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2019-04-28

ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2019 • DAY TWO: Friday, April 12th

- The Mysterious Vanishing Of Jolene -


Lingua Ignota


Being offline during the whole Roadburn trip one of my first priorities for Friday (as well as the following festival days) was to find recent information to fill in running order blanks and add surprise shows (which were plenty) to my schedule. Today there was a big gap in Het Patronaat. I would have bet for a Dark Buddha Rising appearance there, because both support bands from their tour, which had just ended the day before, were playing in the Little Devil bar as a special part of Roadburn, but no. Instead Mono played a second show with a darker tone.

I didn't even write down all extra shows in the Ladybird Skatepark, because who cares what's parallel to Anna von Hausswolff? But I was especially thankful for one addition in particular: Lingua Ignota, whose Green Room performance I had skipped for being too crowded yesterday, was playing. Roughly at the same time as Mono, but surely faster to access without a queue, so this was where I would be going.


Talking about queues; I generally tried to avoid them, but with the first show of the day in Het Patronaat there was no way around it. And while people were patiently waiting, a car slowly pushed itself through the seriously crowded street, which was really inconvenient at this point. "And the Nobel price for clever driving goes to... Anna von Hausswolff". Her driver obviously didn't get the memo that the 013 backstage is easily accessible from the other side. Well, at least she had that embarrassed sorry/guilty look on her face, haha.



Gold


The legacy of The Devil's Blood is still going strong in Dutchistan. One of the most prominent proofs for this are Gold.

Merging those typical groovy upbeats with post punk, gothic, some hypnotic psychedelica, a very catchy pop appeal, but also prog influences and riffs which are clearly inspired by black metal, the instrumental foundation of Gold is very confident in its diversity.
Anne Hathaway lookalike Milena Eva, who has perfected the theatrical art of going through a dozen costume changes with just one set of black clothing, completed the picture with an unexpectedly unspectacular, but always right on point performance.

Great original band, flawless show.


If only I could also say the latter about the following set of commissioned music on the Main Stage...


Triptykon & Metropole Orkest


Thomas Gabriel Fischer completing with Triptykon plus a complete orchestra what he had begun decades ago with Celtic Frost. Only at Roadburn. The "Requiem" certainly was a performance noone would have even considered as a possibilty, before it was announced. And it surely not only for me was one of the most anticipated sets of this weekend.

Yet I hate to say it, especially since I had already bought the "Requiem" t-shirt the day before, but the joint performace of Triptykom and the Grammy-awarded Metropole Orkest was this year's biggest disappointment.
Which doesn't mean it was bad. No, I actually liked the composition, including the new - and by far longest - second act. Sparse, only with cymbals, percussion and vocals at times, full-on monumental in other parts, with typical Triptykon doom death riffs here, but also with surprisingly pink floydish guitars there, this suite was an exciting dark journey.

But - and that's a big but - the sound.

Yes, being in the front meant to be closest to drums and percussions in this case, but I've spoken to attendees who had been in the middle or back and also had similar issues. Maybe it had something to do with the album / DVD production which was obviously going on (professional film camera teams are a rare sight at Roadburn), but there's just no denying, that the whole thing - and especially the band - was just not loud enough.
It's fucking heavy Triptykon and a giant stage crammed with strings and woodwinds, brass, percussion, choir... this should have been ear and soul crushing, the most epic thing ever. But compared to Mono the night before, or compared to what would happen next on this stage, it was a tame household noise level affair.

I sincerely hope the post production for the upcoming release can fix it and make it a more powerful experience. The music deserved better.

And the shirt by the way is really small for its size.


Seven That Spells


"The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock" is an album trilogy of the Croatian psyck rock band Seven That Spells. And they played it, the whole thing. Three Green Room shows in a row, one hour each. Yes, another one of those ideas you can only see followed through at Roadburn.
Of course it clashed with everything, so I could only watch a small portion of it before getting into the front row of the Main Stage again.

But fuck yeah, that part of "Io", the middle of the trilogy, which I saw was fucking awesome. It was much darker, heavier and proggier than I had expected. Especially that one part which was already played in some odd time signature, but the band just sped it up and slowed it down like they were manipulating a tape. Awesome what the fuck shit!



Anna von Hausswolff


Roadburn is not a contest.
There's a pretty wide consensus however that at least on this day Anna von Hausswolff won it. And she rightfully did so.

Having seen her perform the material of her colossus "Dead Magic" before, this didn't surprise me one bit, because the Swedish singer / instrumentalist and her band are easily among the most (sonically and emotionally) powerful artists you can watch live right now.

With the crushing drone and heavenly highs of her music and her amazing vocal invocation of Kate Bush she quickly put the whole room under her spell. Even though her setlist was regular, you could tell that this was a special show, which was even expressed in her ever evolving interpretation of the songs. Key parts like the mid-composition climax in "Ugly And Vengeful" or just the whole performance of "The Mysterious Vaninishing Of Electra" were delivered especially slooow and mighty.

