Notes From Truckfighters Fuzz Festival #3 in Stockholm, Sweden, Dec. 9, 2022 (Night One)

Posted in Features, Reviews on December 12th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Dozer (Photo by JJ Koczan)

4:17PM – Before the show

The pilot described it as beautiful weather in Stockholm, and then I think actually checked what the weather was and was like, “uh, winter conditions,” which meant lazily snowing and cold, both of which it is. That flight arrived this morning. I’d managed to sleep on the plane with an open seat next to me in a row of two — in fits and starts as I tried to squeeze my post-surgery knee into various positions, hoping one of them would magically pass for comfort — and then took the train to the hostel where I’m crashing with the guys in Kings Destroy. They’d been invited to play Truckfighters Fuzz Festival in 2020, and you’ll never guess how that went.

This is my first time at Debaser and Bar Brooklyn, my first time in Stockholm and my first time in Sweden. The festival is set to take place in the two conjoined venues, one bigger, one smaller, and as I sit and write, Gaupa are soundchecking for their headlining set later, merch is being laid out, all that kind of stuff. The quiet before the fuzz, as it were. Truckfighters Fuzz Fest scheduleApparently these days I’m more comfortable getting someplace early.

Mammonaut and Death Ray Boot open the Debaser and Bar Brooklyn stages, respectively. I’ve seen some of the Dozer and Colour Haze guys around, Truckfighters of course are here — they’re running it, so they ought to be — but I’m not looking to take up anybody’s time with my awkward-ass hellos. A quick hi after a set suits me well enough, but it’s nice to see familiar faces in a place I’ve never been.

Well, I just closed out the week, so I suppose that means I’m off the clock. Perfect for covering two killer nights of heavy rock and roll that feel like they were curated as a personal favor to yours truly (which of course they were not). If you stick through checking any of it out, thanks in advance.

Truckfighters Fuzz Festival #3 – Night Two


Mammonaut (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Hard to complain about an uptempo fuzzy kickoff to an event billed quite literally as a fuzz festival. You wanted the tone, you got the tone. Sweden’s own Mammonaut recorded their 2020 debut EP, The Last Mammonaut, with Niklas from Truckfighters, and in some of the push of the drums one can hear that influence coming through, but there’s a bit more burl at the forefront of Mammonaut’s sound and that makes them all the more suited to lead this particular charge. Immediate vibe, dug in, groove on lockdown and not in the pandemic kind of way. Less proggy Skraeckoedlan, maybe? Definitely some hint of metal shared there between those two, but Mammonaut’s sound feels cohesive for essentially being a nascent project. If nothing else — and really, plenty else — they know when to give the riff its due and I’m not about to fight them on the point. I would not be surprised in the least if when they get around to a first full-length it comes out through Fuzzorama, and if it does, they’ll be a good fit.

Death Ray Boot

Death Ray Boot (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I had watched them soundcheck, so maybe some of the surprise was spoiled ahead of time, but it was still fun to watch Andreas Wulkan, who used to play in Deville and stayed at my house one time in 2014, fronting the band. Straight up heavy rock, a few shades of classic form, some Queens of the Stone Age-riffing for added flair, they started off the smaller of the two stages sharing Mammonaut’s affinity for uptempo push but were more decisively rock-based, and that made the songs feel all the warmer while bringing a strut to coincide with all the stomp. The room packed out, as I expect it will for the next two nights basically every time there is a band on the stage, and they played well to the crowd, clearly feeding off that energy as they also fed into it. Who doesn’t want a bit of boogie to go with all that hairy riffing? The back and forth between stages is pretty tight, but so far so good. Two for two is a good start and I know there’s more joy to come.

Swan Valley Heights

Just to be specific, yes, I was talking about this band when I said “joy” just now. On an evening headlined by Colour Haze, it’s hard not to appreciate some warm heavy psychedelic rock, and with reminders of the days of Sungrazer, Germany’s Swan Valley Heights were immediately known to the crowd and offered righteous immersion, blending impulses toward harder push with a tonal breadth that was seemed to reach that much farther back as they went on. These sets have been short, but how many chances in my life am I going to have to see Swan Valley Heights? They picked up the pace as they went on, a little bit of classic turn of the century-style European heavy, and maintained the fluidity that made me want to watch and hear them so damn much in the first place. I know that at some point soon the pace of this night is going to slow down, but so far the bang-bang-bang has made for a sampling that brings to mind the similarities as well as the differences between these acts. The flow from one to the next does not feel accidental or unconsidered, and with Swan Valley Heights, their own flow became a big part of the proceedings.

High Desert Queen

High Desert Queen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

One of two US bands on the bill, I was kind of expecting to have to wait until they made the trip to Desertfest New York or some such to see Texas’ High Desert Queen, but this’ll work too, for sure. Regardless of where it happened — well, not entirely regardless; it’s pretty special to be in Sweden — that is one kick ass rock and roll band. They kind of stole the show. If you’ve been paying attention over the course of the last year-plus, High Desert Queen have been making their presence felt in genuine upstart fashion, and the energy they brought to that stage was a clear answer as to how. They’ve already made intentions known to be back in Europe and the UK next year (they were recently confirmed for Desertfest London 2023), and given the reception they got on the Brooklyn Bar stage, that’ll be a party worth attending. They didn’t even have their gear since their luggage apparently got lost — frontman Ryan Garney shouted out Lufthansa during the set — and they still very clearly gave it their collective all for the set, and the crowd went off. Up front, I got my first Swedish beer spilled on me, which felt like a ceremonial rite, and that was my cue to move back, but a sticky backpack is a small price to pay to see a band put so much into delivering their songs to a crowd.


