Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 Adds Sacri Monti, Dhidalah, Earth Tongue & Slowjoint

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

esbjerg fuzztival 2020 banner

The big name here is Sacri Monti, who move to the top billing of the poster for Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 to rest alongside Vokonis. I don’t know if they’re headlining or what, but if they were, you’d have to believe it, as San Diego is a long plane ride from Denmark. I actually take this to mean the Cali heavy rockers will be back on tour in Europe in the Spring, which seems fair enough, so we’ll have to see where else their name pops up on festival bills and so on. Speaking of traveling significant distances, Slowjoint won’t, as they’re coming from the northern Danish peninsula Jutland, but Earth Tongue are coming all the way from New Zealand, which certainly qualifies, and the same applies to Dhidalah, from Japan.

Four bands, four different countries? Yeah, that kind of seems to be the story of Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 through its first two lineup announcements. The first announcement had Hazemaze and Vokonis, who are both Swedish, but also Mexico’s Vinnum Sabbathi and Denmark’s own Vestjysk Ørken, who are also involved in organizing the fest, so it’s quite an international assemblage that’s coming together for the lineup. Especially for a festival that, while it’s two days, won’t be massive by the time it’s done if the one that took place earlier this year is anything to go by — that is, it’s not four days/three stages has some other events are, though I think there’s a pre-party, so that could technically be considered a third day if you wanted to push it — it shows an impressive commitment to geographic as well as sonic diversity. They make it easy to dig what they’re doing, and indeed I do.

Looking forward to seeing who else is involved once January comes around. That’s also when tickets go on sale, as they inform:

esbjerg fuzztival 2020 second announcement

Second Band Announcement!

Thrilled to add SACRI MONTI from the US to the 2020 line-up as well as Dhidalah from Japan, Earth Tongue from New Zealand and SLOWJOINT fra Jylland! The most ambitious line-up at Fuzztival yet, showcasing the many nuances of the “stoner”-genre. We can’t wait!

Tickets go on sale in January, where we’ll also reveal the next bands!

Huset Esbjerg
May 8+9 2020

https://www.facebook.com/events/2277251089027506/
https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.fuzztival.com/

Sacri Monti, Live at SonicBlast Moledo 2019

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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

https://www.facebook.com/events/464163361105416/
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/

Sacri Monti, “Waiting Room for the Magic Hour”

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Sacri Monti, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour: Beautiful Demons

Posted in Reviews on July 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sacri monti waiting room for the magic hour

It’s been a sneakily long four years since San Diego’s Sacri Monti loosed their 2015 self-titled debut (review here) through Tee Pee Records, and perhaps it’s because they’ve toured steadily — going to Europe at least twice and doing regular stints on the West Coast, etc. — that it doesn’t seem so long. The five-piece also took part in 2017’s Burnout three-way split with Harsh Toke and JOY (review here), so they’ve hardly been absent, but Waiting Room for the Magic Hour telegraphs a sense of anticipation with its title, and the eight-song/45-minute outing lives up to that with organ-soaked classic-style heavy rock that draws away from some of the boogie for which their hometown has become so known as the returning lineup of guitarists Brenden Dellar (also vocals) and Dylan Donovan, bassist Anthony Meier (also of Radio Moscow), organist Evan Wenskay and drummer Thomas Dibenedetto delve deeper into proggy-rocky explorations in cuts like “Fear and Fire,” “Starlight,” “Gone from Grace” and the brief penultimate instrumental “Wading in Malcesine.”

The last of those is more of an interlude — its title referring to a lakeside village in northern Italy that one assumes was a stop on some tour or other or at least an escapist fantasy — but still brings Sacri Monti to a place the first album didn’t dare to go with its post-rock guitar drift and Wenskay‘s synth giving the sub-three-minute proceedings an otherworldly feel. That seems to arrive light-years beyond where they start out with the five-minute opening title-track, which keeps to a more straightforward style that, particularly with the vocal patterning, is bound to remind some listeners of where Earthless were on their own last full-length — also earliest Witchcraft — but still keeps its own identity instrumentally as well and sets up moments like the jabbing surge at the end of side A’s “Starlight,” with organ and guitar winding together in an exciting crescendo that touches on Thin Lizzy and rises out of a more straight-ahead hook, itself led into by the instrumental, guitar-driven interlude/shorter piece “Armistice,” to which side B’s aforementioned “Wading in Malcesine” is something of a mirror.

