Desertfest Berlin 2019 First Announcement: Witch, Earthless, All Them Witches, Colour Haze, 24/7 Diva Heaven and Hällas Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2019 banner

Not to be outdone by its London counterpart, Desertfest Berlin 2019 makes its own first lineup announcement, and once again it finds the two fests working under the same banner sharing a goodly portion of their bill. A big four names are showcased in All Them Witches, Witch, Earthless and Colour Haze, and as ever, each Desertfest brings a bit of its own personality to the proceedings, in the case of Berlin 2019 thus far with Hällas from Sweden bringing their traditionalist heavy rock and 24/7 Diva Heaven delving into ’90s-era riot grrrl noise. Between those and the bigger acts shared with London, it will once again be interesting to see how the two festivals develop their coinciding rosters. I can’t imagine trying to coordinate one fest schedule, let alone two, and oh hey because why not, Desertfest Berlin 2019 has a boat involved. And I defy you to find someone who doesn’t enjoy riffs on a boat. That’s a distinguishing factor right there.

Kickass poster art and the PR wire announcement follow, of course with more to come:

desertfest berlin 2019 poster

DESERTFEST BERLIN ANNOUNCES FIRST BANDS FOR 2019!

Legendary WITCH, ALL THEM WITCHES, COLOUR HAZE, EARTHLESS, HÄLLAS & 24/7 DIVA HEAVEN added to the first round of acts!

Desert rockers, it’s finally time to unveil the first bands for 2019, and WHAT a first start of acts this is! DESERTFEST BERLIN is more than proud to welcome the one & only, legendary J Mascis who will crash the ARENA BERLIN with his band mates in stoner metal icons WITCH!

Formed in 2005 by Dinosaur Jr. guitarist Mascis, in WITCH the distinctive pioneer of rock music goes back to his roots and takes over the drums. The band’s eponymous self-titled debut has been released in 2006, followed by the highly accclaimed ‘Paralyzed’ album back in 2008. We could not be prouder to welcome this unique cult band to our 2019-edition!

Rumors have been going on for a while, and yes they became true: ALL THEM WITCHES will be playing DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019! This rare gig the legendary rockers from Nashville will play in Berlin, will truly belong to one of THE live highlights in the history of DESERTFEST BERLIN and yours, too. With their heavy blues and psychedelic desert rock, ALL THEM WITCHES will literally put the ARENA on FIRE, don’t miss one of their only shows in Europe live at DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019!

But we got way more sweet acts to be unveiled today and in this first band announcement every stoner rocker’s heart will beat faster for: Please welcome psychedelic rockers EARTHLESS to the 8th edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN! With their extensive jams, the Californian multi-instrumentalists will turn the ARENA into a psychedelic wonderland, join them for a long ride on their unique classic rock and jazzy Krautrock trips!

Another exciting band we like to unveil today: COLOUR HAZE will celebrate their 25th band anniversary live at DESERTFEST BERLIN! They belong to the oldest psychedelic institution and became the flagship of the German heavy stoner scene, the more we are stoked to welcome them to our next year’s line-up. With an additional keyboarder live at DESERTFEST BERLIN, COLOUR HAZE will take us on a magic sound landscape drown in the haze and true rock spirit. Let’s celebrate 25 years of the legendary COLOUR HAZE together with the band, live at DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019!

To close this first round of already stunning bands, we have added Swedish hardrockers HÄLLAS to our 2019-bill! Describing themselves as Adventure Rock, we cannot wait to join them on a live adventure noone of us will forget. Last but not least, ladies and gentlemen let’s start a Riot: With a delicate and true LO-FI sound, inspired by bands such as L7, Bikini Kill, The Melvins, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr. or Sonic Youth, the ladies in 24/7 DIVA HEAVEN will bring their pure blend of Hard Rock, Grunge and Punk Rock which is all bounded by the legendary Riot Grrrl sound to our stage in 2019, be prepared!

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 will take place between May 3th – 5th 2019 at the ARENA BERLIN.

In 2018, Desertheads from over 40 different countries came to witness the premiere at the Arena in the heart of Berlin, rocked out and celebrated the almighty riffs of the Stoner, Doom & Psychedelic Rock. In the last weeks the DESERTFEST BERLIN crew put their heads together to discuss and improve the 2019 edition. As the festival organizers just recently commented:

“We listened to the critics, cause we love you and we worked on all topics: Besides a totally new banging soundconcept and much simplified paying methods (token anyone?), we will come along with more space for you to hang and chill. And that is just the beginning of a whole candyjar of more sweet and trippy extras! So now that we took the Desertfest to the water and we saw how much you enjoyed our boatride… remember that white ship, the “Hoppetosse” docking on the outside area ? For DF 2019 we inked a deal with the owner and are now able to use the “Hoppetosse” as an additional chillzone as well as a rock and party stage. We will have bands playing there during the day, but also we will also host the aftershow parties on board. Hope you like this great news. More news are to come in the next days , so stay tuned!”

A new sound-and payment-system on the ground, more space AND a chillout- and live zone on a boat, with this already stunning line-up DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 will mark the best edition you have ever been to!

