Roadburn 2020: Oranssi Pazuzu to Present New Album; Crypt Sermon, Blanck Mass, Hangman’s Chair & More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2020 new banner

So three-quarters of the tickets for Roadburn 2020 are gone. I have to wonder what the corresponding percentage of the lineup has been unveiled. Maybe a third? Maybe? I doubt half. There are still smaller rooms to fill out and other this and that-type happenings. It’s amazing the culture around this festival though. Just look at these adds. Lana Del Rabies and Crypt Sermon. How does that even happen? And somehow, Roadburn pulls it off, year after year after year. It’s because people want to add to that culture, to be a part of it. It’s like nothing else. Like this joint art project that everybody there becomes a piece of. And if that description sounds totally unbelievable, then good. It is unbelievable. And yet, here we are. Year after year after year, on Planet Roadburn, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

I don’t know what else to say except that, as always, I hope we do the ‘zine again. Seems like there’ll be a lot to talk about this time around.

From the PR wire:

roadburn 2020 oranssi pazuzu

Roadburn 2020: Further announcements; over three quarters of tickets sold

– Over 3/4 of weekend tickets are already sold
– Oranssi Pazuzu will present their new album as part of James Kent’s curation
– Further additions to both James Kent and Emma Ruth Rundle’s curated events.

With over three quarters of weekend tickets already sold (three-day tickets are completely sold out), and many more bands still to announce, Roadburn’s Walter Hoeijmakers comments:

“I am absolutely overwhelmed by the faith that people have put in us to deliver an exciting line up. We will honour that faith and Roadburn 2020 will be one for the history books. Sincere thanks to everybody who has picked up a ticket so far, it’s an incredible feeling..”

JAMES KENT’S CURATION:

ORANSSI PAZUZU
There are so many pieces of the puzzle that will fall into place between now and next April, and we’re sworn to secrecy on just about all of it. But what we can tell you is that Oranssi Pazuzu will be performing their as-yet unnamed new album in full at Roadburn 2020, as a part of James Kent’s curated event. It seems incomprehensible that Oranssi Pazuzu may have evaded your attention at this point. But we’re sure there’s a few of you out there – the uninitiated. Begin preparations immediately, as come April 2020, there will be dark forces at work here in Tilburg. A magical, mind-melting mangle of psychedelic avant-garde spirits will cast a spell over us all.

BLANCK MASS
Among the list of achievements that Blanck Mass can be proud of is soundtracking the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony in London – and come April 2020, Benjamin John Power will also be able to say he played Roadburn! Whilst we might not have an audience of 900 million watching what goes down in Tilburg that day, we can be sure to give Blanck Mass a customary Roadburn welcome. Soundtracking the emotions that accompany personal and societal loss, intimate and global grief – his latest album, Animated Violence Mild, is direct, honest and absolutely drenched in melody.

HANGMAN’S CHAIR
Making a return to Roadburn – this time under the curatorship of James Kent – is France’s Hangman’s Chair. The cathartic doom/post-punk combination will be familiar to Roadburners who witnessed them back in 2016, but the intervening years have only seen the four-piece pick up the pace. Their 2018 album Banlieue Triste (which featured James in his Perturbator guise, and Wolvennest’s Marc de Backer) will be played in full during their Roadburn performance. Sink into the melancholic explorations of some of the darkest places they have been.

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE’S THE GILDED CAGE:

MIZMOR
Mizmor’s latest album, Cairn, is a mesmerising piece of work. Back in 2016, we were bowled over by Yodh – Mizmor’s previous offering – and we invited multi-instrumentalist, A.L.N, to bring his project to the Roadburn stage in 2018. The set proved to be a defining element of Roadburn that year for all who witnessed it. Cairn is a continuation of Yodh – yet somehow more personal, more intense and more captivating. It’s not necessarily an easy journey, but it’s one we went on willingly. So, it is with enormous pleasure that we announce Mizmor’s return – performing Cairn in full at Roadburn 2020.

CLOUD RAT
We already announced that Cloud Rat would be playing Roadburn 2020, but we’re delighted to announce that they have agreed to a second show. There are dozens of reasons why their latest offering, Pollinator, stands head and shoulders above many other 2019 releases, and just one of them is the accompanying EP that was released at the same time. Performing tracks from this EP, as well as a couple of cuts from elsewhere in their catalogue, Cloud Rat will be showing off a different side to themselves. In order to do justice to the songs in a live setting, the band are enlisting the help of a familiar face and dear friend of Roadburn – Thou’s Andy Gibbs.

SRSQ
The haunting, sorrow-tinged melody that envelopes SRSQ’s debut album, Unreality, gives a big clue of what to expect when Kennedy Ashlyn takes to the Roadburn stage next April. Formed after her previous project, Them Are Us Too, ended due to the tragic death of Kennedy’s collaborator, Cash Askew, SRSQ (pronounced Seer-skew) retains much of the magic that made TAUT so compelling. The soaring synths and layers of swirling emotion are still present, as of course is her lullaby-esque dreamy vocals.

FVNERALS
Their 2016 album, Wounds, is a creeping, eerie voyage through some incredibly dark shadows. Dripping with lethargic menace and hazy atmospherics, Fvnerals paint a sonic landscape that feels devoid of sunlight, absolute desolation pervades. News has reached us that writing will soon commence for their next opus due out in late 2020. Whilst Fvnerals are not a cheery prospect, they are a strangely alluring one. We’re delighted to welcome them to Roadburn 2020.

ALSO ANNOUNCED…

BIG BRAVE & JESSICA MOSS
Big Brave are a modern wonder – a trio of musicians that have seemingly created their own little universe, with no need for our earthly categorisations, no need for our restrictive genres, and no need to stick to any kind of formula. A joy to witness live at any point, but especially so when they’re joined by a special guest. Jessica Moss featured on the Big Brave albums, Au De La and Ardor, performing violin, and on extremely infrequent occasions she has performed with the band live. We’re thrilled to announce that this unholy union will be sharing a stage at Roadburn 2020; the stars in the Roadburn universe have aligned and we’ve captured this most rare of beasts.

JESSICA MOSS
As well as performing alongside Big Brave, Jessica Moss will take to the stage a second time at Roadburn 2020 to perform her own set. Her captivating sonic experimentation and ethereal violin playing will be an all-consuming musical journey for Roadburners lucky enough to witness it live. For those who appreciate the intricacies of quiet moment found at Roadburn – Jessica Moss is the show for you.

CRYPT SERMON
Confidently lassoing all that is great about traditional heavy metal, straddling it and whipping it into shape for a contemporary audience, Crypt Sermon may just have concocted a magic formula that pays tribute to those who have paved the way, whilst simultaneously forging a new path. It’s time to break out your leather jacket – or if you’re feeling bold, the double denim – and get ready to rock out: Crypt Sermon are heading straight for Roadburn 2020 to play their new album The Ruins of Fading Light in full.

LANA DEL RABIES
The origins of Lana Del Rabies may have a connection to her namesake, but since those early days of paying a droney tribute to the pop star, Lana Del Rabies has taken a life of its own. The project and pseudonym of Phoenix, Arizona resident, Sam An, blends synthesized electronics, drone/noise elements and industrial heaviness into an atmosphere of existential abreaction and an exploration of the occult.

RED KITE
For Roadburn 2020, we will continue our quest to bring you some of the most exciting prog bands around. Championing the burgeoning Norwegian psych-prog-jazz scene is Red Kite. Their self-titled debut is a master class in progressive jams and hypnotic soundscapes, hence inviting them for Roadburn.

ROADBURN 2020 TICKETS

Weekend tickets for Roadburn are on sale now (3-day tickets are sold out, 4-day tickets remain on sale). More information about tickets and accommodation options can be found HERE.

