Desertfest Berlin 2024 Makes Second Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 22nd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Am I taking this entire Desertfest Berlin 2024 announcement as an excuse to put on Ruff Majik‘s Elektrik Ram yet again even though I was playing it approximately 40 hours ago while writing the best-of-2023 post? You bet your ass I am. 40 hours is about as long as I’ve made it all year. Less if you count hearing the songs in your head when the music isn’t actually on.

Elsewhere here, check out Masters of Reality confirmed for both flagship Desertfests. Another record might be too weird for planet earth, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. And I’ll note that this is the first I’m hearing of a farewell tour from Pentagram to take place in 2024/2025, but apparently that’s going to be a thing. Call it a low-level surprise? Nobody’s gonna say Bobby Liebling didn’t put in his time, even if you only count since the band got going again in 2009, never mind the better part of four decades prior.

I’ll be expecting tour announcements from Mondo Generator and Ruff Majik — maybe they’ll be out together; that would kind of rule as a pairing — Daevar, Pentagram, Arthur Brown, etc., and will post accordingly when I see what I see.

From the PR wire:

desertfest berlin 2024 second announce

DESERTFEST BERLIN confirms PENTAGRAM, MASTERS OF REALITY, MONDO GENERATOR & many more new band names for 2024!

Desertfest Berlin has announced new names for their eclectic 2024-edition, and confirms iconic PENTAGRAM (last Berlin show ever!), MASTERS OF REALITY, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN, MONDO GENERATOR, RUFF MAJIK, DAEVAR, APTERA, ZAHN, ZERRE and EINSEINSEINS! Get ready for THE riff party of the year – aside a wild and high-class blend of finest psychedelia, stoner rock, doom, desert punk blues, sludge and all that is metal, this is also going to be your last chance to see PENTAGRAM live in Berlin on their final Farewell Tour in 2024/2025!

Desertfest Berlin will take place between May 24 – 26, 2024 at Columbiahalle and Columbia Theater. Tickets, that would also make some perfect Xmas gift, are on sale at:



Ruff Majik, Elektrik Ram (2023)

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Italy 2024 Announces First Bands

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Okeydokey, what do we learn here? Bongzilla will be in Europe this Spring, and Mondo Generator will be out to follow up on Nick Oliveri‘s winter solo tour, and Kadabra will go supporting their most excellent 2023 outing, Umbra (review here), though that was already apparent from the first Desertfest London announce. Along with MR.BISON, the esteemed Ufomammut — who’ll have a new LP out sometime in 2024, allegedly — Greek mainstays Nightstalker and upstarts 1782, speedrockers Tankzilla and punkers The Clamps, that’s the bill as it stands that will swap acts back and forth across two nights in Bologna and Trieste next May for Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Italy 2024.

This is not the end of the announcements, of course, but it’s a rousing start as the Italian label and booking agency continues to branch out to new places. You’ll note Trieste is home for Rocket Panda Management, who are involved here and also behind the StonerKras Fest that’s taken place the last couple of years later in the summer. I assume that’s still happening too, and will do so until I hear or see otherwise.

I don’t have numbers on the site’s readership in Bologna or Trieste, but I think these things are relevant anyway exactly because of the above: they show you who’s going to be where when. And it gives me an excuse to post the Kadabra record again. Double-win.

From the PR wire:

heavy psych sounds italy 2024 lineups

Heavy Psych Sounds to announce HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST ITALY 2024 Bologna & Trieste – TICKETS PRESALE + FIRST BANDS !!!

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking will smash Bologna and for the first time Trieste with their highly acclaimed mini festival-series, the HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST!

In cooperation with Freakout Club and Rocket Panda Management, today Heavy Psych Sounds has announced the first confirmed bands + TICKETS PRESALE for the upcoming HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST ITALY 2024 !!!

The HPS Fest Italy will be taking place 3rd and 4th of May at the Teatro Miela in Trieste and 4th and 5th of May at the TPO Club in Bologna !!!


@ TPO, Bologna // 4th and 5th May 2024

@ Teatro Miela, Trieste // 3rd and 4th May 2024

+ more TBA



Mondo Generator, We Stand Against You (2023)

Kadabra, Umbra (2023)

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Nick Oliveri Adds Dates to 2024 European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 7th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Nick Oliveri has put out records this year with Mondo Generator and The Dwarves. He’s toured incessantly, either on his own like the ‘Death Acoustic’ — as opposed to ‘death metal’ — European run he’s got scheduled for early 2024, or with Mondo Generator, who are a trio on fire with Mike Pygmie on guitar and Mike Amster on drums, and in the last couple years, he’s brought forth and developed the band Stöner with former Kyuss bandmate and longtime collaborator Brant Bjork, issuing two albums, a live record and an EP to-date while also touring domestically and abroad to support. He’s done nothing the last few years but work, and to see him on stage as I’ve been lucky enough to do twice in the last two years with Mondo Generator, he’s both a frontman of marked presence and a raw-as-nails punk rocker with a scream that’s unmistakable.

