Deserfest London 2016: Final Headliner Announced and Lineup Complete

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Well, that’s a wrap for  When You Ask Assignment Cloud, “see this?” We’ll Reply Only in a Positive Way by Providing You with Excellent Academic Solutions! Desertfest London 2016… unless, you know, you count the actual holding of the fest in April. Which you should probably count. Okay, maybe not a wrap at all.

But the lineup is complete, and that’s something in itself. Spanning genres and geographical borders, I feel like this year’s  creative letter writing ideas - Quick and trustworthy writings from industry best company. Entrust your essays to the most talented writers. Only HQ writing services Desertfest London perfectly emphasizes just how much this festival has grown in its five years into this encompassing celebration of heavy rock, sludge and doom, holding firm to its local roots even in this last batch of bands, while also expanding its reach in pulling legendary acts from beyond the UK and Europe as well.

write phd thesis conclusions Has http://republicasdobrasil.com/morar/psychology-assignments-online/s dissertation for master in educational leadership paper for phd Russian Circles will headline the second of official site - Put aside your concerns, place your assignment here and get your quality paper in a few days Why worry about the dissertation Desertfest London 2016’s three dog nights, and a slew of others have joined the bill as well, including The Blog Buy A Critical Thinking Paper Welcome towards the editing that is best – Proofreading Essay Services that may Undoubtedly Impress Your Tutors or Mondo Drag,  buy non tracable research papers This Site star wars research paper buy college application essay john hopkins Stinking Lizaveta, underrated Londoners  Our professional online company provides its customers with great variety of problems with essay writings! You can find almost everything for a low Crystal Head,  How SpeedyPaper paraphrasing and http://envsci.uprrp.edu/?dbq-thesis-help works. The easiest way to get your paper done. 1. Fill in the order form. Siena Root and many more details below:

desertfest london 2016 poster

DESERTFEST LONDON: lineup complete with Russian Circles headlining the Saturday!

Online Custom Writing Services - diversify the way you do your homework with our time-tested service put out a little time and money to get the paper you could not even Russian Circles to headline the fifth edition of DESERTFEST LONDON this spring in Camden!

It’s finally here: your complete DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 line-up has arrived! Chicago’s majestic instrumental progsters Russian Circles are set to headline the Saturday night with Pelican as lead support. Not only that, but we have the mighty forefathers of doom Trouble celebrating their 30th anniversary with a very special show for us, just before Electric Wizard bring down the Sunday night curtain in style! See you all in April…

Desertfest is all about our passion for heavy music, our love through deep-rooted friendships and above all, our collective appreciation of diversity, musical skill and the broadest range of powerful performances…

RUSSIAN CIRCLES are not from the desert, they’re not exponents of standard 5-minute, 4-4 rock songs and they expose their soundscapes exclusively for us to form our own interpretations without the mask of any form of lyrics. Shrouded in darkness, illuminated only by flashes of white light and the occasionally projected visual, they’re performers worthy of headlining any show in front of an audience who have the ability to think before they roar. With fellow instrumental crusher-destroyers PELICAN primed and ready as their main support, get ready to see, smell and FEEL the sheer weight of these swirls of Siberia.

Desertfest is also proudly joining in with Chicago doom legends TROUBLE’s 30th anniversary celebrations. Original members Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell will be touching the sky with their classic dual guitar leads and now-established front man Kyle Thomas (Alabama Thunderpussy, Floodgate, Exhorder) will be tempting the crowds with his prayers for the dead, it’s going to be a real mind bender!

The rest of final announcement for Desertfest London 2016 goes as follows:
SIENA ROOT
STINKING LIZAVETA
DYSE
MANTAR
MONDO DRAG
GURT
NECRO DEATHMORT
CAROUSEL
THE MOTH
CRYSTAL HEAD
SPIDER KITTEN
SEDULUS
BEASTMAKER
DOG DAYS

– DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 –
April 29th to May 1st in Camden, London (UK)
Weekend tickets available AT THIS LOCATION

https://www.leedstickets.com/eventinfo/4804/Desertfest-2016
http://www.thedesertfest.com/london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://instagram.com/desertfest
http://desertfest.bigcartel.com/

Russian Circles, Live at Saint Vitus Bar 2014

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Desertfest London 2016: JK Flesh, Teeth of the Sea, Lower Slaughter, Bonnacons of Doom, Guapo and The Poisoned Gass Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2016 header

Writing Bibliographies - Put aside your fears, place your task here and receive your professional essay in a few days Craft a quick custom research paper Desertfest London 2016 continues to take shape, adding a second performance from  When you need a smart help with any kind of essays, leave the writing job to homework help anglo saxons company. Number of years of experience together with well Justin K. Broadrick as  http://www.sampans.fr/?the-help-movie-review-essays online from professional term paper writing service. All custom term papers are written from scratch by qualified writers! JK Flesh to its Quietus Stage to go along with  writing essay english http://workspaceadvantage.com/essay-about-marijuana help with filing divorce papers andre gide essays on modern writers Godflesh playing near the top of the bill. I’m fortunate enough to have been to  buy best compare and contrast essay can be an excellent addition to a sales team that has been disappointed with their success in winning government contracts. The Black Heart in Camden Town on more than one occasion. Once you make your way upstairs from the bar on the ground floor to where the shows are, it’s not a huge space. I would imagine that  If You Have Decided To Avail Our Services Simply Let Our Team Know That I Am Ready To “Free Printable Homework Pass” Being a student the most Broadrick will bring a considerable rumble to that room for his performance, which rounds out a grippingly heavy day that also features a slot from  The Poisoned Glass, the new project from Asva‘s G. Stuart Dahlquist, as well as a host of others.

JK Flesh, The Poisoned Glass, Teeth of the Sea, Guapo, Bonnacons of Doom and Lower Slaughter make up the Quietus Stage lineup, which the PR wire highlights below:

desertfest london 2016 quietus stage

Justin K. Broadrick to headline The Quietus Stage at DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 this April!

As always, the The Quietus Stage at DESERTFEST LONDON is a highlight in the yearly calendar for anyone who likes their mind-frazzlingly progressive sounds to come with a side order of skull-crushing riffs and tank blast beats. We’re proud to announce that Justin K Broadrick will headline the Black Heart on Friday 29th April.

JK FLESH is the brainchild of Godflesh/Jesu/ex-Napalm Death genius JUSTIN K BROADRICK is arguably his most incendiary incarnation yet, combining slamming industrial dub rhythms with his trademark avalanche of rifftrocity.

There isn’t anything wrong with any festival in the world that couldn’t instantaneously be fixed by the appearance of London’s TEETH OF THE SEA – we’re willing to stake our reputation on the claim that no other band in the world combines elements of Ennio Morricone, Killing Joke, Giorgio Moroder, Prurient, Queen and Tangerine Dream and even if they did, they wouldn’t be half the fun.