Already announced for Roadburn 2020 is: Emma Ruth Rundle and James Kent as curators, commissioned projects from James Kent & Johannes Persson, Jo Quail, and Vile Creature & Bismuth, the return of Julie Christmas, Red Sparowes, Russian Circles, Torche, Brutus, Bada, Dool, Health, Hide, She Past Away, and two Artists In Residence: Full of Hell and Lingua Ignota. Check the full line up HERE.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1081424195382564/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Oranssi Pazuzu, Live at Roadburn 2017

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Roadburn 2020 Adds Red Sparowes Reunion, Warhorse, Torche, Russian Circles and Many More

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

roadburn 2020 new banner

God damn, Roadburn 2020. Warhorse AND a Red Sparowes reunion? And yeah, there’s a ton of off-the-wall stuff here and Emma Ruth Rundle‘s picks are every bit as adventurous as no doubt the festival hoped and intended they would be, but I can’t help but be hung up on the fact that Torche have never played at Roadburn before. How is that possible? Frickin’ Floor have played Roadburn! It seems crazy to me that Torche wouldn’t have been there before. Russian Circles have, and they’ll be there again. Dead Neanderthals have, and they’ll be there again. Rorcal haven’t played before to my knowledge, but they’ll be there with a new record too, and Alber Jupiter and Die Wilde Jagd, and that’s all pretty sweet. And oh, hey, tickets are on sale as of just a couple hours from now, so let’s say if you want one, today’s probably the day to make that happen before they’re gone.

Kaboom goes the brain:

roadburn 2020 tickets

– Roadburn 2020: new announcements ahead of ticket on sale date
– Tickets on sale September 24
– New additions to Emma Ruth Rundle’s curation inc. Red Sparowes and Torche
– Plus Russian Circles, Brutus, Warhorse and more…

With tickets due on sale in a little over 24 hours, Roadburn’s artistic director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments:

“I’m thrilled with the direction that Roadburn is taking this year – more than ever I feel like it is a real celebration of creativity and an opportunity to give a platform for bands to explore their artistry – hence inviting several bands to perform more than once. The response has been overwhelming so far, and we still have so much more to announce.”

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE’S THE GILDED CAGE
As one of our two curators for 2020 (the other being James Kent AKA Perturbator), Emma has added new names to her curated event, The Gilded Cage.

RED SPAROWES
Red Sparowes have been on hiatus for several years. Their component parts scattered in the wind, occasionally bumping into each other, collaboratively, musically or otherwise. Each piece of the Red Sparowes puzzle has their own tale to tell of where the intervening years have taken them, but we can give you a spoiler right now: all roads lead to Roadburn.

Emma comments:

“It is with great joy that I am able to announce that after a ten year hiatus, Red Sparowes will be reuniting for Roadburn 2020 for an exclusive performance. It’s a huge honor to resurrect the band that really brought me into the fold of the Roadburn family.”

TORCHE
The stars have aligned, under the watchful eye of Emma Ruth Rundle, we’re thrilled to announce that Torche will finally make their Roadburn debut in 2020. Long-time fan, Emma Ruth Rundle explains her pick:

“Torche have long topped my favorite current bands list, with Meanderthal still being a record I reach for while driving on tour. The energy and weight of the riffs are always exciting and I can’t wait to see them perform cuts from their awesome new album, Admission.”

MISERABLE
Within her Miserable project, Kristina Esfandiari combines the finest hooks of grunge with the lo-fi haze of shoegaze, creating an alluringly dark vista to lose oneself in. Invited back to Roadburn – having already played 2017 with King Woman – as part of Emma Ruth Rundle’s ‘The Gilded Cage’ curated event – Kristina is set to drench us all in her misery next April.

NGHTCRWLR
NGHTCRWLR is yet another vehicle for the creative impulses of Kristina Esfandiari – only this one is yet to be fully unleashed on the world. As NGHTCRWLR, Kristina has already notched up plenty of live shows including a US stint with Boy Harsher and soon she will bringing the project to Roadburn. Combining elements of noise, ambience, trap and techno, the dizzying results are a pulsating mass of slithering audio missives.

CLOUD RAT
Cloud Rat’s vast discography is a testament to their prolific nature and excess of talent, ripping and spilling at the seams – an unending stream of audio abrasion busting to get out there in the world. If they’ve remained under your radar until now, then their most recent release, Pollinator, should – or rather will – be the album to change that. Unsurprisingly, Cloud Rat have caught the eye of Emma Ruth Rundle and in her position as one of our curators, she has invited the extraordinary trio to perform at Roadburn 2020.

ALSO ANNOUNCED…

RUSSIAN CIRCLES
It seems we have inadvertently set a five year pattern, and we’re thrilled to announce that bang on time, Russian Circles will return to Roadburn for the third time in 2020. If you, too, think you already know what to expect then we respectfully urge you to reconsider. The band comment:

“We’re happy to be invited back for a third performance at Roadburn. Not only is it an honor to be a part of such a meticulously curated festival, it’s a personal affirmation of the power of art and music, as seen in the bonding of artists and fans from all across the globe in the immersive experience of this special annual event.”

BRUTUS
Continuing a strong tradition of power trios, Brutus serve up equal parts intensity, emotion, melody and sheer musical chops. Residing just over the border in Belgium, we’re delighted that they’ll be making the short trip to join us in April to deliver all of those parts on a Roadburn stage.

“It’s an honour to be part of what we always thought was a true pioneering event. Year after year, Walter succeeds in bringing the most inspiring bands of the moment together. We’re not only going to try to play a great show, but we’re also looking forward to be inspired by the other artists, as individuals and as a band.”

WARHORSE
In 2018, tragedy struck as Warhorse guitarist Todd Laskowski sadly passed away, aged 46. The rest of the band reunited for a one-off performance to honour their fallen comrade, and also marking the 20th anniversary of the band. Drummer Mike Hubbard explained:

“What started as a one-off tribute to Todd’s passing has become so much more. After all these years, we never expected to get this sort of response to us playing live again. It’s really quite amazing. Breathing new life into these songs has reinvigorated us. Walter was an early supporter of the band, so playing his Roadburn Festival is like coming full circle, and it’s pretty emotional. We are extremely honoured to be invited to play, and we plan to make this performance something that we, and our fans, will never forget.”

HANTE.
A one-woman powerhouse of electronic might and pulsating energy, Hante. AKA Hélène de Thoury will be bringing her Parisian darkwave to Roadburn 2020. Nestling in well with the other electronic-based artists we have at Roadburn 2020, Hante. is still a distinctly enigmatic prospect; glacial, assured and compelling. De Thoury possesses an imperturbable composure as she delivers with what appears to be effortless cool.

RORCAL
Rorcal will bring their pitch black brand of sludgy, high impact post doom/metal/everything to our stage. Better yet, they will come bearing gifts, in the form of their brand new album, Muladona, which will be presented at Roadburn.

ALBER JUPITER
Heavily inspired by Chilean Krautrock-afficinados Föllakzoid, the beautifully acceding trajectory of their hallucinatory grooves, drenched in pulsating washes of delay and reverb, makes their debut full-length, We’re Just Floating In Space, such an intoxicating affair. No wonder that Alber Jupiter’s throbbing soundscapes will appeal to fans of Neu!, Can, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, as well as those of Dutch trance-rock legends 35007. Read more about Alber Jupiter.

DIE WILDE JAGD
Channeling the playful, experimental slant and electrical throb of retrofuturism with Krautrock intensity and genre-bending, ritualistic, dark textures, Germany’s Die Wilde Jagd is definitely a breath of fresh air within the currently somewhat stagnating and over-saturated psych scene.

DEAD NEANDERTHALS
Dead Neanderthals will celebrate their tenth anniversary in an extremely on-brand fashion during Roadburn 2020. They plan to mark the occasion with a collection of four celebratory performances including collaborations with Sly & The Family Drone, Scott Hedrick of Skeletonwitch and more.

ROADBURN 2020 TICKETS

Tickets to Roadburn 2020 will go on sale on Tuesday, September 24 – 8pm CEST, 7pm BST, 2pm EDT via Ticketmaster.nl or from 6pm at Sounds Tilburg. More information about tickets and accommodation options can be found HERE.

