Notes From Bear Stone Festival 2024 — Day 3

Posted in Features, Reviews on July 7th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Before Show; In the food tent, then Jam Stage

Me and my silly ADHD brain left my bucket hat back at Rooms Daniela. Big mistake. Also no sunblock anywhere in my luggage, which I feel like is even dumber now that I’m here. There’s no definition of “adult” that doesn’t apply to me. I should be better at this stuff by now.

That will make finding and staying in shade all the more urgent, and my pale form will burn as though torched like the cosmos by Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs themselves, but cancer is later-me’s problem, and he’ll deal with burns, tumors and such as need be. But yeah, might spend more time in the press area today, which is covered. There are also a couple clouds here and there to provide periodic relief. I’ll do my best, but it is sweat-while-stationary hot. More water. It will be okay. The music will start. Night will come.

Took a ride back into town with friends during Mother Vulture yesterday, as I mentioned near the end of that post, but I didn’t actually get to sleep until around 5AM. I was caught up sorting photos, which on my not-that-new-anymore laptop is less efficient than it used to be, and then just couldn’t quite key down. I guess the adrenaline that carried me through had a half-life. So it goes. I got up at 10AM, so not entirely sleepless, but yeah. The second long festival day here is going to be a trip, I think.

You could see the Milky Way banded across the sky as I made my way out last night, which was perhaps all the more valued as I missed out on stargazing during my recent Southwest US jaunt. A stirring reminder that we are all gas and dust revolving at however many hundreds of thousands of miles of hour around a supermassive black hole, which I feel like is worth keeping in mind anytime you might be tempted to think a thing matters or has any kind of permanence as humanity sits one EM pulse away from the Stone Ages. I could go on here, but it doesn’t seem in the spirit of things to be comforted by hopelessness. If nothing matters, you understand, it’s okay that I forgot my hat.

It is impossible to ignore the idyllic nature of this space; a forested canyon carved out by the Mrežnica, if I have it right, and the swimmers, canoers, kayakers, campers, and lawn-layers are correct to take advantage of the river, the trees, the grass, all of it. I’m a little too in my own head for that kind of whatnot, but that doesn’t stop me from seeing the pricelessness of the physical location and layout both for the attendees now and as Bear Stone continues to build on its to-date accomplishments, as one hopes it will.

However cool it will look in the aftermovie and all the posts people will put on Instagram once they’re back where there’s cell signal, the character of this spot is more perfect than a single sensory media can capture. I could do with fewer dudes urinating in random corners — I get it, bro, you’re drunk and you love nature, but the portajohn is two meters that way and the composting toilet is another five beyond that; you don’t need to pee in the river either — but you take the bad with the good, and as regards this place and this fest, it’s an easy trade to make.

Time to start this thing. Here we go.

Azutmaga

I’ve false-started on writing about Azutmaga three times now, which I guess means I’ve had enough coffee. The Hungarian instrumental two-piece — I’m pretty sure the guitarist said they were from Hungary; magyarok vannak, szerintem — got started quietly and kept a subdued, meditative vibe throughout, despite getting fairly heavy at times. They have a new album, which I will want to chase down hearing after seeing them play. Put it in my notes to remember. Just guitar and drums, though there were more effects pedals on the floor than some entire bands had, so perhaps an expansive sound isn’t a shock, but the languid groove hit me with the right kind of soothe, and in my shady stairs spot, maybe 10 steps up of the total a-whole-bunch, I watched as the pavilion likewise casually packed out, the comings and goings. A sprig from one of the trees above me fell into my lap and I stuck it behind my ear. It didn’t last, but I mention it because it seemed like a fitting thing to do as Azutmaga played, delving into some slower nod as they emerged from a wandering drift, apparently playing their new record — I’m sorry, I didn’t catch the name and can’t look it up; I assure you I mean no disrespect — and exploring through one fluid jam into the next, no pretense about it but ready to build it into a fuller nod, patiently. The guitar player spent most of the set facing the drummer head on, turned away from the crowd — one imagines them on a differently arranged stage set up next to each other, though I have no idea if they actually do that — but it didn’t matter. The focus was on trance, immersion, and I was grateful for the chance to let go of some of the anxious buzz for a bit.