Flow is essential to a work like this and Sacri Monti make it sound easy. Waiting Room for the Magic Hour, though it can seem rhythmically anxious at times as it shifts through its more progressive stretches, but it’s not without its trail markers as it goes farther out, and the place it winds up in closer “You Beautiful Demon” is a genuine surprise: an acoustic and pedal steel near-twang that still derives from Led Zeppelin, but does so in a way that still serves as a ready example of Sacri Monti‘s drive toward individualism. Amidst all the shuffle and ’70s worship of their crowded scene, Sacri Monti are finding a way to both fit in and distinguish themselves in these songs. They’re establishing a richer, less-bound personality to their songwriting that feels comfortable encompassing psychedelia as much as earthy folk-blues strum — back to back, no less — and most importantly, they’re pulling it off.

sacri monti waiting room for the magic hour back cover

Elements in “Fear and Fire” — the longest inclusion at 9:14 — and “Starlight” or even the more patiently melodic side B opener “Affirmation” will seem familiar to those with an affinity either for classic progressive rock or its modern heavy revisionists, but the fluidity of Sacri Monti‘s craft here and the lack of pretense they bring to their instrumentalism, their tonal warmth and overarching groove, help to give Waiting Room for the Magic Hour a distinguishing presence, and the take-it-as-a-whole feel of the album front to back feels not necessarily like a conceptual piece mandating it be experienced in a certain way, but an invitation issued to the listener to come in and sit down for a while and enjoy finding the places where the band end up. Songs like “Starlight,” “Affirmation,” “Gone from Grace” and even “You Beautiful Demon” — let alone the title-track — seem to speak to ideas beyond the bare physical world, and fair enough, but Sacri Monti succeed in carrying their audience along this sometimes-complex path without getting anymore lost along the way than they want to be. That’s the difference between Waiting Room for the Magic Hour being as engaging as it is and a flat mess, which it is not.

Indeed, even the name of the record seems to invite speculation as to meaning. What’s the magic hour? Where’s the waiting room? Beginning with stick clicks and a suitably live feel, the title-track would seem to hint that the show is the magic hour, and the waiting room might be the rest of life — the opening line, “Orange haze fall down on me again,” supports this — and given the place-name in “Wading in Malcesine” speaks to reflections on touring as well, but that’s a simplistic narrative to put to it and what feels more important about Waiting Room for the Magic Hour is the places the record takes Sacri Monti‘s sound, rather than the story behind it, and whether it’s the intricacies of “Armistice” and “Starlight” or the direct way the organ at the end of “Affirmation” seems to lead to the opening guitar line of “Gone from Grace,” there’s a natural vibe that ties the material here together and gives the listener all the more to dig into on repeat visits, putting emphasis on the raw dynamic not just between the two guitars or the instruments and the vocals, but the guitar and bass, the bass and keys, the guitar and keys, the drums and everything, and so on.

Though it often winds up being the guitar in the lead, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour stands on the shoulders of each member’s performance and is even more an accomplishment for what those performances produce. In a vast legion of sun-coated West Coast boogie, it builds something of its own from that foundation and highlights a potential that even the self-titled could only touch on in a tentative way. These songs feel more confident and more realized, and if they’re as much a show of potential as of their own manifestation — that is, if Sacri Monti continue to progress from what they achieve here — even if it takes them another four years to put out a follow-up, that LP will be well worth the wait. These cats could’ve played dumb and written a probably-cool-anyway record of capable ’70s-style heavy rock. They very clearly aimed higher, and they very clearly nailed it.

Sacri Monti, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour (2019)

Sacri Monti on Thee Facebooks

Sacri Monti on Instagram

Sacri Monti webstore

Sacri Monti on Soundcloud

Tee Pee Records website

Tee Pee Records on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 16

Posted in Radio on May 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

This was the first episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio to air in the new timeslot of Friday at 1PM Eastern, and I’ll just be honest, I think it was the best one I’ve done yet. The music was right on, the rhythm of one song into the next. There’s a way to make a thing like this that carries a flow — remember mixtapes? Same deal. This one had that. It tripped out when it needed to with Kandodo3 and instead of going psych-blast at the end, it went heavy with Nomadic Rituals and Thronehammer. I loved opening with 16 Horsepower as something unexpected and apart from both the riffy and the Gimme norm, and from pairing Lord Vicar and Destroyer of Light — someone book that tour! — to Sacri Monti and Wild Rocket, everything just came together right.