What more can I say? Anna von Hausswolff at Roadburn was a superlative that will live on as a highlight in the festival lore.



Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle


After my longest break of the day I went to see the artists in residence in the Koepelhal. For today's show Thou teamed up with Emma Ruth Rundle, performing songs especially written for this gathering (which was not the first of this kind, since they had already practiced with a couple of joint shows on tour together).

After one listen I can't really tell if those songs are gems for eternity, but I confirm that at least live they work extremely good, probably due to the simplicity of the idea behind them. You just take the thick sludge metal of Thou, including the screeching Elmo voice and the occasional "normal" female vocals and pair it 1:1 with Emma Ruth Rundle's pure and sensitive singing and her also very distinct guitar style.
The concept sounds almost too cheap to work, but boy, that combination worked fatastically and created a sound I really haven't heard before.

I must also mention how almost hilariously casual the band looked, especially compared to their all make-up promo shots. It really looked like Walter had picked up some students from a street cafe: I have a stage and instruments. Anyone wanna play something?


Lingua Ignota


While most of the Ladybird Skatepark shows would take place on a very small "natural" stage on the east wall with the soulless tube lights on the room's ceiling fully turned on, the setup for Kristin Hayter aka Lingua Ignota was a little different. Her keyboard stood on an even smaller stage in the middle of the room, right behind the mixing desk. The main lights were turned off, so her show was only illuminated by two lamps, which she draped differently as she went along, which also meant carrying them like shackles, while she went face to face through the audience.

What Lingua Ignota does is indeed an unknown language even within the context of an extremely eclectic festival. A bastard of Stefani Germanotta and Diamanda Galas, expressing suffering and horror over a base of harsh industrial noises and desolate piano, always singing and screaming against an ongoing movie sample, which sets a strange kind of sound barrier, which she always has to fight against. The whole performance was an unsettling pendulum swinging between cold distance and frightening nearness.

Her nightmarishly bleak and desperate rendering of the Dolly Parton classic "Jolene" is undoubtly the most haunting memory I've taken with me from this Roadburn edition.



Black Bombaim & Peter Brötzmann


Alone for not being able to witness today's Mythic Sunship show with saxophone the next stop in the Green Room was absolutely mandatory for me, as the Portuguese heavy improvisational band Black Bombaim was collaborating with a living legend of free jazz, none other than Peter Brötzmann.

Even without the jazz giant this would already have been a great show, as the trio was jamming on a constantly high energy level, but always super tight and with a murderous, irresisteble groove. To watch the drummer get into it was an infectious show in itself.

But then there was Peter Brötzmann. In his hands the saxophone turned into an instrument of rawest and most primal expression. Even though he sometimes seemed to challenge the band, his hard playing always complimented the group's sound perfectly.

My final verdict about Black Bombaim and Brötzmann is: this was insane! What a powerful display of the pure joy of music. I loved every second of it.



Loop



Roadburn Bingo: Robert Hampson is on stage.

It was already after midnight when I went back to the Main Stage for the return of Loop. Even though it took a while until the strobe lightning was as frequent as the band wanted ("It's kind of our thing."), the magnetic pull of repetition had the hall in its grip immediately, as riffs and beats looped through one psych noise post punk song after the other.

Great show. However my personal attentioned vanished a little bit towards the end, because I was just getting tired now. These Roadburn days are so long. I will never in my life attend one of those after parties, that's for sure, haha.





HIGHLIGHTS:

Anna von Hausswolff rules. Black Bombaim and Peter Brötzmann were the shit! Gold were gold.
Again everything I've seen was worthwhile, even with the volume flaws of the "Requiem".


CLASHES AND MISSES:

This whole day was a master class in clashing. So many opportunities, but only one body to pursue them. The infamous Mythic Sunship clash, but also Anna von Hausswolff joining At The Gates on stage for some experimental soundtrack music. The whole Seven That Spells extravaganza... and of course the second Mono show. Fuck, you just can't have it all. I don't regret any of my choices.





reviews of the other festival days:

ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2019 • THE DAY BEFORE:
Ignition / Wednesday, April 10th

- Head first into the bloody rabbit hole -

 

ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2019 • DAY ONE:
Thursday, April 11th

- Hymn To The Immortal Devil -

 

ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2019 • DAY THREE:
Saturday, April 13th

- Montaña Is Beautiful Now -

 

ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2019 • DAY FOUR:
Friday, April 14th

- Church of the Burn,
May Thy End be a Triumph! -

 




Gold:





Triptykon & Metropole Orkest:





Seven That Spells:





Anna von Hausswolff:





Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle:






Lingua Ignota:






Black Bombaim & Peter Brötzmann:





Loop:









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