights on
I'm going blind -

Witch Trail:

Speed Queen:


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