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2019-05-05

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

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

 

Imperial Triumphant


Rejoice, dear reader!

Other than that I finally caught one of the red tomcats at my hotel with my digital toycam, I remember absolutely nothing not related to Roadburn suited to artificially puff up the length of this review, so I will get right to the last day of the festival.


You look exhausted, man!



The difference wasn't as extreme as a couple of years before, but on Sunday Roadburn always gets a little more intimitate with less stages being used. This time there would be no music in the Koepelhal anymore. The rest of the complex with the merch area, Pit Stop, Hall Of Fame and special performances in the Ladybird Skatepark was still active.

My day started in the Green Room of the good old 013 though.


Roadburn Bingo: a band from Iceland plays 


Lucy In Blue

Lucy In Blue are not only friends with The Vintage Caravan, but they also embrace traditional sounds from the late 1960s and 70s and give them their own fresh spin. Yet where the Caravan is grounded in power trio rock and blues, this quartet explores the realms of early psych and prog and above all an enormous dose of pre-"Dark Side Of The Moon" Pink Floyd worship.

Some "retro rock" bands just know how to make their influences feel as exciting as something that had just been discovered for the first time ever. And Lucy In Blue, just like Agusa or New Keepers Of The Water Towers, instantly hit that sweet spot, which just makes me happy and reluctant to over-analyze their music. The guitar, organ and vocal harmonies and arrangements - it's all so right and tasteful.
Lucy In Blue celebrated the release of their debut album "In Flight" at Roadburn and played it in full. I immediately bought it afterwards. The title song is undoubtly one of my biggest post-Roadburn earworms.

One thing however I cannot withhold here: The bass player sometimes seems a liiittle too overexcited, which can be really hard to look at. I mean you do you and Colosseum survived the stage acting of Mark Clarke, but still... Maybe as a compromise you keep the posing and just hang your instrument a bit lower. As a wise German poet called Bela B. once said: "Mach die Gitarre runter, wir wollen deinen Sack nicht sehen."  


My plan said that I should go into Het Patronaat, but I had just heard of yet another spontanous show in the Skatepark and since I had no other plans which would bring me into the neighbourhood of the merch today, I was eager to once again enjoy the special atmosphere of that location.



Supersonic Blues


Supersonic Blues are a trio from Den Haag, whose members had been in the audience at the third Mythic Sunship show right here the day before, when Walter Hoeijmakers just asked them if they wanted to play, too. Now that's some right-on-the-spot booking.

Speaking of Walter: There was this nice moment before the show, I wish I had eternalized on picture. Just when the skaters had left the hall, but the audience wasn't quite willing to enter yet, Mr. Roadburn was standing next to the mixing desk all by himself in a completely empty room. Such a surreal and meme-worthy sight.
Uhm... But maybe that's bullshit and this had happened already on Saturday before Mythic Sunship. Lesson: If you're attending a multi-day event and you know you will write a series of reviews about it: take some fucking notes!


Back to Supersonic Blues: The band with the self-explaining name wasn't super original, but they were all the more motivated, as they seemed to only there and then truly realize that they were really playing at fucking Roadburn right now. And the understandable joy was infectious enough to make this show a respectable party for a Sunday afternoon and a hall filled with (also understandably) mostly rather tired people. 



Stuck In Motion


Back in the Green Room the next band still kept me in the 1970s. Stuck In Motion played sweeping hard rock with long instrumental jams, which bathed the audience in excessive organs and lead guitars.The vocals had a surprising nice Glenn Hughes soul touch.
The occasional mid-action announcements of the keyboard player had an odd solo entertainer quality to them, yet since they were also fun they only added to the overall feel-good attitude and greatness of the show.

I still left before the end though, because after three 70s groups I felt that I needed to move on to another decade of rock music now.


Mord'A'Stigmata


Mord'A'Stigmata are a solo project of one guy shredding black metal riffs to electronic beats.

No, that's a lie. But that very last part was the only thing I saw of the performance of the band, so I'm absolutely unqualified to review them in any form.




The early evening began now and I had a pretty solid plan for the rest of my Roadburn: Since this would be the last night with live music in Het Patronaat ever, I would honour this beloved venue and just stay in there until all was over.