Start your trip to the heart of the capitol of the almighty riffs, we cannot wait to see you all at the ARENA BERLIN 2019!

www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
www.instagram.com/desertfest_berlin

Desertfest Berlin 2019 first announcement teaser

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Desertfest London 2019 First Announcement: Earthless, All Them Witches, Colour Haze, Kadavar, Witch, We Hunt Buffalo & DVNE Join Lineup

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

desertfest london 2019 banner

What’s more exciting than a killer first festival announcement? Not much. So many possibilities, and with its first lineup additions, Desertfest London 2019 throws the door wide open with some massive names. Earthless, All Them Witches, Colour Haze and Kadavar? Hell, I’d take any of them as a headliner, and you can pretty much throw Witch in there too. That’s five acts right out of the gate, any of whom could sell out a show on their own in London, plus the just-reviewed We Hunt Buffalo and Edinburgh’s DVNE, whom I had the pleasure of seeing at Psycho Las Vegas for their US live debut, rounding out an initial seven that’s absolutely massive.

The key part of the announcement below, though? It’s where it says “we’re aiming for our biggest bill to date.” Desertfest London has only grown huger each year, more forward-thinking and broader in its reach. The Desertscene crew have their work cut out for them in topping 2018, but if this is a taste of the scale to come, they might just get there.

From the PR wire:

desertfest london 2019 poster

DESERTFEST LONDON 2019

Friday, May 3, 2019 – Sunday, May 5, 2019

It begins! Desertfest is returning to Camden for our eighth edition over the Bank Holiday weekend of 3rd to 5th May, and as ever we’re bringing you the finest stoner, doom, sludge and psych bands from around the world. Over the next few months, we’ll be revealing our lineup of dozens of the heaviest bands around, so without further ado, here’s the first seven names for Desertfest 2019.

Over the last half-decade, Nashville’s All Them Witches have made themselves indispensable with a sound that has never stopped evolving, with their roots in heavy blues and psychedelia flourishing over time into an approach that is undeniably their own. The Tennessee four-piece arrive at Desertfest with a reputation that precedes them for jammy explorations and a kind of heavy that, while regularly imitated, has yet to be reproduced by anyone else.

Joining them on the bill are Kadavar, who make their long awaited Desertfest return with their fur-coated, barreling riot of a set at the Jazz Cafe in 2013 as fresh in our minds as ever. There are very few who perform the retro-rockin’, ’70s proto-metal revival with the power, prestige and passion of our favourite Berlin trio. The boogie train that is Kadavar won’t be making any emergency stops as it ploughs through Camden this May.

Vermont spell-casters Witch will be enrapturing Desertfest with their stoner rock incantations in 2019. Combining psychedelic rock, Sabbath-ian doom, and Black Flag sludge-punk, stoner aficionados who were around for the noughties boom will fondly remember Witch for releasing some of the hookiest albums of the decade. After a stint lurking in the shadows, Witch are hitting up Desertfest to make magic once again.

Even after seven mammoth editions of Desertfest, there are bands we’ve been chomping at the bit to get over to Camden to grace our stages; finally, we’ve grabbed us the hardest jamming band in the universe, Earthless, are touching down to shred our corner of London to the ground. The epitome of psyched-out Hendrixian-krautrock from day one, San Diego’s ultimate power trio will melt your entire body this May.

Colour Haze make their return to the Desertfest stage in 2019 after six long years. The German trio, in whose image modern heavy psychedelia is in large part cast, have affirmed their position as unflinching masters of the form in their absence, finding a new niche between heavy riffs and expansive arrangements. The Colour Haze that return to Desertfest are, somehow, even better than the one we saw in 2013.

Vancouver trio We Hunt Buffalo‘s brand of prog-minded fuzz rock has been stampeding out of amps and trampling audiences since 2010. Professing a love of all things stoner and psych and citing influences from all genres of rock, all underpinned with driving fuzz lines, We Hunt Buffalo will be just the ticket to a sore neck at Desertfest.

Last but not least in our first batch of bands are Edinburgh’s DVNE who play their own unique brand of night sky-gazing melodic sludge. Early-period Mastodon fans should take note, as the progressive changes and all-conquering vocals conjure up scenes of destruction, desolation and absolution in their epic soundscapes of post-metal ebb and flow.

So there you have it, our first seven bands. With dozens more names to come, including all three headliners, we’re aiming for our biggest bill to date. Weekend tickets are on sale now at the link below, so be sure to book your place at the heaviest lineup in town; Desertfest 2019!

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

All Them Witches, ATW (2018)

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Earthless to Release From the West Live Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Presenting the biggest no-brainer of your day. On Sept. 28, Silver Current Records will issue the vinyl edition of a new live album from Earthless titled From the West. Nuclear Blast will follow-up with the CD and digital version on Oct. 19. The set was recorded in March as Earthless set to work heralding their already-a-landmark 2018 full-length, Black Heaven (review here), and as you can see in the tour dates below, that work continues. It’s pretty much been the theme of Earthless‘ year, much to the benefit of humanity in general.

If you need me to tell you to pick up a live Earthless record, you’ve either already decided you’re not into Earthless — which is fair, nothing’s universal — or you’ve already placed your preorder and you’re just like, “Dude, shut up, I know.” Also fair. Either way, here’s the info for it, because one likes to stay informed:

earthless from the west

On the eve of the release of ‘Black Heaven,’ their debut for Nuclear Blast Records, Earthless turned in this incredible live performance in San Francisco on March 1st 2018, captured and released on vinyl by Silver Current Records on September 28th. (On CD & Digital by Nuclear Blast Records.)

Since their inception seventeen years ago Earthless has become an icon of 21st century heavy music and a cult unto themselves. They’ve toured across the world and rightfully become known as an unparalleled live experience.

On ‘From the West’ the bands signature high-volume drive and unbridled horsepower create an almost mantra-like repetition as a framework for infinite improvisation. That, and beer-can crushing, fist-pumping riffs and solos delivered by an unstoppable rhythm section.