GUAPO is a cult name among the afficionados of blazing, LSD fried, outer reaches prog; their last album Obscure Knowledge was never far from tQ’s office stereo and just wait until you hear the bagpipe solo!

Featuring ex Burning Witch, Sunn O))) and Asva members G.Stuart Dahlqvist and Edgy 59 bring the THE POISONED GLASS and their droned out experimental sound using only electronic noise, organs and bass and some left field vocals.

Opening up the stage are two of the hands down, uncontested highlights of last year’s Supernormal festival – BONNACONS OF DOOM played an unannounced gig in the middle of a forest – a bunch of shadowy figures in monks cowls, with mirrors instead of faces playing an immensely satisfying style of Krautrock influenced doom twang that sounded like Circle jamming with The Shadows; and LOWER SLAUGHTER, put simply, will tear your face off, rip it to pieces and then stuff the whole lot up your anus, with their savage Melvins meets Television riffing and 12 cans of Monster energy drink for breakfast vocals.

– DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 –
April 29th to May 1st in Camden, London (UK)
Weekend tickets available AT THIS LOCATION

https://www.leedstickets.com/eventinfo/4804/Desertfest-2016
http://www.thedesertfest.com/london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://instagram.com/desertfest
http://desertfest.bigcartel.com/

JK Flesh, Nothing is Free EP (2015)

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Desertfest London 2016: Corrosion of Conformity Added as Headliner

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 5th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2016 banner

Desertfest London 2016 continues to break out big guns in its lineup for the end of next April. The latest? Oh, just the reunited Deliverance-era lineup of Corrosion of Conformity. That’s all. Oh, and they’ll co-headline the Friday night with Crowbar. No big deal. Oh wait, it’s a friggin’ huge deal. By that time, C.O.C. will likely be working toward their previously announced next full-length — which will be their first in 16 years with all four of its current players — and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that ahead of the Fall 2016 release on Nuclear Blast, they’ll have a new song or two in the set.

These are wild days, my friends. The PR wire sent over the following announcement:

desertfest london 2016 poster

DESERTFEST LONDON 2016: Corrosion Of Conformity to headline the Friday!

It is with great excitement that we’re revealing the second headliner to walk the DESERTFEST LONDON stage next April 29th in Camden, with America’s coolest volume dealers CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and no one but their historical frontman Pepper Keenan at the helm! Icing on this greasy cake: their sludgy brothers in arms CROWBAR will co-headline the night, for a “southern special” Friday at Desertfest!

UK’s forerunner stoner/doom/psyche gathering DESERTFEST couldn’t reach the milestone of their 5th edition without having cult acts on the bill. And who could open this special weekend better than one of America’s most inspiring and outstanding bands of musicians in heavy music, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, reuniting with their iconic guitarist and frontman Pepper Keenan (also well-known for founding leading southern metal unit Down). With the recent news of COC’s signing on Nuclear Blast Records and recording of a new album due out in the fall of 2016, there is no doubt that this fifth Desertfest London will go down in history!

As previously announced and to make it even more special, NOLA’s sludge metal heroes CROWBAR will co-headline the Friday along with COC, bringing their influential slow-and-low sound to the masses. Once again this is a first, as Kirk Windstein and his crew of titans have never played any Desertfest before. A night dedicated to US sludge and rock heavyweights!

– DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 –
April 29th to May 1st in Camden, London (UK)
Weekend tickets available AT THIS LOCATION

Current lineup is as follows:
ELECTRIC WIZARD
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY w/ Pepper Keenan
GODFLESH
CROWBAR
TRUCKFIGHTERS
ELDER
EGYPT
CONAN
WO FAT
MOTHERSHIP
MONOLORD
ROTOR
RAGING SPEEDHORN
PLANET OF ZEUS
WITCHSORROW

https://www.leedstickets.com/eventinfo/4804/Desertfest-2016
http://www.thedesertfest.com/london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://instagram.com/desertfest
http://desertfest.bigcartel.com/

Corrosion of Conformity, Live in Glasgow, March 2015

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Desertfest London 2016: Godflesh, Crowbar, Truckfighters, Egypt, Wo Fat, Monolord, Mothership, Rotor and Planet of Zeus Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2016 banner

Goodness gracious. There wasn’t really any doubt that Desertfest London 2016 meant business when it came out of the gate with Electric Wizard, Elder and Conan in the lineup, but the Camden Town festival has continued to swing hard with its next batch of adds, which includes Godflesh, Crowbar, Truckfighters, Wo Fat, Mothership, Egypt (if those last three aren’t touring Europe together around their Desertfest appearance, they should be), Monolord, Rotor and Planet of Zeus. It’s a pretty significant round two from Desertfest London 2016, which, again, wasn’t exactly struggling to make its quota of awesome to start with. If I had a bank holiday weekend, that would seem to be the way to spend it.

Tickets are on sale now. Details follow, as seen on the PR wire:

desertfest london 2016 poster

Godflesh, Crowbar, Truckfighters, Egypt and more acts confirmed to play DESERTFEST LONDON 2016!

UK’s #1 stoner, doom, sludge and psych event DESERTFEST LONDON is thrilled to announce the second wave of artists who will be taking the stage at the 2016 edition, taking place in April 29th to May 1st across multiple venues in the legendary musical hub of Camden Town…

NOLA’s sludge metal heroes CROWBAR will be heading back over seas to make ears bleed, bringing their influential slow-and-low sound to an eager, ready, and willing Desertfest. Kirk Windstein and his crew of titans haven’t graced UK revellers with their rowdy presence since 2014; and Crowbar has never played Desertfest London. Making for a truly exciting, and long over-due, addition to the already stellar proceedings next year has in store.

Desertfest are also pleased to reveal that our friends at Old Empire will once again be curating a stage, bringing an eclectic and exciting array of acts to broaden the pallet. First to be announced are industrial legends GODFLESH, who will be headlining the Old Empire offerings. Their experimental and aggressive sound has established the Birmingham-based duo as one of the most innovative bands in industrial music, cited as influencing everyone from Metallica to Faith No More.

As if all that wasn’t enough to process, there’s of course a healthy helping of doom and stoner rock goodness joining the mix for Desertfest 2016. Heavy-hitting warriors TRUCKFIGHTERS will be chucking riffs left, right and centre, alongside fellow Swedish fuzz lords MONOLORD, who will be riding easy and destroying all in one slow, hard and loud blow. Psychedelic monsters WO FAT are a welcome return, having well and truly mastered the art of trippy doom – many can do it, but few do it as well as the Dallas desert trio. EGYPT will also be heading over and hitting the bill hard to bring some Dakota doom goodness to the haze, alongside eccentric instrumental gurus ROTOR. Southern rock lovin’ PLANET OF ZEUS are bringing their raw grooves out of the Greek underground and into thirsty a London, and finally heavy rockers MOTHERSHIP will be taking fans well out the galaxy – musically speaking, of course.

– DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 –
April 29th to May 1st in Camden, London (UK)
Weekend tickets available AT THIS LOCATION

Current lineup is as follows:
ELECTRIC WIZARD
GODFLESH
CROWBAR
TRUCKFIGHTERS
ELDER
EGYPT
CONAN
WO FAT
MOTHERSHIP
MONOLORD
ROTOR
RAGING SPEEDHORN
PLANET OF ZEUS
WITCHSORROW

https://www.leedstickets.com/eventinfo/4804/Desertfest-2016
http://www.thedesertfest.com/london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://instagram.com/desertfest
http://desertfest.bigcartel.com/

Truckfighters, Live at Desertfest London 2013

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Desertfest London 2016 First Announcements: Electric Wizard, Conan, Elder, Witchsorrow and Raging Speedhorn Confirmed

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 2nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Desertfest London 2016 will be held April 29 through May 1 in the (black) heart of London: Camden Town. This is the fifth year the fest has been held, and while I’m not sure that was on their minds when they decided to open their season with an opening shot of five band announcements, it works out nicely all the same.

That’s true in no small part because of the bands announced. For a first headliner, Desertfest London 2016 unveils Electric Wizard, and they’re joined by a considerable battalion comprised of Conan, Elder, Witchsorrow and reactivated sludge rockers Raging Speedhorn, whom I once saw play — true story — in a hotel bar way off the beaten path at SXSW in Austin, Texas, maybe 2005 or 2006? I mean that show was so far out it might as well have been in Houston. Long walk. They were worth it though, and I don’t think they ever came back to the US, which is fair enough. Hard to beat “Fuck You, Pay Me.”

Anyhoo, of course we’ll have a ton more to come on Desertfest London 2016 by next April, though for now it’s cool to see Elder will apparently be making their way back to Europe. Very interested to find out how London’s lineup will interact with that of the Berlin-based Desertfest. When I see something, I’ll say something.

For now:

desertfest london 2016 banner

***DESERTFEST IS BACK WITH A BANG! FIVE BANDS FOR APRIL 2016!***

Hello all! We at Desertfest HQ hope you’ve had a great summer so far and as we sidle into September we’re thrilled to bring you some great news about the fifth annual Desertfest in Camden this coming April. Our first headliner to creep out of the shadows are those mighty legends of true British doom Electric Wizard! Marching behind the standard they bear for us all come Liverpool’s battle-hardened warriors Conan, Boston’s heralded masters of heavy psych Elder, the UK’s blackened doomsters Witchsorrow and those heroes of sludgy hardcore Raging Speedhorn!

Head over to our new-look website to find out more about these incredible bands and stick with us in the coming weeks as we bring you yet more of the world’s greatest doom, psyche, stoner, sludge and all things in between this April in Camden!

http://www.thedesertfest.com/london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://instagram.com/desertfest
http://desertfest.bigcartel.com/

Conan, Live at Desertfest London 2013

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LONDON DESERTFEST 2013 Day Three: Shine in a Being

Posted in Features on April 28th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

04.28.13 — 11:13PM GMT — Sunday — Holiday Inn, Camden

The photo above is of my wristband for this year’s Desertfest. You’ll note it’s not attached to my wrist. I got back just a little bit ago from the Electric Ballroom and had meant to ask at the front desk of the hotel for them to cut it off with scissors, since it’s pretty sturdy material — it’s had to be to last these several days — but forgot on my way up and wound up just pulling it off around my hand. I feel like I should have it framed.

Late nights beget later nights, so I’m not gonna waste time here. Day three was no less righteous than one would have to expect after the first two. Here’s how it went down for me:

Throne

The other day I received a vehement recommendation to check out Throne, to which I responded, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure they played last year and were cool.” Turns out they did play Desertfest 2012, at The Underworld, but this year the trio moved over to The Black Heart, which was where my day began with their unpretentious Sleep riffing and nodding rhythms. They still didn’t have an album for sale downstairs that I could find, but The Black Heart was, as it has been this whole weekend, packed out. On my way through, I watched a couple seconds through the doorway in the spirit of Roadburn and found myself still persuaded by their languid pacing and largely-unfrilled stonery. I had finished my cup of coffee about two minutes before they started playing, so it was a cool way to wake up.

Blackstorm


Meanwhile, at The Underworld, Brighton/Manchester-based Blackstorm were dishing out a pounding the likes of which I’d not yet seen here. They were a band about whom I knew next to nothing, but their double-guitar uptempo crushcore was a longer way away from what Throne were doing at The Black Heart than the street that divided the two acts physically. I arrived part of the way through their set, which the five-piece delivered in lively fashion, with lots of movement, a swinging mic stand and big, chunky riffs set to breakdown beats. “Then You’ll Drown” was a burly basher, and I caught “Run with the Wolves” from their late-2012 EP, The Darkness is Getting Closer, which was distinguished by the dual vocals of guitarist Neil Kingsbury and frontman Karl Middleton. They were tight and had it together on stage, though my head was already preparing itself for the cleaving it would no doubt receive from who followed them.

Conan

Suddenly I had to wonder why I bothered bringing earplugs in the first place. British trio Conan weren’t through the second verse of “Hawk as Weapon” from last year’s low-end raging Monnos (review here) before I felt like they’d melted in my ear canal. Guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis, bassist/vocalist Phil Coumbe and drummer Paul O’Neil just released their set from last year’s Roadburn as the new Mount Wrath CD and vinyl, and while that’s definitely a satisfying listen, I was glad to see them in-person again, because no matter how loud you turn up a record, I don’t know if there’s any way to do justice to what Conan are live. Beastly heavy. Heavy to whatever degree hyperbole you might want to put to it, and while that heaviness and Davis and Coumbe‘s tones are still the star of the show, the three-piece also have grown as a stage act since I last had the good fortune to see them. Coumbe‘s low growls and Davis‘ shouting worked especially well together, and in addition to “Hawk as Weapon,” “Battle in the Swamp” and “Grim Tormentor” from Monnos, Conan also played two new songs, “Foehammer” and “Gravity Chasm,” which continued the warmongering gallop of the earlier album tracks that set up an excruciatingly slow finale, all the while keeping their fury front and center and proving there’s more to their heaviness than what comes through their amps. The other day, when I got stopped by that customs agent, he accused me of trying to illegally emigrate to the UK. I’m still not planning on it, but Conan make a solid argument in favor of doing so.

Toner Low

Kudos to whoever handled scheduling the bands’ timeslots for putting Conan and Toner Low right next to each other. I’d never seen the Dutch three-piece before — they’re now in their 15th year and have just released their third album — but they actually share a lot in common with Conan in terms of their general ethic. They are unreasonably loud, unremittingly heavy in tone and seem like they’re ready to follow a riff anywhere it might lead them. The difference is aggression. Where Conan are all beheadings and mayhem, Toner Low are purely stoned. Toner Low played in the dark but for a psychedelic lightshow setup they placed in front of their drummer and a sheet with projected falling pot leaves on the guitarist/vocalist, but yeah, they’re about as stoner as stoner gets, working in elements of more primal drone here and there, but keeping a solid foundation of riffs at hand at almost all times. They brought their own rigs, which made sense for the bassist since her gear was different from what seemed to be on hand, but the guitar — which seemed to be actually coated in resin from the look of it — ran through an Orange half-stack and amp they brought, and there’s been so much Orange around Desertfest I can practically taste it. I can’t argue with their having done it, though, since Toner Low sounded unbelievably good. I bought their new record and am looking forward to checking it out.