What will next year bring? One assumes more. Oliveri obviously wants to keep momentum on his side, and with full-band stints likely to follow (or precede; one never knows) these March dates, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect more word soon. That’s before you get to festivals and all that.

From the PR wire:

NICK OLIVERI – Death Acoustic 2024

– new updated shows –
TU 12.03.24 DE OPEN SLOT

Nick Oliveri, How to play “Autopilot” from

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Desertfest London 2024 Makes Second Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2023 by JJ Koczan

The names here are really the thing. Suicidal Tendencies, Cancer Bats, Nightstalker, Ozric Tentacles, Mondo Generator, Sunnata, Kal-El, Psychlona, Kadabra, Saint Karloff, Ashenspire, WAKE, Bongripper, Gozer, Orme, Borehead, Sagan, Acid Throne — did I miss anybody? Hell, probably. Every year, Desertfest has a couple announcements like this where they add basically an entire festival to their festival and it’s always kind of staggering to consider the scope, never mind what Desertfest has become, particularly with London as an epicenter. One of these years I’ll get back over. It’s been too long.

Also, told you Psychlona had more news. They’ve still got more to come.

The latest word follows from the PR wire:

desertfest london 2024 second announce

Desertfest London welcomes Roundhouse headliners Suicidal Tendencies plus Ozric Tentacles, Cancer Bats, Bongripper and 15 more artists for 2024

Friday 17th May – Sunday 19th May 2024 | Weekend Tickets now on sale

Desertfest London proudly welcomes the legendary Suicidal Tendencies to their 2024 event as Roundhouse headliners. Celebrating 40 years since their genre-defying first album, prepare to have your mind Institutionalized! Whilst Desertfest remains synonymous with showcasing the best of stoner, doom and psych for over twelve years, Suicidal Tendencies’ headlining performance will add a new dimension to the festival, bridging the gap between the punk and metal scenes that have inspired countless bands worldwide.

Hailing from the sun-soaked streets of Venice, California, Suicidal Tendencies frontman Mike Muir helped shape a cultural landscape, whilst simultaneously pioneering a new genre. Taking the essence of skating, surfing and the Dogtown scene & infusing it with a unique style of hardcore punk. Their seamless un-apologetic musical blend, breaking of conventions and fearless take on challenging socials issues changed the landscape of heavy music forever. Suicidal Tendencies’ performance at Desertfest not only welcomes the band back to London for the first time in seven years, but marks a new point in the festival’s evolution as a celebration of underground counter-culture.

The icons keep rolling in as Ozric Tentacles join the bill, also celebrating a monumental 40 years, Ozrics’ unique lysergic soundscapes helped merge the worlds of psychedelia, progressive rock and dance music. Formed during a solstice at Stonehenge in 1983, Ozric Tentacles are true trailblazers – laying the tripped-out road which so many acts in the Desertfest-sphere now follow.

Heavy music’s hardest-working, and hardest-partying, road dogs Cancer Bats will up the ante with their rock’n’roll shenanigans as they bring the energy. Satan Worshipping Doom, three words that need no explanation to Desertfesters’ as Bongripper make their first appearance at the event since 2013. Plus, the prodigal son returns as Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator showcase their immense catalogue of desert-drenched tones.

Elsewhere the festival announces Greek stoner-Gods Nightstalker, avant-garde-jazz meets black-metal mania from Ashenspire, a spellbinding ritual from Sunnata and further melting-pot madness from crushing Canadian’s WAKE.

Additionally, Psychlona, Kal-El, Kadabra, Saint Karloff and Lord Elephant bring the grooves, whilst heaviness reigns with homegrown talent Gozer, Acid Throne & Orme. And finally rounding things off Desertfest warmly welcomes, Borehead & Sagan.

Weekend Tickets for the event are on sale now via with more artists, day splits & day tickets released in January.