‘From the West’ is a complete, hypnotic, psychedelic experience in a way that remains totally unique to the band’s virtuosic expression. A live album that captures Earthless at peak powers and a quintessential fan piece from one of the best live rock bands in the world.

Album tracks includes looser, rawer versions of ‘Black Heaven’ favorites, a nearly 20 minute version of their instrumental titan ‘Uluru Rock’ and a blazing cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Communication Breakdown.’

The jacket is a meticulous reproduction of the band’s favorite TMOQ Zeppelin bootleg.
Recorded March 1, 2018.
Recorded by Jon Hart.
Mixed and mastered by Tim Green.

Tracklist:
1. Black Heaven 10:50
2. Electric Flame 8:46
3. Gifted by the Wind 6:04
4. Uluru Rock 19:26
5. Volt Rush 1:47
6. Communication Breakdown 4:16
7. Acid Crusher 13:42

EARTHLESS live:
09/25/18 Eugene, OR – Old Nick’s Pub
09/26/18 Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
09/27/18 Portland, OR – Dante’s
09/28/18 Boise, ID – Neurolux
09/29/18 Salt Lake City, UT – CRUCIAL FEST
09/30/18 Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
10/02/18 Minneapolis, MN – Lee’s Liquor Lounge
10/03/18 Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre
10/05/18 Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina
10/06/18 Edmonton, AB – UP & DOWNTOWN MUSIC FESTIVAL
10/07/18 Calgary, AB – Dickens Pub
10/09/18 Victoria, BC – The Copper Owl
10/10/18 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
10/12/18 Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
10/13/18 Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar
10/14/18 Desert Daze – DESERT DAZE

Earthless is:
Bass: Mike Eginton
Drums: Mario Rubalcaba
Guitar & Vocals: Isaiah Mitchell

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Earthless, “Electric Flame”

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Earthless Post Full Set Live Video from Belgium

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

earthless (Photo by Atiba Jefferson)

A full set, professionally filmed, of Earthless playing live in Belgium earlier this year on their European tour supporting their Nuclear Blast debut, Black Heaven (review here)? It seems to me that Chromecast was made for such things. Like, specifically. Someone sat in their open office space in one of Google’s colorful bunkers and said, “Hey, I bet someday Earthless are gonna play a killer show and some internet dork without a smart tv is gonna want a way to watch it on a bigger screen than his laptop, which he calls The Silver Fox. Also, it’s six in the morning when this happens.” Points for specificity, Google Employee #X5-49647-J, as your legal name has been changed to be. I guess all that data mining and email keywording really pays off.

Anyhoozle, if you wanna pretend like you have better things to do for the next 65 minutes, that’s on you. Seems to me the thing to do is grab yourself a snack and/or a tasty beverage of whatever sort and let guitarist/vocalist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba — who was wearing the same Sonic Rendezvous shirt when he sat in with Volcano at Roadburn later in April — hold sway for as long as they please. If you’ve seen the band before, the argument for full viewing is easy: it’s Earthless. If not, you’re likely to find an entirely new appreciation for the classic power trio dynamic between them. Because Earthless are nothing if they’re not a classic power trio, stylistically and at this point in terms of their impact on heavy rock and roll in general.

In the wake of Black Heaven, there’s been a lot of wax poetry in the critique around them. Well enough earned, to be sure. Who the hell doesn’t want to swim in the 65-minute ocean of sonic righteousness that is this set? Such as it is, though, their “formula” for success is as simple as it is rare: They’re great players who are great together.

That is, if you put Eginton, Rubalcaba or Mitchell in any other band, they’re good enough that you’d probably say, “holy shit, this guy is killer” about whatever they were doing in said band. Fine. But there’s a whole other level of Earthless that’s not at all about them as individuals, but a single collective unit. It’s how they feed off each other while they’re playing, about the conversation that’s happening between them instrumentally. That chemistry and that dynamic takes more than just basic talent to happen. And it’s the reason why there’s only one Earthless, no matter how many other acts try to make it otherwise.

They’re on tour now in Europe and will be back in the States after. Dates are below, courtesy of the PR wire:

Enjoy the video:

Earthless, Live at de Kreun, April 3, 2018

In the lead up to their fall European tour, San Diego based EARTHLESS have released pro shot live footage of their show at De Kreun in Kortrijk, Belgium from April this year.

The heavy psych power trio will be returning to both the UK and mainland Europe for a run of twelve shows in support of their latest mind bending offering Black Heaven which was released earlier this year. Commencing Sunday 29th July in Birmingham, UK at the Hare & Hounds, the upcoming venture includes a number of European festival appearances, select dates with US doomsayers Pallbearer and Sweden’s finest classic rockers Graveyard, and to top it all off will also see Philly’s trippiest Ruby The Hatchet joining the ride for a number of dates including all UK shows.