Rifftree

As pure riff and volume worship as I’ve yet seen at Bear Stone from the weekend’s second duo — and right in a row; a duology of duos –Rifftree had guitar and bass tones dialed in through separate amps to maximize volume and depth, and it worked well. They were more about rolling largesse than Azutmaga initially, and both the bass player and the drummer offered rough-edged vocal shouts, but it was the way the low and high ends of the riffs were arranged that made it work so well for me. One or the other would click off, guitar or bass sound, then snap back in a manner no less satisfying for being so clearly telegraphed. They sped up and slowed down, more High on Fire here, more Sleep there, as will happen, but the dirty tone was vivid and central, with some raw feedback for extra scathe on the sludge and pummel. It was a threat that lingered when they drew back the onslaught for a nod-out, and the set was more effective for that. Not the first time I’ve said this this weekend, I know, but I swear I heard a Kyuss riff in there somewhere. Fair use in the building of such stonerly shrines. They capped with a welcome insistence of chug and shove brought to a sudden halt, and I have to think that if they were called Bong-anything, you’d already have heard of them.

I walked back over to the Sviraj!Jam and caught a few seconds of Colour Haze soundchecking. They weren’t even playing songs yet, though that would come after Rifftree finished and could be heard over by the pavilion for the Mill Stage, but I could still sit for hours and just listen to that band meander. Gladly.

Acidsitter

Throbbing heavy psych rockers Acidsitter, whose slogan “make acid great again” — it’s also the name of their record — just kind of feels tragic coming from the States, where this notion of greatness apparently translates to christofascism, were a good time. The performative elements of their two guitarists’ stage costumes were contrasted by the bassist who mostly sat on an amp case, but the vibe was potent either way. They wove between drift and thrust, synthy flourish for a touch of prog but not much more than that as their priorities were clear from the outset. They would enact a full-tone nod topped with a duly classic-style solo, but they didn’t dwell in any one place for so long as to sacrifice volatility, and wherever they went, they continued to serve the song or the moment they were in, whether that was vocal effects, a guitar played with a wisk, or a sudden turn to garage-ier push. More bass on the synth was the request, which brought about a worthy rumble to match the bass on — wait for it — the bass, and in true acid rock fashion, they felt punk-born even in the calmest parts. I’m not sure which side of their approach was druggier, but after a while it all kind of forms a haze anyway. People caught on as the set played out, and though there was a near-heroic dose of chicanery, Acidsitter held together around the rhythm section and the close-your-eyes-and-go groove thereof. Another record in the notes.

Kayleth

Kayleth on the Mill Stage. I know their stuff, had an idea what was coming, so wasn’t caught off guard when they space-blasted desert riffing with synth and theremin during “We Are Aliens.” Headlining the Mill Stage puts the five-piece in a tight space, but there’s something cool about that too, right? I don’t get to European club shows every decade, so the chance to experience a band in a smaller setting works for me. I’ve heard a few complaints about how the Mill Stage and the Jam Stage should switch, and maybe that would work, but at least with the bands who’ve played it this far, I don’t think it’s held anyone back. Just the opposite, and that goes for Kayleth as well. I can’t always hang in a crowd press — okay, I never can — but I know that’s not the case for everyone or nobody would ever go to gigs, which I’m told people still do sometimes. Kayleth were easily worth showing up for, and I don’t honestly know if they usually do bigger or smaller shows, but they owned that space easily, like veterans, and put on a show that was fueled as much by heart as by the tone of the guitar. Of course the synthesizer expanded their dynamic, but it wasn’t by any means alone in that between the backing vocals, loud/quiet and tempo trades. A lot to dig, so I dug.