Full line-up


Suicidal Tendencies, “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow”

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Dispatch from SonicBlast 2023: Day Two

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 12th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

SonicBlast Fest 2023 day 2

08.11.23 – Fri. – Press trailer

Before show

Hot one in Âncora today. I walked over via the beach, crossing from one boardwalk to the other on the sand instead of going by the river as I did yesterday. No regrets. Waves crashing in, a humid haze in the air reminding of home, summer, that feeling where you want to swim instead of walk. Swimming sounds pretty good, actually. I may have to settle for soaking myself in one of the sinks I’ve been using to refill my water bottle.

Rolled in like I knew where I was going. Day one down, I’m an expert now. Ha. I ran into the Temple Fang dudes and Jack from Elder, saw Weedpecker setting up to open the day on the third stage, said a quick hi to Ricardo. It’s that kind of thing. See people, say hi, and then I usually feel that pull to go sit by myself somewhere and write. The press shack is air conditioned. It is a mercy. Actually cooler here than in New Jersey, where I live, but I’ve got more resources at home to stay cool, and I’m not running back and forth all day taking pictures and writing. Not usually, anyhow. Sometimes we all have those days.

Got to bed a little after three, woke up at 9AM, showered first, coffee second. Sorted pictures to go with the review of day one, which considering how much I saw took some time, quick check-in with the family — everybody’s fine; they said don’t come home (no, not really) — and had an hour left over to sneak in a nap before getting heading over here from the crash spot.

By the course of my history with festivals today will be the hardest day. Tired from a late night last night with the prospect of another full day tomorrow, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I’m doing a lot of slow breathing. Too bad I haven’t run into anyone running an impromptu yoga class. Maybe I’ll start one later if I have 10 minutes to spare and am feeling like making a spectacle of myself, which is how you know it won’t happen.

A lot of water, coffee until I get the jitters, which I’m approaching with the usual lack of caution like I’m trying to burn a hole in my stomach, and food somehow some way. The latter is my only real goal today beyond survival. And a big part of that, I suppose. It’s gonna be a good one. You can see the lineup above. I don’t need to tell you.

I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up or what — that review of day one was a beast; I don’t imagine anyone reading it front to back, and if they do, I’m sorry about the typos; more to come! — but what a time this is, and what a place. Maybe I’ll be invited back and maybe not — not sure what I add except jamming the backstage espresso maker — but if this is actually a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I’m lucky it’s my life it’s happening in.

Conan, Clutch and Stoned Jesus over the P.A. Thinking of you, Igor, and the war on the other side of this continent. Stay safe.

Here’s the day:


Weedpecker (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Clearly SonicBlast knows how to pick its leadoff acts. The fest is three-for-three with Plastic Woods, Desert’Smoke and now Weedpecker coming all the way from Poland. Stratospheric in lush and proggy three-part harmonies at the start, a calming entry to the day that will unfold in its wake, and solidified from there around a few more terrestrial riffs and big finishes. Immediate vibe, well received. The growth this band has undertaken throughout the last 10-plus years shouldn’t be discounted, and if I was going to see them at any point, I’m glad to do so after their late-late 2021 album, IV: The Stream of Forgotten Thoughts (review here), which as you might expect is the pinnacle of their evolution to-date. But the thing about the trajectory they’ve had that I want necessarily expecting was how fluidly their heavier rock stuff fit with the ’70s melodies and the echo in the guitar that it’s hard to imagine can’t be heard in Spain from here. Not a band I expected to see, but they packed the third stage like it was much later in the day and closed with “Nothingness” from their second LP, II (review here) with one more engaging mellow-heavy flow that I watched from a little spot on a bench in the shade. That was pretty much perfect.


Monarch (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Heavy, progressive, and not laid back but not forced in its push, Monarch were more rooted in original-era heavy than Weedpecker just prior, but on a different wavelength. Big early ’70s vibes, but modernized, and they’ve been through a few lineup changes, but if there were hiccups, I didn’t hear them, and I watched the full set while writing, which I also take as a sign of genuinely enjoying a thing as well as appreciating where it’s coming from. I’d love a new record from these guys, after 2019’s Beyond the Blue Sky (review here) — issued through no less than Causa Sui’s label, El Paraiso Records — and I have to feel like if Mondo Drag can do it, so can they. Keyboards complementing a bassline that had the earplugs vibrating in my head, they were remarkably well suited to the atmosphere here, with the beach over that way, sometimes languid but not lazy, melodic and drifty but filled out with a heft and the keyboards that make them even more their own thing. SoCal and Portugal seem to mesh well. Sun and breeze, beach and the ocean. Complementary West Coast vibes. Hey man, it doesn’t even snow anymore where I live. I can get down.