Cosmic Europe 2018 – Mission 2.0
August
Thursday 2nd – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso (w/ Ruby The Hatchet)
Friday 3rd – Beelen, DE – Krach am Bach Festival
Saturday 4th – Waldhausen im Strudengau, AT – Lake On Fire Festival *SOLD OUT*
Monday 6th – Primosten, CR – SuperUho Festival
Wednesday 8th – Budapest, HUN – A38 (w/ Pallbearer)
Friday 10th – Siegen, DE – Vortex Club
Saturday 11th – Moledo, PT – SonicBlast Moledo Festival
Tuesday 14th – Bagnes, CH – Palp Festival (w/ Graveyard)
Wednesday 15th – Winterhur, CH – Gaswerk (w/ Pallbearer)

EARTHLESS
09/25/18 Eugene, OR – Old Nick’s Pub
09/26/18 Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
09/27/18 Portland, OR – Dante’s
09/28/18 Boise, ID – Neurolux
09/29/18 Salt Lake City, UT – CRUCIAL FEST
09/30/18 Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
10/02/18 Minneapolis, MN – Lee’s Liquor Lounge
10/03/18 Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre
10/05/18 Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina
10/06/18 Edmonton, AB – UP & DOWNTOWN MUSIC FESTIVAL
10/07/18 Calgary, AB – Dickens Pub
10/09/18 Victoria, BC – The Copper Owl
10/10/18 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
10/12/18 Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
10/13/18 Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar
10/14/18 Desert Daze – DESERT DAZE

Black Heaven was recorded at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, Calif. with Dave Catching (Eagles of Death Metal) handling production.It marked a shift for the band, with four of the six songs featuring vocals whereas earlier albums only occasionally had vocals.

Earthless on Thee Facebooks

Earthless on Twitter

Earthless on Instagram

Earthless on Bandcamp

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Earthless at Nuclear Blast website

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Hey, It’s Been a Couple Weeks, so Here’s Another Earthless Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

earthless

It’s been, you know, a little bit since the last time Earthless announced a tour in support of this year’s most righteous Black Heaven (review here), so yeah, they’re due. The West Coast kingpin three-piece will hit up their regional stopping ground beginning at the end of September and head toward the Desert Daze fest on Oct. 14. It’s one of several fests they’re playing on the efficient run, as they’ll also make stops at ever-tantalizing Crucial Fest in Salt Lake City and in Alberta at the Downtown Music Festival, which is one of several Canadian dates on what might legitimately be called a West Coast North American run. Also worth noting is the fact that they’ll be joined by the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show for the stint, so you can be guaranteed awesome visuals as well as seeing one of the US’ most powerful heavy rock acts at an inarguable height of their craft.

Fucking gorgeous tour poster and the dates follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

earthless tour poster

EARTHLESS announces North American headlining tour

San Diego-based rock trio EARTHLESS, will headline a series of dates across North America this fall in support of the latest album, Black Heaven. Confirmed dates are as follows:

EARTHLESS
09/25/18 Eugene, OR – Old Nick’s Pub
09/26/18 Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
09/27/18 Portland, OR – Dante’s
09/28/18 Boise, ID – Neurolux
09/29/18 Salt Lake City, UT – CRUCIAL FEST
09/30/18 Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
10/02/18 Minneapolis, MN – Lee’s Liquor Lounge
10/03/18 Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre
10/05/18 Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina
10/06/18 Edmonton, AB – UP & DOWNTOWN MUSIC FESTIVAL
10/07/18 Calgary, AB – Dickens Pub
10/09/18 Victoria, BC – The Copper Owl
10/10/18 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
10/12/18 Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
10/13/18 Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar
10/14/18 Desert Daze – DESERT DAZE

Previously announced UK/European tour:
29 July: Birmingham UK – Hare & Hounds Kings Heath %
30 July: Glasgow UK – The Classic Grand %
31 July: Leeds UK – Brudenell Social Club %
01 Aug: Brighton UK – The Haunt Brighton %
02 Aug: Amsterdam NL – Paradiso Amsterdam %
03 Aug: Beelen DE – Krach am Bach Festival
04 Aug: Waldhausen im Strudengau AT – Lake on Fire Festival
06 Aug: Primošten CR – SuperUho Festival
08 Aug: Budapest HR – A38 Hajó $
11 Aug: Moledo PT – SonicBlast Moledo
14 Aug: Bagnes CH – PALP festival Rocklette &
15 Aug: Winterthur CH – Gaswerk *

Black Heaven was recorded at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, Calif. with Dave Catching (Eagles of Death Metal) handling production.It marked a shift for the band, with four of the six songs featuring vocals whereas earlier albums only occasionally had vocals.

“It wasn’t a premeditated thing to do a record with vocals,” said Rubalcaba. “On the older records, Mike was responsible for a lot of the riffs that would start these jams, but on this one Isaiah [Mitchell] really brought his own pizazz and flavor to it. I’d say that’s one of the major differences on this album: It has more of Isaiah’s input. He took a risk bringing these ideas to us, not knowing if we’d like them. But as with everything we’ve done in the past, it felt very organic and natural.”

Earthless is Mike Eginton (bass), Isaiah Mitchell (vocals/guitar) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums).

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Earthless, “Volt Rush” official video

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Earthless Announce Even More Touring in Support of Black Heaven

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Having just wrapped one European tour alongside Comet Control by playing as artists-in-residence at this year’s Roadburn festival — three sets of their own and guest spots with other bands — Earthless have announced another string of Euro dates to follow their US run that begins the end of this month. This time, they’ll play slots at SonicBlast Moledo 2018 (as previously discussed) and Lake on Fire 2018 among others, and do shows with the likes of Ruby the HatchetGraveyard and Pallbearer as they continue to spread the gospel of their latest offering, Black Heaven (review here), which as I think I’ve probably said upwards of 30 times at this point, is also their debut on Nuclear Blast.

I gotta say, however you might feel about Earthless putting vocals on a record or whatever, or however you might feel about the band generally, they’re doing an absolutely insane amount of touring thus far for Black Heaven, and between the work they’re continuing to put in and the massive influence they’ve had over an entire league of West Coast heavy — which also had a slot at Roadburn; yes, the whole league — it’s hard at this point not to think of them as one of the American underground’s most crucial bands.