Tapping Monster Magnet for a classic track (classic track! yay!) didn’t hurt either, but even aside from that, it was a cool show. I’m not sure of the timing on re-airings — they’re every Sunday now at 7PM Eastern; the old timeslot for new episodes — but Gimme also has that Brigade thing you can join and listen to their full archive of everything. I’m not trying to spend your money; just want to give you options and not be like, “Hey this awesome thing happened and you missed it!” On that thought, maybe I should start posting these playlists before the show airs. Hmm… Things to consider.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 05.24.19

16 Horsepower Hutterite Mile Folklore (2002)
Abrahma Last Epistle In Time for the Last Rays of Light*
Giant Dwarf Repeat After Defeat Giant Dwarf*
BREAK
Monster Magnet Ozium Spine of God (1992)
Vorrh Myths Nomads of the Infinite Wild (2018)
Kandodo3 Everything – Green’s – Gone K3*
Lord Vicar The Temple in the Bedrock The Black Powder*
Destroyer of Light Eternal Death Mors Aeterna*
Faerie Ring Lost Wind The Clearing*
Ruff Majik Speed Hippie Tarn*
BREAK
Sacri Monti Waiting Room for the Magic Hour Waiting Room for the Magic Hour*
Wild Rocket Caught in Triangle Again Disassociation Mechanics (2017)
Slomatics Mind Fortresses on Theia Canyons*
BREAK
Nomadic Rituals Face Down in the Sea of Oblivion Marking the Day (2017)
Thronehammer Behind the Wall of Frost Usurper of the Oaken Throne*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is June 7. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Sacri Monti Confirm July 5 Release for Waiting Room for the Magic Hour; Title-Track Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

SACRI MONTI

I’m sitting across the kitchen table from The Patient Mrs. just now and she’s telling me about some dude she’s acquainted with in some tertiary way who has a condition whereby he passes something like six kidney stones a month. That sounds fucking awful. What doesn’t sound awful is new Sacri Monti. That sounds like organ-laced West Coast heavy boogie groovy goodness. Much preferable.

The band’s second full-length for Tee Pee Records is called Waiting Room for the Magic Hour, as previously noted, and they’ll tour Europe soon after the July 5 release. We knew that too. But the song they’re streaming — the title-track — is enough to earn its own post, and with the re-confirmed album info and tracklisting, well, yeah, I’m more than happy to reiterate a few known factoids in service to the greater good of this stuff. Album preorders are up now from Tee Pee.

Therefore, dig:

sacri monti waiting room for the magic hour

Sacri Monti to Release Sophomore LP, ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’, July 5

California Heavy Psych Band Featuring Members of JOY, Monarch and Radio Moscow Expands Its Already Kaleidoscopic Sound on Electric New Album

San Diego psychedelic heavy rock champions Sacri Monti return with a vengeance on their sophomore LP ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’. Recorded at Audio Design (Earthless) with producer Jordan Andreen (Joy, Arctic), ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ sees Sacri Monti firing on all cylinders, somersaulting between the spontaneous and the musically calculated. Blues rock, prog rock, proto metal, fusion; it’s all masterfully represented, as brash as it is beautiful. ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ will see a July 5 release via Tee Pee Records.

On ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’, heaps of fuzzed vocals, waves of keyboards, boogie rhythms, and sick, spiraling leads merge with focus, energy and drive to send Sacri Monti soaring to a next level, riff-filled land. Proggy space rock jams erupt as melodies segue in and out, while vocals drift over the top, seemingly lost in the instrumental sea. Sacri Monti come fully charged and ready to party, adding a new twist on heavy psych while delivering the soundtrack to an endless summer with ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’.

A first listen to what ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ holds in store can be heard now as Sacri Monti has released the title track to the upcoming LP. Hear it now at this location.

Track listing:

1.) Waiting Room for the Magic Hour
2.) Fear and Fire
3.) Armistice
4.) Starlight
5.) Affirmation
6.) Gone from Grace
7.) Wading in Malcesine
8.) You Beautiful Demon

Pre-order ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ at this location.