Naxatras (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Speaking of bands I never thought I’d see who’ve made strikingly proggy turns, here come Naxatras heralding 2022’s modus redirect, IV (review here). The Greek outfit made an impact in Europe almost from their very beginning, or so it seemed to me across an ocean, and the chemistry of their jammier early work provides an easy explanation why. They mixed instrumentals and vocalized pieces, and were serene in a manner that was their own, creating the space while also inhabiting it. Like I said, this is my first time watching them play, so I can’t speak to how the presence of the keyboard on stage has affected their live show one way or the other, but they were hypnotic, and I found myself standing out front in the crowd for a few minutes, near the sound booth, just kind of drinking it in, because that’s what Naxatras’ music does to me. Those times when you feel like your blood is moving too fast — that’s what they’re there for, to put you back in a place that feels less combustible. It wasn’t a surprise that their sound was so gracefully enveloping, but it was a pleasure to experience in-person, and their subdued space ambience and subtle push of bass were more than I might reasonably have asked for. Bonus extra trippy, lightly funked, smoothly grooved.

Temple Fang

Temple Fang (Photo by JJ Koczan)

You never quite know what’s coming with Temple Fang, and they seem to like it that way. They’ve replaced their drummer I think since I saw them at Freak Valley last year (review here), and the single-song set they played there was put together as a last-minute change from their original plan that worked so well they ended up releasing it as a live record (review here). The kind of band who don’t think twice about playing a full show comprised solely of new material, and a treasure for that as well as for the soul they bring to their expansive heavy psychedelia. They opened with “Gemini” and set themselves on a course of ultra-patient ebbs and flows, proffering the kind of cosmic rock that reminds you that the universe is so big human brains lack the capacity to fathom it. Guitarist/vocalist Jevin de Groot and bassist/vocalist Dennis Duijnhouwer have a creative partnership that goes back more than a decade, and Temple Fang is more its own thing with time. I couldn’t find a shady spot anywhere, so meandered a bit, digging the jam as it unfolded. Whatever these guys do next — live-recorded studio LP with a solidified lineup? — just count me in already. Their songs build worlds. Vast, heavy, soulful, spontaneous, immersive, always with the chance of a freakout looming. They’ve got a thing, to be sure, but the thing is everything.


Greenleaf (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Fuuuuuuuuck. Greeeeeeeeenleaf. They light fires, fortunately not literally, with the sheer physicality of their delivery. And I’m dying to hear what they do after 2021’s Echoes From a Mass (review here), since the longer they proceed with the current lineup of founding guitarist Tommi Holappa (also Dozer), vocalist Arvid Hällagård, bassist Hans Frölich (“everybody say hi to Hans, it’s his first time here”) and drummer Sebastian Olsson becomes more established with each passing LP and subsequent touring cycle, the latest album rife with emotive heavy blues that was neither culturally appropriated from Black American culture nor masculine caricature. As someone who’s heard a decent amount of heavy blues, this is a feat to be appreciated. They played “Bury Me My Son,” which made me feel ways, and hard-boogied from there into the stomp of “Good Ol’ Goat” followed by “Needle in My Eye,” also from the latest record and one I had kind of forgotten about. “Bound to Be Machines” from 2014’s Trails and Passes (review here), ignited a sing-along, and they jammed on it a bit, emphasizing how very badly they need to put out a live record. I stood up front for their whole set, planted my feet and ignored my aging back (I tried to write ‘aching’ there, but my phone autocorrected, and really, that’s more honest, so I’m leaving it) as they built up the start of “Tides” — Arvid noting that he’s an astronaut in the video; dude’s between-song banter was on point in a sarcasm that might’ve been too dry for some of the crowd but was twice as hilarious for that — playing that song through like the condensed epic it is and then pushing right into the finale, which was “Let it Out” from 2018’s Hear the Rivers (review here). I’d been trying not to get my hopes up for a new song in the set. That didn’t happen, but if you think I’m sad about it, you severely underestimate how much of a dork I am for this band. Hands in the air, the day’s first crowd surfer that I saw — hold onto that phone, guy — and the convincing shove from the band that made it all happen. Great fucking band.