Nemeček

A deeply pleasant surprise were Nemeček, whose style brought together pieces of soulful Eastern European folk, progressive rock and post-metal, space rock, electronic noise and probably six or seven other styles I’m not cool enough to know about. They had given a few short teases during soundcheck, playing half of this or that song, and even from that it was clear something equal parts divergent and special was about to take place. I knew nothing about them prior other than they’d be here, but consider myself fortunate to have seen them. All three members sat, though the keyboardist did get up regularly as well, and the acoustic guitar (or something to it; pardon my ignorance if I’m wrong) still tapped deep into a sense of heavy that was about more than sound in terms of atmosphere, though when they hit a pulse coming out of a melodic contemplation, they had power behind it. That made their set that much richer, but again, that wasn’t something they were leaning on, just part of a more encompassing whole. I wonder how it comes across on record — like a lot of things, the production would matter — but even from the photo pit, the textures they unfurled were unlike anything I’ve seen in the last three days, and they spoke to traditionalism in a way that only enhanced their individual impression. I hear they’re local. In any case, Nemeček is a band I am glad to have seen. Now I know.

Blitzpop

Aptly named, if you take the blitz as signaling the energy with which Blitzpop took and commanded the stage and ‘pop’ to mean hooks, of which the four-piece brought plenty enough for everyone and generously offered them in with boogie as a bonus. Classic in a ’70s via ’90s way, they were for sure a turn from the more severe persona cast by Nemeček — perhaps that doesn’t apply to the catchy chorus that went “Kill that motherfucker” — but even that they made fun, though I wouldn’t want to be the motherfucker in question, as their argument was pretty convincing if you count the tempo kick later in the song. A quick plug for merch, then back to the hook. They were another one about whom I knew squat, but they did a bit of “woo! woo! woo!” and ululating to bring the crowd with them and locked soon enough into a groove that at least to my ears sounded like Rage Against the Machine, not that they were at risk at that point in the set — a little more than halfway through, probably — of only doing one thing. They toyed with funk, but never lost track of where a song was headed, and as the direct sun beat down on the Main Stage, they kept the momentum up. In the back, in the shade, where I was, people ate and drank and chatted and dogs played chasing each other around as Blitzpop closed out with a Blur-style “woo hoo” that I have no doubt I’ll still be hearing on repeat in my head when I’m trying to sleep tonight. Hazards of the trade.

I ate. This part is mostly for my wife, to whom I’ve not spoken in an actual day — not unheard of if I’m off somewhere, but rare even so — but it was such a joy that I don’t mind sharing. It was a local cheese that tasted to me like sheep’s milk and was divine, and tomato stuffed with cheese, garlic and truffle flanked with greens — greens! — that was whatever the next step up from divine is. Transcendent? Probably. Not my first experience with the sustaining nature of sustenance, but after nothing but nuts for the last three days, it was a pretty amazing moment in my life that I’d like to remember. It was so good. I finished those, but have more for later. Still a lot of day left, but the sun has started to recede, which is something else I’m thankful for.

Them Moose Rush

Weren’t the band I thought they were, but were way funkier than that band, so I’ll take it. Distinguished by a tendency toward unexpected pivots, you could probably hear as much noise as punk or heavy rock in what they were doing, but it seemed clear in the intention to get bodies moving in the crowd, which it did through the course of their hour-long set, and with a notable range from their guitarist’s vocals, they immediately felt like a standout. Again, not what I had been expecting, but better. I’ll admit I’m having trouble getting over how good the bass sounds here, echoing around as it does, but Them Moose Rush were as much about the subtly mathy twists as the heavier stretches to which they alternately did and didn’t lead, and that coupled with the rampant falsetto and vocal reach, the badass bass, the ready-when-you-are drumming made for another shift on the Main Stage, but a natural one coming off of Blitzpop, who also used heavy rock as a starting point for their own purposes in craft. They went hard a couple times, and had now-we-riff-big there when they needed it, but they were just as likely to find themselves in head-down push or someplace else entirely. I’ve heard a lot of rock and roll this weekend, so if I’m repeating myself, I’m sorry, but the bottom line is they made their own kind of sense stylistically and seemed to work from the ethic of conforming genre to them rather than the other way around.

