Roadburn 2024: Notes From Day Four

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 22nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Roadburn 2024 sunday Becky and Walter talk

Before any of the actual sets, today started with the annual tradition of a sit-down audience with Roadburn’s Artistic Director, Walter Hoeijmakers, hosted by Becky Laverty, who not only puts the side-programme together, but has been a crucial part of pushing the festival forward stylistically and defining its ongoing mission. Mostly a Q&A from the people who crammed into the V39, where merch used to be, they covered a range of topics from the logistics of setting up the time table to why they’ve moved away from having curators like in years past. No, they didn’t say anything about who will play in 2025, but one assumes that will come in time.

I had a question I wanted to ask about the next generation of Roadburn taking shape in the last few years of lineups and where they see it all leading, but they sort of touched on it and since there was only an hour, I was in the back, etc., etc., I just let it go. But, a casual chat, and always interesting to get their insights on this weirdo behemoth that Roadburn has become.

Once upon a however many years ago, the last day of Roadburn was known as the Afterburner. They’ve dropped the branding — fair enough — but there are still fewer active stages today, some longer changeovers between acts on the main stage, and so on. A mellower vibe, perhaps, was taking hold, but plenty of anticipation in the air around the 013, that electric undercurrent running through. My trajectory was loose but there was plenty I knew I wanted to see, and felt a little less in-my-own-head than the day before. Hard not to be inspired though coming out of hearing Walter and Becky chat about the passion and care that goes into making Roadburn, top to bottom.

Secret shows announced for The Keening (at Little Devil, won’t make it; sadder because they’re playing a new song), Mojo and the Kitchen Brothers (skate park, 19.00, hope to make it) and Torpor (skate park, 21.40, would be awesome), but to start out, I headed into Next Stage to watch a few minutes of Belgian trio Use Knife. I’d been tasked with writing a small blurb about them previously and after taking a listen decided it was something Use Knife (Photo by JJ Koczan)I was interested in seeing myself. I guess I sold myself on it. Happens sometimes.

They touched on old-school industrial and techno throb, put together around Middle Eastern melodies and instrumentation and of course mountains of keyboards and programmed whathaveyou. They played behind three white sheets onto which varyingly manic projections were cast. I had sat on the floor to start writing and ask my wife for a picture of our daughter — got one, it was nice — and when I looked up, the room was full. It was somewhat of a later start today on the main stage with the Die Wilde Jagd & Metropole Orkest commissioned piece ‘Lux Tenera: A Rite to Joy,’ perhaps because of the need to set up a full 50-piece orchestra on the stage. Either way, Use Knife didn’t seem displeased from what I could see behind the sheets.

Metropole Orkest has had representation at Roadburn before — alongside Tom G. Warrior and Triptykon in 2019 (review here) — but the collaboration with Sebastian Lee Philipp of Die Wilde Jagd brought a full 50 players to the stage, so it was both bigger and presented in a different context. Ambitious, to say the least of it. Over the course of an hour, the piece evolved over several sections or movements, with conductor/arranger Simon Dobson leading as Philipp worked various synthesizer elements seated at a table or stood for a bit of ‘more traditional’ — which is only Die Wilde Jagd & Metropole Orkest 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)in quotes because classical music is actually more traditional — guitar and vocals.

Aside from the stunning visual impact of so many players on the stage and the huge drums flanking each side, the tiers for the chaired strings, brass, winds, and such, getting the notice to check in for my flight home tomorrow helped me put a few things into perspective, most specifically how fortunate I am to be here in the first place. Yeah, you might just see a thing that happens once, never again, and which is so fulfilling to the creator that the first thing he says on mic is that he can die happy having been a part of it. Could happen.

But even that’s only just a fraction of the thing, and true to the cliché, Roadburn is more than the sum of the sets that comprise it. They didn’t have to invite me. They don’t need me here now, and the truth is they never did, even in 2009 the first year I came. It wasn’t the first time this (long-) weekend that such a thing occurred to me, and I doubt it will be the last, but ‘Lux Tenera,’ in its subdued contemplations and moments of legit bombast, made me glad to feel alive. The value of that, I cannot hope to tell you. All I can do is to try to hold onto it for as long as possible, because I know in my heart that being here to experience it might not come again.