Mondo Generator

Mondo Generator (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I haven’t heard their new record yet — it’s out in Oct. 13 and called We Stand Against You — but they played some stuff from it, and it sure does have that brain-collapsing punk-born intensity one should expect from the Nick Oliveri-fronted three-piece, with Mike Pygmie on guitar and Mike Amster (who wore a Saint Vitus Bar shirt) drumming. I saw them last summer, so knew to expect selections from the Oliveri back catalog — “13th Floor” by Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss’ “Green Machine,” and so on — and there’s little debating he’s contributed to, not just played on, some of the most crucial heavy albums of all-time. More than two, which is not something a lot of people can say. I paused to grab a quick bite to eat — meat and cheese as I’m in survival mode and they didn’t have any spinach or other salad stuff that I saw — and to do battle once more with one of the backstage coffee makers, which I’ve now jammed twice. Because incompetence. So Oliveri, Pygmie and Amster are on stage tearing whatever track from the new record a second (or first, as it were) asshole, and I’m trying to pick which button to push and trying not to be in the way, not really successful at either. By the time that coffee was gone, I realized just how much my ears were ringing despite the plugs, so clearly SonicBlast meets whatever ‘loud enough’ quota you’ve got. “Allen’s Wrench” led into Queens’ “Millionaire,” and that was it. Where the hell would you go after that anyway?


Bombino (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Led by the group’s namesake, Nigerian guitarist and songwriter Omara “Bombino” Moctar, they might not have been the first Tuareg jammers on the SonicBlast bill this year, but they were perhaps even more danceable, and the crowd was ready for it. Onstage as a three-piece, guitar, bass, drums, they took that nothing-too-fancy approach and unfurled sweet desert grooves without a care in the world for what heavy means or to whom. But coming through the SonicBlast P.A., the bass couldn’t help but add weight, smooth as those lines were, and when Moctar took a solo, well, you knew it. He’s had Hendrix comparisons, which is a very nice thing to say about somebody who plays guitar, and I guess in some of the held-out solo notes and brash sweeps it’s there, but the namedrop isn’t really adequate to describe what Bombino does or how it relates to the musical and political history of Niger and the rock and roll therefrom, never mind the West African roots of rock music more broadly, or reggae, jazz, blues, etc. Bombino put out a record earlier this year called Nomad that was produced by Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys, so I guess that’s something. He could shred or bounce or vibe out make the guitar run in dizzying circles, sometimes in succession, and was clearly a master of his craft. There was one sing-along early in the set that didn’t take I think mostly because of the language barrier, but they did try it twice, and they got a better result the second time, as well as again later on. I think maybe I missed it happening, but when they were done it was nighttime.


Scowl (Photo by JJ Koczan)

A few firsts here. First Negative Approach hat I’ve seen. First cover of “99 Red Ballons.” First bit of onstage skanking. Second blacklight-responsive hair, as it happens. Scowl, from Santa Cruz, California, did OFF! proud in terms of hardcore punk, but would occasionally break into cleaner, more rock-based parts too, making them unpredictable as well as sonically volatile. I won’t pretend to be familiar, but they’ve got one record that came out before the end of the world and they accomplished the energy-change that the punkier side of SonicBlast has pulled off a couple times in the last two days, and vocalist Kat Moss shouted out Bombino from stage, which was cool, but from the noise assault before they even started, it was clear that Scowl’s would be an entirely different kind of dance party. A very fast, very angry, stomping and gnashing song was dedicated to those who feel like they don’t fit in, so while I didn’t come into their set knowing much about them, I got to learn a bit, including that stuff about their album, the singer’s name, and that they seem like nice kids who mean well. Go get ’em, you wholesome hardcore slaughterers.

Thurston Moore Group

Thurston Moore Group (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I saw Sonic Youth I’m pretty sure on the Sonic Nurse tour, and duh, they were Sonic Youth. And when it comes to Thurston Moore solo, I still have my Psychic Hearts CD from 1995 or whenever it was, and so yeah, I’m down for Thurston Moore Group’s lightly noisy, floating cosmic shoegaze exploding into blastbeats from its otherwise peaceful beginnings in “Hashish” from his 2020 album By the Fire and the subsequent “Hypno Brain.” I’m not sure what else one might expect. Between the two guitars, bass and keys, that assault was significant, but “Siren,” the 12-minute By the Fire track from whence that blast comes, has a sweet comedown on the other side of that, a subdued indie sway no more afraid to be pretty than caustic. Feedback and noise rang out as it started misting, and Moore and company dropped hints of space rock and psych fuzz along with all that ready scorch, and it seemed like by that point the band was warmed up, drumstick at the ready for guitar manipulation shenanigans that helped make Moore the kind of figure who might headline a festival like this, creating a kind of wave of noise and riding its crest to see where they might end up. The answer there os more noise, and that’s just fine. They were in and out of it for the duration, and the mist held too, never really becoming rain, thankfully, but ambient droplets on the breeze were refreshing as evening became night and the Thurston Moore Group wrapped with one more dive into noise and feedback, no less at home there than the verse they left behind. Fun moment: when I was getting food in back, I went to sit down at a table outside the trailer where you get the food and when I asked, “mind if I sit here?,” I looked up and sure enough, Thurston Moore Group band meal. I can’t confirm or deny, but the words “ah shit you’re Thurston Moore” may have left my mouth.

