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2019-05-02

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

- Montaña Is Beautiful Now -


Louise Lemón


What the fucking fuck?

I know, I promised a couple of reviews before that I wouldn't say anything more about the weather, but man, there was nothing to see through the roof window when I woke up on Saturday morning. All white.


view "through" my hotel room window


Outside it looked way better though. And after breakfast and post breakfast sleep I even stopped for a couple of pictures (films not developed yet) at a lake on my way to Tilburg.




Due to an energy drink incident which forced me to create a massive handball made of liquid and paper towels, I wasn't as early as I had planned, but early enough to get a front spot at the very first concert, which started almost an hour earlier than all the rest in the Hall of Fame.


But before we come to that, let me give you one last thought about the weather: Today was the day when at one point I stepped outside and it was snowing! Not much, but it was happening. And I'm asking you mainstream science sceptics: Can this really be random? Just on the exact day, when with GlerAkur the most monumental band from Iceland was playing at Roadburn. Coincidence? Yeah, sure.
Does Walter Hoeijmakers, that friendly and innocent looking man responsible for the artistic direction of the festival, have secret connections to H.A.A.R.P.? I'm pretty sure, I'm onto something here. This is some deep conspiracy shit.


Temple Fang

Déjà vu! The band which opened the warm up show on Wednesday was on stage again. And since Temple Fang had convinced me and there was no competition playing now anyway, why not see them again?

The members are experienced, but the band itself is young, which makes the repertoire limited. So as far as I remember they performed exactly the same set, which was fine with me. With the more intimate setting the heavy psych rock sounded a little rougher and wilder in this second show.
I wouldn't be able to pick a favorite between the two performances, they were both great.  It sure was a good kick-start for the weekend half of Roadburn.



Wolvennest


Wolvennest had been spontanously neglected by me in favour of Gnod vs. Kuro two years ago, so this second chance to see them was very welcome. I had partly acquainted myself with the most recent album "Void", so I knew what was awaiting me was an evil ritualistic atmosphere hovering above thick, giant walls of endless midtempo riffs.

But while that expectation was fulfilled, something was missing for me to completely immerse into the show. It surely was good - and good enough to keep me there for its whole endurance -, but somehow I got the impression that a lot of details and potentially far more psychedelic vibes got buried under the weight of the domineering guitars, which made the tracks feel a bit lengthy at times.
The Theremin for example was often barely audible, just like the two male singers, who I remember far more for their stage poses than their voices.

As I said, Wolvennest were still good. And maybe sometimes that has to be enough, even at Roadburn.


Sumac & Caspar Brötzmann


When I returned to the Main Stage after a break, Sumac were already at it.
Or was I just sitting down and half-napping on the stairs for a while until the show started? I can't exactly remember. Most likely it was neither of those two and those post metal brutalizers just permanently fucked with my brain.

However. Sumac were insane. Insanely bleak. Insanely brutal. Insanely weird.
That drummer alone, man - what an unorthodox, offbeat, violent infuckingsanity!
It was like "Through Silver In Blood" Neurosis mixed with Blind Idiot God and Godflesh on heroin. Add some extra noise and distortion and the needle on the scale of the heavy-as-fuck-shit-o-meter breaks at the maximum.
On top of that the hoarse gruntscreaming of Aaron Turner. I've already compared his voice to the punishing organ of Paul Lemos from my all-time bleakness favorites Skin Chamber a couple of years ago, when he performed here with Old Man Gloom back in 2014. And that's still pretty much the uhm... spirit.


After about two thirds of the show Sumac were joined by noise guitar icon Caspar Brötzmann, whose father Peter had just crushed it with Black Bombaim in the Green Room the day before. He plugged in a second bass and they indulged in what was probably the most neutron star heavy freejazz session ever to loosen the plaster of this building.
Caspar Brötzmann massacred his based with the ease of a six-string guitar shredder and added just the icing on this already sick as fuck cake to makes this jam a Roadburn moment for the ages.



Still more than one and a half days to go, but this was - spoiler alert - already my last Main Stage show of Roadburn 2019.


Mythic Sunship


Next stop Skatepark, where Mythic Sunship were about to wring out some deluxe improvised heavy psych jams out of their wrists for the third and last time.

Just like on Thursday the quartet was superbly synced with each other. I don't primarily mean that in technical terms, because these guys are good on their instruments, yet surely not the most spectacular players out there. But they have a chemistry, joy and momentum going on, which made Mythic Sunship just the perfect band to fit the the almost DIY vibe of this location.

There is still one lesson the band should have learned from this Roadburn hattrick: When you're playing three shows at one event, try to do at least second promo photo shoot. Those announcements all looked almost the same.


I stayed longer at the psych party than last time, but still had to leave before it ended to secure a premium spot on tonight's most anticipated show.


Roadburn Bingo: a band from Iceland plays


GlerAkur


When I'm speaking about the "most anticipated show" I'm of course talking about my personal preferences. Compared to many other obscure or upcoming artists the hype around GlerAkur was surprisingly small.
The reasons for this however are obvious: Their debut album "The Mountains Are Beautiful Now" from 2017 is spectacular, but not very well known. And even if you know it, it doesn't fully prepare you for how massive GlerAkur are live. And since they are not exactly an excessive touring band and have only played two times outside of Iceland, probably only a one-figure percentage of the filled Koepelhal really knew what was coming.

