Freak Valley 2020 Adds Elder, Beastwars, Sunnata & More; Official Poster Art Unveiled

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2020 banner

Freak Valley 2020 has revealed its official poster art, once again contributed by Sebastian Jerke who has done the past I-don’t-know-how-many-years. It’s a kind of deer-fox-wolf-dragon-warthog beast that, well, if you look to long at it might just haunt your dreams, but is unquestionably exquisite in its detail and creativity. From the forked tongue to the fact that it’s holding a tattered black flag and the logo of the festival like a trophy it just won for Most Horrifying Thing With Feathers, it’s every bit the hoodie-worthy level of work one has come to expect from Jerke, who is no stranger to killing it.

Speaking of killing it — FUCKING BEASTWARS ARE PLAYING FREAK VALLEY. I’m thrilled to say I’ve got my flight booked, and no, I have no clue how to get from the airport in Frankfurt to Siegen, and no, I have no clue where I’m staying when I get there, but hot damn, I’m going to Freak Valley 2020. Thanks so much to the festival for inviting me. This is a trip that has been years in the making and I could not possibly be more stoked on it, not the least because it means I’ll see Beastwars, whose work I’ve spent the last decade being pummeled by. Elder ain’t bad either. Ha.

All kidding aside — of course Elder are amazing blah blah blah — this is a pretty killer round of adds. I wrote the announcement, as I’ve done all the Freak Valley 2020 announcements, and I didn’t know Hank Davison at all, but his stuff is pretty right on, and I felt like having seen Sunnata in Norway last October gave me a distinct advantage in understanding where the band was coming from. Revvnant‘s recently-unveiled single bodes well for that set’s experimentalist bent, and while I won’t give The Great Machine too many points for the title of their most recent album, their stuff is pretty off-the-wall heavy in that kind of what-you-wish-QueensoftheStoneAge-became kind of way. I’ll take that.

So here you go. If you’re going, I’ll see you there:

Freaks, The Countdown Is On!

Every one of these announcements brings us closer to Freak Valley Festival 2020 and we can’t wait to welcome you all. There are some huge names coming to the lineup this time, so let’s get down to business!

Join us in welcoming Elder, Beastwars, Sunnata, The Great Machine, Hank Davison & Friends, and Revvnant!

ELDER

Do they need an introduction? We certainly don’t think so. They stand among the next generation’s most crucial and most progressive heavy acts to be found anywhere. With guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and new drummer Georg Edert based in Berlin, the four-piece are half German at this point, so maybe we’ll think of them coming to FVF as something like a hometown show! Why not? Their upcoming album, Omens, is out in April and paints a proggy wonderland of heavy riffs and lush melodies like never before, with DiSalvo and Mike Risberg’s guitars and keys fleshing ever further out and Jack Donovan’s bass holding down the band’s inimitable groove. They are one-of-a-kind and stand among the upper echelon of modern heavy. There. How’s that for an introduction?

BEASTWARS

You asked, we answered. Let’s face it, Beastwars coming from New Zealand to play at Freak Valley is a gift we’re giving ourselves as much as we’re presenting them to you. For years, we’ve watched and admired from afar as their crushing riffs resonated from Aus/NZ tour after Aus/NZ tour and when the band broke up following 2016’s ‘The Death of All Things,’ we thought we’d never get the chance to witness them in-person. It was facing mortality that brought them back together for 2019’s ‘IV,’ but their sound was as much a physical sonic force as ever, and their sludge will be even more epic coming from the stage. If you know their albums, you already know why we’re so excited. If not, there’s still time to get yourself educated.

SUNNATA

Those who’ve paid heed to the weighted prog rock/metal of Poland’s Sunnata — whose style is like a plant grown from roots of grunge that reaches out to the stratosphere — can attest to the sense of poise and presence they bring live. Their studio work is melodic and forward thinking, to be sure, and on stage, the band transform themselves as a part of the ritual of playing. It’s not just about headbanging or throwing themselves into the songs, it’s about watching their communion with the material as the play, and thus having your own experience with their work. While avoiding all cult rock cliche, they actually bring a ceremonial feel to each performance, and we know you’ll agree as we bring them to Freak Valley 2020.

