Days of Rona: Reece Tee of Steak & Desertfest London

Posted in Features on April 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

steak reece tee

Days of Rona: Reece Tee of Steak & Desertfest London (London, England)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Desertfest: We had been watching this Covid cloud looming for several weeks and fearing the worst. To make life more difficult for us, the UK government wouldn’t put a ban on mass gatherings but just advised people not to go to any! It was very difficult for us to make a decision straight away as we had a lot of financial issues to resolve. What to do regarding deposits for bands and venues and what we could do for people that had purchased a ticket, should we try and do something later 2019? Although there was some pressure on us to announce earlier, we wanted to get everything sorted so we could announce a clear plan for Desertfest 2021 and allow people to roll their ticket over and offer donation packages so people could show their support. I have to say we were blown away by the reaction from everyone and it has helped us so much in planning for our 10 year anniversary edition in 2021. The Desertefst team are fighting fit and we are working hard to make 2021 our best yet.

Steak: Before Covid kicked off we were working hard on the next album, we had a large portion of it recorded already but we decided to go back to the drawing board, we could do better, we could push ourselves as musicians, it was too comfortable so we took the best of it and reworked some stuff. Since covid we have had to retreat to our homes so other than passing ideas around digitally we haven’t managed to get together, it’s been frustrating to say the least although it’s given us plenty of time to play around with ideas. We are all healthy and focused on releasing a great album and we can’t wait to get back to it.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

We are on lockdown and not really allowed out other than some exercise and getting food, it’s such a strange world right now, people are all dealing with it in different extremes and judging how to interact with other people becomes tricky. Things change weekly though and people are out and about more as the weeks go on — cabin fever is setting in! In the UK we have been told that we will lock down for another 3 weeks but then hopefully we can gradually get our normal lives back.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

It has totally stopped live music on the UK, all events and gigs have been cancelled or postponed until later in the year or to 2021, it’s such a surreal situation and difficult for musicians and promoters alike. I do believe there are positives though. Life is so fast paced, especially in London, so to be able to lock yourself away and focus on music is great and something I haven’t managed in quite some time. I’m playing so much more guitar, and listening to more music, there are so many bands that I haven’t spent enough time on which I can now. I’m finishing other musical side-projects and it’s allowing me to focus on what I love. It’s a really important time and never again will get this opportunity to step away from the world for a while.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

Desertfest: Desertfest will come out of this crisis stronger than ever and what has been the most beautiful thing for us is the support from the fans. Sometimes it feels that people may be getting tired of the festival and should we change it to keep it fresh, but this situation has really strengthened the community and I think people realise what a cool thing we have all created. Only when you lose something do you really appreciate it so I believe the hunger for Desertfest is stronger than ever and can only be a good thing for the future. Thanks’ you lot!

Steak: A lot of people have been asking when the new album is out. It was going to be the end of 2019 but as mentioned before we scrapped the first recording of it. Not because it was bad — in fact I listened to it again last week and it’s really good and the best stuff we have done by far — but we believe we can take the songs to the next level. We questioned rushing it. We want to jam with these songs some more. Let’s see where it takes us, and pre-Covid it was proving to be the right decision. This album will surprise some people, it’s had time to evolve without trying too hard and it’s becoming a beast in its own time.

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https://steakmusic.bandcamp.com/

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Desertfest London 2020 Canceled

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

desertfest logo

Like I said with the Berlin post, we all knew this was coming, and I respect and admire the crew from Desertfest London for their ongoing efforts, frankly, to make the world a better place. Over the nine years, you’d be hard-pressed to find individuals who’ve done as much to bring heavy rock and roll to public consciousness on an underground level or otherwise, and as someone who’s sweated each year’s lineup from afar since last making the trip to London in 2013, I am sorry to see 2020’s festival go. Again, it’s awesome that they’re letting people roll over their tickets to 2021 — that is deeply, deeply, deeply excellent — and all we can do is wait and rejoice all the more when the lineup announcements start for what I have no doubt will be the Desertfest blowout to end, or better, to not at all end, all Desertfest blowouts for their 10th anniversary.

If you’re thinking about going next year, I encourage you to buy a voucher now. Worst thing that happens is you support the people putting this together. And they are people. I’ve met them. They’re super-nice.