Dinner! I had dinner! The changeover between the commissioned piece and Grails afforded me time to go downstairs and have some food, sit down like the people do. There was Grails (Photo by JJ Koczan)cauliflower, even. I had that and greens and a bit of beef rendang for protein. When I’m not too dead on my feet to hold my head up at the end of the night, I have no doubt that will have been a factor in it.

Eating didn’t keep me from Grails, but I knew I wasn’t going to be staying all that long. Not lacking appreciation for the vast expanses of Emil Amos’ consistently-pushed creative reach, but there was that Mojo and the Kitchen Brothers secret show happening and I didn’t want to miss getting in to the skate park for it. About the decision, I’ll say this: ‘who haven’t I seen?’ has always been my first question for Roadburn time clashes. In this case, that meant heading up the street early.  The doors weren’t open yet when I got there, and it’s been chilly in Tilburg, but I was toward the front of a line that grew exponentially shortly after I joined, and a not-freezing wind was a small thing next to the fiery heavy boogie wrought by the Belgian six-piece. The second two-drummer outfit I’ve seen this weekend — bonus points on whatever imaginary score is being kept for one of Mojo’s singing — along with three guitars and a bass warm enough that it didn’t need more low end to keep it company.

They started about two minutes after people started to be let in, and what a blast. And like Heath, who I mention not as a sonic comparison — though if the 1970s are a genre, you could argue they’re both at least somewhat on branches of it — but just because they’re the other secret show I’ve seen, they were young. A clear look at the next generation’s take on the heavy of yore, but with a modern dynamic that didn’t ignore the five decades between then and now. With a bit of riff worship, an insistent shuffle, and an energy in their delivery that could not be faked, they swept up the skate park crowd and had people dancing on the ramps. It was fun, and as Roadburn has continued to grow beyond its foundations and, as the tagline says, ‘Redefine Heaviness,’ it’s encouraging to see them make room for a band like Mojo and the Kitchen Brothers too. I knew I was making a bet leaving Grails, but the payoff was easy justification. They can redefine heaviness all they want, Roadburn will always mean hard choices.

I took some pictures, but Mojo and the Kitchen Brothers 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)mostly just let myself hang around and enjoy it, which was why I was there. I had moved up to the balcony by the end — I’m iffy in crowds, and couldn’t see from anywhere else, really — but I watched the whole set and left the building a fan of the band, which for the first time seeing a group play is the ideal as far as I’m concerned.

The Jesus and Mary Chain‘s headlining set has been a ‘well duh’ kind of answer to the question of who people are looking forward to seeing since Wednesday, or to be more accurate, since they were announced. I was in high school when they were big in the ’90s, and while I could probably retire on the Gen-X cred that having seen them live afforded me and everybody in the room — that’s how retirement happens, right? — I was in no way rad enough to have been into them at the time. But aside from being Important in the capital-‘i’ critical sense and an obvious influence on any number of the acts on this bill, including Cloakroom, who were tasked with closing the main stage after them, they had more going on than established stage presence, colored strobes and a back catalog, and the room was accordingly full.

The reason I didn’t get (more) pictures was because they had a rule where you could only stand in a taped-off rectangle to shoot the set. It was my first time encountering such a thing since Queens of the Stone Age in Boston in 2013, and I wasn’t a fan of it then either, but it’s their show so fair enough. Compare that to the guitarist from Mojo and the Kitchen Brothers climbing up on the barrier — which I think is usually a grind rail but served well to separate band and audience for the secret shows — about three feet in front of my face to tear into an early solo, or, say, everyone else playing this weekend. Just two experiences to put side by side.