Already announced for Roadburn 2020 is: Emma Ruth Rundle and James Kent as curators, commissioned projects from James Kent & Johannes Persson, Jo Quail, and Vile Creature & Bismuth, the return of Julie Christmas, Boy Harsher, Acid Rooster, Bada, Dool, Health, Hide, She Past Away, and two Artists In Residence: Full of Hell and Lingua Ignota. Check the full line up HERE.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1081424195382564/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Die Wilde Jagd, Uhrwald Orange (2018)

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Roadburn 2020 Adds Lingua Ignota and Full of Hell as Artists-in-Residence; Dool, Acid Rooster, Boy Harsher & More Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2020 banner

As ever, there’s a lot going on in this announcement for Roadburn. It’s only the second one from Roadburn 2020 and already the festival seems to be setting its course to once again be bigger than ever as it continues to redefine itself and broaden its outlook on the underground. Two curators for the first time was announced last time around, now it’s two artists in residence, and oh, by the way, they’ll also collaborate for a set, because it’s fucking Roadburn and that’s just how it has to be. Lingua Ignota‘s set at the skate park at this year’s edition of the festival was the talk of the weekend — at least until Thou did those Misfits covers — and Full of Hell aren’t exactly strangers to Roadburn either. It’s going to be a busy and all over the place kind of Roadburn, I expect. Who would have it any other way?

If you haven’t, I can only urge you to check out Dool, who’ve also been added, and I’ve included the stream of Acid Rooster‘s 2019 self-titled debut below because its dreamy tones are sitting just right this afternoon.

Dig it:

roadburn 2020 full of hell x lingua ignota

ROADBURN 2020

– For the first time, Roadburn Festival will have two Artists In Residence

– First announcements for curated events including HIDE and BOY HARSHER

– Tickets on sale September 24

ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE

Every edition of Roadburn has an Artist in Residence who will perform multiple times across the four days of the festival – each time showcasing a different facet of their creativity. Much like with other aspects at Roadburn 2020, this year we’re mixing things up a bit; for the first time there will be two Artist In Residence positions…

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: FULL OF HELL

With 30+ releases – EPs, splits, full lengths and more – there’s rich pickings to pull together material for four distinctive sets at Roadburn 2020. Full of Hell will perform Weeping Choir in full, as well as sister album Trumpeting Ecstasy. Also on the slate is a set comprising of their early material including songs from Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home, as well as early 7” releases – and perhaps even a couple of covers thrown in for good measure.
The twist in the tale is that for one of their four sets they will collaborate with fellow Artist In Residence Kristin Hayter AKA Lingua Ignota.

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: LINGUA IGNOTA

Performing four times over the course of the festival weekend, Kristin Hayter will peel back a layer of the Lingua Ignota form, shining a light in a dark corner. Performing alongside our other Artist In Residence, Full of Hell, some dark forces are sure to be summoned by the unholy noise they’ll make collaboratively. In addition to that, there will be an extremely special covers set (the details of which we will keep under wraps for now) and a performance comprising entirely of ALL BITCHES DIE material. The centrepiece of Kristin’s residency will be a grand re-imagining of CALIGULA – pulled apart and elegantly pieced back together in a new way.

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE’S- THE GILDED CAGE CURATED EVENT

HIDE

The first artist to be confirmed as part of Emma Ruth Rundle’s curated event is HIDE. An uncompromising duo who have a message that alone deserves to be heard, but the accompanying pulse of grit-flecked industro-slickness is what makes HIDE an essential booking for Roadburn. Demonstrating that heavy music doesn’t need a guitar to be crushing, HIDE are dragging ‘heaviness’, kicking and screaming, in their wake.
Emma commented: “I’m very happy to announce HIDE as the first band in my curation. No one else is touching on all the subjects that really twist the blade in my being the way they can. Their work is brutal, visceral, painful and poignant in all ways. From their videos, albums, lyrics, uniquely sourced samples and undeniably intense live performance- HIDE not only transcend – they absolutely destroy.”

JAMES KENT’S CURATED EVENT

BOY HARSHER

Boy Harsher’s minimal synths, beats and fuzzed up vocals have been in our eyeline for a while now – and we’re thrilled that our intentions line up with those of our curator.

He comments: “Boy Harsher brings a kind of visceral darkness through their minimal electronic beats that is extremely fascinating. The whispering-like vocals mixed with detuned-synths and old drum machines always felt to me like an invitation to a forbidden yet alluring world.”

HEALTH

HEALTH has plenty of sharp edges; jagged, pixelated, and raw. The complex layers of synths and samples coagulate into a hypnotic, pulsating mass – perfect for those who find comfort in the claustrophobic confines of noise and synthwave.

James comments: “Health are amongst my favorite acts out there at the moment. Their unique sound blending heavy electronics, pop vocals and aggressive noise will make for a perfect addition to the festival.”

SHE PAST AWAY

As part of James Kent’s curation for Roadburn 2020, we are thrilled to announce that modern Turkish darkwave legends She Past Away will be joining us to share this year’s Disko Anksiyete in its entirety. Over the course of their prior albums, the band built a strong identity rooted in genre classics yet carving its own path rather than merely following in the same well trodden gothic footsteps.

Also announced…

DOOL

As the band gear up for the release of their as-yet-unnamed second album, we’re thrilled to announce that Dool will be premiering their new material at Roadburn next year. We may have to wait a little longer for the juicy details of the release, but much like it was in 2016 when they first debuted at Roadburn, our faith in them delivering the goods is unwavering.

BADA

BADA is another vessel for the Gothenburg-based musicians Anna Von Hausswolff, David Sabel, Gianluca Grasselli, Filip Leyman and Hannes Nilsson (some of whom also perform as part of Anna Von Hausswolff’s solo project) to channel their creativity.
BADA’s output is a cinematic drone – sliced through with abrasive noise passages and ominous darkness. Fans of Dead Magic might have to adjust their receivers to be able to detect the Anna they’re most familiar with, but through the layers of static something special will still shine through.

ACID ROOSTER

Though Acid Rooster have flown their freak flag high for many moons, the band only released their impressive S/T debut very recently. And not to exaggerate — Acid Rooster is one of the best contemporary psych records around, hence inviting them for Roadburn 2020.

ROADBURN 2020 TICKETS

Tickets to Roadburn 2020 will go on sale on Tuesday, September 24. More details will be made available in the coming weeks.

Already announced for Roadburn 2020 is: Emma Ruth Rundle and James Kent as curators, commissioned projects from James Kent & Johannes Persson, Jo Quail, and Vile Creature & Bismuth, and the return of Julie Christmas.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1081424195382564/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Acid Rooster, Acid Rooster (2019)

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Roadburn 2020 Makes First Announcement with Curators, Commissioned Pieces and Lineup Confirmations

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2020 banner

History has shown that Roadburn has never been shy about taking chances and embarking on a creative progression, and Roadburn 2020 certainly seems to follow suit. Confirmed as curators are Emma Ruth Rundle and Perturbator‘s James Kent, who will no doubt each bring something very different to expand the festival’s already spectrum-encompassing sonic palette, and there will be three commissioned projects, one involving Kent, another Jo Quail and still another a collaboration between Bismuth and Vile Creature. Sounds pretty “out there?” Well, “out there” is what Roadburn does at this point, becoming the place whereby the new normal is established and promulgated while the rest of us try to keep up.

This is the first announcement and there will for sure be plenty more to come. Roadburn unveiled its gorgeous poster art last week — I friggin’ love it — and promise a year that will challenge convention and continue to push into new territory of and beyond what “heavy” means and can accomplish. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tickets on sale next month. Here’s word from the PR wire:

roadburn 2020 poster

Roadburn Festival 2020 – Curators, Commissioned Projects & More

– For the first time, Roadburn Festival will have two separate curators
– Three commissioned projects for 2020
– Julie Christmas
– Tickets on sale September 24

CURATORS

Each year we give over a slice of Roadburn’s line up to a carefully hand picked curator; they put their distinctive stamp on a corner of the festival and make it their own. For 2020, we have not one but two curators stepping up to the plate. Operating entirely separately, and connected by little more than their common association with Roadburn Festival – and of course their insatiable appetite for creativity – Roadburn’s 2020 curators are limbering up to deliver something special. Expect the unexpected.