16/07 UK Brighton Hope & Ruin
18/07 UK London The Black Heart
19/07 BE zottegem kaffee maboel/klsjr kllktv
20/07 DE Zentrum Zinsholz Eastfilly Fest
21/07 DE Munich Import Export
22/07 AT Wien Viper Room
25/07 ITA Lecco La Bottega d’estate c/o Lido di Casletta
26/07 ITA Sezzadio(Alessandria) Cascina Bellaria
27/07 ITA Moos in Passeier,Südtirol Crystal Mountain Festival
28/07 ITA Padova Curtarock
31/07 FRA Paris Supersonic
01/08 DE Köln MTC
02/08 DE Beelen Krach am Bach Open Air
04/08 DE Aschaffenburg – secret show
07/08 DE Berlin Zukunft
08/08 CZ Louny TBA
09/08 DE Sizendorf Void Festival
10/08 PT Moledo Sonic Blast Moledo Festival
11/08 FRA Picardie Celebration Days Festival

Sacri Monti is:
Brenden Dellar -Guitar
Dylan Donovan- Guitar
Anthony Meier- Bass
Evan Wenskay- Organ, Synth
Thomas Dibenedetto- Drums

https://www.facebook.com/sacrimontiband/
https://www.instagram.com/sacri_monti_band/
https://sacrimonti.bigcartel.com/
https://soundcloud.com/sacri-monti
teepeerecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/
https://twitter.com/teepeerecords
https://teepeerecords.bandcamp.com/

Sacri Monti, “Waiting Room for the Magic Hour”

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Sacri Monti Announce European Tour; Waiting Room for the Magic Hour out July 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

SACRI MONTI
San Diego bringers-of-vibe Sacri Monti announced their new album, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour a couple months ago and noted a July 5 release for it when they put up the cover art (below; it’s the one that doesn’t say “Euro Tour”), but I haven’t seen much advance hype up to this point. I’m sure as soon as I post this something will come out to make that statement totally irrelevant — that’s usually how my timing goes — but either way, with their taking part in the 2017 Burnout three-way split with Harsh Toke and JOY (review here), having played Roadburn as part of the San Diego Takeover last year, and having impressed with their 2015 self-titled debut (review here), I’d think there’d be some decent anticipation to tap into for the new one. I’m looking forward to it, I guess is the bottom line.

They were previously announced for SonicBlast Moledo 2019 and Krach am Bach, but they’ve got a full round of tour dates up now that you can check out below, and it includes a bunch of other fests as well and club shows. They’ll be at The Black Heart in London. That place is always a good time.

Looks like a good run. Dig it:

Behold our European your dates for the Summer

16/07 UK Brighton Hope & Ruin
18/07 UK London The Black Heart
19/07 BE zottegem kaffee maboel/klsjr kllktv
20/07 DE Zentrum Zinsholz Eastfilly Fest
21/07 DE Munich Import Export
22/07 AT Wien Viper Room
25/07 ITA Lecco La Bottega d’estate c/o Lido di Casletta
26/07 ITA Sezzadio(Alessandria) Cascina Bellaria
27/07 ITA Moos in Passeier,Südtirol Crystal Mountain Festival
28/07 ITA Padova Curtarock
31/07 FRA Paris Supersonic
01/08 DE Köln MTC
02/08 DE Beelen Krach am Bach Open Air
04/08 DE Aschaffenburg – secret show
07/08 DE Berlin Zukunft
08/08 CZ Louny TBA
09/08 DE Sizendorf Void Festival
10/08 PT Moledo Sonic Blast Moledo Festival
11/08 FRA Picardie Celebration Days Festival

Sacri Monti is:
Brenden Dellar -Guitar
Dylan Donovan- Guitar
Anthony Meier- Bass
Evan Wenskay- Organ, Synth
Thomas Dibenedetto- Drums

https://www.facebook.com/sacrimontiband/
https://www.instagram.com/sacri_monti_band/
https://sacrimonti.bigcartel.com/
https://soundcloud.com/sacri-monti
teepeerecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/
https://twitter.com/teepeerecords
https://teepeerecords.bandcamp.com/

Sacri Monti, “Sleeping for Years”

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SonicBlast Moledo 2019 Adds Monolord, Lucifer, Satan’s Satyrs, MaidaVale, Sacri Monti and More to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

It was good lineup after one announcement, but here we are and SonicBlast Moledo 2019 has announced the next batch of acts for its bill, which, when you step back and really take it in, seems all the more formidable. Note the San Diego infusion this time around from Sacri Monti, Harsh Toke and Petyr. I can’t help but wonder if that might mean those bands will head out on tour together in Europe sometime around August. Would make sense, since they all seem familiar with each other anyhow, but of course that’s speculation.