Here’s what they have to say:

desertfest london 2020 off

Hello to our amazing Desertfest family,

Thank you for your patience and kind words over the last few days, it has kept us grounded through all this uncertainty. With the utmost sadness we must announce the cancellation of this year’s Desertfest London. We know this will not come as a surprise to many of you, as so many of our peers have made, and will continue to make, the same difficult choices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was not an easy decision and there has been much to work through behind the scenes which required ironing out before we could make this announcement. We want to let you know that we tried our best to bring you an event in some capacity, but sadly no scenario would bring the outcome we all want; the incredible atmosphere of Desertfest. With so many different venues, plus a lot of shared acts with our Berlin team, rescheduling to a later date in 2020 has also shown to be impossible. We feel the safest and most logical option is to take this year out and re-build for our 10-year anniversary next May.

Desertfest is a completely independent venture, there are no backers, investors or corporate sponsors keeping us afloat, making this cancellation more than just emotionally devastating. We have reached this level purely because of our amazing community of heavy music loving fans, you are the reason Desertfest is the festival it is. Now, we must look forward to making our 10-year anniversary the most incredible comeback ever, with your continued support allowing us to firmly keep our feet in the metaphorical sands of Camden.

Below you will find several different options for refunds and DF support packages:

? Keep hold of your ticket: Roll your 2020 ticket over to the ‘Decade in the Desert’ 10-year anniversary taking place May 2021. This is a HUGE help to us, allowing us to see the lay of land well in advance of the event. All those who roll their ticket over will receive a free patch sent in the coming months, plus an exclusive merch item at the 2021 event. You do not need to do anything to roll it over, DICE will take care of it.

? 10 Year Anniversary Voucher: Purchase a 2021 ’10 Year Anniversary Voucher’ these are effectively a super early-bird and again a huge support for us in the immediate few months. All those who purchase the 2021 voucher will receive a free patch sent in the coming months.

? Refund your ticket in full: We completely understand these are unprecedented and difficult times where some of you may need to claim a refund. You can do so by contacting DICE (your point of purchase) who can assist.

For those who want to show their support, but cannot commit to a 10-year anniversary voucher at this time, we have also set up several donation options via www.desertscene.co.uk/support, many with free merch as our way of showing our thanks.

This cancellation affects not only the three of us, but our amazing line-up of artists, please support them by buying music and merch directly from their sites. We also want to extend our love to our huge and incredible crew of stage managers, merch sellers, photographers, videographers, writers, drivers and so many more – all of which we can’t wait to hug and drink a pint with next May.

Thank you so much for your understanding, support and kindness at this time. We are nothing but a small team of people wanting to bring joy to other music lovers.

Please stay home, safe and healthy. We can’t wait to see you in May 2021.

Much love,
Desertfest London – Reece, Jake & Sarika

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Fu Manchu, Live at Desertfest London 2019

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Desertfest London 2020: I Mean, Seriously. God Damn.

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2020 header

Even apart from how it relates to the other festivals under the Desertfest banner — Berlin, Belgium, New York — Desertfest London set an extremely high standard for itself last year, and it was obvious coming into Desertfest London 2020 that they’d have their work cut out for them in reaching those same heights. Their lineup isn’t finished yet, and of course we’ll see how it all looks when the day-schedule is fully unveiled, but bringing Lowrider on board to support their first release in 20 years, Refractions, is nothing if not significant — they played there in 2013 and were fantastic — but they’ll also be the the UK debut for Khemmis from the US and at least the first time at Desertfest for MaidaVale from Sweden. They’ve pretty much lost their minds and added 20 bands in a single shot here, so there’s plenty to dig into, but you’ll note King Witch, who are frickin’ awesome, as well as The Hazytones, Alunah and the slew of others taking part. They’re building a desert empire in Camden Town.

Has it been nine years already? I may have to start planning my return for year 10 if they’ll have me.

From thee social medias:

desertfest london 2020 poster

DESERTFEST ADDS 20 NAMES TO LONDON LINE-UP, INCLUDING GRAVEYARD AS NEXT HEADLINER

Tickets – https://dice.fm/festival/desertfest20

Desertfest is thrilled to be kicking off the new year in style with the apt number of 20 names added for our 9th edition this May. Sweden’s most beloved export of hard rock, the impeccable Graveyard will bring their unique bluesy tones to London as headliners of Desertfest London 2020. The Swedish family reunion continues as we welcome back one of the most synonymous desert rock (and Desertfest) bands, the iconic Lowrider return with not only a rare live performance, but their first record in almost two decades. A masterclass in the melting pot of genre fluidity comes from two-man powerhouse Big Business, whilst psychedelic stoner rock trio Somali Yacht Club will make the trip from Ukraine to play Desertfest for the first time.