CURATOR: EMMA RUTH RUNDLE

Emma has left such a mark on the festival, and the wider musical landscape over the past few years; we’re honoured to invite her back to Roadburn as a curator – a new role for her, but one that she is more than ready for. Her expansive creativity and curious explorations have already led her towards collaborations – both live and on record. Her musical taste is broad and in keeping with Roadburn’s desire to explore the many facets of heavy music.

CURATOR: JAMES KENT (PERTURBATOR)

Few artists have straddled metal and electronic audiences as effortlessly as Perturbator. With personal tastes deeply rooted in metal, and an output that pulsates with digital slickness, James Kent embodies everything that is exciting about dark synth music today. His refreshing approach to creativity and his ability to explore heaviness in innovative ways makes him an ideal candidate for Roadburn’s 2020 curatorship role. We’re thrilled to have him on board. Read more about James’s curation here.

COMMISSIONED PROJECTS

2020 marks the third edition of Roadburn during which we will host specially commissioned pieces of music making their worldwide debut. Already, Roadburn’s commissioned projects have spawned ambitious, life affirming, bone-trembling ensembles that exceeded our expectations and wildest dreams. 2020 is shaping up to continue where we left off, with yet more innovative and exhilarating collaborations. Roadburn’s commissioned projects are made possible thanks to the continued support of Brabant C and The City of Tilburg.

JAMES KENT & JOHANNES PERSSON

Our 2020 curator, James Kent AKA Perturbator is set to join forces with Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson for a commissioned performance that will form something of a grand centre-piece for Roadburn, and of James’s curation.
Their open-mindedness in relation to creativity and composition is well documented in their individual back catalogues, and for the first time we’ll witness what their combined efforts will look, sound and feel like, come April 2020. A hypnotic build of atmosphere and layering is likely to feature heavily during the performance; cinematic ambiance and enveloping emotional soundscapes are coded into their DNA.

JO QUAIL PRESENTS THE CARTOGRAPHER

Jo Quail dipped her toes in the intoxicating waters of Roadburn back in April when she performed alongside Mono, At The Gates, and Myrkur. She may not have been centre-stage but her contributions were not unnoticed; Jo conveys enormous emotion via her passionate and extraordinary cello playing.

With an intention to explore heaviness, Jo’s focus is exploring the juxtaposition between classical and more contemporary music, in this case post-metal. “Arguably heaviness is an emotional concept, reaching far beyond the confines of volume, speed and instrumentation,” Jo says. Jo will join forces with Rotterdam’s highly regarded New Trombone Collective – a group of trombonists who pride themselves on innovation, creativity and collaboration – to work towards communicating specific feeling through their combined output.

VILE CREATURE & BISMUTH: A HYMN OF LOSS AND HOPE

An overwhelming response to both bands at Roadburn 2019, coupled with our own insatiable appetite for creativity and innovation has led to us inviting VILE CREATURE and BISMUTH to collaborate on a specially commissioned project for Roadburn 2020. Titled A Hymn of Loss and Hope, the collaborative piece will be performed for the first – and the last – time at Roadburn. A literal once in a lifetime chance to see these incredible forces combine to perform a piece that is already brewing and a-bubbling as you read.

JULIE CHRISTMAS

Julie Christmas has one of the most distinctive voices in alternative, discordant music – and it’s a thrill for us to announce that we’ve not heard the last of that glorious voice at Roadburn. From Made Out of Babies, through Battle of Mice, as a solo artist, and as a collaborator with Cult of Luna’s on their stunning 2016 album Mariner, Julie has left a distinctive, subtle but indelible bruise on our record collections.

Her back catalogue is varied but all branded with a distinctive Christmas flair, so whichever route she takes, it’s a rabbit hole that we’re ready and willing to follow her down. At Roadburn 2020, Julie will perform a special, exclusive set comprising of both old favourites and new material. Read that again: new material. Joining Julie as part of her backing band will be Johannes Persson and ex-Kylesa guitarist, Laura Pleasants.

OFFICIAL POSTER ART: DOUWE DIJKSTRA

Last week we unveiled the official poster artwork for Roadburn 2020. Created by Dutch artist, Douwe Dijkstra, the poster very much sets the scene for Roadburn – exploring new musical landscapes and embarking on a voyage of discovery.

ROADBURN 2020 TICKETS

Tickets to Roadburn 2020 will go on sale on Tuesday, September 24. More details will be made available in the coming weeks.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1081424195382564/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Roadburn 2020 First Announcement Video

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day Four, 04.14.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 banner day four

04.14.19 – 01.17 CET – Sunday night – Hotel

Just now, before I sat down to write this post, I went to the tap in the bathroom to refill my water bottle. You can drink the tap water here — it’s really something. Anyhow, I stick the bottle under the cold water and look down about two seconds later to see I’ve left the cap on. Water running down the side of bottle. That’s about where one’s head is at on this last day of Roadburn 2019. You ever been nostalgic about something while it’s still going on? Yeah, emotions are running high in Tilburg. Many hugs, many slaps on the back, many see-you-next-years from one denizen of this temporary planet to another. Lucy in Blue (Photo by JJ Koczan)Indeed, even strung out on caffeine and obliterated by volume, it’s difficult to say goodbye to Roadburn, always.

Still somewhat reminiscent of when it was the Afterburner, Roadburn‘s Day Four has fewer stages, but I mean, it’s still four. Five if you count the Ladybird Skatepark, which I was at twice today. So yeah, not a laid back affair. And while the shows ended earlier — Imperial Triumphant and Cave both ended at 00.30, in Patronaat and the Green Room, respectively — the day also started early, with Lucy in Blue going on in the Green Room at 14.00 presenting their new album, In Flight, in its entirety. Based in Iceland, their sound is a classically progressive kind of rock with notable use of keys and vocal harmonies to go with the kraut-ish riffing and repetitive progressions.

They were young, but had both a firm grip on their aesthetic intentions and many aspects of their performance. Maybe some kinks to work out in terms of songwriting efficiency and their onstage persona, but the elements were there in a way that you couldn’t call anything other than encouraging. They were a mellow start to the day for those not watching Have a Nice Life on the Main Stage next door, and as far as I’m concerned, that was welcome. I did pop over to check out some of the Connecticut-based unit, Supersonic Blues (Photo by JJ Koczan)but only after Lucy in Blue were well in flight and had left the ground behind. It was a palpable contrast.

Didn’t watch Daughters. I know. But, well, Supersonic Blues were added last-minute to play at the skatepark, and well, they ruled last year, so it seemed like an easy-enough pick to head up and see them again. There were more skaters than yesterday, but they cleared out so the Dutch three-piece could play. Like Lucy in Blue, Supersonic Blues are probably under 30 — unless I’m just old enough now that 30 year olds look like kids; possible — but they command a warmth of tone and a sense of appreciation for classic boogie rock that comes complemented by an easy-rolling sense of craft and a sans-pretense approach to what they’re doing. I’ll take that any, any, any day of the week. I heard they got added yesterday and was only stoked that I’d get to see them again. They’ve had two singles out but sound like they’re about ready for a first LP, or at very least an EP.

A little bit of continuity to the start of the day between Lucy in Blue and Supersonic Blues, and though that coolest of colors wouldn’t factor into the moniker of Stuck in Motion, there was plenty of blues in their sound, and a fervent ’70s stylization as well. They fit with what I was looking for, is the short version of theStuck in Motion (Photo by JJ Koczan) story, and I stood and watched from the Green Room balcony as they classic-heavied their way into the hearts and heads of the assembled, easing out sleek grooves and keyboards/organ that only added to the depth of the melody. Cool band, and I felt justified in not fighting my way to the front to take photos by how chill their sound was. As if to say, “It’s cool man, you go ahead and take this one easy. We will too.” It was a winning decision all the way around, I think.