What isn’t speculation is that one continues to daydream about a quick weekend trip to Portugal in order to see this festival. Have you ever watched videos from SonicBlast? Seen pictures afterwards? It looks pretty incredible, and somehow the thought of seeing Monolord in such a rare and gorgeous setting seems all the more fun, let alone the classic-style rock of MaidaVale.

Ah, to dream.

The announcement was posted on the ol’ social medias and looked an awful lot like this:

sonicblast moledo 2019 poster square

We’re thrilled to announce ten more bands to the 9th edition of SonicBlast Moledo!

Monolord, LUCIFER, Toundra, Satan’s Satyrs, SACRI MONTI, HARSH TOKE, PETYR, KALEIDOBOLT, MaidaVale and MAGGOT HEART will bring us some loud heavy fuzzy doom tunes!

Om (usa) + Orange Goblin (uk) + My Sleeping Karma (ger) + Windhand (usa) + Monolord (se) + Lucifer (se) + The Obsessed (usa) + Dopethrone (can) + Toundra (es) + Satan’s Satyrs (usa) + Sacri Monti (usa) + Harsh Toke (usa) + Petyr (usa) + Zig Zags (usa) + Kaleidobolt (fi) + Maidavale (se) + Minami Deutsch (jp) + Maggot Heart (se) +++ many more tba +++

Artwork by Branca Studio

Tickets are now available at here.
(Also available in Portugal, through BOL physical point of sales: Fnac, Worten, Ctt’s…)

SonicBlast Moledo 2019
8, 9 and 10 of August
Moledo
Portugal

https://www.facebook.com/events/183265999284942/
https://www.facebook.com/sonicblastmoledo/
https://sonicblastmoledo.com/

Monolord, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY, Sept. 2018

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Roadburn 2018 Day Three: No Evil No Demon

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2018 day three banner

04.21.18 – 11:31PM CET – Saturday night – Hotel Mercure Rm. 224

A text came in this morning from The Patient Mrs., who told me she wanted me to be kinder to myself in how I described moving through the world around me. I saw this right when I woke up this morning, so had no idea what she was talking about. It was all the “galumphing” and “lumbering” and “waddling” and whatnot I’ve been doing the last few days. I told her it’s a running gag and that in describing my every movement from placebell witch 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan) to place today, I would use the word “farting” exclusively.

It was a busy day. I did a lot of farting back and forth. We did not set a new land-speed record in getting the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch to the press, but we did still manage to get it out on time like the pros that we are. It was a good thing, too, because Roadburn 2018 day three started extra early with Bell Witch at Koepelhal, and it was not to be missed. Clearly there would be no time for farting around.

The Seattle-based duo play here tomorrow as well, but today they were performing last year’s brilliant and affecting Mirror Reaper (review here) in its entirety, with six-string bassist Dylan Desmond and drummer Jesse Shreibman joined by Erik Moggridge, also known as the solo-performer Aerial Ruin, to contribute guest vocals as he does on the album, which was written in memory of former drummer Adrian Guerra, who passed away in 2016. The piece, an 80-minute single-song full-length, was to be rendered in its complete form, with all the crushing tones and searing emotional resonance brought to life.

I’ll be honest with you, it felt a little voyeuristic to watch. I’ve seen tribute sets at Roadburn before — one recalls the Selim Lemouchi tribute in 2014, and even as Bell Witch were playing today at Koepelhal, back at Het Patronaatbell witch (Photo by JJ Koczan)Stephen Brodsky and Adam McGrath of Cave In were paying homage to their late former bandmate, Caleb Scofield, who died in a car accident last month. But still. Maybe it’s just because it was so heavy coming from Bell Witch, or maybe it was the way Shreibman started out with his head down on his snare, or how he, Desmond and Moggridge all came together on vocals, but there was something so raw about the grief on display that it would’ve been next to impossible not to be affected by it. Powerful. Moving. One only hopes there some measure of catharsis derived from the process, because they managed to turn the darkest of feelings and sounds into something beautiful.