Naam

Naam beckoned. I won’t lie, there was a part of me that was like, “Why the hell would you go to London and see a band you can see in New York?” The other part of me was all, “No way dude, this is gonna be awesome. Naam have a new record coming out,” and that part of me won. Once a trio, now a foursome and tonight playing as a five-piece with the addition of a second guitar — not that they were lacking texture before, but more never hurts — Naam‘s universe seems to be in permanent expansion, both in terms of their lineup and their sound. Tonight was the best I’ve seen them play, and I’ve seen them play a few really killer shows. The integration of John Weingarten‘s keys along with Ryan Lugar‘s guitar/vocals, John Bundy‘s bass/vocals and Eli Pizzuto‘s drums is complete, and to show that, “Starchild” from last year’s The Ballad of the Starchild EP was the highlight of their whole set, though “Beyond” from their forthcoming sophomore full-length, Vow, came pretty close. They’ve nearly perfected a balance between stoner riffing and Hawkwindian space rush, and not surprisingly, their heavy psych went over huge at the Electric Ballroom. Naam are just starting a two-month European and UK tour that will have them in this part of the world for a while — perhaps it’s telling of their relative receptions that they’ll be in Europe when Vow releases — so I imagine they’ll only further solidify, but already they played a headliner’s set, closing as always with “Kingdom” from the EP of the same name (it also appeared on their 2009 debut LP), the layers of which shimmered with psychedelic vibes prior to a full-on freakout at the end of pushed-over drums and guitar destruction. Awesome.

Truckfighters


Here’s a direct quote from my notes on Truckfigters‘ set: “Everyone in the world who’s never seen Truckfighters live is a jive sucker and that’s that.” More or less, that covers my feelings on the matter. The Ă–rebro trio — Ozo on vocals/bass, Dango on guitar and now Poncho on drums — are easily the most energetic and engaging fuzz rock acts I’ve ever seen, and before they were through perpetual opener “Desert Cruiser,” both Ozo and Dango had gone past the monitors at the front of the stage to be closer to the crowd, who were singing along loud enough to be heard over the instruments. But Truckfighters — who are fresh off a tour with Norwegian blackened punkers Kvelertak and shortly headed to Australia and New Zealand for a run of shows — aren’t just getting their cardio in, they’re also nailing the material and delivering it with a genuine sense of spontaneity and the impression that anything can happen at any given moment, such as Ozo jumping into the crowd during closer “In Search of The” or the band launching into “Chameleon” after someone in the crowd requested it, jamming on “Desert Cruiser” or unveiling two new songs, the first which fit (“fett?”) well with the bounce of “Monte Gargano,” which came later, and the second which had a fuller, fuzzier shuffle in the beginning and wound up thicker but still moving, with a quick bass and drum break to set up a return to what seemed on first impression to be a solid hook. “Majestic” was welcome, and from their audience interaction to the tightness of their performance — at one point Dango fell on stage after jumping off the drum riser and didn’t even stop playing as he got up — there are few records supposedly coming out before the end of this year that I’m looking forward to as much as the new Truckfighters.

Colour Haze

An hour hardly seemed like enough time for a proper Colour Haze set. Back in September 2012, the ultra-influential Munich heavy psych trio rolled through London and did a full three hours, complete with guest appearances, keys, and so on. Still, I’ll take what I can get, and when it came to “Transformation” from She Said (review here) — my album of the year last year — I still heard the horn parts in my head even though no one was playing them live, so I’m not about to bitch that the experience was somehow lacking. It wasn’t. Colour Haze were a complete 180 in terms of presence from Truckfighters, mostly subdued, no jumping, no running around, plenty of grooving, but less about getting the heart rate up than giving the audience something to shut its eyes and get lost in. As guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, bassist Philip Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald jammed past “Moon” from 2008’s All and into “Love” from their ’04 self-titled, they were so locked into what they were doing that the real miracle of it seemed to be they didn’t lose the crowd in the slightest. An extended take only gave everyone watching more to dig on, so that by the time “Peace, Brothers and Sisters” and “Tempel” came around, the Electric Ballroom was suitably hypnotized. Seriously, I just wanted to give them money. Like, “Here, Colour Haze, I have 50 Euro left over from last weekend. Please take it.” I’ve seen them before — their set at Emissions from the Monolith in 2006 changed my life (ask me about it sometime), and at one or two Roadburn fests along the way — but even though this felt like a sampling, it was ultra-satisfying to watch these godfathers of the modern European scene do what quite simply nobody does better. As I already knew I wouldn’t be staying for the entire Pentagram set, Colour Haze were sort of my closeout for Desertfest, and I couldn’t have asked for a warmer farewell than that. They were masterful.

Pentagram

I got a press release earlier this week that oft-imitated doom pioneers Pentagram had a new guitarist in the form of Philly-based Matt Goldborough, but that the lineup was otherwise the same as when Victor Griffin was still slinging axe, with Sean Saley on drums and Greg Turley on bass with frontman/defining presence Bobby Liebling on vocals. Of course, lineup changes are nothing new for Liebling‘s band — their legacy is as much about tumult as it is about the riff to “Forever My Queen” — but Griffin‘s presence brought a certain legitimacy to Pentagram‘s recent run and their 2011 Last Rites comeback album (review here), and his departure, whatever the circumstances may have been, changes the context of the band, Griffin — who also played today with his new outfit In~Graved — being one of very few others who’ve done time in Pentagram who can lay reasonable claim to the material. He may well have come out to guest on guitar (I recall seeing the band in 2009 when he wasn’t with them and that happened), but if he did, I wasn’t there to see it. I stayed for about four songs and then had to split to come back to the hotel, write and pack for my flight out tomorrow. For the portion I did catch, however — “Day of Reckoning,” “Forever My Queen,” “Treat Me Right” and “Livin’ in a Ram’s Head” — Pentagram were tight and Liebling was Liebling. There are few things as much fun to watch in a concert setting as Bobby Liebling flipping out to a guitar solo. Like he hasn’t been staring at them for 40 years now. Awesome. Turley and Saley have the material on lockdown, and as the new guy, Goldborough more than held his own on guitar, a younger presence giving some freshness to what might just as easily have come across stale otherwise. I’ve seen worse from Pentagram, and though one can dream of this or that reunion lineup, the simple fact that they exist and persist is to be… respected? Maybe. Probably. Definitely gazed at in astonishment. And so they were.