Dozer (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Dozer aren’t the only reason to make this trip at all, but if they were, they’d be enough. They’ve got a new record coming, but the focus here was on classics, and that felt like a win out in the crowd, where by the end of the first song I was covered on the bottom left half, including the pocket with my other camera lens in it, in some particularly drunk asshole’s beer. Alas. How could it be otherwise? I was not, however, going to let unexpectedly wearing a fellow attendee’s Carlsberg spoil seeing Dozer for only the second time in my increasingly long and privileged life, and even watching from the back they were on fire. Jammed a bit, sold the melodies well, and when it came to that absolutely inimitable forward shove, it was right on the money. They’ve gotta be past the 25-year mark by now, and they’ve got the legacy to prove it, but they played their set, and that might be the highest compliment I can give them. Earlier in the day, I asked on Facebook what were the best Swedish heavy rock records of all time. Dozer had a couple candidates on there, and if I was actually making a list — no, I’m not — they would be on it. Undeniable chemistry, undeniable songwriting, undeniable delivery. And that’s just in “Rising.” I think Fredrik blew his throat out on like the fourth song, but they were nonetheless a celebration of everything that has made them so special for all this time.


Gaupa (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I’ll admit to considering Gaupa in a tight spot. That is to say, I’ve been listening to Dozer and Colour Haze for about two decades. Gaupa are a much newer band — their second album, Myriad, came out on Nuclear Blast last month — and for me at least, there is not the same kind of sentimental attachment. Still, with mystique aplenty and a singer barefoot on a stage that was probably no less beer-soaked than myself, Gaupa stood and made that stage look small for more than just the fact that they were a five-piece. They’re up and coming, a good bit of buzz around their latest album, so right on, and I have no doubt that 20 years from now if the species is fortunate enough to last that long — we’ve got 20 years left, right? sure — there will perhaps be people who were in that room who’ll watch Gaupa headline somewhere and feel the way I felt about the headliners here. I did not stay long — circumstances dictated I be up front early for Colour Haze, but I do not regret the sample of Gaupa that I got, and the clear takeaway for me was I need to dig into that record. Rock and roll homework. And I’ll hope this isn’t the last time our paths cross.

Colour Haze

Colour Haze (Photo by JJ Koczan)

You have favorite bands? I do, and Colour Haze are one of them. I’ve seen them a handful of times over the years, but this was my first set with Mario Oberpucher on bass, and I was almost nervous on account of that before they went on. They played “Tempel” and all was well. I’m not going to belittle either Phillip Rasthofer’s work in the band — ever — or what Oberpucher brought to those songs live or on the newer, more his, material, but the big sigh of relief for me was when it was still Colour Haze. Was it different? Sure. There isn’t much that hasn’t changed one way or the other in the last few years. But it’s still them, and them with a new album, no less. I count Sacred (review here) among 2022’s best, because obviously, and they aired a couple songs from it. Could’ve just been where I was in the room, kind of off to the side of the stage, but it seemed like Jan Faszbender’s keys and synth were higher in the mix than last time I saw them, but it didn’t hurt, him pushing against Stefan Koglek’s guitar a bit in a solo section, like jazz players bringing the best out of each other, Manfred Merwald’s intricate but accessible drumming only furthering the impression. The place went off. Not like for Dozer — no moshing that I saw — but you could feel the appreciation between the songs and in the heavier moments, as well as when they crescendoed “Transformation” with the keyboard doing the horn parts. I’ve never regretted watching them play and I’m not sure I ever would. They only have ever been, and remain, a treasure of a band. A once in a generation band. A band to be appreciated while they can be. Am I telling myself to hit the merch stand? Yes I do believe I am.

Alright, night two tomorrow. Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump.

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Truckfighters Finalize Lineup for Fuzz Festival #3

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Sweden’s Truckfighters have completed the lineup for Fuzz Festival #3, set for Dec. 9 and 10 in Stockholm, and it is a significant bill, statistically speaking. It pays homage to the old school in headliners Dozer and Colour Haze, as well as Astroqueen, the newer school in High Desert QueenSwan Valley Heights and Gaupa, and the in-between in FirestoneTruckfighters themselves, Kings DestroyKal-El and others, and with Enigma Experience included in this find round of lineup additions, Truckfighters guitarist Niklas Källgren joins Tommi Holappa of Dozer/Greenleaf in pulling double-shifts, playing in two bands presumably on two separate days.

Swan Valley Heights, Gaupa — whose new record, Myriad, is due Nov. 18 on Nuclear Blast — and Mammonaut are also in the final group of acts joining the bill and I’m thrilled to say I’ll be there to see them. It’s been a long time since I last traveled with the Kings Destroy guys, but they were kind enough to invite me along for the trip, and I tried to say no because traveling is awful and I’m doing a fair amount of it in the coming months, music-related and not, but couldn’t. How many times in your life is someone going to say to you, “Come with me to Stockholm and see Dozer and Colour Haze?” Well.

The presumably final announcement from Truckfighters is below, barring any cancelations, etc., and I very, very much look forward to covering this front-to-back:

truckfighters fuzz festival 3 poster

Fuzz Festival #3

We are proud and happy to present the third edition of our Fuzz Festival! This time it will take place on Dec 9+10 2022. Festival #3 will continue on the same path as #2 with 2 days, 2 stages and a lot of fuzzy bands!

BIG THANKS to everyone who showed up in 2021 making it just as big success as the first edition back in 2019! Hope to see you this December, MAY THE FUZZ BE WITH YOU ALL!

Just a BIG, BIG Heads up! The last couple of bands is set! This is going to be a totally amazing weekend with so much amazing bands so it’s almost sick… :P

NEW AND LAST Bookings!



Get those tickets at




2 days, 2 stages.
Confirmed acts:
KAL EL [n]

Gaupa, “Diametrical Enchantress” official video

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