My original plan had been to watch as much of The Jesus and Mary Chain as possible before The Bevis Frond went on the Next Stage.The Jesus and Mary Chain (Photo by JJ Koczan) I think they’re the only band here who can say they played the first Roadburn in 2006, which isn’t nothing, and their sometimes heavy, sometimes spacy, sometimes jammy, sometimes poppy, sometimes psychedelic rock has always held an interest, so given the chance, it seemed like an logical place to end my Roadburn. They went on at 21.20 and were given a 70-minute set, so plenty of time to dig in, but they were already on when I got there, as Freeburn-wheeled up to the skate park to see what the deal was for Torpor. The deal was a line out the door (not open yet) that wrapped around the building and I knew that what I’d first intended had been the thing all along. The Bevis Frond welcomed me — no, not personally; existentially — with friendly vibes and a spirit of fun that went beyond the tunes they played, “Stoned Train Driver” among them.

There was room to breathe on the balcony, and so that’s where I stayed for the duration. I’d missed maybe the first 20 minutes, but they made it a pleasure to stick around until the end, and it felt in watching them like the show meant something special to them, particularly to founding guitarist/vocalist Nick Saloman. Even after being told they only had six minutes — it turned out to be 15 — his response was “Let’s make the most of it.”

And they did, covering The Open Mind’s 1969 single “Magic Potion” with due garage-psych flair and shouting “I’ve Got Eyes in the Back of My Head” from 1987’s Inner Marshland out to Rolf and Jeanette from Stickman Records. It was right on, a happening to-do. The guys from Full Earth/Kanaan were there, as was Stephen Smith from Virginia and a host of other recognizable faces, including the dude with the soul patch I know only as Capt. Stoner Rock, to whom I’ve never spoken but have seen at every loosely-riff-following set I’ve ever been to at this festival — he had a Hippie Death Cult shirt on the other night and I almost snuck a picture to send to their guitarist Eddie Brnabic with an explanation of why he should be so honored; The Bevis Frond (Photo by JJ Koczan) nothing but sincere respect for Capt. Stoner Rock — and people danced and smiled and the band seemed to have a good time and so did everyone in the crowd, myself included.

That was the note on which I wanted to end my Roadburn, so I did’ No disrespect to Cloakroom, who certainly gave me no reason not to show up when I saw them in 2022, but after The Bevis Frond, I knew I was done. A scheduled 9AM departure for Schiphol ahead of me, it was time, which I realized with no shortage of wistfulness as I walked back to the hotel.

I’ll hope to have more tomorrow from the airport, but in case for some reason I don’t end up with time or, more likely, energy, I want to express my thanks to Roadburn Festival for having me over, for making me feel welcome. Thank you Walter & Esther, Becky, Jaimy, Renske, Koos, Rian, Miranda at 013 and the multitudes of Roadburn crew whose professionalism continually astonishes. Thanks to Lee Edwards for putting up with me in sharing a room, Dante, Niels, Paul, Marco and all in the photo pit, and to everyone I talked to over the last few days. Thank you to The Patient Mrs., who made this entire trip possible the same way she makes everything possible, by being the least-fathomable human being I’ve ever met, and to my mother, who took The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan out for ice cream while I was gone, which I have no doubt was a welcome diversion, and whose support I treasure to the core of my being every single day of my life.

Madness ensued and I am grateful to have been able to find a path through it. Thank you, Roadburn, and thank you for reading. I’m fully Roadburnt at this point, but this has been amazing.

More pics after the jump.

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Roadburn 2024 Adds Over 30 Acts in New Lineup Announcement

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

Insert your preferred cliché about Xmas coming early, as Roadburn Festival has just loosed a massive lineup announcement that will bring more than 30 bands and solo artists to the 2024 edition set for next April in the fest’s customary home of Tilburg, the Netherlands. They’ve brought on The Bevis Frond for the first time since 2006, and Health, Torpor, Full Earth, Darsombra, Alber Jupiter, Royal Thunder, Birds in Row, Deaf Club, Blood Incantation, on and on and on for a totally overwhelming multi-day experience that’s still just a fraction of what Roadburn will have on offer by the time the next few months have passed.