Speaking of debuts we’ll play host to the first UK show for Denver melancholic doom outfit Khemmis and Sweden delivers once again with rock’n’roll four-piece MaidaVale. Elsewhere on the bill we are thrilled to welcome Your Highness, Hexis, FIREBREATHER, The Hazytones, Opium Lord, King Witch, GURT, Alunah, 1782, Tides Of Sulfur, Doomicidal, Under, A Gazillion Angry Mexicans and Dunes.

As you may have noticed, The Picturebooks have unfortunately had to cancel their performance at Desertfest due to a schedule conflict out of our control. However with more acts still to be unveiled, plus day tickets on sale soon there’s much more to come for our 9th edition.

Weekend tickets are on sale now via this link – https://link.dice.fm/desertfest20

Artwork by Piotr w. Osburne

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Lowrider, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition (2017)

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Desertfest London 2020 Second Lineup Announcement: Witchcraft Headlining; Conan, Naxatras, Sacri Monti & More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2020 header

Going head-to-head, toe-to-toe, back-to-back, belly-to-belly with Desertfest Berlin 2020’s second lineup announcement, that of Desertfest London 2020 brings a whopping 13 bands. Witchcraft join Corrosion of Conformity and Masters of Reality among the headliners, and Naxatras, Conan — playing Monnos in full, no less — Pissed Jeans, Raging Speedhorn, Sacri Monti, Huntsmen, MonarchSpirit AdriftFire Down BelowGrottoDesert Storm, and Morag Tong have signed on for the fray in what’s becoming a quickly-packed bill. Nothing to complain about there, I guess. As noted in the Berlin post, some of these groups are shared between the two fests, but there’s a lot here that’s set for London alone, and I suspect in terms of the UK acts like Raging SpeedhornDesert Storm and Morag Tong, it’s likely to stay that way. It’s been so fascinating to watch these festivals grow since their inception into incubators for UK/European heavy. Desertfest London has become an epicenter for one of the most packed scenes on the planet.

That’s a big deal. And you can hear in the work of bands coming out of the UK the effect it’s having aesthetically as well. It’s awesome. Keep up the good work.

From the social medias:

desertfest london 2020 poster

DESERTFEST LONDON ANNOUNCES WITCHCRAFT AS HEADLINER FOR 2020 EDITION PLUS 12 MORE ACTS ADDED!

Tickets: dice.fm/festival/desertfest20

Desertfest is honoured to be welcoming Swedish doom icons Witchcraft to London, for the first time in a decade, as 2020 headliners. Their exceptional blend of psychedelic-folk melodies and distinctly doom-laden riffs swiftly elevated Magnus’ musical coven to legendary status. The pace picks up with the bludgeoning sludge-punk sounds of Pissed Jeans, whose narrative continues to be as societally insightful as it is tongue-in-cheek. We welcome back the unholy trio Conan for a very special performance as they play ‘Monnos’ in full. Following last years unforeseen travel issues, we are thrilled to have Naxatras on the bill ready to bathe listeners in their psychedelic groove. British sludge pioneers Raging Speedhorn will provide a lesson in brutality for all who cross their path.

Celestial tones awaken as SACRI MONTI make their debut with a spectrum of far-out jams expertly pieced together for an otherworldly trip. Huntsmen will bring their diversely progressive concoction of doom metal and melancholic Americana storytelling for its first UK outing. Elsewhere we welcome experimental psych-rock champions Monarch -band, Arizona’s Spirit Adrift who effortlessly carry the torch for traditional doom with lashings of classic 80’s heavy metal. Belgium offers up an excellent fusion of fuzz from Fire Down Below, alongside space-psych drifters Grotto. Oxfordshire riff hounds Desert Storm will deliver a shock-wave of groovy stoner-metal and locals Morag Tong will showcase their dynamic take on psychedelic doom.

For more info and weekend tickets for Desertfest London 2020 hit up www.desertfest.co.uk

See you in May!