I have work to do. As in, for my job. And so I know that Desertfest, as blissful as it has been, must be over. My plan is to write up some concluding thoughts for this whole trip tomorrow on the plane, and I’ll include a thanks list with that, but before I switch off to picture-sorting mode, I just want to say it’s been an absolute pleasure and an honor to be back here in Camden this weekend, to see the bands I’ve been lucky enough to be here to see and to meet the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. This place is awesome (but for the weather), the music is great and I feel like even more than last year, Desertfest is developing a genuine vibe all its own. I was beat today, t-i-r-e-d, but at the same time, I knew I wanted to take as much of the proceedings in as possible, because when I’m back home slogging away in the office, I’m going to miss it.

More to come tomorrow, and more pics after the jump. Thanks as always for reading.

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LONDON DESERTFEST 2013 Day Two: Of Future Past

Posted in Features on April 27th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

04.27.13 — 11:25PM GMT — Saturday — Holiday Inn, Camden

It was difficult — even last night — not to look forward to today. I won’t say I was trying extra hard not to get hit by a bus on my way out of the hotel and down the block for day two of the 2013 London Desertfest, but if I had been, I certainly would’ve had reason. Strictly speaking, it was my most straightforward of the three days here. Virtually no running back and forth, just one venue change and that was it for the duration. Even before I saw any bands, today felt like a luxury, and sure enough I was able to kind of nestle my way into the groove of the evening and just let it carry me along as it went. This would turn out to be precisely the right strategy.

On a sheer cause and effect level — I went here and this happened — the results are mostly inarguable. I’ll note that there were a lot of bands who played today who I didn’t see. Some whose music I don’t know, some whose music I know and very much enjoy. Rather than lay out each option for each time slot and justify my decisions one at a time, please just know that I’ve put no lack of consideration into how I’m spending my days here, and that the choices I’ve made for what to see have not been easy.

Alright, let’s go:

Gurt

The first thing was to get a heaping dose of native Londoner sludge, and for that I headed down to The Underworld to catch Gurt, stopping only for coffee and a blueberry muffin along the way. It was sort of half-slushing on the way — semi-frozen balls of unpleasantness falling from the sky — so I just assumed whatever pagan seabeast is in charge of the weather around here was making it appropriate for the onslaught that was coming. I have dug several of Gurt‘s releases, most recently the Collection tape (more here), but ultimately, that would do little to prepare me for seeing them live, since they proved all around to be a more diverse band than I’d previously given them credit for being, working in influences of post-Superjoint Ritual thickened punk along with their standard Eyehategod — or if we’d like to keep it local, Iron Monkey — fuckall, frontman Gareth Kelly‘s screams all the more vicious and throat-searing from the stage. The trend in terms of vocals has swung the other way to the cleaner, melodic end, but I still like to see a screamer who can really scream and keep it up for the duration of a set without losing power, and Kelly did that, making a highlight of “Fucknose” in the process. I also hadn’t given them credit for their sense of satire. “Dudes with Beards with Cats” was right on, and “You ain’t from around these Parts?” was presented as having an agenda that I hadn’t perceived originally — perhaps because I couldn’t understand the lyrics, perhaps because I’m clueless. Either way. Gurt brought up Diesel King vocalist Mark O’Regan for the finale, “Soapfeast,” the Church of Misery boogie of which was one more example of Gurt being better than I knew. Lesson learned.

Turbowolf

It was hard to me to look at frontman Chris of Brighton four-piece Turbowolf and not think of a young Bobby Liebling of Pentagram. The superficial factors were there — moustache, mane, frilly shirt, tight pants and so on — but I doubt if many on the Trail of Dead tour that Turbowolf just wrapped had the same issue. There was also about as little in common with the bands as there could be and still have both of them play the same fest, Turbowolf opening at the Electric Ballroom — a new venue for Desertfest as of this year — playing a speed rock that bordered on punk but never really gave up its classic ethic. I wondered watching them if theirs is the kind of sound that has grown out of the next generation past the likes of Turbonegro and The Hellacopters, though I barely had time to get a mental process underway before Turbowolf were on to the next upbeat, catchy rager. They weren’t really my thing (who likes fast tempo and engaging music, anyway? Oh wait, everyone.), but they sure had the crowd on their side and it was easy to see why. While the rest of the band locked in their next ultra-tight, professional delivery, Chris tossed unopened cans of beer into the audience, from whence they did not return. If the room wasn’t theirs before, and it was, that was bound to help their cause, and though it was still pretty early, Turbowolf worked the larger space easily around its collective finger, stopping only to make sure everyone was getting in on the party.

House of Broken Promises

Though they’d apparently come right from their flight into town from the Berlin Desertfest, it was clear by the time Indio, California, trio House of Broken Promises dug into the start-stop stomp of “Obey the Snake” from their 2009 Using the Useless debut full-length (review here) that they were really just waiting for the strippers to show up. New bassist/vocalist Joe Mora fit right in with the band’s crotch-thrusting dude rock, though even if he’s not singing, guitarist/beard magnate Arthur Seay is doing most of the frontman work. Master of the guitar-face and the beard-bang, Seay is nonetheless a more than solid player, and for all the antics, he, Mora and drummer/backing vocalist Mike Cancino were as tight musically as they were uproarious and working to get the crowd into it. That didn’t take much, incidentally. House of Broken Promises may play what to my ears sounds like a very American take on heavy rock, but the Desertfest crowd knows how to dig into catchy songs delivered with quality heavy and quality energy alike, which is just what they got at Electric Ballroom, plus some old biker movie video backdrop courtesy of Mindzap Visuals. I think of some of the places I’ve seen these guys play — the Trash Bar in Brooklyn comes to mind, also the Brighton in NJ — but they seemed much more suited to the bigger stage, the bigger room than to either of those haunts. While I don’t think I would go as far as to call them desert rock — that would come later when Cancino and Seay returned as half of Unida — the three-piece definitely left a boot print in the Electric Ballroom, closing out their set with “The Hurt (Paid My Dues),” which had arms raised and lyrics sung along from the very start. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when they get a follow-up to Using the Useless together, what effect Mora‘s joining might have on their songwriting process or overall sound, but for today, they were dead-on. Rarely can I say the same for myself when I’ve just come from the airport.