My last tokens were spent, but I was equipped with candies to dope me with sugar and the reusable cup, which the festival had introduced this year, to fill it up with water when needed. I think that the Roadburn cup has been a success, since there was way less noise of trampled plastic disturbing the quieter shows this year.

And speaking of quieter shows...



Marissa Nadler

Roadburn Bingo: A female artist enraptures a packed room only with her voice and a guitar.


There isn't much I could say about Marissa Nadler's beautifully haunting, fragile dark folk ballads, which could truly do them justice. It's just a fantastic soundtrack to stop time and cleanse your soul.
From time to time she looped her guitar and harmonized with her own voice in a way which reminded me a little of the fabulous duo A Dead Forest Index.

In stark contrast to the inner peace her tunes were exuding she was undeniably a little too stagefrightened for her own good, which resulted in charmingly self-humiliating banter - and her always rushing and turning down the knob too fast when a song ended with an effect fade-out.

It wasn't helping her nervousness either that Steve Brodsky (Cave In, Mutoid Man), who joined her on vocals and guitar for two songs of their Droneflower project, had to leave after the soundcheck to do another soundcheck for Old Man Gloom, then returned too late, so she had to rearrange her setlist, and immediately had to quietly pack his stuff after those tracks and leave for that Main Stage show.

Their songs were fantastic though. As was Marissa Nadler's whole performance.



The End



Even though two more bands would follow afterwards, it was now already time for The End.

Phew. I had survived the Sumac / Caspar Brötzmann Massacre and Doolhof yesterday, so I came prepared for maximum levels of extreme experimental lunacy. Or at least I thought so. But everyfuckingthing can be taken further, believe me!

Led by Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson The End brings together a unique bunch of special musicians on stage.

On the left there were two bullies ready and willing to brutally beat you up. In the absence of baseball bats they were using their saxophones, but don't think it hurt less! Kjetil Møster even sent his instrument abuse signals through a noise-guitarist-worthy effect board to achieve all kinds of sick sounds.

Speaking of noise jazz guitar players. The End has one of those too - and his riffs were often the only dependable orientation to bang your head or knot your cerebral gyri to this madness, since the drummer obviously gets punched in the face backstage for every straight beat which he might accidentily play.

It was an amazing, absolutely over the top whatthefuckery of grinding heavy noise jazz.
And I haven't even mentioned Sofia Jernberg yet. If you created a meme with all outstanding female advantgarde singers of this Roadburn edition thus far, she would be that famous "Hold my beer!" response.

Similar to Korean jazz singer Youn Sun Nah her vocals technique isn't the loudest, but the range of noises she produced was out of this world, ranging from smooth crooning to sick Diamanda Galas screeches and also including some tricks you'd expect from professional beat boxers.
Man, I can't even remember all the insane stuff this lady uttered. Like the other musicians she was performing from sheet, and I can't even begin to imagine how you would notate any of this gibberish.

Call me an apocalypticist, but I feel nothing but big love for The End.




Remember my plan of staying inside Het Patronaat until the (actual) end?

Turned out that my body didn't agree with it and I desperately needed fresh air, a walk and a meal. So I was stepping outside of Roadburn for one last time and returned to church, when the next trio was already playing for a while.


Birds In Row


I was kind of relieved that I had temporarily abandoned my first row spot for Birds In Row. Not because the Frensh trio was bad (no they were good!), but because it got really wild in the audience now.

I'm not sure if it was all a mobilization of the attendees' last energy reserves, since there are also day tickets sold for Roadburn and I was under the impression that this pit was comprised of a good amount of fresh faces. And their hardcore punk with an emotional vocal delivery reminding me of the German neck and brain breakers The Hirsch Effekt wasn't exactly the kind of music I would mention first (or even tenth) when asked to describe the typical Roadburn sound.

But yeah, this was yet another welcome change of pace before the very last show in this venue - and of this Roadburn edition.      


Imperial Triumphant


With a video backdrop of "Metropolis" and being fittingly lit primarily with white and golden lights the stage looked glorious. The golden pout masks of Imperial Triumphant, which resembled luxurious versions of the robot Maria are probably among the most effective pieces of stage disguise I've ever seen.
Not only offer they a brilliant new aesthetic to black metal, which is just what the music calls for, but their expression makes the performance look so easy.

And boy, it was not! Given that the unique recent album "Vile Luxury" is what brought Imperial Triumphant to Roadburn they had decided to play the whole masterpiece in full. 