Pure and simple, they’re killing it. All year. More and more.

Here are the dates as posted by the band on the social medias:

earthless tour poster

JUST ANNOUNCED: August Euro/UK headline shows + festival dates!!! Ruby the Hatchet will be supporting us in the UK and on a couple of Euro club shows, plus we’ve got two gigs with Pallbearer. And Graveyard and us will be teaming up at PALP festival Rocklette, which will be sweeet. Tickets available now for all dates, get yrs SOON! (killer flyer by Branca Studio)

29 July: Birmingham UK – Hare & Hounds Kings Heath %
30 July: Glasgow UK – The Classic Grand %
31 July: Leeds UK – Brudenell Social Club %
01 Aug: Brighton UK – The Haunt Brighton %
02 Aug: Amsterdam NL – Paradiso Amsterdam %
03 Aug: Beelen DE – Krach am Bach Festival
04 Aug: Waldhausen im Strudengau AT – Lake on Fire Festival
06 Aug: Primošten CR – SuperUho Festival
08 Aug: Budapest HR – A38 Hajó $
11 Aug: Moledo PT – SonicBlast Moledo
14 Aug: Bagnes CH – PALP festival Rocklette &
15 Aug: Winterthur CH – Gaswerk *

%: w/ Ruby the Hatchet
$: w/ Pallbearer
&: w/ Graveyard
*: w/ Pallbearer + Ruby the Hatchet

Previously announced tour dates:
EARTHLESS 2ND LEG BLACK HEAVEN TOUR:
May 31 Detroit, MI El Club
June 1 Nelsonville, OH Nelsonville Music Festival
June 2 Louisville, KY Zanzabar
June 3 Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant Street
June 5 Asheville, NC The Mothlight
June 6 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
June 7 Spartanburg, SC Ground Zero
June 8 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub
June 9 Tallahassee, FL The Wilbury
June 10 Baton Rouge, LA The Spanish Moon
June 12 Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall
June 13 Austin, TX Barracuda
June 14 Ft. Worth, TX Ridglea Room
June 15 Memphis, TN Growler’s

All U.S. non-festival dates with Here Lies Man except Detroit (Timmy’s Organism and The Octopus open)

August 3 Beelen, Germany Krach am Bach
August 10 Moledo, Portugal Sonic Blast

Earthless is Mike Eginton (bass), Isaiah Mitchell (vocals/guitar) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums).

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Earthless, “Volt Rush” official video

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Roadburn 2018 Day Two: Sessions of Light

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2018 day two banner

04.20.18 – 11:25PM CET – Friday night – Hotel Mercure Rm. 224

You know what I did this afternoon before the show started? I slept. For about an hour. It was fucking crazy. A post-‘zine, pre-Roadburn-day-two nap. I’m not sure I can convey to you the novelty of such a thing. With a 3:10PM start to the day, it never would’ve been possible before, as I’d be folding copies of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. Yesterday, today and tomorrow that task is outsourced. Sunday will be folding penance. But damn I enjoyed that nap.

I also enjoyed an inhuman(e) amount of espresso today. You might say I’m sipping one right now. By the time Motorpsycho took to the Main Stage for their two-hour early-headlining set, I’d certainly had a few, and they came in handy in keeping up with the Norwegians’ semi-psychedlic heavy progressive rock. I will not at all pretend to motorpsycho (Photo by JJ Koczan)be an expert on the band — I saw the a few years ago in Eindhoven and they were doing a concept show or something and it didn’t really hit a nerve — but what may or may not still be their latest LP, 2017’s The Tower (review here), was a thrill, so to hear cuts from that like “In Every Dream Home (There’s a Dream of Something Else)” was likewise and as they settled in for the longest haul to feature today on the Main Stage, the crowd seemed to do much the same.

For anyone in the US who might be reading this, Motorpsycho are a huge deal over here. They are legends, legitimately. They’ve been at it for nearly 30 years, and they have a discography that at this point is nigh on insurmountable to which they continuously add releases. They’re relatively obscure in America compared to some other progressive rock-type outfits, but they’re the kind of band who can get on stage, play a song called “Starhammer” from an album called Heavy Metal Fruit and have a couple thousand people absolutely wrapped around their collective finger. Their material is enticingly complex, with ebbs and flows in energy and volume, and when they want to, they can be quite heavy, but while their delivery is technically precise, they’re not overly showy, and the sense of class with which they play holds firm throughout. They, and the response they got, were both a joy to watch.

There was, however, a reason I only stayed for an hour and 45 minutes of their full two-hour set, and that was because over at Cul de Sac, Toronto’s Comet Control were on next, and I was taking zero chances when it came to the potential of missing them. I showed up too late for Insect Ark yesterday and missed my shot. Getting to see Comet Control meant showing up as Ulsect were finishing and waiting the 40comet control 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan) minutes for them to load their gear in, set up, soundcheck, etc. Time well spent as far as I’m concerned, because as I think I’ve said several times by now, there was simply no way I wasn’t going to see them.