THE GREAT MACHINE

From the raging speed-punk of “Bitch Too” to the sprawling nod and crash of “DM II,” Israeli three-piece The Great Machine made one hell of an impression with their 2019 album, ‘Greatestits,’ and we knew there was no way we could let 2020 pass without inviting them back to play Freak Valley Festival for the second time. Maybe you caught them in 2017 as they were supporting their ‘Love’ album — “South West Sugar Rush,” anyone? — but you can still expect something new and off the wall for their return. And anyone else who didn’t see them last time? Yeah, you’re in for a treat.

HANK DAVISON & FRIENDS

You Freaks outside of Germany might not be as familiar, but Hank Davison is an institution when it comes to biker blues. From his days leading the Hank Davison Band to his solo acoustic work and more recently finding a middle ground performing unplugged with Hank Davison & Friends, the man himself brings a sense of outlaw country danger and classic blues to everything he does. At the tender age of 63, Davison sets the standard for badassery everywhere he goes, and you know we love our blues here at Freak Valley, so get ready to get down as the “Face of a Wanted Man” itself comes to our stage for the first time. We promise it’ll be something you’ll be talking about long after the weekend is over.

REVVNANT

Back in 2018, it was with bittersweet joy that we played host to the final gig from Baltimore-based blues rockers The Flying Eyes, whom we loved dearly. Revvnant is a new project spearheaded by Elias Schutzmann (also of Black Lung) that brings him out from behind the drumkit to front the band based around psychedelic and progressive experimentation, analog synth, washes of effects noise, soulful vocals, the occasional bit of death-whistle and more. Joined by keyboardist Trevor Shipley and Burnpilot’s Sidney Yendis on drums, Revvnant seem poised to blow open the doors of perception, and we can’t wait to watch them walk through as they forge their own path forward.

Still more to come!

FREAK VALLEY 2020
No Fillers – Just Killers

https://www.facebook.com/events/2434350453469407/
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley/
http://www.freakvalley.de/
http://www.rockfreaks.de/

Elder, “Omens”

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Freak Valley 2020: Stoned Jesus, Pontiak, Elephant Tree, Daily Thompson, Psychlona and Supersonic Blues Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2020 third announcement header

This is a good one, and I’m not just saying that because I wrote the announcement you can read below. If you find a typo, let me know. In any case, Freak Valley 2020 keeps the thread moving with its next batch of lineup adds, getting bigger and better is the way of such things. If all goes according my plans between now and then — sorry, but until I’m there, nothing’s a sure bet; plans change, fests decide I suck, customs agents decide my passport photo looks too much like someone else to let me through (has happened), planes crash, I accidentally get on a train to Switzerland, etc. — this will be my first year at Freak Valley Festival in Siegen, Germany, and the prospect of seeing Stoned Jesus for the first time ever is a big part of that. You think they’ll let me take pics from the stage? What about Elephant Tree? I’ve spend years staring at photos and videos from this fest. I’m only growing more excited at even the potential I’ll experience it for myself.

As I said, I wrote this announcement, and even apart from the two names above, it’s awesome. Pontiak rule and I’ll be more than thrilled to see Supersonic Blues again as they continue to work toward their inevitable debut album. New stuff coming from Daily Thompson too and Psychlona to boot, and yeah, it’s a winner. I can’t wait to get over there.

Here’s the digs for digging, straight from my own Word doc:

freak valley 2020 third announcement poster

Greetings Freaks!

We hope your 2020 is off to an incredible start. While the rest of the universe was on holiday, we’ve continued to diligently plug away at bringing you the biggest and best Freak Valley yet this June, and to that end that we’re thrilled to present the next round of lineup adds with six more bands!

Please welcome Stoned Jesus, Pontiak, Elephant Tree, Daily Thompson, Psychlona, and Supersonic Blues!

STONED JESUS

Fourteen and a half million (and counting!) YouTube views can’t be wrong when it comes to Ukrainian heavy rockers Stoned Jesus, but what we really love about the Kyiv trio is their refusal to compromise their sound or ever stop moving forward. Every record they do is a progressive step in the direction they’re defining for themselves, and while 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar might be a landmark for so many, we loved 2018’s Pilgrims with its spirit of thoughtful protest and song-construction. Last year they gathered up old demos for release through Napalm Records as From the Outer Space, but it’s what’s coming next from Stoned Jesus that has us most excited. We can’t wait to find out what that is when they join us at Freak Valley 2020!