Frankie and the Witch Fingers

Frankie and the Witch Fingers (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Okay, so it turns out that the bassist of L.A.’s Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Nikki Pickle, was sitting in last night with Death Valley Girls, whose singer was stuck in California, and of whom she is a former member. Learning new things every day here. With guitarist/vocalists — Josh Menashe and Dylan Sizemore — flanking either side of the stage and an urgency born of mathier punk but which is most definitely not that thing, Frankie and the Witch Fingers translated some of the intensity of the hardcore acts who’ve played this far into a heavy rock context. They had some keyboard going, the occasional slowdown into a funkier groove, and they were loved by the SonicBlast crowd (it’s not their first time here), but by and large their trade was forward thrust, and while it may have appeared otherwise, they weren’t screwing around. I’ve had no fewer than eight espressos today. The one I had after dinner could’ve been nine. At their fastest, in the frenetic first part of their set, I felt like maybe that wasn’t enough. So I grabbed another and went back out front. By then the mist was becoming genuine rain. Less convenient. Frankie and the Witch Fingers shuffled back into speedier fare and I started thinking about my camera getting wet, or my phone, even, which I’ve been writing on all weekend. Might end up leaving earlier than planned, which, since it’s 12:30, is still not actually all that early, at least for me. Portugal goes late. Rock and roll. I still got to see Frankie and the Witch Fingers close with a cover of “Now I Wanna Be Your Dog,” which was fun and made sense in a mathematically extracted way.


Elder (Photo by JJ Koczan)

This is the first time I’m seeing them since they put out Innate Passage (review here) late last year, so it was a particular joy when they followed “Compendium” from 2015’s Lore (review here) with “Merged in Dreams/Ne Plus Ultra” from the new album. The space in front of both stages was full, and even though it was raining, it didn’t look like folks were in a hurry to seek shelter. Thousands of people. Jack doing backing vocals with Nick on the new stuff, Mike swapping guitar for keys, then back, that kind of groove that so much of progressive heavy has tried to emulate in the last 10 years or so but that no one’s gotten quite right or at least not at the level Elder to it. Maybe the rain lightened up. Maybe it didn’t, but standing there watching perhaps the foremost heavy band of their generation still exploring after 15 years and continuing to outdo themselves; it wasn’t the kind of thing you easily walk away from. Or walk away at all. They are exceptional. Another level. And then another. And another. And everything they do has heart, sincerity and a sense of evolution from where they’ve been in the past. It was humbling to witness. This is the biggest crowd I’ve seen them play for, and there’s not a doubt in my mind they can still push further, grow broader in sound, keep chasing whatever ideal version of their approach they’re after. At least I hope they do. I don’t have enough hyperbole for it. Closing out as they will with “Gemini,” it’s like they were up there inventing colors.

After show/next morning

I had already apologized to one of the dudes from Acid Mammoth for not seeing his set, and I’ll extend those apologies to Black Bombaim, who at least I’ve seen before. I guess next time I’m buying a camera bag it’ll be made of rubber? I don’t know. I felt bad leaving, but it was coming on 2AM and I had no trouble hearing Black Bombaim jam from my room, so at least there was that. Sounded cool from a distance.

For what I expected to be a rough day — the middle of three days is always a little adrenaline comedown as compared to the first or last — it wasn’t. I put my head down, worked, and pushed ahead, which is what you do. I was haggard by the end, but a video chat with The Patient Mrs., some sleep, a shower, some more coffee and almond butter for breakfast and I feel like a new person… who’s spent 24 of the last 48 hours having his ears blown out by the coast in Portugal. Sometimes it’s weird to realize these things.

One more day to go, and it’s a big one, as I might be prone to say about Jupiter or this or that blue supergiant star (the scale of those being completely different, both are nonetheless unfathomably huge). I’ll be ready. Thank you for reading.

Click ‘read more’ for pics, and thanks again.

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Desertfest New York 2023: Conan, Mondo Generator and Djunah Added; Lineup Complete & Day Splits Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 21st, 2023 by JJ Koczan

One would not accuse the Desertfest New York team of packing the lineup with fluff. Now complete, the Big Apple extension of the Desertfest brand is doubling down on its intention, bringing Colour Haze to the main stage for a second set after their headlining spot at the pre-show at Saint Vitus Bar — already the thing I’m most looking forward to seeing for the rest of the year; I want to show up now to make sure I get a spot in front — and adding Conan, Mondo Generator and Djunah to complete a bill that already includes Godflesh, Monster Magnet, the Melvins, Boris, Truckfighters, 1000mods, Ecstatic Vision, on and on. Clearly Desertfest New York has done its part to make its 2023 lineup something special for those who’ll show up to see it.