My vigilance in doing so was rewarded with a shit-eating-grin-on-my-face life-affirming set the likes of which I’ve only ever experienced at Roadburn. I stayed down the front of the Cul de Sac and stood in front of the stage the entire time. They were my first complete set of the weekend (and only one to this point) and were so good that I wanted to sit it down and explain it to them. Or write a letter. “Dear Comet Control: You guys and gal are fucking awesome. When you played ‘Blast Magic’ I thought my heart was going to explode.” They did that track and “Dig out Your Head” from their excellent 2016 sophomore full-length, Center of the Maze (review here), and were joined on stage by Mario Rubalcaba from Earthless who took over on guitar from Chad Ross for a song — holding the instrument upside down to play left-handed — before they dug back into Ross‘ and fellow guitarist Andrew Moszynski‘s former outfit, Quest for Fire, to play “Greatest Hits by God” and “Sessions of Light,” the opening and closing cuts from 2010’s Lights from Paradise (review here; discussed here).

That. Well. That. That kind of felt like a birthday present to the universe. Quest for Fire played Roadburn in 2011 in what was then called the Bat Cave. I remember standing there in the hallway of the pre-redo 013 and watching them through the door in the smallest of the then-three rooms in the buildingcomet control (Photo by JJ Koczan). Cul de Sac isn’t the smallest venue at Roadburn 2018 — that honor goes to Hall of Fame, up by the Kopelhal and the merch area — but it was an intimate, packed show all the same, and it was the only time so far this weekend that I pulled my earplugs even part of the way out of my ears during a set to let the loudness in. Ross‘ and Moszynski‘s guitars were a wash across two channels, and even though the skin on the kick drum broke, the band made it work. They were my one “must” of the day, and completely justified my anticipation. I sincerely hope this isn’t the only time I get to see them.

When they were done, I lumbered clumsily back to the 013 proper to check out Crowbar on the Main Stage playing Odd Fellows Rest in full as part of Jacob Bannon from Converge‘s curated day. They very much sounded like Crowbar, and that’s not a complaint. The New Orleans sludge purveyors are pro-shop the whole way through and their set was likewise. It’s always interesting to see who gets into the spirit of Roadburn and who plays it like another gig. Again, nothing against Crowbar, who’ve no doubt played European fests in front of tens of thousands of people, and it being a full-album performance, it was still something special to see, founding guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein thanking the crowd profusely as well as Jacob Bannon and Walter for having them back.

I dipped out to grab a quick bite for dinner — there’s this fish in like a lemoncrowbar (Photo by JJ Koczan) cream sauce kind of thing this year in the catering room backstage; I felt like I didn’t want to stop — and made it back in time to catch Crowbar play their cover of “No Quarter” and close out their set with a couple other tunes before Windstein said they were gonna “do that gay thing everyone does” and take a picture on stage with the crowd behind them. Pulled the wind right out of my enjoyment of seeing them. Like a balloon making a fart noise as the air escapes. Bummer. You can call me PC or whatever. I don’t give a fuck. Crowbar has ruled for a long-ass time, but that shit is lame. Moving on.

The delightfully punctuated Seinäjoki, Finland, progressive psych outfit Kairon; IRSE! were wrapping up in the Green Room around the same time, so I waddled in there and caught the end of their set from the balcony. The assembled masses before them were clearly loyal to the cause and it was easy to see why. Heady stuff. They’re on Svart, which is all the endorsement they need as far as I’m concerned, and I may yet pick up their albums in the merch area, where the label has a table all set up that I’ve now visited twice, but I was really in the Green Room to catch Minami Deutsch.

My thinking was that I owed it to myself to catch at least some of the Japanese Psych Experience while I was here — set up by Walter with the minami deutsch (Photo by JJ Koczan)label Guru Guru Brain in a similar kind of thing to the San Diego Takeover, only, you know, from Japan, with acts like Kikagaku Moyo, Dhidalah and Minami Deutsch playing — and I’d heard all along that Minami Deutsch were the mellowest of the bunch. That suited me just fine. I waited for them to go on and when they did, it was easy-groove spacial drift the whole way through and it turned out to be just the vibe I was looking for. I was not the only one, as the room was loaded with people all the way out the door. How many times in my life will I get to see them? I don’t know. Maybe twice if I’m lucky. Point is they were right on and especially as a part of the J-psych theme, a band I felt extra fortunate to be able to catch.

Speaking of possibly-once-in-a-lifetime experiences, up at the Koepelhal — which is on the other side of the train tracks from the 013 in what, with the weather so nice and all the people laying in the grass outside smoking, drinking, whatever, looked like the Roadburn Annex — it was nearly time for Earthless and Damo Suzuki to fuse their mind energies for a set of what I believe was fully improvised psychedelic wandering. There was a little time, so I hobbled next door to the Hall of Fame to watch Petyr play heavy ’70s covers for a minute or two, and perused the merch again, only making myself sad in the process on any number of levels. These are interesting days. Did I mention I ate dinner?

Anyhow, when it was time for Earthless and Damo Suzuki to play their set — which, once more, is the kind of thing that may or may not ever, ever happen again — the Koepelhal was absolutely rammed with bodies looking for a bit of psychedelic communion. As it happens, damo suzuki earthless (Photo by JJ Koczan)that is precisely what they got. The mood started out quiet and built up and came down, with Suzuki on mic, someone else playing another stringed instrument, and EarthlessIsaiah Mitchell, Mike Eginton and Mario Rubalcaba not quite playing the role of the backing band, but definitely giving Suzuki respect on stage and the space to do what he does in terms of proclamations largely indecipherable but completely in the moment. The whole thing, really. Completely in the moment. That seemed to be the entire point.

And maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the humidity, or maybe it was just me being a sucker and remembering how good they were last time I saw them here in 2013, but something drove me back toward the 013 Main Hall in order to catch the start of Godflesh performing 1994’s Selfless in its entirety. I knew I wasn’t going to see the whole thing — writing to do — but I also knew there was no way I’d be able to consider the night complete without watching them at least for a while. So I did. I peeled myself out of Koepelhal and floundered back to the 013, wheregodflesh (Photo by JJ Koczan) Justin K. Broadrick — with hair, no less — and G.C. Green went on about 10 minutes past their allotted start time and only built on the tension that late start created with their dissonant, crushing industrial aggression.

Like few bands I’ve ever seen, Godflesh seem to have the power to just reach into your lungs and squeeze them until they’re all the way empty. It’s something to behold. Selfless had them beginning to experiment with melody, but the electronic beats and the intensity were (and still are) there to be sure, and Broadrick and Green captivated a full Main Stage area, spaced out across the stage just as they were when I saw them play their 1989 debut, Streetcleaner here in 2011. That was also an adventure in sonic brutalism.

After a while, the get-to-work itch started to become unbearable and I blundered my way back through Weirdo Canyon to the hotel where so-much-and-yet-not-enough coffee awaited. It had been another excellent day — it was hard to believe it was only the second one of the fest itself — but Roadburn 2018 picks up early tomorrow with Bell Witch playing Mirror Reaper in its entirety, and well, if I’m going to have my head cleaved open with doom, the very least I can do is be well rested in advance for it.

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

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Roadburn 2018 Day One: Gifted by the Wind

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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04.19.18 – 11:33PM CET – Thursday Night – Hotel Mercure Rm. 224

Long day. Great day. I saw more bands than I photographed, which was among my most essential goals for Roadburn 2018: Just watch music. Just enjoy it. Don’t sweat getting down the front. Don’t sweat anything. This is a good time.

That whole “not sweating” part? Pretty much impossible. It’s apparently Global Warming Week in the Netherlands, so while Waste of Space Orchestra — the first of the weekend’s two commissioned projects, with members involved from Finnish fest-veteran outfits Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising — were tearing the Main Hall to shreds with their avantdelic blackened swirl, outside the sun was shining brightly in a conceptual contrast that, to be perfectly honest, was almost too much to take. waste of space orchestra (Photo by JJ Koczan)Outside, the cafes of Weirdo Canyon were packed to the hilt with libation quaffers. Inside, the goal seemed to be who could be first to prove the human soul exists and then tear it apart.

Hyperbole, you say. Fucking a right. How’s this for hyperbole? Waste of Space Orchestra‘s set might have been some of the most forward-thinking music I’ve heard since BorisFlood. Maybe. I’d have to hear it recorded, which hopefully will happen in a Live at Roadburn-style context, if not an actual studio album — it seems to me the substance there is too great to be left as a one-time-thing-and-gone experience. The ebbs and flows from almost-nothing drones to full-intensity, dual-drummed madness set a scope worthy of its dream-based concept, and there did not seem to be a moment of it that departed from the central mission of exploration. The gorgeous derived from the hideous and vice versa. A laugh in the face of anyone’s expectations, my own included. A first “holy shit” moment for a span of days that promises many.

My brain already so much goo only kept from leaking out of my skull by my earplugs blocking the way, I galumphed in that American-with-a-sore-back kind of way over to Het Patronaat to watch Colorado’s Khemmis play their first European show ever. Imagine that. Your first show on the continent, and it’s at Roadburn. I hope anything else on the tour measures up, because they absolutely packed out the church, and the assembled congregation bid them much welcome once they got going following a moment of turns-out-this-isn’t-plugged-in technical difficulties. That is to say, the crowd knew them and knew their two albums, 2016’s Hunted (review here) and 2015’s Absolution (review here), so there was none of that awkward getting-to-know-you phase. Everyone dove right in.

In fact, that seemed to be the way it went all around, not just for Khemmis or even Waste of Space Orchestra. Sometimes it takes a day khemmis (Photo by JJ Koczan)or two for Roadburn to really dig in. Not this year. From the moment Sannhet started in the Green Room, the vibe was set. Whether they were inside watching the bands or standing in the open air having a smoke of this or that — did you know Europeans put tobacco in their joints? I’ve been coming to the Netherlands for a decade and that’s some shit I just found out today, which I guess tells you how concerned I am generally with the matter. Still, fascinating.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, the vibe. The vibe was right on. I don’t know if it was starting off the Main Stage with such a landmark performance, or the sense of gratitude that Khemmis had from the beginning of their set on, or just all these super-laid-back West Coast dudes walking around, but it was quick immersion in and about the 013 venue. The good times were immediate. The rooms were jammed right from the beginning, and in the best way possible, it felt way more like day three than day one. Again, I did my best to take it easy and just enjoy it, soak in everything I could.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a bit of back and forth to the evening. Plenty, actually, but I knew that Earthless were on my must-see list for the day. The forerunners of San Diego’s heavy rock boom are wrapping a European tour here supporting their new album, Black Heaven (review here). They had a decent portion of acolytes rocking out at the side of the stage, and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell casually noted that it had been 10 years since the first time they played the fest, which of course resulted in the now-legendary LP, Live at Roadburn (discussed here). He wished everyone a great weekend. My big question going into their Main Stage set was how their new material, specifically that with his vocals, would fit alongside the three-piece’s longform instrumentalism.