I had gotten turned onto their 2018 self-titled debut (review here) by Walter on Facebook posting about them, so checking them out in the flesh only seemed fair. They were cool, but I felt like I owed it to myself to watch Thou close out their residency on the Main Stage. Given the set they played last night at the skatepark doing Misfits covers, somehow a straight-ahead performance seemed anticlimactic, but hell’s bells were they heavy. I mean, really. Spread out across the stage, they brought full-on volume to the kind of atmospheres they had in their almost-acoustic set the other night, something disquieting in the mood and challenging of themselves and their audience. They are a band people really like. A lot. I can’t say that I’m a Thou (Photo by JJ Koczan)huge Thou fan like the people I saw chasing down the vinyl over in the merch area, but they’re undeniably powerful on stage, whether screaming or melodic, loud or quiet, or, you know, playing Misfits tunes, as one apparently will. I know they played like 50 sets in the last four days, but how could they not be back at some point in the years to come?

That question gave me something to ponder as I plotzed up to the Ladybird Skatepark for the last time to see Bismuth, who played earlier in the fest but were given another chance to volume-pummel everything in their path. Loud? Shit. There were parts of that building vibrating that were not meant to vibrate. Bassist/vocalist Tanya Byrne won Roadburn 2019 as regards t-shirts with the selection of Khanate, and she and drummer Joe Rawlings doled out grueling nod and brutal tone with unmitigated intensity. Their 2018 album, The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef (discussed here), was some manner of preparation for seeing them live in terms of the basic air-from-lungs push of low-end — also tree-trunk drumsticks — but the volume factor made it all the more of a steamroller running atop the assembled masses Bismuth (Photo by JJ Koczan)in the skatepark, that big, high-ceilinged space seeming to fill up with sound no matter where you stood. Audio as a physical presence. It was righteous.

And then, of course, Sleep played. As far as culminations go, one could hardly ask for more than Sleep returning after so dutifully handing the 013 its ass last night to play their 2018 album, The Sciences (review here), front-to-back. But here’s the thing: Sleep played last night doing Sleep’s Holy Mountain in full. It was incredible. But The Sciences was better. The material sounded fresher, the band sounded more comfortable, and I’m not sure there’s hyperbole dramatic enough for how fucking loud they were. It was incredible. I’ve been lucky enough to see Sleep a few times. My go-to for the best I ever saw them was Roadburn 2012 (review here). After tonight, I might have to change my opinion. There was a technical glitch or two along the way — Matt Pike blew out one of his several guitar heads — but he, Al Cisneros and Jason Roeder Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)were utterly incredible. It was the kind of set that could make you believe in the magic of Christmas. A true Santa Claus of a set. They threw in “Holy Mountain” and “Dragonaut” as well, I guess just in case anyone in the room wasn’t there the night before. I heard no complaints for the repeaters, and registered none myself. Those songs too were better the second time around.

No clue how many times I’ve made this observation, but I think Jason Roeder might be the best drummer I’ve ever watched play. Yeah, Matt Pike just won a Grammy with High on Fire, and Al Cisneros deserves a Nobel for his work in Om, but between those two titans, Roeder — who, just to mention it so you don’t think I’m undercutting his own pedigree, was well established in fucking Neurosis before he joined Sleep in place of original drummer Chris Hakius — is crucial to the band Sleep have become. It was all the more emphasized in the The Sciences material, songs like “Sonic Titan” and “Giza Butler,” which unto itself was a highlight of the entire festival. If last night was a celebration of Sleep‘s earlier glories, then tonight was confirmation of the reason they’re the most influential riffers since Black Sabbath themselves. They were a joy to behold, and the perfect ending to my own personal Roadburn 2019.

There was a line outside Het Patronaat as I was leaving after aSleep (Photo by JJ Koczan) few quick goodbyes. Imperial Triumphant would be on shortly as the last Roadburn band ever to play the venue — there’s a bit of festival trivia for you — and I heard they were doing a whole thing with masks, but honestly, how could I ever hope to improve on the night I’d just had or what I’d just seen? Sad as it was to realize, it was time to go.

So I went. Roadburn 2019 ended on a higher note than I could’ve wished for, and I walked out of the 013 and down Weirdo Canyon to get back to the hotel sweaty, smelling like smoke, tired, hungry, thirsty and sore, but still feeling 100 percent refreshed. The only tragedy is it’s another year till the next one.

Thanks for reading. I’ll close out the Roadburn coverage tomorrow assuming I have time, but first and foremost thank you for reading. You’re pretty great.

More pics after the jump.

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day Three, 04.13.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Roadburn 2019 banner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.14.19 – 02.15 CET – Saturday night – Hotel

It snowed today. That was a first. Hail too. I wasn’t outside for it, but unless European snow bounces, it was hail, followed by snow. 11 Roadburns later, Tilburg still holds a few surprises. And no, I don’t just mean the secret Thou set where they did the Misfits covers and Emma Ruth Rundle got in on the action, though that too.

ROADBURN 2019 WEATHERThe weather wasn’t a hardship or anything — the joke was that Sumac were so heavy they made it hail, and fair enough — since apart from a short walk here or there I spent very nearly the entire day inside. I was bumming hard after finding out about a brutal fuckup on my part with today’s issue of the daily ‘zine, the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. Basically I left out an important piece and we’ll run it tomorrow anyway, but I still felt very, very much like shit about it. Like, “I don’t deserve to be here” beating myself up. I went and found the writer in question and damn near broke out into tears apologizing.

I know it’s a festival fanzine and all, but that shit is important to me, and it was squarely my mistake that dropped the article. It won’t be as timely tomorrow when it goes in the issue. I know it’s not the end of the world, ultimately, but this fest puts its faith in me not to screw up doing this one thing, and I screwed it up. I’d already seen Temple Fang and Wolvennest and a couple seconds of Confusion Master by then, and I thought long and hard about just coming back to the hotel and going to bed, but eventually got it together. It sucks being bad at, like, everything you do.

Like I said, I saw Temple Fang again. They opened up the pre-show on Wednesday (review here), and they opened up today in a kind of super-early showcase slot at 1:30PM in an especially foggy Hall of Fame, up by the Koepelhal and the Ladybird Skatepark, which is very quickly becoming another Roadburn venue. Launching with “Gemini,” Temple Fang were this time around a little less Temple Fang (Photo by JJ Koczan)tense — maybe just waking up — and a little more locked into an overarching groove that still highlighted their progressive take on space rock and psychedelia, but seemed to give the songs a little more space to breathe. I’m not sure I can speak to exactly what the difference was. It might’ve been just as simple as playing a little more relaxed. But both sets showed the serious potential on the part of the band and my only problem with seeing them play a second time was that it meant they did not immediately on Thursday morning enter the studio to record their debut album, which had been my hope after their first show. Oh well. Always tomorrow, guys.

Wolvennest opened the Main Stage, with theremin, incense and a few skulls here and there amid their darkened cult rock atmospherics. The Brussels-based outfit are celebrating the release this month of their new EP, Vortex, which came out last week through the ever-tasteful Ván Records, and I have no doubt they persuaded a few heads with their murky vibe and swirling, obscure but still progressive heaviness. Fronted by Sharon Shazzula, who’s done work over the years with Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Kadavar, Farflung and a host of others — in addition to having founded Swamp Booking — and she and the full band alongside her brought a consuming wash of noise to the big room at the 013, and once I got back from my Wolvennest (Photo by JJ Koczan)Beto-esque apology tour (except I meant it), I found I was even more into it near the finish. It was somewhere between black metal, psychedelia and lurch, and wherever that was, that seemed definitely like the place to be. I’m sure someone cleverer than me has already invented a genre tag for it. To me it just sounded awesome.

Today was Maalstroom — a massive celebration of Dutch black metal held at Het Patronaat and given the added poignancy of also serving as an ad hoc tribute to former Dodecahedron frontman Michiel Eikenaar, who passed away yesterday after a long illness. Malstroom itself is the third of Roadburn 2019’s commissioned projects, and like last year’s Vánagandr formed of Icelandic black metallers, Maalstroom drew/draws from various projects working together on a new piece as a new entity. The whole day at the church was dedicated to it, and though my own adventure would take me on a different path, it would be hard not to admire the vision in putting that kind of thing together with Witte Wieven, Turia, Laster, Terzij de Horde, the aforementioned Dodecahedron and then Maalstroom itself to close out. One way or the other, it was going to be a special day.