Lowrider

If you’ve lived for more than 25 seconds, you know that life long. And if you’ve lived for more than 25 seconds, chances are something has happened to you over the course of your life that you didn’t expect would ever happen. Tonight, I saw Lowrider, the Swedish double-guitar four-piece who released in their day only one full-length album — 2000’s Ode to Io, on MeteorCity — and two splits, with Nebula and Sparzanza, played fewer than 50 shows, and disintegrated, to become in the years subsequent one of the single most pivotal blueprints for European riffing. Yeah, Dozer (wait for it…) came up concurrently, releasing their debut also in 2000, but what Ode to Io offered was a fealty to desert rock really just as the thing was beginning to exist outside of the desert itself. These bands showed not only that it could be done, but gave landmark examples of how to do it. I don’t know where people had come from, if they drove here, got on a plane, train, boat, whatever, but I have to believe that it was the chance to see bands like Lowrider, Dozer and Unida that brought them to Desertfest 2013. And though I don’t really know how a group of individuals could come out onto a stage and live up to that kind of impossible narrative, guitarist Niclas StĂĄlfors, bassist/vocalist Peder Bergstrand, lead guitarist/vocalist Ola Hellquist and drummer Andreas Eriksson did precisely that. Most of what they played came from Ode to Io, as one would hope and expect, but they gave some time as well to the Nebula split, picking up “Lameneshma,” “Shivaree” and “Ol’ Mule Pepe” for anyone who might be looking for a deeper cut out after the mega-hooks of “Flat Earth” or “Caravan,” the latter which rang out as an immediate clarion as if to say, “Yes, this is really happening.” They were visibly glad to be on the stage together at the Electric Ballroom, the tone was right on — having nerded out so many times over for “Texas Pt. 1 & 2,” it was great to hear it announced from stage as the first song they ever wrote — and coming out of it, I have to say that if these dudes had any desire whatsoever to go back and write a new album, nothing I heard from them tonight would stand as argument against doing so. The material — minimum 13 years old — sounded vital and fresh, and when they were done, Bergstrand (who is also in I are Droid), took a picture of the crowd and said he didn’t want to wait another 10 years to do it again. Hell dude, me neither. I never thought I’d get to do it this once, so really, anything on top of tonight is gravy.

Dozer

Dozer are a big part of the reason why I’m here. Not just here in London for Desertfest, but here, in front of this laptop, writing like I do more or less every day. That’s not hyperbole, it’s just fact. When I first started getting into this kind of music in college, it was acts like Dozer who fueled my curiosity to know more about it. The Swedish outfit announced an indefinite hiatus in 2009, and have been little heard from since — though as early as last summer, guitarist Tommi Holappa was dropping hints of a reunion at Desertfest — so to find them back at it with the lineup of Holappa, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Olle MĂĄrthans was special, and for me, something that will mark out this Desertfest among all the fests I’ve seen and any and all I might see. This was the one where I finally saw Dozer. I knew some of what to expect from Holappa‘s thrashing madness on stage from seeing him at Desertfest last year with side-project Greenleaf (another personal highlight), but wow. Opening with “The Hills Have Eyes” and “Exoskeleton Pt. 2,” they stormed through their hour-long set, making the most of their time with cuts from across their five albums like “Rising” from 2002’s Call it Conspiracy, “The Flood” from 2008’s Beyond Colossal (their last album to date), and “From Fire Fell,” “Big Sky Theory,” “Drawing Dead,” “Born a Legend” and “Days of Future Past” from 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens, the last of which Nordin singled out as his favorite song Dozer had ever written. It’s a strong candidate, with a memorable melody line and dynamic changes within an overarching moodiness that was not in the slightest lost in a live setting, the guitarist tempering his approach to the music and using a few effects here and there as well for echo and warble. His falsetto, shouts and straight-ahead melodic singing were right on, and with Holappa‘s headbanging his way back and forth on the stage, Rockner‘s quiet but steady low end on the other wise and MĂĄrthans‘ positively huge drum sound — the kind of kick you feel in your chest — seeing Dozer was everything I could’ve asked it to be and more. They even jammed! Of course, they could’ve played twice as long and I wouldn’t have complained, but a track like “Headed for the Sun” from 1999’s Coming Down the Mountain EP split with Unida (wait for it…) only underscored for me how much they need to do an early works compilation, like, yesterday. They wrapped with “Rings of Saturn” — the bonus track from the vinyl version of 2001’s Madre de Dios — and the opener of their 2000 debut, In the Tail of a Comet, “Supersoul,” which felt like home from the first note. I don’t know if this is the last time I’ll get to see Dozer play or not — I hope not — but for tonight, I’m just thankful that I got to see them this once at Desertfest. Really. When they were done, I felt like I’d accomplished something.

Unida

And if a night like this is going to have an epilogue, a 90-minute headlining set from Cali desert rockers Unida is a good one to have. In a lot of ways, Unida sort of sum up what seems to me to be the whole mentality of this fest. They’re a band who, just when they should’ve hit it big with a major label album produced by a major producer, it all came apart on them, and so what you had tonight was people singing along to tracks from a record that never came out. Without the passion for this music at the heart of this festival, there’s no way a band like Unida would resurface for a headliner spot. Vocalist John Garcia has Vista Chino at work on a new album, and guitarist Athur Seay and drummer Mike Cancino had already done a set in House of Broken Promises — the band was rounded out by Arthur‘s nephew, Owen Seay, on bass — so what made it happen? Money? I’m sure they got paid to be here, but money’s what makes you get up and go to work in the morning. What makes you spend months hammering out a set of songs to get up and deliver them in front of a couple thousand people most of whom (myself included) only caught onto your band after the fact? If it wasn’t passion, it would have to be madness. As he has been the several times I’ve seen him — in Kyuss-minded projects like Garcia Plays Kyuss and Kyuss Lives!, from which Vista Chino springs Garcia was a relatively subdued frontman, collected on stage if prone to the occasional leg-jerk softshoe. Seay as well was calmer for the Unida set compared to House of Broken Promises, and since some of my favorite Unida tracks are the moodier, more sedate, I thought it worked well. Over the course of their time, they certainly worked in their share of rocking material, whether it was the ultra-catchy “Red” from 1998’s The Best of Wayne-Gro EP (which also served as their portion of the split with Dozer the next year) or the groovier “Vince Fontaine” from the unreleased For the Working Man. I was hoping they’d have some bootleg copies of that record on sale, but no such luck. The extended “Last Day” found the Seays and Cancino at some of their tightest, musically, and Garcia‘s voice was, as ever, crucial. “Thorn,” “Nervous” and “Human Tornado” were all met with rapturous welcome — they’d almost have to be — and after leaving the stage, Unida came back out and made a blasting two-song encore out of “Dwarf It” and “Black Woman” that answered back some of the quieter stretches of their set with full-fisted gut-punchery. Standing in the very back of the Electric Ballroom and watching the crowd go apeshit for them, I wondered if Unida might finally be getting the payoff they’ve been waiting for a decade to receive.

No time to think about it, really. They shuffled us out of the venue on the quick, and I decided to end the day with a check-in over at The Black Heart to see how things were shaking out there and pick up a copy of the new tape I’d heard Bong brought with them. No such luck on that one, and there didn’t seem to be much of a pathway to the stairs let alone up them to see the band, so I hightailed it back in the direction of the hotel, stopping to pick up some pizza along the way, since nothing says celebration quite like a pizza party for one.

Tomorrow is the last day of Desertfest 2013, with more running around than I had today, but still a decent amount of full sets I’ll get to watch. This trip is winding down, but we’re not done yet.

Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump.

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LONDON DESERTFEST 2013 Day One: Gods of Fire! Gods of Fire!

Posted in Features on April 26th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

04.26.13 — 11:28PM GMT — Friday — Holiday Inn, Camden

Housekeeping kicked me out of my hotel room. While I’m staying somewhere, I usually don’t like to have people come through and clean — I’m not making that much of a mess, and what mess I make, I can clean up myself — but sometimes it just has to be done. So they gave me the boot, but I was still early to head down for the official start of London Desertfest 2013. Or late, depending on how you want to look at it. I’ll explain as we go along, though before we get down to it and the rest of my night gets its course, let me just say that some of what I saw today is the kind of stuff that I’ve no doubt will stay with me for as long as I have the capacity to remember it. Really. It was like that. From watching friends kick ass to seeing bands I never thought I’d be lucky enough to see, it was the perfect start to a landmark weekend.

In the spirit of doom, let’s do a slow count-in: 1… 2… 3… 4…

Crystal Head

Native British trio Crystal Head were my favorite find of last year’s Desertfest — a band about whom I really knew nothing who just blew me away on stage. Obviously the surprise factor wasn’t there this go around, but the Londoners were perhaps even more satisfying to watch in 2013 since I knew most of the songs, which came from their 2011 self-titled debut (review here). As such, they made a great launch point for day one of this year’s Desertfest and though the setting was different at the Jazz Cafe, guitarist/vocalist Tom Cameron, bassist/backing vocalist Jon Deal and drummer Dean Deal nonetheless made short work of the room. Self-titled opener “Perfect Weirdo,” was a highlight, and Cameron‘s hollow-body Gretsch was as righteous as I remembered. Curiously, since I thought it was a shoo-in, they didn’t play “True to Say,” but I guess the DJ beforehand had gotten wind of the fact that they weren’t going to, and it was aired over the P.A. nonetheless before they took the stage. I had thought that was weird. Along with “Wouldn’t You Know” — which I might very well have stuck in my head for the rest of this weekend — they kicked into a new song called “Bellicose” that was introduced as being, “about how nice the world is.” So be it. Moody as they get, and they get plenty, Crystal Head never stray too far from the next hook, and even “Bellicose” had a solid crash groove from Dean that slammed into half-speed at just the right moment. When they closed with “Truth Hurts,” I wanted to hear a new record as badly as I wanted to hear the self-titled after they finished at The Underworld in 2012.

Groan


I went back and looked, and I haven’t called a band a hoot yet on this trip. Well, that’s what Groan were. They were a hoot. Just lots and lots and lots of fun. Fun to watch, fun to hear, fun from the moment of their ultra-pretentious classical intro to every over-the-top grandiose song of their set. I dug the hell of it. Not like I’d seen them before, but the now-fivesome have been through some lineup changes since they released The Divine Right of Kings (review here) in the latter half of 2012, shifting drummer Christopher West (also of Trippy Wicked) over to guitar while bringing on new drummer Zel Kaute and new guitarist Mike Pilat to join forces with bassist Leigh Jones and frontman extraordinaire Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen. They brought the house down early with their unabashed heavy metal shuffle, dipping into their split with Vinum Sabbatum (review here) for “Cosmic Boogie” before “Magic Man” showed off some of the more metallic riotousness that showed up on the last album. They were a top-notch stage act, Mazz playing host to a chaotic carnival while Jones followed suit and the three relative newcomers kept the material in check while adding to the energy. Pilat contributed some vocals along with Jones in a few choruses, and it was cool to hear older songs from 2010’s The Sleeping Wizard (review here) like “Witchy Woman” and their finale, “Sleeping Wizard,” get treated to the band’s newer tones. Foremost, though, Groan were a really good time as they rushed through their set, and Mazz got in the last word of wisdom before they walked off stage: “Let’s have a party!” It seemed like we just had.

Mars Red Sky


The warmth. I guess in the intervening year since I saw them at Roadburn, I’d somehow tricked my brain into thinking there was no way France’s foremost ministers of fuzz Mars Red Sky could actually sound that thick and still be so languid, dreamy, psychedelic on stage. But no, they were. At The Underworld, bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast (left above), vocalist/guitarist Julien Pras (middle above) and drummer Matgaz (right above) had the perfect balance of tonal weight and melodic sweetness, and of all the fuzz I’m bound to hear in the next few days, I’ve no doubt that at the end, theirs will have been some of the most satisfying. Most of the new Be My Guide EP (review here) was played, including “Clean White Hands” and the title-track before the trio moved on to “Curse” and “Marble Sky” from their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), Kinast coming to the fore vocally for the latter. “Strong Reflection” from the full-length was even slower coming from the stage, which I didn’t expect, but that only made the rolling, nod-inducer of a riff even richer, Pras‘ vocals echoing but still conveying a single-layer’s fragility that doubling inherently removes from the studio versions of the material, giving what’s already ultra-natural-sounding a rawer vibe. The EP is still new, but the album cuts got a great response, and as Mars Red Sky capped with “Way to Rome,” I felt like I was being issued a reminder that summer is on the way and will be here before I know it. All the better for having Mars Red Sky‘s temperate fuzz to bake in solar scorch. They also let me take their picture outside the venue later. Right on.

Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight

My original intention had been to watch cumbersomely-named appreciated amigos Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight (oft just Trippy Wicked) start the day with an acoustic set at the Vans store in Camden. The downside to this plan? I had no idea where said retail outlet was. This was a two-fold downer: First, because I like Trippy Wicked‘s acoustic stuff a lot — they break out a ukulele and really make it interesting and moody and varied — and Second, because the friggin’ Vans store in Camden was right in front of my god damn face the whole time. I walked past it on my way to Jazz Cafe for the start of Crystal Head and actually did a facepalm. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone back and forth in front of it since getting into town, but it’s several. Fortunately, my feeling like a jackass (familiar as it is) was tempered by knowing that Trippy Wicked were also booked for a full-on slot at The Black Heart, which is where I caught the St Albans trio, whose drummer Chris West and guitarist/vocalist Peter Holland had been kind enough to host me earlier this week. Time was a factor, but I did get to see them play a new song, and that was awesome, and I got to see them fill up The Black Heart such that people were queued (yeah, I’m in the UK) through the door and into the hallway to get in. Not really surprising, since last year they played The Purple Turtle (not a part of Desertfest 2013, which has already saved a few long walks, I’m sure) and garnered much the same reaction, and if not for the power of their oh-so-heavy rock and roll, certainly the fancy shirts of Holland and bassist Dicky King would’ve packed the house. I don’t know if anything will ever beat seeing them in Eindhoven last year, but whenever I get to watch them play I’m glad to be there. My only regret of the day was I didn’t get my dose of “Hillbilly Moonshine.”