And even being among that minority, having seen them at the Prophecy Fest 2017, I was blown away, because either my memory has downplayed their previous performance with the passing of time - or maybe they were even better now.

GlerAkur are not complicated. Their huge post rock instrumentals are basically all structured after the same principle: They just introduce a theme and pile up on it in small, but significant steps, and stretching every riff and lick as long as it works. With two drummers and four guitar players plus bassist there is quite a lot to pile, so the pieces all climax in gargantuan, almost swansy enormity.
You can also draw obvious parallels to Mono or Cult of Luna, but the Icelandic post rockers always maintain their own distinct sound. And given their low live activity profile it's astonishing how much they are on eye level with those genre giants.

It was pure bliss.



I'm not opposed to Sleep. But I'm also not that interested in them. I can't even tell why, as I do love some bands that are clearly inspired by them. So their two mammoth Main Stage sets tonight and tomorrow weren't exactly priorities.
I thought I'd still watch at least a piece of their "Holy Mountain" show to bridge some time, but shrugged off the idea as soon as I saw that people were already standing in the hallway to see them. 

Nope, better relax a while right in front of the Green Room stage, before the next show starts there.



Louise Lemón


You're reading the title of the picture above right. That's not Eilin Larsson from Blues Pills. (I think almost every photo I've ever taken of her is blurry from movement, so that's a good clue for differentiation.)

It's Louise Lemón, who looked way more underplayed gothic until probably a couple of months ago. Her new blond glitter look confidently embraced the role which Zola Jesus had established as a new element of Roadburn last year: the unsuspected pop artist.

Lemón herself  labels her music as "death gospel", a term which could also be applied to Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle or even Anna von Hausswolff. And her songs truly bath in dark melancholy and have a deep, sometimes even droning backbone, so she's in good company at the side of all of them.

Her song arrangements and vocal performances however are mostly much closer to the accessibilty of mainstream singers. Or let's say: to one pop star in particular. In fact Louise Lemón may very well be the closest approximation to Lana Del Rey which you can experience without a screaming teen audience and an overblown Coachella performance that doesn't match up with the music.

Louise Lemón presented a fantastic performance in a mesmerizing space between soul, dark art pop and rock, which made the Green Room rightfully eat out of her hands.
Many of her songs like "Cross", "Not Enough" or "Montana" did a remarkably good job of getting stuck in my ears immediately.

Also noteworthy as another day in the pop office, yet something Roadburn surely hasn't seen too often yet: After the band played the instrumental "Suspectible Soul" close to the end of the show, the singer returned with a completely changed outfit. Because why not? I admit, it's actually a nice thing to be confronted with some of those pop rituals in a musically save environment.




Roadburn Bingo: I want to see every fucking band which plays around the midnight slot on Saturday.



You may or may not have noticed that this review hasn't mentioned Het Patronaat yet. The location was fully devoted to modern Dutch black metal today and I had planned to see the last and longest performance, a piece of commissioned music called Maalstroom, in which multiple members of the previous bands participated. I expected this to be this year's version of the Icelandic "Úlfsmessa" from 2016

But I was still so amazed by the Sumac show and there was an ominous performance in the Koepelhal, in which Aaron Turner was involved. And it also included the DJ of Dälek. That sounded even more interesting to me now.


Doolhof


Roadburn Bingo: Shit gets too advantgarde even for big chunks of this audience.



Welcome to the premiere of a project called Doolhof.

From right to left it was Aaron Turner on guitar and with a lot of pedals in almost complete denial of any kind of traditional guitar playing, instead fully concentrating on all kinds of strange and cutting noises.
Dälek's Will Brooks provided droning electronics, samples, the occasional beat and spoken words.
A Belgian called Dennis Tyfus was mainly doing very strange stuff with his vocals and effects. If I wouldn't have looked I could have easily mistaken his input for weird synths and samples.

Together they indulged in a very patient unbroken experimental performance that mixed ambient, with electronic, noise and drone and gave extremely little shit about pleasing the audience.

Doolhof cleared a good part of the Koepelhal (plus some people probably learned about a certain surprise show in the vicinity) and among those who stayed many remained confused until it was over.

I loved the piece. It had an interesting dark flow and atmosphere. And it was so fucking uncompromising. Concerning wishes for future "live at Roadburn" releases Doolhof are my absolute number one.



Back in my hotel within a span of just two or three minutes all Roadburn attendees arrived simultanously. No wonder, since the last shows on all stages ended around half past twelve.

And boy was I tired. I just lay down with all lights switched on for a minute before going to the bathroom and boom! Suddenly it was three hours later and my glasses were lying on the floor besides the bed.

One more day to go! Phew.




HIGHLIGHTS:

GlerAkur, Louise Lemón, Sumac.


CLASHES AND MISSES:

During the day nothing really hurt me. That last spot was hard though. Uran with their army of synthesizers playing super weird psychedelic mishmash madness were surely something I would have enjoyed.

And that very shortly announced Misfits cover set of Thou and friends (including Emma Ruth Rundle) in the Ladybird Skatepark was the wildest party of the whole festival if you believe YouTube. I can live without having been there though, since I still have the fond memory of that legendary Danzig set at the Wacken Open Air 2013, where Glenn was joined by a certain Doyle after half of the show and it was all Misfits from there on.




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 FOUR:

Sunday, April 14th

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








Temple Fang:





Wolvennest:




Sumac & Caspar Brötzmann:





Mythic Sunship:






GlerAkur:







Louise Lemón:







Doolhof:








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