Somewhat dazed, I dragged my oafish, unworthy, hideous fucking carcass out of the Koeplhal — where in the merch area they couldn’t even find a Sacri Monti t-shirt big enough to wrap around my bloated fucking form (shit just got tragic; dial it back) — and over to the Hall of Fame where even-younger-than-I-thought-they-were-and-I-thought-they-were-pretty-young boogie rockers Supersonic Blues were getting set to go on. Hall of Fame is the smallest of Roadburn 2018’s venues, and I hadn’t been supersonic blues (Photo by JJ Koczan)inside yet other then to pop in on Petyr playing heavy ’70s covers yesterday, so this was my first real set there. Supersonic Blues also did a set of covers at some point in the last two days, and they worked a UFO song into this set of originals as well, I suspect because they just don’t have that much original material yet. They were allotted 50 minutes, and they’ve only released one two-song single (review here), so yeah. Maybe they just ran out of songs.

As happens in some fortunate occasions with young acts who aren’t arrogant as hell, Supersonic Blues are a better band than they know. They were somewhat timid on stage, or at least subdued, but their boogie, their tones and their swing were all right on, and their material was warm and classic feeling in a way that fit with some of the San Diego Takeover groups — PetyrArcticSacri Monti, etc. — but laid back enough to still be its own vibe. I was already looking forward to their next release and am only more so after seeing them play.

My next move was something of a debate. In the Green Room, Minami Deutsch and Damo Suzuki were doing a set together, which sounds like, yes, something you want to stand in front of for as long as you can. On the Main Stage, however, Panopticon were doing a full-on full-hour, and well, I watched both Minami Deutsch and Damo Suzuki yesterday — albeit in different contexts — and I’ve never seen Panopticon, so the Minnesota-based, folk-infused American black metallers won out. Not a phrase I say often. Led by guitarist/vocalist Austin Lunn, who also owns and operates Hammerheart Brewing in Minnesota, which smells delightfully like fresh-cut and/or burning wood when you go therepanopticon (Photo by JJ Koczan)Panopticon absolutely packed out the Main Hall, and with family members to the side of front of the crowd, they unleashed a torrent of USBM intensity that made no bones about its intent to scorch.

For a band who doesn’t tour nine months out of the year, their ownership of the big stage was complete and unflinching, and as they have a brand new record out in the form of The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness I and II on Bindrune, their energy level was no less ferocious than the material itself, though there was plenty of dynamic to be had as well. I knew I wanted to be back in the Green Room for Volcano, so I hopscotched out of the Main Hall and downstairs to grab a quick bite to eat. Some vegan meatballs and seasoned mystery (actual-)meat later, I lubbered up to the front of the Green Room and there planted myself to wait for Volcano to hit it.

And I mean hit it. Led by the keys of Harsh Toke‘s Gabe Messer and the guitar of Joy‘s Zach Oakley, with Red Octopus‘ Billy Ellsworth on bass, I don’t even know who on drums, Sacri Monti and Joy drummer Thomas Dibenedetto on percussive sticks and Earthless‘ own Mario Rubalcaba sitting in on volcano (Photo by JJ Koczan)bongos and other percussion, Volcano were an Afrobeat-inspired melee of psychedelic funk, starting out their set with a song called “Naked Prey” and ending with their previously-posted single, “10,000 Screaming Souls” (discussed here), and in between, they were an absolute blast of rhythm, vibe and motion. “No Evil No Demon” invited shouting sing-alongs, and as my understanding is that their record is already done and they’re already signed to Tee Pee for the release — hardly a surprise given the personnel involved — I was thinking of their set as something of a preview of what’s to come when the album lands, but they were already crazy tight, locked in, and looking and sounding like they were having a total blast.

It was their second show. Two. I’d sat next to Ellsworth on the bus ride from the airport to Tilburg the other day and he told me the band figured they might as well get one under their belt before playing Roadburn. Their second show. In the Green Room. And they totally killed it.