Sumac (Photo by JJ Koczan)There were also more acts today from Tomas Lindberg‘s curation, including UranThe Exorcist GBG, and Orchestra of Constant Distress, and it was the Exile on Mainstream Records 20th anniversary celebration. Oh, and Sleep played Sleep’s Holy Mountain (2009 reissue review here) in its entirety. You know, because why not. I wound up flitting back and forth between 013 and the Koepelhal complex for the day, as I think a lot of people did who didn’t otherwise camp out at the Patronaat. Sumac absolutely floored me playing the Main Stage. What’s been my hesitation with those guys? I have no idea. I’ve dug both their records — last year’s Love in Shadow (review here) and 2016’s What One Becomes (review here) — but I still never really considered myself a fan. It’s Aaron Turner (ex-Isis, etc.), Bryan Cook (Russian Circles) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), and their tone was probably the heaviest I’d heard this weekend up to that point. I don’t know what my hangup was with that band, but yeah, I’ll go ahead and credit the universe with being right on that one. More records to buy: just what I need.

Mythic Sunship had added another set at the Skatepark — they wound up playing three times, so I’m extra glad I caught them at least once — so I made my way up there and stopped in Koepelhal first to see Boston’s Morne, who were casting death across that packed and massive space. Couldn’t help but notice guitarist/vocalist Milosz Gassan wearingMorne (Photo by JJ Koczan) a t-shirt for Armageddon Shop (or Armageddon Boston, to be more specific) on the stage. Today was apparently Record Store Day, so fair enough. Roadburn never seems to lack for commerce, as the merch area just outside the Koepelhal proper shows, but I’m sure plenty of people also made it over to Sounds, which is the local shop down the road a little ways. I went once. It was cool. This year, however, my feet were glued in place for Morne, who issued their To the Night Unknown LP through that same Armageddon Shop label last year. No regrets. Their sound has the classic emotional crux of death-doom but toys with that balance effectively and still holds a pervasive sense of atmosphere.

It was almost time for that Mythic Sunship show, and I was looking forward to it, but Treedeon in the Hall of Fame for the Exile on Mainstream 20th anniversary was too good to pass up. The German trio’s bizarre noise rock is so emblematic of that label, and while I don’t think my tastes and those of Andreas Kohl, who runs imprint, always line up — though we’re both big Wino fans — it’s a fair bet that something on Exile on Mainstream is going to at very least be interesting. In the case of Treedeon, it was interestingTreedeon (Photo by JJ Koczan) like a fucking boot to the throat. Even their recorded work — the latest LP was 2018’s Under the Manchineel (review here) — doesn’t quite capture the density of their approach to noise rock, and golly it was loud in the Hall of Fame. It’s a low ceiling, so the sound just feels like it’s collapsing on you, and that suited Treedeon well in portraying another vision of extremity after Morne.

Among other things, it was about the polar opposite of seeing Mythic Sunship in a skate park, so that was fun. Indeed, dudes were skating on the ramps and rails and whatnot and looking annoyed as people started filing in for the show. Sorry. The Copenhagen four-piece have been on tour since April 4 supporting their excellent 2018 offering, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music (review here), and though they didn’t have the sax with them today as they apparently did yesterday, they still tore it up ferociously, by which I mean they played a smoothly progressive jam-based kraut-psych-rock and their chemistry was out in full force. Their drummer ate a banana right before they went on, which I’m sure helped keep his energy up, and the Ladybird filled up well for them. They’re the kind of band I’d probably never get to see if I wasn’t here, let alone see in such a context, so I was stoked on the opportunity and the outcome of it. I don’t think they will, but if they played another set tomorrow, I doubt anyone would complain, Mythic Sunship (Photo by JJ Koczan)except maybe those skateboarders.

Dinner was chicken in peanut sauce. I had a few quick bites and then went back to the Main Stage to watch the end of Cave In‘s set. I gotta say, I haven’t listened to Cave In actively in a long time, and I still knew just about every word to everything they were playing. That band can write a song. They had Nate Newton (Converge) on bass in the place of Caleb Scofield, who passed away and was memorialized with an acoustic set last year by his bandmates Steve Brodsky and Adam McGrath that’s since been released by Roadburn Records, and while I didn’t see the full set, what I caught was dead on. They’ve always occupied a space between punk, metal and rock, but they’ve also always made that space their own, and to see them do that in front of a crowd so into it as that at Roadburn was affirming even if I only caught a couple songs.

It was time for Sleep. There was the requisite changeover after Cave In, and fair enough for the mighty stacks of amps and cabinets brought out, as well as Jason Roeder‘s drum riser. I mean, Sleep playing Sleep’s Holy Mountain. In full. Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)Front-to-back. As the first of two nights of sets. What the hell more could you want? If your answer was, “maybe a shortened version of ‘Dopesmoker’ and ‘The Clarity,'” they did those too, but obviously the highlight was seeing Al CisnerosMatt Pike and Roeder run through those Holy Mountain tracks. Pike even switched to an acoustic guitar for an extended take on “Some Grass” ahead of “Aquarian.” The Main Stage hall was packed to the point that the upstairs balcony looked like it was about to spill over, and the whole room just became a sea of nodding heads to each riff. Everyone kept up with the changes. Everyone knew where they were going. It was yet another of those Roadburn things that make you feel so stupid lucky to be here to see. Funny how those keep popping up all weekend. Every year. All weekend. They’re back tomorrow doing The Sciences in full. Again, Roadburn.

There was still plenty of Roadburn day three to go, but I was (un)fairly beat. Still, there was one more thing I had to, had to, had to see, and it was Bellrope. They were closing out the Exile on Mainstream celebration at Hall of Fame, and though the hike up there felt daunting to my riffed-out legs, I did it anyway and got up there before the two-bass-one-guitar-all-smash German foursome got started. Their debut album, You Must Relax (review here), is on my list of 2019’s best despite (because of?) its initial feedback assault to weed out the Bellrope (Photo by JJ Koczan)weak-hearted among its listenership. They did similar on stage, by the way, but shorter, and with a mammoth and punishing low end push to fill out that feedback, it was brutal in the best way possible. They brought up two members of Treedeon for a guest vocal spot and the sort of sludge ensued that you should need a prescription to get, which should explain the line that went out the door.

Despite the day’s rough start with my stupid, stupid, stupid, unprofessional bullshit error in the ‘zine, it was still a day that was as fantastic as it was busy. Tomorrow is the end of Roadburn 2019, and it’s always bittersweet, so while I’m plenty exhausted, like At the Gates before me, I’m going to try to drink from the night itself and let adrenaline carry me through as, hopefully, it will.

Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump.

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day Two, 04.12.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 day two banner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.12.19 – 02.26 CET – Friday night – Hotel

You get back to the hotel, kick off your shoes like you’re breaking shackles, realize your earplugs have been in since you walked out of the 013 and you’ve been walking to the rhythm of your own breath. Also why you feel so isolated. It’s Friday at Roadburn, which in the yearly cycle of the festival is always the hardest day. Good music makes it better. Always. Even the shinsplints. You pull the plugs out of your ear and put on a record. Start typing. Radical perspective shift.

It’s Tomas Lindberg from At the Gates‘ curated day. So is some of tomorrow. Dubbed ‘The Burning Darkness’ — as in, “with fear I kiss…” — it has featured a strikingly broad range of styles and acts native to his hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden, and tonight, At the Gates headlined with a special set that, among others, featured guest vocals from Anna Von Hausswolff, who had already earlier absolutely decimated the Main Stage, and Rob Miller of Amebix, Seven That Spells (Photo by JJ Koczan)who also appears of the band’s latest EP, With the Pantheons Blind. Not the kind of thing you see every day, and that was pretty much the running theme from the early afternoon onward.

In the Green Room, Zagreb’s Seven That Spells held court for three complete sets, playing their entire The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock trilogy. Those three albums, Om, Io and Omega, were released over a period of seven years between 2011 and 2018, so to say it was an effort of considerable scope would be underselling it, but the four-piece approached the task with enviable vitality. I would be in and out for at least a little while of all three sets — the second one I watched through the open doorway; an essential Roadburn experience dating back years for those who show up late to see, well, anyone — and though they had breaks between them, it’s still basically one band playing three gigs in the span of about four and a half hours. Admirable.