I wasn't a hundred percent sure whether the unconventional extreme black metal, which is at its core so deeple rooted in jazz mannerisms would work without all the brass sextet and piano cues being played live, but the brutality, precision and stylistic uniqueness of the trio was so crushing and impressive, that those elements being sampled didn't matter at all.

Bass and drums alike both flowed so easily between the realms of high speed advantgarde black metal and jazz influences - it was one of the most original takes on the genre I've ever seen. And just so monstrous!

The icing on the cake was that for two interludes they were joined by a real trumpeter, first with a mute for that high vintage sound, later without for more brilliance and clarity.

This show was much more than I had anticipated. Musically, visually, bonecrushingly. Boy, that dirty disharmonic noise climax in "The Filth" alone!

In conclusion this was the absolutely perfect sendoff both for the audience and the iconic venue. One of the greatest festival highlights saved for the last moment. Kudos!

If Imperial Triumphant were not the perfect band for this special occasion then who else would have fit better?






HIGHLIGHTS:

Imperial Triumphant, The End, Lucy In Blue


CLASHES AND MISSES:

Supersonic Blues were fun, but truth be told, had I remembered that Fear Falls Burning is a drone monster featuring saxophonist Colin Webster, who has cooperated with heavy jazzers Dead Neanderthals several times, I would surely have squeezed my ass into Het Patronaat for that.

The other big miss I should have really watched for at least half an hour or so is Old Man Gloom. They were great the last time years ago, and given that my stay inside the church plan ended up not working anyway... well, other than that I'm ok, I guess.




ANY FINAL WORDS ABOUT THE WHOLE FESTIVAL OR WHATEVER?


A long drive home and a couple of weeks with sickness and everyday work later, the whole trip seems as unreal as it did back in Tilburg. But that's the high Roadburn standard.

When I single out each day there is none that makes me feel like "This was the greatest Roadburn Friday ever"! Of course there was a lot of fantastic stuff, but there have been editions with more shows of special personal significance in the past.
And I never truly reached that point like last year on Sunday night, when I was so overwhelmed by the sensory input that I just needed a break from music. No, I was still hungry for more after Imperial Triumphant had finished.

There are a couple of things playing into this:

First of all most of my favorite shows were exactly those I had expected to be my favorites beforehand, which was great, but also makes me me feel like not having reached my  full potential surprise ratio.

Then there was the lack of Cul de Sac shows. Skatepark and Hall Of Fame can be fun in their own right, but they are no substitute for the special intimate club feel of the music bar. A couple of shows there would have been so welcome to me. Really sad that it's no longer in the fold.
And with Het Patronaat's swan song I'm honestly a bit worried about the future. How do you compensate such a double blow?

Last: It only truly occured to me afterwards, that I went through the whole Roadburn festival without any doom band of any kind on my running order!

Yeah, if you are very generous you can expand some aspects of doom to the post rock / metal of Mono and GlerAkur or also Anna von Hausswolff, but that's not what I'm talking about. Triptykon also doesn't count in this year's context. No, I should really have crammed at least one performance of something like Vile Creature or Bismuth into my schedule over the days. That mistake won't happen again. Cross my fucking heart!

It's noteworthy though that I heavily compensated for that lack of doom in my choice of merch, which included Mizmor "Yodh: Live At Roadburn 2018", three Earth CDs, Sunn O)))'s new "Life Metal" and the pricy but planet crushing Bong "Live At Roadburn 2010 - 2012 - 2014" vinyl box.




On a final whining note I'm not fully happy with my t-shirt choices.

The Molasses is fine. It's white for a change and it was relatively cheap.

Triptykon on the other hand is rather small, still turns my washing water deep blue - and of course the "Requiem" wasn't exactly the most satisfying show. In retrospect I would have rather picked up an Imperial Triumphant shirt, because they just have an awesome merch game.




Hmm. Weird to end this review on that that note. But I have nothing else to add nad I'm too laze to think of my wishes for next time now, So that's it.

Thanks for suffering all my jabbering!




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 TWO:
Friday, April 12th

- The Mysterious Vanishing Of Jolene -

 

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

- Montaña Is Beautiful Now -







 Lucy In Blue:





Supersonic Blues:





Stuck In Motion:






Marissa Nadler:






The End:






Birds In Row:






Imperial Triumphant:










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