PONTIAK

If the sheer thought of seeing Pontiak live on the Freak Valley stage doesn’t send chills up your spine, go back and listen again to 2017’s Dialectic of Ignorance. Really, do it. The Virginian three-piece of brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney bring washes of psychedelic classicism and inimitable presence of harmonies to their aural conversation, and amid welcoming tones and visions of rolling Appalachian foothills, they lace an underlying urgency of expression and tone to cuts like “Ignorance Makes Me High” and “We’ve Fucked This Up” that is unquestionably of this chaotic moment. Freakouts to come, and all the better.

ELEPHANT TREE

As we bring London now-four-piece Elephant Tree to Freak Valley, they stand ready to make their debut on Holy Roar Records with their Habits LP on April 24. They recently unveiled the lead single from their new album — their second overall — in the form of a video for “Sails,” and proved once more that there’s nothing like making a great first impression. The whole record brings progressive and psychedelic edge to the warm tones and welcoming grooves one found on their 2016 self-titled debut, upping the complexity of songwriting, instrumental and vocal melody/harmony, while sacrificing neither song nor impact to do so. We can’t wait to hear them play this stuff in-person.

DAILY THOMPSON

Dortmund fuzzbringers are set to finish recording their fourth long-player in early March and they’ve already announced a slew of tour dates to begin almost immediately thereafter. The three-piece harness the unhinged spirit of classic heavy rock without giving in to vintage-style aesthetics, and the result is a now-and-then blend that they’re able to mess with how they see fit, tapping inspiration from past and present to craft a future vision of heavy rock that, frankly, still has us locked into 2018’s third full-length, Thirsty, even as we look forward to hearing how they’ve continued to progress with the new one. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for new-album news. Hey guys (and gal), got any demos you feel like sharing?

PSYCHLONA

There are a few things everyone can agree on, and we here at Freak Valley like to think riffs and kebabs are right up there with the best life has to offer. Tucked away north of Leeds in Bradford, UK, Psychlona unleashed their debut album, Mojo Rising, through Ripple Music and Cursed Tongue Records in 2018 and had us hooked from the opening roll of “Stone” onward. With tone and groove likewise meaty, the four-piece’s up-from-the-depths-of-the-mix vocals added spaciousness to already plenty plus-sized feeling bangers like “Down in the Valley” and though they’re far out from the crowded London scene, they’re also just plain old far out, and that’s just fine by us. We’re happy to introduce our beloved rock freaks to Psychlona at Freak Valley.

SUPERSONIC BLUES

With their sound rooted in the classic style of the heavy ‘70s, Den Haag three-piece Supersonic Blues bring an unpretentious warmth and electricity to their sound that is infectious. You watch them on stage and know they’re having a good time too, and so their set becomes more like a party and everyone’s invited to come in, hang out, enjoy, get crazy or don’t, but find their thing and do that thing. Last we heard the trio were mixing their debut full-length follow two ultra-righteous Guy Tavares-recorded two-songer singles/EPs, and if they’ve got new songs, you bet we’ll be right there in front as they hit stage at Freak Valley for the first time. Don’t sleep on this band.

More to come!

FREAK VALLEY 2020
No Fillers – Just Killers

https://www.facebook.com/events/2434350453469407/
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley/
http://www.freakvalley.de/
http://www.rockfreaks.de/

Elephant Tree, “Sails” official video

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Freak Valley 2020 Adds Witchcraft, Pelican, Camera, The Neptune Power Federation & We Hunt Buffalo

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2020 banner

Long-since sold out, Freak Valley 2020 has made its second lineup announcement, and I know it pretty well because I wrote it. I like putting these things together. I’ve done various other fest writeups for years for different events — Roadburn, Desertfest, Psycho, etc. — but as far as I know, I’m the only one doing Freak Valley Festival lineup announcements, so I kind of feel like I’m responsible in part for creating the voice the fest uses to reach its audience. And since I think the thing is clearly driven by passion and a sense of being fans as well as presenters, I hope these posts convey that. I dig what Freak Valley do, and it will be nothing short of an honor for me to step foot in Siegen and witness it for myself next June.