Yawning Sons


What could’ve possibly drawn me away from such rock-your-socksery? The thing is, to say I have an enduring affection for the Sons of Alpha Centauri/Gary Arce collaboration — he being the “Yawning,” as in his main outfit, Yawning Man, and they being the “Sons” as in the first word of the name of their band — and their 2009 debut album, Ceremony to the Sunset (review here), is to grossly understate the situation. Theirs was the first in a trio of desert-based sets (Sons of Alpha Centauri are from the UK, but Arce counts in atmosphere as well as geography, so we’ll give them credit at least this time), that went from Yawning Sons to Yawning Man to Fatso Jetson as the closers for The Underworld. Frankly, it wasn’t the kind of thing I was going to be able to live with myself if I missed, and it seemed I was lucky when I got there and Yawning Sons hadn’t started yet. Unfortunately, in a couple short seconds within beginning to play, Arce‘s guitar cut out. Gone. The Sons portion of the lineup — guitarist Marlon King, bassist Nick Hannon, soundscaper Andrew Blake and the drummer who held together much of the jams that would ensue — locked in the gorgeousness of “Tomahawk Watercress” on their own while Arce figured out his situation, and just when it seemed to be up and running, off his guitar went again. It went on like that for a while, and was a genuine, visible bummer that cut into their set time. King and company were pros all the way, and the tech crew for Desertfest and even Arce‘s Yawning Man bandmate, Mario Lalli (also of Fatso Jetson), came out to help. Finally they got the guitar working and were able to build a bit of momentum over the remainder of their set. Lalli returned to guest on vocals for “Meadows” from the album, and that helped, and they ended with just King and Arce playing off each other on guitar, which was a cool moment to see, though I don’t think the set turned out the way anyone had anticipated or hoped. Still, I can’t call it a disappointment from where I stood. Getting to see Yawning Sons play any of their material at all was an automatic win.

Yawning Man


I don’t know if it gets more of-the-desert than the Yawning Man lineup of Gary Arce, Mario Lalli and drummer Alfredo Hernandez. There’s plenty of acts and artists who’ve emerged from that vast, beautiful wasteland expanse, but aside from being pivotal to the creation of desert rock — period — is there anyone who so singularly embodies the heavy sound associated with that region? Maybe having Yawning Man play Desertfest 2013 was a way to find out, and if so, I’ll take it. I know they’re American and I’m American, but America’s a big country, and I honestly didn’t ever think I’d get to watching Yawning Man live, so this was something really special for me to witness — these three players jamming out still-unheralded classics for an audience that, if they went through and hand-picked a crowd, they couldn’t have found one more appreciative of what they do and what they’ve done for heavy rock and heavy psychedelia as a whole. And their albums, 2005’s Rock Formations and 2010’s Nomadic Pursuits (review here) — even the latter, for which I still carry a nerd’s torch, don’t do them justice live. The songs are heavier, yeah, but also just plain deeper tonally, Arce‘s guitar expanding to full echo breadth as he signaled changes to Lalli and Hernandez for when to move to the next part. I know Yawning Man have had some lineup shuffles in their time and even recently, but to have these guys come out and start running through “Sand Whip” and “Perpetual Oyster” and get a real flow going from one jam into the next, the massive influence they’ve had on the probably thousands of bands who’ve taken bits and pieces of their sound over the course of a generation — some without even knowing they did it — made a lot of sense. By way of new material, they played “Dark Meet” from their split 12″ with Fatso Jetson, which is only the second piece of vinyl I’ve bought since I left home, and before they started, I got to hold Gary Arce‘s guitar for him while he went and grabbed a replacement part, and I felt honored just for standing where I was even more than I had already.

Fatso Jetson

Boomer’s Blues! Boomer’s Boogie! Moving to guitar and getting a microphone for vocals, Mario Lalli commenced Fatso Jetson‘s set by asking the existential question, “What is desert rock, anyway?” I was going to yell out, “rebranded post-punk!” but thought better of it. In any case, Lalli isn’t quite post his punk. Joined in this iteration of his seminal outfit by drummer Tony Tornay, bassist/cousin Larry Lalli, both mainstays, and his son, guitarist/backing vocalist Dino von Lalli — who may or may not be 16 now; Mario said something on stage about pulling him out of high school to do this show — Lalli and the band answered his question to whatever degree Yawning Man could possibly have left it unanswered. They ran through a fortified, boogie-fied groover set that touched on Fatso Jetson albums like Cruel and Delicious (2002), Toasted (2001), Flames for All (1999) and Power of Three (1997), but conspicuously absent was anything from 2010’s Archaic Volumes (review here). I don’t know if maybe the band decided to leave that material be on account of not having Vince Meghrouni on-hand to contribute sax and vocals as he did on the record, “New Age Android,” “I’ve Got the Shame” and “Tutta Dorma” go a long way. There wasn’t any new material to be had, but having seen them at Roadburn in 2010, I knew Fatso Jetson delivered live, and they did precisely that. To my misfortune, I was standing up front next to The Most Fucked Up Couple In London™ (my only challenge was deciding which between the two was, in local parlance, the bigger cunt) and promptly had beer spilled all down my back, so I wasn’t long for being there, and once wrenched off the floor level of The Underworld, soon decided to pick up that Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson split and head back to The Black Heart to close out the night in local style.

Steak

It was a little like walking into Mos Eisley with the lights off, going back to The Black Heart. All around me, drunken murmurs and shouts in a variety of mumbled languages couldn’t be placed to their source, and even as I turned the corner to go down the alleyway to get to the bar, I knew I was in for it. I’d already been doused — I mean, covered — in beer, so whatever was coming, I felt like I was ready. I saw Steak here last year and dug them, and dug as well their sci-fi/comic thematic Disastronaught EP (review here), and with a new one coming called Corned Beef Colossus, figured this would be a chance both to get in some last-minute fuzz for the day and sample their latest material. The band features guitarist Reece Tee, who also organized Desertfest (not totally on his own, as no great feat is accomplished single-handedly, but still), vocalist Kippa, who set up his mic on the monitor box at the front of the stage, bassist Cam and new drummer Sammy, replacing Dan Kinsey, now of Wizard Fight, and Sammy would soon make the presence of his doubly-floor-tommed kit felt in more than just a busted hammer on a kick pedal as the London four-piece unrolled tones and grooves sliced even thicker than I remembered. Kippa, not content to be on the box, climbed onto the monitor itself to get to the ceiling, and the assembled masses seemed to treat it more as a start to the inevitable after party than the final set of the night. No doubt that was exactly the intent. This is their scene, their friends, their party, and the moment was well earned, both on Tee‘s part and the band’s.

It’s nearly four in the morning as I type this and I still have pictures to sort. Tomorrow is fewer bands, more full sets, and I’m looking forward to that for sure, but today was fantastic front to back, so I’m not about to complain. You can really get a sense being here of the spirit of appreciation with which this fest is executed, and I hope that comes across both in this and in the posts to come tomorrow night and Sunday. Thanks as always for reading.

More pics after the jump.

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