Now you gotta show up. It’s on my calendar, and I’m nervous about the family/festival crossover that might happen in my life that weekend, but I’ll figure my shit out, I’m not gonna miss it. I hope it’s worth the trip for Colour Haze. I hope Monster Magnet make it out. I hope Heavy Temple and Castle Rat become best friends and put out a split. On and on. This will be a good time. You should be there to see it.

From the PR wire:


Desertfest New York completes line-up with Conan, Mondo Generator and Djunah, plus Day Tickets now on sale

Leading independent heavy music promoter Desertfest is returning to New York’s Knockdown Center and Saint Vitus Bar this September. Having already announced the likes of MELVINS, MONSTER MAGNET, BORIS, GODFLESH, COLOUR HAZE, TRUCKFIGHTERS, 1000MODS, plus many more, the globally renowned festival rounds off its line-up by welcoming UK doom heroes CONAN, Nick Oliveri’s stoner outfit MONDO GENERATOR and multi-instrumentalist’s DJUNAH.

Stage splits and day tickets for the festival are now on sale, where the eager-eyed will notice that an additional third stage ‘The Ruins’ will be added to the Knockdown Center on Saturday 16th September, for the very first time.

Due to phenomenal demand with pre-party selling out instantly, Desertfest also announces that Germany’s COLOUR HAZE will play two sets over the weekend pulling from the bands expansive catalogue and promising no repeats. Desertfest NYC will be the band’s only U.S. performance and frontman Stefan Koglek shared the following “We even intend to rework the 22-minute epic “Peace, Brothers & Sisters!” which we haven’t been playing since 2018 for the show at Saint Vitus…’ so for those who managed to snag a three-day pass, you’re surely in for something special.

With just three months to go, Desertfest is poised to be the East Coast’s biggest celebration of underground heavy music. Promising an unforgettable weekend of exceptional live performances, electric energy and unrivalled rock ‘n’ roll spirit. The festival will also play host to an array of specially curated vendors, food trucks and killer after-parties, all still to be announced. Day tickets and 2-day passes for Desertfest NYC are on sale now via – ||

Full line-up
Saint Vitus Bar – September 14th 2023
Colour Haze | Lo-Pan | Duel | Dunes

Knockdown Center – September 15th 2023
Monster Magnet | Colour Haze | Truckfighters | 1000Mods | Valley of The Sun | R.I.P. | Heavy Temple | Castle Rat | Grave Bathers | Spellbook

Knockdown Center – September 16th 2023
Melvins | Boris | Godflesh | Conan | Mantar | Brant Bjork | Mondo Generator | White Hills | Ecstatic Vision | Djunah | Clouds Taste Satanic | Huntsmen | Mick’s Jaguar | Upper Wilds

Conan, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, May 20, 2023

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Mondo Generator Announce Summer UK & European Tour for July/August

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 26th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Mondo Generator did a European summer tour like this last year as well, where I was fortunate enough to see them play at Freak Valley Festival. This year, the Nick Oliveri-led trio hit StonerKras, Red Smoke, Hoflärm, SonicBlast and more besides over the course of more than a month of consistent bang bang bang, show show show, plugging away. This is an admirable thing. Gotta get paid, of course, but consider that Mondo Generator could easily be marketing itself as ‘Nick Oliveri‘s gonna sing some Kyuss and QOTSA songs too!’ and probably draw more heads, but to-date they haven’t really gone there. Yes, the bulk of what they do are the band’s own punk rippers, but Oliveri‘s whole catalog is fair game and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s down to whatever a given evening calls for as to what’s played.

Oliveri is someone preceded by his reputation as a wildman, but I’ll say this: when I was introduced to him outside the show Stöner played in New Jersey last year, he was polite to my wife, which many with less wild reputations are not. Even if they hadn’t killed it when I saw them in 2022, that’d probably be enough motivation for me to put these dates here, if the general relevance wasn’t already enough, which I’ll point out that it is.

You may have recently caught wind of the collaboration between Oliveri and Italy’s Temple of Deimos. I don’t know if there’s anything else planned for while Mondo Generator are in Europe, but their schedule sure seems full, as told by the PR wire:


MONDO GENERATOR announce full European & UK summer tour + festival appearances!

