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Read PART 2 here:


I've considered writing this festival review in German for three reasons: 1. convenience, 2. most of the non-Danish visitors obviously were Tysk, 3. just so I could use the word Bärtival. But then I also like it when more potential readers can understand my shit, so here we go in engelsk again!

Driving to Esbjerg in the Southwest of Denmark was quite a different experience than the way to Copenhagen two weeks before. Same route until I crossed the border, but then instead of only Motorvej and that huge expensive Great Belt Bridge an unhurried drive through the countryside, while my navigation system was hitlering for half an hour that I should go zurück zur Autobahn, before it finally excepted that I had different plans. My bad, because even though the Freeway route costs twenty percent fuel extra, it would have saved me a whopping five minutes!

I headed directly to the North Sea beach just outside the city, where the four Mennesket ved Havet ("Men at Sea") are staring into infinity, to follow my touristic duty:

After that I drove to the free parking space right next to the Fuzztival venue. My hotel also was just a couple of minutes away, so this was an event of exceptionally short distances.

The Huset Esbjerg actually is a little too small for what the festival has become, but since the original bigger venue had gone bankrupt earlier in the year, ticket sales had to be limited and the smaller location had to suffice. Due to the limitation the sold out Fuzztival never felt inhumanely crammed. It's just a pity that the organizers couldn't earn that sweet extra money from more visitors, which is so urgently needed in the current live music scene.

However I will write this review as a list of FAILs, because I am an asshole? Well, I hope not. I just noticed that some little or bigger thing was wrong all the time, as if this weekend had been cursed my an unfuzzable witch. Please don't take this too serious!

FAIL: The Esbjerg locals Vestjysk Ørken entered the stage - and the guitar amp was silent.

Redemption: After the technical problem had been figured out and some sound issues had to be overcome, the duo delivered a hypnotic mix of Heavy Krautrock and crunchy Stoner fuzziness [spoiler: the Fuzz part applied to ALL bands on the billing!], which almost felt like a summary or preview of what the whole festival was about. Great stuff with a lot of loop and pedal work.

Their drumkit stayed on stage for the whole festival, so you know that anyone writing about the festival, who cannot spell their name, clearly hasn't really been there.

FAIL: One, two... wait! Where's Nicklas Sørensen? Unfortunately the guitar player of Papir was sick today, so Edena Gardens, one of the three main reasons for me to be here, was incomplete!

Redemption: Martin Rude and Jakøb Skott tried their best to substitute the third member's absence, which meant that the bass player switched to guitar and looped some bass lines. While the latter didn't always work as intended, they were for the most part very successful in capturing the original Earth Americana meets laid back Psychedelic vibe of their albums. Definitely the right sound to close your eyes and slowly drift away, even though it understandably didn't reach the full greatness that was promised.

One thing one must ask however is, if it even occured to the two that they could have just as well have performed as the Martin Rude & Jakob Skøtt Duo? But maybe a Jazz Rock session in the line of their albums under that moniker would have been too far off the mood or the festival brand.

FAIL: Six thirty PM. I'm standing in front of the stage, but neither Kanaan nor any of their gear can be seen! Since the Norwegian trio is an even bigger reason for me to be here than the band before, I am beginning to question my life choices now. I would have had the chance to see them in Kiel the week before or in Hamburg only the day before - both options much closer to home. And now I'm here and they are not!

Redemption: Kanaan's touring van had gotten fixed just in time, so they could arrive around twenty minutes after their show should have started. They hectically rushed onto stage, set everything up, plugged in, didn't even pull all jackets off and started without any soundcheck. And behold! It was an absolute blast right from the beginning.
The situation surely pumped some extra adrenaline into the band. Anyone who has ever seen Kanaan live knows that Ingvald Andre Vassbø (who by the way has been announced as touring drummer for Motorpsycho later this year!) is always a completely unpredictable beast on the drums. But this time he seemed even more determined to outright destroy the kit and its surrounding. At least one big crash cymbal crashed down and hit his bandmate's second bass. Carnage!