The answer couldn’t possibly be dumber:earthless 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan) It just does. It’s the same band. It absolutely works. After about 20 minutes of their set, and further, as they moved into “End to End” and “Gifted by the Wind,” I began to wonder exactly what the hell I thought was going to happen, like all of a sudden Mitchell would start singing and bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba would stop and be like, “Dude, what’re you doing?” in the middle of a song. It’s a big transition they’ve made with Black Heaven, but they 100 percent pulled it off on the record, and they did likewise live. Once they started playing, there was no doubt. They absolutely owned the stage and owned the room, the dynamic between each member of the band and the others making all of them utterly essential to the whole; a classic power trio with boogie enough to move thousands. I know. I saw it happen.

And while we’re on the subject, bonus points to Rubalcaba for wearing a t-shirt representing their tourmates Comet Control, who play tomorrow at Cul de Sac and are my absolute must-see band for the day. Like, not staying the whole time for Crowbar, missing Supersonic Blues‘ covers set, Panopticon and Kikagaku Moyo to see them. That’s how fucking essential I consider that. I also hope to get my own shirt.

My intended next stop after Earthless was Insect Ark, at Cul de Sac. I ran back to the hotel room to throw water on my face and drop off the issues I’d snagged of Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, but got back to the venue in Weirdo Canyon itself 20 minutes early and probably about 10 too late to get a spot down front. They went on and I stood in back nursing my regrets and my umpteenth espresso for the day that I picked up from the machine in the hotel lobby, then tweedledummed my way back to the Main Stage toearthless 2 (Photo by JJ Koczan) watch some of Converge playing last November’s The Dusk in Us.

I made it in time to catch the title-track, which frontman and Roadburn 2018 curator Jacob Bannon took a moment to explain was about depression and that if anyone “could relate,” the most important thing to do was survive. “Nothing is more important than you,” he said. I had to stop for minute as the song got going with its slow build and dramatic semi-spoken lyrics and realize that I’ve never felt that to be less true. I don’t begrudge Bannon the sentiment, but yeah. Not a chance, bro.

Harder to argue with Converge‘s on-stage delivery, though. They’ve been at it for nearly 30 years, and while I can’t claim to have seen them in 1990, the passion seems not to have dulled in the slightest. My stop in the Main Hall was temporary though, as I knew I wanted to head to the Green Room to catch Ex Eye, about whom I’ve been hearing more or less since I got to Tilburg yesterday. And actually much longer than that.

Somewhat telling that I walked into the Green Room with more than half an hour to go before the New York-based four-piece took the stage — they were soundchecking at the time — and still couldn’t get a spot to take a semi-decent photo. When they actually rolled in, Ex Eye represented the league of hyperprog better than anyone I’ve seen in a good long while. Guitar, sax, Moog, drums — though no shortage of low end. Instrumental experimentation turning metal into jazz and jazz into metal in a way that would have Cynic blushing and Colin Marston breaking out his Warr guitar to try and get in on the fun. Now I know what people who saw Blind Idiot God in 1989 must’ve felt like.

And I guess by that I mean outclassed by a decade or two. I’d never heard Ex Eye before — look at me, trying new things! — and they were as opaque as they were breathtaking, but it was clear they were on their own wavelength.ex eye (Photo by JJ Koczan) Is extreme prog a thing? If it is or it isn’t, they are.

Having some time before my last stop for the night, I popped up to the merch area to see what was what for shirts and CDs and the like. Part of my annual sojourn in the past has been catching up on Nasoni Records releases by buying a host of CDs, but there were none to be had. I consoled myself with some treasures from Svart — Talmud BeachGarden of WormKimi Kärki‘s solo record, Hallatar — and an old compilation on Hellhound that I’d never seen around before. Distros had a lot of vinyl, same as everywhere, and I usually allot myself one piece of it before the weekend is out. I may yet, but didn’t this time. I’m sure I’ll get there.

But as to that last stop for the day, it was Mirror Queen back at the Cul de Sac. A bit of New York to wrap up a day that spanned even more broadly in terms of style than I could’ve planned had I actually circled names on the schedule. If I could end every night of this fest with some good old fashioned heavy rock and roll, I think I could only call it a win. Mirror Queen brought exactly that: wholesome ’70s flavor with not an ounce of pretense to be found. They’d been on tour for a week alongside Lonely Kamel and were tight enough to make one believe it, and they pulled a good crowd supporting their new single “Inviolate” (video premiere here) and last year’s full-length, Verdigris (review here), which was likewise rife with classic heavy charm and a naturalist modern presentation.

Not my first time seeing them by any stretch, but in my experience there’s always a difference between seeing a band at Roadburn and seeing them anywhere else. Plus, this was my first time watching them play with guitarist Morgan McDaniel in the lineup alongside founding guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal, drummer Jeremy O’Brien and bassist James Corallo. I saw McDaniel here a couple years back when he played bass in The Golden Grass, but he can and did shred on lead guitar and it was a pleasure to watch. He fit right in that band in a way that made me hope he stays.

After taking pictures down front, I made my way to the back of the room for a mirror queen (Photo by JJ Koczan)bit to catch my breath prior to heading out. It had been, as I noted at the outset, a long, great day, but the get-back-to-the-hotel-and-start-writing-you-jerk itch was making itself felt, so I eventually departed the boogie proceedings and lumped it down Weirdo Canyon and back here, where I remain, somewhat stunned by the news that Sleep are apparently releasing a previously-unannounced album tomorrow, on April 20. I would be very surprised if some clever venue DJ doesn’t have it playing somewhere here this weekend. What a way to end day one.

Up in the morning early to work on the ‘zine again, so I’ll leave it there for now. I’ve got some more pictures up after the jump if you get the chance to check them out. Thanks for reading either way. More to come.

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