Californian stoner punk icons MONDO GENERATOR (fronted by former Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri) are taking over Europe and the UK this summer, with an extensive summer tour including a few festival appearances!

Mondo Generator European summer tour:
13.07 – Prato (IT) Orto Sonoro Santa Valvola
14.07 – Genova (IT) Bau Fest Villa Rossi
15.07 – Trieste (IT) Stoner Kras Fest
16.07 – Pleszew (PL) Red Smoke Fest
18.07 – Dresden (DE) Chemiefabrik
20.07 – Hoofddorp (NL) Duycker
21.07 – Münster (DE) Rare Guitar
22.07 – Eindhoven (NL) Popei
23.07 – London (UK) Underworld
24.07 – Milton Keynes (UK) Craufurd Arms
25.07 – Swansea (UK) Bunkhouse
26.07 – Corby (UK) The Raven Hotel
27.07 – Bournemouth (UK) Anvil
28.07 – Bradford (UK) The Underground
29.07 – Glasgow (UK) Ivory Blacks
30.07 – Manchester (UK) Satans Hollow
31.07 – Norwich (UK) Waterfront Studio
01.08 – Cheltenham (UK) Frog & Fiddle
02.08 – Dover (UK) The Booking Hall
03.08 – Tilburg (NL) Little Devil
04.08 – Steenwijkerwold (NL) Dicky Woodstock
05.08 – Paris (FR) Petit Bain
08.08 – Chambery (FR) Brin De Zinc
09.08 – Zurich (CH) Safari Bar
10.08 – Marienthal (DE) Hoflärm Festival
11.08 – Ancora (PT) Sonic Blast Festival
12.08 – Innsbruck (AT) Pmk
13.08 – San Zenone Degli Ezzelini (IT) Villa Albrizzi
14.08 – Pula (HR) Monte Paradiso
16.08 – Cagliari (IT) Cueva Rock
17.08 – Caramagna (IT) Last One To Die
18.08 – Ravenna (IT) Hana-Bi
19.08 – Francavilla Al Mare (IT) Frantic Fest
20.08 – Carhaix (FR) Motocultor Festival

Nick Oliveri – Bass & Vocals
Mike Pygmie – Guitars
Mike Amster – Drums

Mondo Generator, Fuck It (2020)

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Ripplefest Texas 2023: Complete Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

I don’t feel the need to even really say anything here. The lineup speaks for itself. And those who go to this year’s RippleFest Texas will also speak of it, for years, probably in a similar way people now talk about having been at this or that Emissions From the Monolith when that was going on in Ohio. The stuff of legend, in other words. Yeah, you can put on a fest and try to make it cool and fun, or you can do something like this and make it the highlight of everybody who attends’ year.

Kudos to Lick of My Spoon Productions and Ripple Music on a job well done. This will be something special. Bands have been leaked out one at a time at intermittent daily intervals, but the final lineup is out as of today, and it’s stunning. A blend of generations, a reach from on end of the country to the other, and a swath of the heavy underground all rallied in one place for a few days, pre- and after-parties included. Fucking a. If you’re attending, count yourself lucky.

As seen on socials:

Ripplefest Texas 2023

Here it is! The full lineup for RippleFest Texas #3! This will be one for the ages with a stacked lineup and lots of special treats in between. Get your tickets now!

Amazing art by @1horsetown

* playing the Pre-Party
+ playing the Afterparty

King Buffalo, Acid King, Brant Bjork Trio, Sasquatch, Wo-Fat, Fatso Jetson, Mondo Generator, Unida, The Well+, The Atomic Bitchwax, Telekinetic Yeti*, Duel, Forming the Void, Hippie Death Cult, High Desert Queen*, Avon, War Cloud, Rubber Snake Charmers, Spirit Mother+, Kind, Nick Oliveri, Thunder Horse, Royal Sons+, Restless Spirit*, (Big) Pig, Fostermother, Dead Feathers+, Rainbows Are Free, Warlung*, Sun Voyager, Red Mesa, Dunes, Tia Carrera+, Mr. Plow, The Heroine*, Michael Rudolph Cummings, The Absurd+, GoodEye*, Red Beard Wall, God Damn Good Time Band+

Plus a “Legends of the Desert and Friends” jam session to close out Saturday night!

And as always, the visuals by The Mad Alchemist Liquid Light Show

All-Access passes are SOLD OUT! All we have left are 2 Day Passes and Pre/Afterparty tickets available. Many more bands to be announced! Get your tickets now before the full lineup is revealed and the ticket price goes up!


King Buffalo, “Regenerator” live at Sonic Whip 2023

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