TICKETS: https://dice.fm/festival/desertfest20 (*YOU DO NOT NEED THE DICE APP TO PURCHASE)

Artwork by Piotr w. Osburne

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Sacri Monti, “Waiting Room for the Magic Hour”

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Desertfest London 2020 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

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Desertfest London 2020 has made its first lineup announcement, with nine acts serving as the foundation of the fray set to take place May 1-3 next year. This one happened a bit ago, concurrent I think to the Desertfest Berlin first announcement, but, well, life happens I guess. Either way, the two festivals will share an artwork theme for the first time, which feels only appropriate — one hopes Desertfest New York does the same next September, if only because I’d like to buy a poster on this theme — as well as a few acts in the likes of Masters of RealityCorrosion of ConformityBrant Bjork, and Orange Goblin.

They may end up sharing more than that, of course, between the bands that each has thus far revealed. There’s always a bit of stagger between one and the other as they add locals — The Brothers Keg and Green Lung and Black Orchids come to mind here — to distinguish themselves and each offer something of its own to attendees. I wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if The Picturebooks and Possessor wound up playing Berlin too, but that hasn’t been announced yet if it’s going to happen at all. You get the point.

The point is Deserfest London 2020 already looks awesome, and if you can make it, you should go. I should go too. We should all go. And hang out. It’ll be fun.

Mark your calendar:

desertfest london 2020 poster

MASTERS OF REALITY, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, ORANGE GOBLIN + 6 MORE ANNOUNCED AS FIRST ACTS FOR DESERTFEST LONDON 2020

For their first UK appearance in five years, Masters Of Reality – Official will make their Desertfest debut as 2020 headliners next May. One of the most influential bands in desert rock history, with the genres very own Godfather at the reins, Masters is the brainchild of legendary producer Chris Goss (Welcome to Sky Valley, Rated R, Blues for The Red Sun, Songs for The Deaf). Their effortless combination of hard-rock blues with an experimentally progressive tinge makes no apologies for not sticking within the stylised box listeners would assume, yet simultaneously provides the perfect lesson in the musical ethos and story-telling of the Palm Desert scene.

Joining them on the bill will be North Carolina favourites Corrosion Of Conformity whose unmistakable Southern stomp is always a welcome addition, OG’s of the Desertfest family Orange Goblin will celebrate 25 years of relentless riffs and the desert daze continues as living legend Brant Bjork is set to bask in psychedelic sunshine.

Elsewhere we see high-octane German party duo The Picturebooks, London based psychedelic doom devotees GREEN LUNG show just why they are on our ones-to-watch-list and more home-grown talent comes in the form of space sludge stalwarts The Brothers Keg, the unhinged ferocity of Possessor and a journey of groove and reflection with the other-worldly soundscapes of Black Orchids.

Weekend tickets are now on sale and with dozens more bands to still be announced we implore you to pick up a ticket sooner rather than later!

Tickets & more info here – www.desertfest.co.uk || https://link.dice.fm/desertfest20 (*you do not need the DICE app to purchase via DICE!)

Artwork by Piotr w. Osburne

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Corrosion of Conformity, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

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Desertfest London 2019 Adds 29 Bands to Complete Lineup; Madness Ensues

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

What am I even supposed to say here other than ‘yes please?’ As Desertfest London 2019 rounds out its lineup and once again demonstrates its willful growth year after year, I’ll tell you this: there are a lot of bands listed below, and a lot of good bands. And if you’re reading this and you’re in London or you’re fortunate enough that you’re going to be in London for this festival, I know you’re hip to where it’s at. I get that. But seriously, if you don’t know, there re a few really must-see bands here, and it’s not all Amenra headlining. That’s great, and I’m sure it’ll be super-intense and very cool and all that.

But I’m telling you: don’t sleep on seeing High Priestess, BlackWater HolyLight, Worshipper, Salem’s Bend, Skraeckoedlan and Great Electric Quest. Some of those names are kind of buried near the bottom of this announcement, but really, you’d only be doing yourself a favor if you caught them. Let’s put Zed in that category too, and when they’re done, tell them I said hi. You probably already know all this, but I just wanted to highlight the point, since there’s a lot here and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I get that too.

Kudos to the Desertscene team for focusing on what matters — the music — even amid pulling double-duty in putting together the first-ever Desertfest NYC, the lineup for which is still in progress. This fest looks amazing and I wish I could say I was going. Quite simply, it’s been too long.

Here’s the announcement:

desertfest london 2019 final announcement

Amenra to headline Saturday at DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 + day tickets and 28 more bands announced!