While I’m here and perhaps have the relevant attention, I owe Roadburn an apology for what was a misunderstanding on my part as regards Khanate. I said when Khanate announced additional shows that I could’ve sworn they were Roadburn-exclusive. In fact, that was never the case and my “could’ve sworn” was incorrect. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Not making excuses or anything, but I was definitely stoned when I put that post together. While I’m being honest, sometimes I forget that anyone might read this or that the words I say might have any consequence whatsoever. I’m doing my best, kids. The mind wanders.

Often to thoughts of Tilburg, but I guess having a dog named Tilly will do that too. In any case, permanent, unflinching, deep-in-the-muscle-tissue love to all at Roadburn out front and behind the scenes. It goes without saying there’s some stunning stuff here, and should you be attending, I hope whatever Roadburn choose-your-own-adventure you undertake is a personal landmark.

From the PR wire this morning:

Roadburn-2024 new add

Roadburn adds over thirty new names to the 2024 lineup including Health, Kavus Torabi, UBOA and a second clipping. set.

Roadburn has today added over thirty new names to the 2024 lineup. Amongst the artists announced is Health who will make a triumphant return to the festival, Kavus Torabi who will perform a specially commissioned project, and a second set for experimental hip hop group, Clipping.

These artists – and more – join Blood Incantation who were announced for the festival last week. The Denver-based four piece will perform their ambient album, Timewave Zero, in full, as well as a second set that will encompass tracks from their metal catalogue.

Roadburn’s artistic director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments: “It’s a huge pleasure to finally bring you this extensive announcement. We have been working intensely for such a long time. As we add these artists to the lineup, we can see it beginning to reflect the broad scope and feel of Roadburn 2024, truly showcasing the underground as it is today – varied, innovative and incredibly exciting.

“We are flying in a lot of these bands from all over for the festival, and we know how daunting it can be for an artist to travel halfway across the world for just one gig. With that in mind, we have asked several of them to play multiple sets. This will help make the most of their time at Roadburn, amplifying their voices as much as possible and giving them a rare chance to fully express themselves through all of their different artistic and musical facets.”

Roadburn 2024 will take place between April 18-21 in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Tickets are on sale now.

Following a mind-blowing performance at Roadburn 2022, HEALTH will return to Tilburg to bring their distinctive sound and unparalleled energy back to the festival – this time on the main stage. With the release of their brand new album Rat Wars propelling them forward, the sky’s the limit for Health.

clipping. have added a second set – the experimental hip hop trio will now play both Thursday, 18 April and Friday, 19 April, promising that “one will be more of a “party” (more upbeat, dance-floor-ready tracks) and the other will be something darker (more of our harsher, less beat-driven tracks).”

Kavus Torabi – renowned for his work with the likes of Gong, The Utopia Strong, Knifeworld and The Holy Family – will present a commissioned project titled Lion of The Lord’s Elect. This performance will comprise original material, performed for the very first time, commissioned by Roadburn.

Uboa will be an artist in residence at Roadburn – performing three distinctive sets over the course of the festival, including the live debut of The Origin of My Depression in its entirety. The Australian noise artist will showcase different facets of her creativity across the trio of performances.

Labelmates Ragana and Drowse will perform a brand new collaborative piece of music titled The Ash from Mount Saint Helens. These two artists both release music under The Flenser label, and are uniting to create a new composition that will premiere at Roadburn.

Also announced:

  • Alber Jupiter will release a new album in 2024 and promise interstellar kosmische missives galore.
  • The experimental folk and drone of Annelies Monseré is set to leave an impression on Roadburn audiences.
  • After biding their time, Benefits will make their presence felt this coming April..
  • Birds In Row will perform their 2022 album, Gris Klein, in its entirety.
  • Body Void will return to Roadburn to perform their new release, Atrocity Machine, in full.
  • After much unavoidable delay, Cult Leader will finally performA Patient Man at Roadburn this Spring.
  • Krautrock and misty soundscapes collide as Darsombra prepare to take to the stage.
  • The effervescent Deaf Club will make their Roadburn debut.
  • Melancholic, ambient solo artist Kyle Bates aka Drowse will perform his own show as well as the collaboration with Ragana.
  • Eye Flys bring their distinctively caustic sound to Roadburn.
  • Drawing influence from the bleak tones of a post-industrial Northern England, Forest Swords will bring his spectral soundscapes to life.
  • Making their first foray into Europe, Frail Body will stop by Tilburg to perform tracks from their hotly anticipated new album.
  • Fuck Money are an incomparable band from Austin, TX – bringing their chaotic maelstrom of transgressive audio aggression to our doorstep.
  • The brand new psychedelic, organ-driven sound of Full Earth is heading to Roadburn.
  • Having dominated Europe already this year, Home Front will return with Roadburn in their sights; expect synth-driven post-punk.
  • The acerbic sound of macabre grindcore will make an appearance thanks to Knoll.
  • Industrial beats, apocalyptic noise, and gothic flourishes will all make an appearance during Lana Del Rabies’ Roadburn set
  • Laster will perform their incredible new album, Andermans Mijne, in full.
  • Titillation and transformation are high on the agenda for Patriarchy.
  • Having made a huge impact with their latest album, Desolation’s Flower, Ragana will at last make their Roadburn debut.
  • Richard Dawson’s distinctive take on British folk is long overdue an appearance at Roadburn.
  • Royal Thunder will perform two sets at Roadburn; one career-spanning set titled TIME + SPACE + REVIVAL and the other being a run through of their latest magnificent opus, Rebuilding The Mountain.
  • Sunrise Patriot Motion offer up an alluring take on gothic post-punk
  • New Jersey’s Sunrot will be making their first trip to Europe, starting at Roadburn.
  • Shadowy three piece, Thantifaxath, will bring their angular take on black metal to the festival.
  • After many years, The Bevis Frond will return to Roadburn – having last appeared with their take on psychedelic sonic explorations at the festival back in 2006.
  • Oppressive doom trio Torpor will perform their latest album Abscission in full.
  • Belgian-based trio Use Knife will present their radiant energy to Roadburn.

The Bevis Frond, “Lead” live at Roadburn 2006

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Lineup Announced for Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous; Saviours, Witch, The Skull and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Respected purveyor Tee Pee Records will host what they’ve dubbed the Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous on Sept. 5 and 6 at The Wick in Brooklyn. The two-day fest is headlined by Witch and Saviours, and will feature a pair of sets from The Bevis Frond as well as Tee Pee label-denizens CarouselMirror Queen and The Skull, as well as Brooklyn natives The Golden Grass and Boston’s Worshipper. Pretty badass to get The Bevis Frond over at all, so yeah, two sets makes sense, and it’s not like Witch play out every day, so mark it down as a win for brand extension and rock and roll in general.

This one doesn’t really need me to sell it. The PR wire brings details:

tee pee cosmic sonic rendezvous


September 5th & 6th at The Wick in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Day 1: doors 6pm, show at 7pm. featuring SAVIOURS, THE SKULL, MIRROR QUEEN, THE BEVIS FROND

Day 2: doors 6pm, show at 7pm. featuring WITCH, CAROUSEL, THE BEVIS FROND, THE GOLDEN GRASS, WORSHIPPER

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous! Tee Pee Records has always been proud to offer a lovingly loud collection of the finest rock bands to the world, and it seemed only natural to create a unique event and annually bring together many of our favorites to New York City.

While most of the bands on the Tee Pee roster have a definite guitar-based sensibility, there is quite a range therein that we and the bands are constantly exploring. Fans of underground rock know that they are witnessing a contemporary explosion of creative bands purveying in everything from joyous riff-rock to full-on psych; from the heaviest doom to neo-thrash; from bands who nod to the occult to a new wave of space-rock to bands who hearken to the blues; etc, etc.

We hope you enjoy these two fantastic nights of music, comprised of bands both rising and those that are stalwarts. Some have albums out on Tee Pee, while others we gleefully listen across what is not a great divide. We feel they all represent what is at least one part of the underground rock ethos: you do it because you simply have to, and you love it loud.

See you there!

260 Meserole Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206

Saviours, “Final Live” at the DNA Lounge, San Francisco, CA

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