Here’s the latest:

freak valley 2020 squared up

WITCHCRAFT | PELICAN | CAMERA | THE NEPTUNE POWER FEDERATION | WE HUNT BUFFALO confirmed for Freak Valley Festival 2020

Hails Freaks! It’s time to get down!

We’ve been looking forward to this announcement since, well, pretty much since the first one, but we think you’ll agree things are starting to take shape for Freak Valley Festival 2020.

Before we dive in, we here at FVF want to thank you all so much for the tremendous support and faith you’ve shown in us yet again by snagging tickets less than half an hour after they went on sale, so long before the bands are even done being revealed. It means more than we can say to have your trust year after year, and we promise you, we will never take it for granted and stop working to bring you the best and biggest Freak Valley yet!

That said, let’s do this thing. Five bands this time, and like we do, it’s no fillers, all killers:

Witchcraft

From their earliest days defining the course of vintage-style heavy rock and doom to the later modern clarity they’ve found as they’ve followed the increasingly nuanced and progressive path of Magnus Pelander’s songwriting, Witchcraft come to Freak Valley as utter legends, and not just because they pulled out a record called ‘Legend’ either. They’ve left a mark on the underground like few of their generation, and like even fewer, they still hold as much promise for the future as they do glories of the past. In short, Witchcraft are essential. We welcome them to our stage for the first time as fans as well as those working behind the scenes.

Pelican

If Pelican aren’t already on your must-see list for Freak Valley 2020 after just seeing the word above, take a second right now to make the addition. The Chicago natives are also first-timers at FVF, and we’re proud to host them as they celebrate their latest LP, ‘Nighttime Stories,’ which continues their distinguished progressive arc that has both inspired others in their wake on multiple continents and remained vital, as the record itself proves. This one feels overdue, and we can’t wait.

Camera

When we heard Camera’s 2018 album, ‘Emotional Detox,’ we knew it was only a matter of time before their spacey, krauty, gorgeous melodic psychedelia and progressive rock flourished on the Freak Valley stage. Moving past their ultra-krautrock beginnings to a richer form of prog, their work remains equal parts hypnotic and adventurous, and as it will have been two years since the release by the time they get here, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for some new material as well!

The Neptune Power Federation

It will truly be a valley of the freaks when The Neptune Power Federation come to our humble stage. We’ll be blessed to be in the presence of Screaming Loz Sutch herself as she fronts this Sydney, Australia-based troupe of ultra-weirdo freakout psych rockers. Now signed to Cruz Del Sur Music, they’ll hit Netphen-Deuz in support of 2019’s ‘Memoirs of a Rat Queen,’ and if you’re someone who thinks you’ve heard it all, it won’t be half a minute before this album proves how wrong you are. We mean it. Listen to that record. See this band. It is no coincidence that we’re brought them on board.

We Hunt Buffalo

As to what the mighty buffalo ever did to them, we can’t say, but We Hunt Buffalo are a trio from Canada who’ll celebrate a decade together in 2020. Their 2018 offering, ‘Head Smashed In,’ was way friendlier than its title made it sound — we promise — their fuzz rock remains second to none from the Great White North, as they’re more than happy to demonstrate to anyone fortunate enough to stand in front of the stage to see them. Guess what? We think that should include you. Expect a party with your new best B.C. buds when these Vancouver riffoliths bring their game to Freak Valley.

FREAK VALLEY 2020
No Fillers – Just Killers

https://www.facebook.com/events/2434350453469407/
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley/

The Neptune Power Federation, Memoirs of a Rat Queen (2019)

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Freak Valley 2020 First Announcement: Fu Manchu, Endless Boogie, Slomatics, Monomyth and Temple Fang

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

All I know is this: 2020 is my year for Freak Valley. I’ve been invited for years. In 2020 I’m going. And further, I’m saying it now. Normally I don’t commit really to anything that involves even a modicum of traveling until after all the plans are locked in and I’ve checked in at the airport, but Jens Heide at the fest passed along the invite once again, as he’s patiently done for a while now, and unless a piano falls on my head between now and then or my flight to Siegen crashes into the Atlantic, I’m gonna be there. Hell or high water, as it were.