They are a band about which you will no doubt hear more in the months, maybe years, to come, and they made an excellent lead-in for the psychedelic masterclass that long-running UK cosmotrodders The Heads delivered in the same space. I’ve seen The Heads at Roadburn before — they played the Main Stage in 2015 (review here) and subsequently released it as the live album, Burning up With… (review here) — and their history with the festival and with Walter goes back much farther than that, and as he worked the live video mixing projected behind them once again in the Green Room, the swirl was unmistakable and irresistible. Before they went on, the heads (Photo by JJ Koczan)I had been reading a news story about diamonds found in a meteorite that were supposed to be leftover from a planetary collision 4.7 billion years go or something like that.

Could there possibly be a better analog to what The Heads bring to the stage? Diamonds from space? Shit, as I watched them conjure a gravity well with “Coogans Bluff” and “Widowmaker,” all I could think about was a giant rock slamming with a couple billion years’ worth of momentum into the earth and Paul AllenWayne MaskellHugo Morgan and Simon Price popping out of the thing like a presidential birthday cake and jamming a swirl hot enough to melt crucial elements into new molecules. Heavy. Psychedelic. Perfection. I don’t think there’s really any other option when The Heads play except to stand there with your mouth agape and just try to retain as much of it as humanly possible. The only challenge is not snapping back to reality when they’re done and realizing you’ve lost time, like on an old episode of X-Files.

Oh, and by the way, The Heads are really, really, really fucking good.

I did not at all envy Sacri Monti the task of following them up, but the San Diego five-piece represented the Takeover well, with a contingent of their clique on hand to watch as guitarist/vocalist Brendan Dellar, guitarist Dylan Donavon, organist Evan Wenskay, bassist Anthony Meier (also of Radio Moscow) and Dibenedetto sacri monti (Photo by JJ Koczan)on drums tore into songs from their 2015 self-titled debut (review here) and some new material from the follow-up that that first album is due. I’ve no idea what the state of their next record is, but what they played sounded right on and though they were less spaced-out than The Heads, one could still get a sense of the intended continuity in the Green Room as they played, which started with Petyr and Minami Deutsch with Damo Suzuki, got far out with Volcano and The Heads and came back to the boogie via Sacri Monti before Sweden’s Maggot Heart closed out the room for the night with more of a post-punk vibe.

After poking my laughably-gargantuan cranium into the Main Hall to take a peak at Godspeed You! Black Emperor, whose second set of the weekend I’ll watch tomorrow, I poor-coordinationed my way over to Het Patronaat to close out my night with a blast of Japanese sludge from Greenmachine, who were performing their 1997 debut, D.A.M.N., in its entirety. Their onslaught was immediate save for a small technical issue with one of the amps, and they delivered a pummel worthy of the underground influence they’ve had in their home country and beyond. I was digging the hell out of it, but have no problem admitting I was done before they were. When it’s time to go greenmachine (Photo by JJ Koczan)back to the hotel and write, there’s really nothing else to be done except that.

With the banana I’d found earlier in the day backstage still in the side pocket of my cosmic backpack, I knuckledragged back to the hotel through a Weirdo Canyon that looked like some kind of clash of civilizations, with dance clubs open and beardo metallers sitting out in cafes red-eyed and addled from a long day of whathaveyou. The anthropologist in me — and no, there isn’t an anthropologist in me — wanted to start interviewing members of different subcultures to see how they could possibly exist in the same space at the same time, but, well, there’s still Day Four of Roadburn 2018 to go tomorrow, and plenty enough already to keep me busy in the meantime.

You know what I did tonight? I introduced myself to Ester Segarra. Zero chance you remember, but a couple months back, I posted about how incredibly talented a photographer she is (and she is) and the collection she had coming out via Season of Mist and I said that in all the years I’d seen her in the photo pit at Roadburn, I’d never been brave enough to introduce myself. Well, as I was on my way from Sacri Monti to Greenmachine, she was walking the opposite direction in the front hallway of the 013 and I stopped her, shook her hand and said who I was. It might’ve been the bravest thing I’ve done this weekend up to this point, and to be frank, I don’t really see myself trying to top it tomorrow. But hey, I said hi to Ester Segarra. And she didn’t even tell me to go fuck myself. She was super-nice. Bonus.

More of my nowhere-near-as-good-as-Ester-Segarra’s photography after the jump, if you’re up for it. Thanks for reading.

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