And I haven't even said anything about their brilliant music yet. But then one can't put this ridiculously energetic mix of heavy Stoner Rock, Psychedelica and Jazz Fusion into adequate words anyway. There's no other band like Kanaan right now. Especially considering how it responded to its circumstances this show was my favorite of the day!

And they didn't even have to cut it short. The running order just had a delay of half an hour now and that was it.

A small detour: Instead of a regular setup the light show of the whole festival was made with several projectors which threw trippy analoge effects and textures and all kinds of mystical and nightmarish, cartoonish and cyberpunk or just plain weird artworks onto the white backdrop of the stage. Even though this looked pretty rad and fascinating - and every band got a distinct palette - I honestly found it to be a little tiring to have each and every single performance lit that way.

(It's also nearly impossible to shoot decent pictures of it with a certain digital toy camera, because these projections just aren't as bright as spots or stroboscopes. If you're already familiar to my live reviews you certainly noticed that apart from the tourist pictures I ditched the Harinezumi aesthetic and went for a different style which honours the predominant Orange amps of the Fuzztival.)

Well, if I wanted just a little break from those light shows - for a couple of minutes I would actually get it soon...

FAIL: More than one fail actually. The drummer kept kicking his bass drum away. And in the middle of the show the whole light show  suddenly went off.

Redemption: People were entertained. I guess. Honestly we now entered that corner of Desert Rock I'm not particularily fond of. Much emphasis on sleazy Rock'n'Roll and way too much hard to look at grimacing and posing. At least some self-awareness, as shown when the drummer wanted his mic open for banter and the frontman said "He thinks he is funny." Musically not really that bad though. I guess. Well, just not my thing.

The moving bass drum problem was at least solved for the following bands with a filled sack in front of it as a stopping weight.

And during the darkness a couple of volunteers in the crowd stepped in in with their smartphone flashlights. Which actually was a memorable moment and the highlight of the show for me.

FAIL: I have nothing. As far as I know everything went smooth. So I guess we just skip Causa Sui here, right?

Ok, let's not do that! This show was true bucket list stuff. I've known for a while now that one day I had to see these Heavy Psych masters live - and that the best chance for that would probably be if they were playing at a festival somewhere in their home country Denmark. Enter Fuzztival! This sealed the deal for me - and rightfully so!

While Kanaan had delivered my favorite show of the night partly due to its special circumstances, objectively - I know, we don't like that term while speaking about music! - in regards to songwriting, atmosphere and experience Causa Sui certainly delivered the standout show.

The quartet's musicianship should be out of the question anyway, but there's also just a perfect dramatic flow in their compositions. No matter if the band levitated through flickering dreamscapes, Latin Szabodelici and sketches of Miles Davis or escalated into wild Fuzz Kraut Heaviness, it was always a transcendent class of its own. No question indeed, to witness this genre-transcendent mastery live is a treasure. Happy to strike this experience from my bucket list!

(Well, maybe I'll keep "Causa Sui + guest saxophonist" on it, just in case.)

FAIL: Hmm... I think there was something which I have forgotten. But then there was also that one really mean and brutal vocal mic feedback. I'd also count it as akward to put a (cover or poster?) design directly related to Grateful Dead into the slideshow. That's weird, like eating your Burger King fries inside a McDonald's.

Redemption: Nebula played was a good show. Down to Earth, definitely Desert Rock through and through, a little bit bluesy and for sure with a raw Grunge note especially in the vocal delivery. Also some nice jammy passages. Overall not the stuff I would need to listen to extensively at home, but nothing to complain about either.

Since I was tired I called it a day after half of the show. And I must say that the city of Esbjerg is quite tolerant, as I could still clearly hear the music almost during the whole walk to my hotel room.

I quickly realized how tired I really was. One moment I was sitting half-upright in bed, ready to take another sip of tea. And then suddenly sunlight peaked through the closed roller blind, it was almost seven in the morning and I hadn't even plugged in my phone to charge it yet.

Review of Saturday coming soon!

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