I wrote the lineup announcement below, as I’ve done for the fest for a couple years now, and happily. It’s a great first round showing international reach and a range of styles, but of course look out for much more still to come. Freak Valley over the last few editions has begun to branch out in some fascinating ways, and I’d expect that to continue while also retaining its heavy core.

I can’t wait to get over there for it.

freak valley 2020 fu manchu

Freaks, the time is nigh!

Did you miss us? We missed you. Tickets go on sale TOMORROW (10/18) for Freak Valley 2020 and we couldn’t be more excited to bring you the first lineup announcement for next year’s fest! Get your calendar marked for 11-13 June and remember this is just the beginning and over the next couple months we’ll have so much more to come in terms of bands and other happenings for you. 2019 was our best year yet and we’re looking forward to topping it once again!

Tickets are officially on sale at our Freak Sabbath Vol.5 // Freak Valley Ticket Sale Kick Off, with Church of Misery and many more, but it’s time to dig into the first bands for Freak Valley Festival 2020 and we think you’ll agree it’s a great way to start.

FU MANCHU (30th Anniversary)

30 years of the Fu! Fuzz legends and heavy rock mainstays Fu Manchu are one of the most influential riff purveyors of all time. From the original stoner rock era in the ’90s through their modern takes on punk and spacey groove, Fu Manchu are, simply put, one of the most essential live bands you’ll ever see. They’ll mark three full decades of rock in 2020, and bringing them to Freak Valley was an absolute must. Of course we’re all huge fans and to have them on our stage is an honor no matter what the occasion, but this one is even more special considering their celebration. Happy birthday, Fu Manchu! Welcome to Freak Valley!

SLOMATICS

It was something of a tragedy in 2019 when our plan to bring Northern Ireland’s Slomatics over to play was cut short because of airline difficulties. That’s no way to go. We knew immediately we’d invite them back for 2020 and try it again and we’re glad to report that the band is on board as well. They’ll still be supporting their 2019 album, ‘Canyons,’ but where it was going to be brand new when they played this year, we’ve all had a little time to digest the massive riffs and wide-sprawling vibes that make their sound so distinctive. 2020 is the year! We can’t wait to finally see this band.

ENDLESS BOOGIE

There’s nothing better than a band with the perfect name, and New York-based mellow jammers Endless Boogie most certainly have that. The band are masters of hypnotic and class-style jams brought to life not with a wash of effects, but through sheer repetition and builds that are subtle in their dynamic but seem able to cover an infinity of ground that goes however far they choose at any given moment. Even among heavy and psychedelic rock, there’s nothing quite like them in terms of the character they bring to how they play. With onstage charisma, periodic improv vocals, and righteous jams, they’ll come to Freak Valley 2020 as one of our most anticipated acts.

MONOMYTH

From Den Haag in The Netherlands, Monomyth are a beacon of heavy progadelic instrumentalism. Their latest opus is ‘Orbis Quadrantis’ on Suburban Records, and its lush melodies and exploratory vibe carry the listener across its span with all the grace of masters of the form. They’ve been kicking around Europe and the festival scene for the last six years since their self-titled debut came out, and it feels only overdue to have them at Freak Valley as part of our 2020 lineup. Just look for the sea of nodding heads in front of the stage and you’ll know you’re in the right place. They are one not to miss.

TEMPLE FANG

Space, as ever, is the place, and Amsterdam’s Temple Fang are sure to take us there as they come to Freak Valley for the first of what we hope will be many happy returns. With former members of Death Alley and the vastly underrated Mühr, Temple Fang set out on a new voyage of their own last year, and while we anxiously await a debut release, the chance to bring them to Siegen to play was too good to pass up. Maybe you’ve heard them yet and maybe you haven’t, but trust us when we tell you that these guys are up to something special and this is a band you want to see or you’ll regret it later. We promise.

Many more to come!

Tickets will be available at these booking offices by Monday morning Oct 21st: Die Tintenpatrone & Siegener Zeitung

Online Tickets (print at home and Hardtickets) will be available Wednesday Oct 23rd 6pm cet

Ticketprice will be €95 for all 3 dayz incl. camping.
Camping will be possible from Wednesday June 10th next year!

FREAK VALLEY 2020
No Fillers – Just Killers

https://www.facebook.com/events/2434350453469407/
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley/

Temple Fang, “Not the Skull!” live in Haarlem, March 2019

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