Showcasing the best of what the underground has to offer is at the core of DESERTFEST LONDON and this year’s line-up is the most eclectic, yet satisfying to date by ticking those “wish-list old school desert rock” boxes with Fu Manchu and Witch at The Roundhouse, whilst pushing the boundaries of heavy with the likes of HHY & The Macumbas and Grave Miasma. Year after year it’s about offering up a diverse bill that allows for discovery, whilst celebrating the musical foundations of the festival, and the final Saturday headliner and remaining 28 acts do just that.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
Weekend and day tickets on sale at this location

Desertfest are honoured to reveal that the incomparable AMENRA will celebrate their 20-year anniversary across the London weekend this May, bringing their uniquely atmospheric sound as headliners of Saturday’s mainstage and, for the first time in the UK, an even more intimate side of the band takes place at The Underworld on Sunday with solo performances from CHVE & SYNDROME. We would be proud to have Amenra headline Desertfest on any year, but to have them on the year they celebrate their 20th anniversary makes it all the more special for us and also the band themselves.

Desertfest are also pleased to announce a stage takeover from the mighty Riding Easy Records, the righteous west coast label will not only bring the sun (we hope) but a hefty dose of fuzzed out riffs from their roster. Headlined by rock’n’rollers ELECTRIC CITIZEN who refuse to be pigeonholed with a 70s proto-metal sound that chimes into psychedelic realms. Street-doom killers R.I.P will hit the UK for the first time and vocalist Fuzz is ready to bring it hard and loud. Completing the stage showcase are 80s punk heavy metal hybrids ZIG ZAGS, hazy Swedish doom newcomers ALASTOR and the low and slow psych goth-rock sounds of BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT.

If that wasn’t enough Desertfest also adds thunderous space-rock psychedelic masters MONKEY3 to upcoming proceedings, the unforgiving primitive metal sounds of THE SECRET and LA party starters THE SHRINE, who haven’t graced DF with their amped up stoner-skate vibes for well over 5 years.

We also welcome back our long-time partners Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide for another takeover of The Underworld on Saturday. Topping the bill, the riff muscle of Savannah, Georgia is brought back to The Underworld by the mighty bruisers BLACK TUSK. Dropping in straight underneath we’re living the doom dream of olde with Chicago legends in THE SKULL. Glasgow gives us two offerings this year in the form of explosive riff n roll filth-party heads ACID CANNIBALS, and to lower the tone whilst severely twisting some melons we also welcome their fellow city dwellers HEADLESS KROSS. As ever we chose to open up with a cataclysmic attack, hence why we’ve invited Brighton’s bleak hardcore oblivionists KALLOUSED to set the day into fittingly venomous motion. Bring your ear plugs, it’s gonna be a floor shaker!

And finally, Desertfest round off with the brilliant SKRAECKOEDLAN, BLANKET, SALEMS BEND, SURYA, HIGH PRIESTESS, ZED, KUROKUMA, GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST, PSYCHLONA, VIDEO NASTIES, ONE FOR SORROW, WORSHIPPER, MOUNTAIN CALLER & 1968 all added to the monumental 2019 line-up.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
All tickets on sale at this location

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BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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Desertfest London 2019 Adds Fu Manchu as May 5 Headliner

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

fu manchu (Photo by JJ Koczan)

So Desertfest London 2019 has a night at The Roundhouse where the lineup is Colour HazeEarthlessWitchAll Them Witches and Fu Manchu. That’s the bill front to back. The word ‘unfuckwithable’ comes quickly to mind. It’s an astonishing assemblage, as I honestly think if the festival had announced any of them as headliners, you would go, “Yeah, that makes sense.” Colour Haze headlining? Yeah, that makes sense. Earthless headlining? Yeah, that makes sense. Witch? Etc.

But it’s Fu Manchu in the top spot, and indeed, it makes sense. Not only are they the longest tenured of the five acts who’ll take the stage at The Roundhouse, but they have the distinct advantage of being Fu frickin’ Manchu, which puts them ahead of much of the planet when it comes to any number of considerations. Especially fuzz.

The PR wire brought confirmation:

desertfest london 2018 fu manchu

Desertfest London announce Fu Manchu as second headliner!