During their first set, however, in the Main Stage hall next door, Tripkyton played the second of Roadburn 2019’s three commissioned works, completing the “Requiem” triptych with a previously unheard second part to go with the first, which appeared on Celtic Frost‘s Into the Pandemonium in 1988 and the third, Triptykon (Photo by JJ Koczan)which was on that band’s reunion/swansong offering, 2006’s Monotheist. Oh yeah, and they did so in the company of the Metropole Orkest, because obviously. It was nearly overwhelming on a basic sensory level, never mind the breadth of the arrangements involved to the performance aspect. It was not without its sense of space or dynamic, but there was so much to take in that you almost couldn’t do it just by watching. Fortunately, there were video cameras on hand documenting the entire affair, so I very much doubt this will be the last this performance of the complete “Requiem” is heard from.

Still, hard to think of it as anything other than a landmark, much as when Tom G. Warrior and Triptykon made either their first live appearance at Roadburn 2010 (review here), or when they presented their second album, Melana Chasmata, in 2014 (review here). The audience certainly treated it as such, packing into the venue to the point that there was nowhere to move. I tried to go over to Het Patronaat for Mythic Sunship, but the line was out the door as well, and I know how that goes, so I ran up to the merch area to pick up the Molasses two-songer that went on sale Anna Von Hausswolff (Photo by JJ Koczan)today and then back for more of Seven That Spells and, after a spell of just sitting and letting my mind numb out for a minute, Anna Von Hausswolff‘s set. I suppose I was at a disadvantage as regards the Swedish Von Hausswolff, as I went into seeing her having never heard her before, but from where I stood, that only seemed to make me happier to be blindsided both by her operatic vocal prowess and experimentalist songcraft.

With a full band supporting, she crushed. Bowed bass assured that massive waves of low end vibrated the floor of the big hall, and Von Hausswolff‘s keys and voice cut through in a fashion both melodic and weighted by more than just emotion. Late in the set, the group resolved itself in manic pulsations and strobe flashes; I wanted to look away but was mesmerized. Up in the back of the lowest level of the hall, I just kind of sat there with my mouth open — “catching flies,” as The Patient Mrs. might say. They had started about 10 minutes late and finished much the same, but I couldn’t possibly call it anything other than time well spent. It occurred to me at some point that I hadn’t eaten a proper meal in a while, Grails (Photo by JJ Koczan)so hit up a salad and some fish, and then was back in the Main Stage room for Grails.

I guess there are probably a bunch of varying opinions on Grails at this point, but I count myself as continually fascinated by the Portland, Oregon-based outfit, whose work has ranged from instrumentalist heavy rock to cinematic soundscaping, dark jazz and seemingly whatever else their creative whims might conjure for a given album. Their last one, incidentally, was 2017’s Chalice Hymnal (review here), and between this, the East Coast US dates they did earlier this year and the West Coast touring they’ll do this summer, I can’t help but wonder if they might not have something new in the works. Of course, the band shares Emil Amos with Om, and that band will be playing dates as well, but it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility. In the meantime, they turned out to be just what was needed at just that moment, so once again, I felt fortunate to be there to see them.

At the Gates (Photo by JJ Koczan)Soon enough, At the Gates would conquer Roadburn 2019. Let’s go back 20-21 years to high school me screaming along to “Blinded by Fear” blasting into my eardrums from this or that mixtape, and yes, safe to say I was fucking thrilled when Lindberg was announced as curator for this year, and all the more because I haven’t seen At the Gates since their reunion began in 2011 and, before tonight, I’d never seen them at all. So, a band for whom I’ve had affection for more than two decades — and I’ll gladly argue that Slaughter of the Soul has aged best of any melodic metal album from its era — playing a unique set at a festival curated by its frontman. Couldn’t have been any better if I got to interview Lindberg for the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. Oh wait, I did.

The first half of that interview ran in today’s ‘zine, and the second is in tomorrow’s — if you’re not here, they’re all archived — but even that interview didn’t prepare me for everything At the Gates had in store for their set. Yes, they brought Rob Miller (also Tau Cross) over from the Isle of Skye to guest on vocals, and yes, they had a string quartet, and yes, the visuals were by Costin Chioreanu, but if you gave me a thousand lifetimes, I’m not sure I ever would’ve guessed they’d bring Matt Pike — Sleep play tomorrow night and Sunday both — onto the stage to sit in for a cover of Trouble‘s “The Tempter.” Or that they’d start off with a take on King Crimson‘s “Red.” Or that Anna Von Hausswolff would come back out as well to cover Philip Glass. Or I guess generally that the whole thing wouldMatt Pike with At the Gates (Photo by JJ Koczan) be so fucking shit god damn shit fucking god damn it fuck god shit glorious front-to-back.

Yeah, I’m more than willing to admit that part of the appeal for me of seeing At the Gates was the nostalgia of “Cold,” or “Suicide Nation” or “Slaughter of the Soul.” I know At the Gates have been doing shows again for eight years, and I know there have been lineup changes, and they’re not the people they were 20 years ago and I’m not the person I was 20 years ago. I know all of that, but there was so much else going on, and it all worked. And all that, on top of the fact that those songs were one of my earliest exposures to extreme metal of any stripe, and frankly, it’s not an enjoyment I feel like I need to justify. They fucking ruled, and even the band was smiling by the time they were finishing up. At the end, the whole crew came out when they were done to take a well-deserved bow. It had been something truly special.

Messa were playing Het Patronaat, and they were a band I really wanted to see, but even when I went out during At the Gates to head over there, about half an hour before Messa were LOOP (Photo by JJ Koczan)supposed to go on, the line was out the door and down the block. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for another set added at the skate park near Hall of Fame or something, but yeah. I drowned my sorrows in churning, resin-coated psychedelia with LOOP, who also headlined Roadburn 2014 (review here). Seeing Robert Hampson on guitar with Hugo Morgan on bass and Wayne Maskell on drums — both also of The Heads — and guitarist Dan Boyd was the kind of thing I took last time around as a probably-once-in-a-lifetime chance, so now that I’ve seen them twice, I’ll consider this round like a life-bonus. Like someone took my life and they were like, “You know, let’s give this dope another LOOP set” because they were being nice to me personally or whatever. I guess that’d be Walter and Tomas Lindberg curating. So hey, big thanks, guys.

The strobe warning they put out before going on would be well enough earned, but LOOP were a fantastic ending to the day. Do I dare hope to see them again at some point? Roadburn 2024, maybe? I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

I still have pictures to sort through and a ‘zine to edit tomorrow, so I’m going to leave it there. Temple Fang are playing a special early set, and yeah, I wouldn’t mind seeing that again if I can get up to Hall of Fame. We’ll see. Either way, halfway through Roadburn 2019 and starting to get that refreshed-soul feeling that only Roadburn can provide. Thanks as always for reading.

More pics after the jump.

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day One, 04.11.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ROADBURN DAY ONE BANNER (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.12.19 – 02.31 CET – Thursday night – Hotel

It’s a different kind of Roadburn for me, or at least this morning I decided it would be one. I’m still working on precisely what that means, so bear with me. Some of it I alluded to the other day, and some of it is just procedural on my end. I took no notes today. None. Normally when I’m here (or most places), I’m scribbling between bands, writing down observations that most of the time I don’t even go back and look at. Today I dropped the pretense. It felt freeing, and today was a good day to feel free.

Such as there is a map, Roadburn 2019 is all over it. The day started in low-key shoegaze psych Sherpa (Photo by JJ Koczan)bliss with Sherpa in Het Patronaat. They were the first band of the festival proper after the Ignition three-band pre-show last night. I had come back to the hotel to sleep after finalizing the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch issue this morning, but it was a big no dice. So I was early to the church and sat in front of the stage for a bit while people filed in. There was a good crowd by the time the Italian four-piece took the stage to play their late-2018 joy of a record, Tigris & Euphrates (review here), and they were treated to lush tones and drifting melodies, a kind of easing into Roadburn that one doesn’t always get, but the fest very clearly made an effort to establish its vibe early.