Over the past seven years of DESERTFEST LONDON, we’ve had a lot of incredible memories of otherworldly performances from many of the notable bands this humble scene has to offer. Today, we finally cross another huge name off our bucket list, as we reveal that kings of the road Fu Manchu will headline Roundhouse on the Sunday at Desertfest 2019. Not only that, but we can also reveal that joining them on May 5th’s mammoth Roundhouse Stage are the previously announced All Them Witches, Witch, Earthless and Colour Haze.

Southern California’s boogie-rocking titans were born out of the hardcore punk scene of ’85 as Virulence, but quickly switched up their super-speed, underground angst for more of a drawlin’, skateboard rampin’, hard-rockin’ vibe and so FU MANCHU was born. Throughout the next thirty years or so they’d come to be known to many as the AC/DC of the now global desert rock scene: always consistent, always on trend, always ready to rock; any time, any venue, anywhere. Recently Fu Manchu have gone through a phase of touring albums in their entirety, and from the rising asphalt of In Search Of…, to the laserblastin’ The Action Is Go and right through the true hell on wheels that is King On The Road and beyond, we’ve all got a favourite Fu Manchu moment. If not, then there’s never been a better time to get familiar with the hardest rockin’, hotdoggin’ back catalogue in history.

Fu frontman Scott Hill is clearly as excited as we are for the boogie van to roll into Camden Town: “We’re so stoked to be a part of Desertfest and to play the legendary Roundhouse in London. It’s hard to believe that we will be playing the same spot as some of our heroes like Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Ramones and Motörhead.” We couldn’t agree more.

Joining them on what we believe is our biggest Roundhouse stage yet on Sunday May 5th, are four must-see masters of the underground who have already been announced for Desertfest 2019. ALL THEM WITCHES bring an approach to the modern wave of bluesy psychedelia that is all their own, hot off the heels of their recently released and truly impeccable ATW. After releasing a few of the noughties’ most bad ass albums, WITCH return from their slumber to provide a doomed out kind of psych to the Sunday. Riffs for days are guaranteed when EARTHLESS show up; with an ultimate jam band approach which both rips and shreds, faces will melt into a gooey pile of mush. Last but not least, European underground heroes COLOUR HAZE will open up the Roundhouse with their scene defining slice of heavy psych.

We couldn’t ask for a better way to round out what we’re sure will be a killer Desertfest 2019 than this lineup at The Roundhouse. Be sure not to miss out, book your tickets today.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
All tickets on sale at this location

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
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https://twitter.com/DesertFest

Fu Manchu, Live in Vancouver, BC, Nov. 11. 2018

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Desertfest London 2019 Confirms Om, Wovenhand, Stoned Jesus, Great Electric Quest, Elephant Tree, Messa, High Fighter and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2019 square poster

A monstrous announcement from Desertfest London 2019 finds the festival, as it has over the last several years, with a far reach in geography and style alike. Acts like Great Electric Quest, High Reeper, Salem’s Bend, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, High Fighter, and Messa represent a flood of up and coming underground heavy from the US and Europe — I’d count hometown heroes Elephant Tree and Greece’s Naxatras at the forefront of that surge — while Om, Wovenhand, Mondo Generator, Stoned Jesus, Sabbath AssemblyJaye JayleHHY and the Macumbas and Wiegedood are of course no minor shakes in terms of draw or aesthetic swath.

Desertfest‘s first announcement, which came through in September with Earthless, All Them Witches, Kadavar and Colour Haze, among others, was enticing enough. This one does nothing but make one want to book travel and lodging.

The PR wire has the details:

desertfest london 2019 old empire stage

Drone doom pioneers OM confirmed as first headliner + 15 more acts added to the DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 lineup!

After warming you up with our first announcement in September, it’s time to break out the big guns. Today we’re adding 16 killer bands to Desertfest, including the lineup for 2019’s Old Empire stage, which, after years of bringing some of the heaviest sounds all weekend, will this year takeover as our Friday main stage. We couldn’t be happier with their first pick, Desertfest 2019’s opening headliners, the incomparable, spiritual force of stoner drone that is Om.

Formed in 2003 as one great band drifted off for a decade, Om – then consisting of the two-part assault of Sleep’s Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius – brought with them an extension of the hypnotic heavy first hinted at on Sleep’s Jerusalem/Dopesmoker. Achieving more with just vocals, bass and drums than most can dream of with a packed out stage, the opening one-two punch of Variations on a Theme and Conference of the Birds serves as a revelation to many; stripped-back power that cleans the cobwebs from your brain with reverberating blasts of droned-down stoner-doom.

By 2007’s Pilgrimage – the last full-length to feature Hakius on drums – Om had begun to lean more and more heavily into spiritual themes and Eastern tones, bringing about a new definition of what exactly heavy is; because let’s be clear, Om are heaviness incarnate, just not in the traditional sense. Through God is Good and their latest LP, Advaitic Songs – their first as a trio and surely one of the finest put to record this decade – Om continued down a path of hazed out perfection. It’s a testament to the importance of the band that, even as Sleep woke up, Om persist, ready to send you into a trance at the pluck of a bass. Be sure to catch Om when they headline the Old Empire stage – and Desertfest at large – on Friday 3rd May.

Joining them on the Old Empire stage, and continuing Old Empire’s tradition of showcasing heaviness from unexpected places, are Wovenhand. Labelled many things over the near two decades they’ve been kicking around, from alternative country, to neofolk, to Southern-gothic, Wovenhand are simply low and slow, oozing with an atmosphere of gloom. Music torn from the heart and soul of David Eugene Edwards (ex-16 Horsepower), Wovenhand are a deeply personal experience that you won’t want to miss.

But that’s not all for the Old Empire stage, who offer up three more treats for Desertfest 2019; firstly, a slice of black metal in the shape of Wiegedood, whose Die doden hebben het goed trilogy serves as a granite slab of brutality. Featuring members of post-black metal heroes Oathbreaker, as well as being part of the illustrious Church of Ra collective – a handful of acts tethered by a DIY ethic – Wiegedood will bring heaviness as we traditionally know it to the stage.

The jazz-inspired, ominous soundscapes of HHY & the Macumbas bring an exploration of the apocalypse to proceedings. Showcasing why they’re one of the most inimitable acts in the Portuguese, or perhaps even European underground scene, HHY are ordered chaos, wielding a twin attack of percussion and horns, tied together with a thin spine of drone.

Rounding off this year’s Old Empire stage come the desolate, minimalist sonic mantras of Louisville’s Jaye Jayle. Revelling in the simplicity of a “Less is more” philosophy, Jaye Jayle build tension with their barely crawling musical progressions and stitch it all together with the gruff, semi-spoken vocals of Evan Patterson.

Yet again, the Old Empire stage looks set to be one of the most exciting places to be over the whole of the Desertfest weekend, bringing both the darkness and the light; but that’s not all to expect over the May Bank Holiday weekend in Camden.

Elsewhere over the weekend, we’re excited to be welcoming Ukraine’s Stoned Jesus to Desertfest London. The stoner blues trio, who released their 4th full-length Pilgrims in September, possess a tone all of their own. Offering up one of the scene’s most beloved albums in 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar, Stoned Jesus remain a treat to catch live; as do punk infused stoner rockers Mondo Generator. Headed up by legend of the underground, Nick Oliveri, Mondo Generator are, like any of Oliveri’s myriad projects, an undeniably raucous experience live.

Next up, a double bill of some of Europe’s finest heavy psych; Part of the modern Greek wave of stoner and psych, without ever disappearing into the crowd, Naxatras are unashamed worshippers of the 70s riff. That said, they bring plenty of their own flavour to the mix. Whilst Oslo’s The Devil and the Almighty Blues live up to their name, bringing a devilishly groovy stomp and infusing it with their almost nonchalant, relaxed tones, fast becoming one of the most exciting bands in all of heavy psych.

There’s doom aplenty as ever at Desertfest, with all angles covered; the occult is worshipped with Sabbath Assembly and Messa’s take on the science of slow, whilst Elephant Tree will continue to show why they’re one of the UK’s finest acts with their uncompromising push outwards to the outer limits of doom.

A double dose of 70’s worship comes in the form of the strutting duo of Great Electric Quest and Salem’s Bend, with today’s announcement rounded off by two chances to get high; High Fighter are set to surround us with a densely packed smog of doom and High Reeper filtering the riffs of classic heavy metal through the So-Cal skater scene.

With dozens more bands still to be announced, including our Saturday and Sunday headliners, Desertfest 2019 is shaping up to be another hit of the best stoner, doom, sludge and psych on the planet. Don’t miss the annual celebration of the underground in Camden next May Bank Holiday weekend. Book your tickets today.

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Wovenhand, Live at Fire in the Mountains, Jackson, WY, June 30, 2018

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