Bismuth would soon rough up the Hall of Fame. It was Myrkur: Folksange on the Main Stage. In the Koepelhal, Crippled Black Phoenix played a two-hour-plus set. And in the Green Room, it was Thor Harris (Swans, etc.) leading the way with Thor & Friends with a set experimentalist enough that you might as well just call it jazz. I caught a couple minutes of Thor & Friends after popping up to see Crippled Black Phoenix as Sherpa were starting to wind down and was treated to a bit of sax and percussion, but it was ultimately Myrkur that held me in place for the duration with gorgeous Nordic folk harmonies accompanied by strings, piano, and a genuine sense of traditionalist homage. I’ve heard Myrkur‘s folk recordings before, but as will happenCrippled Black Phoenix (Photo by JJ Koczan) in Tilburg each Spring, something special was taking place while the afternoon clouds parted to let in a bit of sun outside.

But even Myrkur: Folksange was a part of something larger than itself, and it was that initial burst of diverse sounds that would so quickly establish the vibe for the day. I bounced around until finally landing at Myrkur and stayed put in order to see Molasses, the first of this year’s three commissioned projects, and — I won’t lie — the one to which I was most looking forward. In 2014, following the death of The Devil’s Blood guitarist and aesthetic mastermind Selim Lemouchi, his sister and that band’s vocalist, Farida Lemouchi, took the stage with guitarist Oeds Beydals, Ron van Herpen (Astrosoniq) and a host of others to pay her brother tribute, and it remains one of the most moving sets I’ve ever seen at any RoadburnMolasses, in bringing together Farida and Beydals — who has since brought his band Death Alley to an arguably premature end — as part of a new, complete band that may or may not be ongoing, continues some of the spirit of The Devil’s Blood, but seems bound to find its own path as well.

This was their first show, and as Farida swayed in time to the music ahead of harmonizing with Beydals, they made a Molasses (Photo by JJ Koczan)powerful impression. Roadburn‘s foray into basically making bands and/or happen is no less extensively curated than the festival at large, but there’s a deeply personal aspect to that as well, and one suspects that’s all the more true of Molasses given their Dutch heritage and the members’ history with the festival. It was the start of something special, and I hear tell there’s a vinyl they’ll be selling starting tomorrow. Every year I let myself buy one piece of wax. No question in my mind what it’ll be this time.

Back up at the Koepelhal — which, I don’t know how big it is in comparison to the Main Stage of the 013, but it’s plenty huge enough — the Full Bleed art exhibit looked awesome and was arranged differently this year so it kind of got its own gallery. I had a couple minutes before Thou went on, so walked around. I’d already been there to buy merch — a black t-shirt and a red hoodie, because apparently my midlife crisis involved wearing a color, ever, on my torso; also hippie pants — but it was still being set up. It was packed into its space, but still awesome, and one more example of Roadburn branching beyond the confines of the traditional festival. I think the panel talks start tomorrow at V39, so yeah, there will be more of that.

Thou Acoustic (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Thou took the stage shortly thereafter for what was billed as an acoustic set but was really more just quiet and loaded with harmonies from three vocalists up front and more added from the band behind. The New Orleans outfit have long since left expectation behind, so I wasn’t necessarily anticipating anything specific one way or the other, but as they played I kind of felt like I was intruding on something. It’s hard to explain. It wasn’t that the show was so intimate in that massive space — although I did find myself wishing they would just go ahead and cover Alice in ChainsSap EP in full — and it didn’t lack expressiveness, I just suddenly felt like I was somewhere I didn’t belong. I don’t think Thou were shooting to be particularly inviting, so it’s nothing against them in this incarnation, but yeah. After a few minutes, I galumphed back to the 013 to catch the start of Hexvessel.

The Finnish outfit are kind of regulars on Planet Roadburn. They played here in 2012 (review here), 2013 and 2016 (review here), and frontman Mat McNerney played with the short-lived Beastmilk in 2014 (review here). Not exactly strangers to the experience. Still, they came this time heralding their latest long-player and return to their nature-worshiping forest Hexvessel (Photo by JJ Koczan)folk roots, All Tree (review here), so I was not about to miss them. Highlights from that record translated well to the Main Stage, “A Sylvan Sign” and “Wildness Spirit” working no less fluidly one into the other live than they do on the studio versions. Sudden as the shift seemed to a more kitchen-sink aesthetic on 2016’s When We are Death (review here), All Tree‘s re-establishing of their foundation was no less striking, but they certainly sounded well at home on stage, McNerney well cast as the folk troubadour. I’m not sure why they’re not on the folk circuit, but I’ll take it.

From there on out, it was all about Heilung. I did see some of Emma Ruth Rundle at the Koepelhal, after more take-that-establishment jaywalking across whatever thoroughfare that is, and I was glad to have done so, but I knew what the crux of my night was going to be, and it was going to be wearing antlers and bones of sundry wildebeests and it was going to be percussive and throat-singy while also astoundingly melodic, and that was Heilung playing their Lifa (review here) performance in its entirety. I say without Emma Ruth Rundle (Photo by JJ Koczan)reservation that it’s easily among the most complete aesthetic experiences I’ve ever had in a live setting, from the circle they formed at the outset — bringing Roadburn‘s own Walter in their midst as a part of the ceremony — to the shield and spear-carrying soldiers in black bodypaint, to the later mimed beheading, to the off-the-rails, how-is-this-dance-music-but-it-totally-is fracas that ensued later in the set, it was simply incredible. I have seen as much spectacle in my time as the next guy, but this was really something else.

I’ve heard murmurings that Heilung, who are signed to Season of Mist and have a new album called Futha due in June, are planning to bring their show — and it is a show; a sight as much as a sound to behold — to the US. I have to wonder how that will go in terms of venue and  just where they can play to pull it off. Festivals, presumably. But more than that, it seems like Northern Europe would obviously have a different relationship to the depictions of pre-Christian, pagan Norse history than would an audience in the States. The simple fact that their faces are painted black could very well raise eyebrows, Heilung (Photo by JJ Koczan)even in such a full context. It’s just not a question here, because it’s the native tribalism being depicted. One way or the other, I have little doubt they could make it work. They absolutely delivered a set that I’ll be talking about for probably years, no matter how many times and in whatever setting I might see them subsequent to tonight. I wasn’t going to stay for the whole thing, but there was no other option. A don’t-miss scenario.

There was still a lot of Roadburn left, and that’s not even talking about the next three days, and I had writing to do, but another part of the different Roadburn experience I’m having this year is staying out late. I did trundle back to the hotel to dump photos and get some work in on Crypt Trip (Photo by JJ Koczan)this review, but Crypt Trip came all the way from Texas to be here, and as I’ve been digging their recently-issued full-length, Haze County (review here), it was only fair to be there to see them. For the minimal effort, I was rewarded with some primo Lone Star boogie. You can insert whatever cliche you want to about barbecue here — I’m sure the San Marcos three-piece have heard them all, but the fact of the matter is they earned every hair bit of mustache they had, and even though they were on a totally different wavelength than anything else on the Main Stage today, they absolutely brought their A-game to the 013. I wish I could say I stayed the whole time and partied until two in the morning or whatever, but yeah, I’m old, and lame. Ugly too, but that’s beside the point.

What I was able to catch of Crypt Trip was a joy — and speaking of, Zach Oakley from Joy (who played last year) was hanging out on the side of the stage — and only affirmed in my mind the buzz I’ve been hearing about their live show for the last couple years. After the vast swath that today covered, closing out with some classic-style heavy rock and roll suited me just fine. It’s a long weekend and a big spectrum of aesthetic. Sometimes you just want to get down to the basics. And Crypt Trip definitely got down.

And that was night one of Roadburn 2019. So much for a laid back start to the fest, though I knew that was a pipedream anyway. Tomorrow I’m up again early to wrap the day’s issue of Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. If you saw that today or see it tomorrow or are reading this at all, thank you.

More pics after the jump.

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