1000mods

I don’t know how much I have to say about 1000mods that I didn’t say when I saw them like a month ago, but hell, Greece’s foremost heavy rockers once more justified that title, taking the Bear Stone crowd on a ride that barely let up even when a guitar gave out and they had to fill the time with a sampled loop and cymbal wash. I had 1000mods tunes stuck in my head for weeks after Freak Valley, and if the same happens when I leave here, I won’t complain. They moved the festival into the portion of the night that’s basically three headliners back to back (to back), between themselves, Colour Haze and Kadavar, and I don’t know how you don’t get into them if you have any place in your heart for heavy rock. They’re pros; they take the stage and do their show. And if you’ve ever seen them, you know that means something. “Their show.” They got rolling again after the technical interruption like nothing had ever happened. It’s never a good time for that kind of thing, but if you have to deal with it, before “Vidage” is when you want to. The audience, clapping along to the drums — and with good fucking reason — sang along, put hands in the air and gave the band back the energy that burst from the stage, and whether I said it last time or not, it remains true: 1000mods are one of the best bands of their generation. And they’ve never done the same record twice, or given in to hackneyed songwriting or made any music other than that which they needed to make. Anytime you can see them, yes, do that.

Colour Haze

Speaking of generational bands, Colour Haze were soon to follow. I don’t like picking favorites, but I can’t think of anyone I’d rather see take a stage on a given night. They’re always finding a route, some new nuance, some turn or small improvisation or just some moment, to make it special. They made an hour and 15 minutes feel short, but it’s a festival set, so I’ll take what I can get. “Skydancer,” always a highlight. Jan Faszbender’s keys taking the spot where the horns go in “Transformation,” which closed. Mario Oberpucher playing the melody while Stefan Koglek takes a solo. And what on earth can you say about Manfred Merwald’s drumming. It had character, it’s intricate, tight on the guitar, but free-flowing, impactful when it needs to be. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen them, but I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that they’re part of the reason I do this in the first place. They’re inspiring, and only more so as they grow more progressive in sound and build on their foundation of heavy psychedelia, which itself set a path of influence so, so many bands have followed. Bands who at this point don’t even realize they’re influenced by Colour Haze because the bands they were trying to sound like were trying to sound like Colour Haze. That they were themselves is the highest compliment I can give them. They are my favorite band in the world.

Kadavar

Again, I caught them pretty recently, but I had cheesed out early on Kadavar’s set and lived to regret it last time, so I knew I wanted to make up for that to myself at Bear Stone. I know they’re long past the vintage thing, and I love those records too, but they have so much more room to grow now, and they have grown, and when they get on stage, the new and the old come together and it’s all united by the passion in the performance, the strut, the swing, vibrant. I love that they’re such a known quantity — they’re the last band tonight, third of the three headliners; people are familiar — but I have no idea what their next record will sound like beyond “it’ll probably have songs.” That’s the safer bet, anyhow. But whatever shape that takes, the fact of their delivery is that it’s encompassing of decades of heavy rock while remaining entirely their own. Onstage, they’re part glam, part hard-hitting, brazen rockers, never willing to settle artistically or stop pushing the parameters of their sound, but somehow so sure of what they do regardless of outside expectation or pressure. Of course the set was awesome. Kadavar were on a stage and the power didn’t go out. That’s a recipe for a winning way to close ab evening right there. I don’t know the status of the album they had been working on in the last however long, but it’s a no-brainer must-hear in my mind when the time comes. The same “duh, yes” principle applies to whenever the next opportunity to see them live might be.

Back at the room now, falling asleep at the keyboard a little bit. Long day, not enough sleep, blah blah you’ve heard it all before. I got a ride back from Nelly and Elias again this evening, and Nelly was the one who brought me food. She also gave me what she called “mishmash,” which was egg, roasted bell peppers, cheese and I think some tomato in there as well. I ate the last of it like five minutes ago and now I am ready for sleep.

Bear Stone’s second and final long day — tomorrow is back to just the Mill Stage — was a banger. You can see the potential all over this festival, and I’m too goddamned tired to see anything clearly right now. Thank you for reading, goodnight, and there are more photos after the read more thing. You know what I mean.

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Bear Stone Festival 2024 Completes Lineup; Kadavar to Headline, 1000mods, Them Moose Rush & More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Thrilled to say I’ll be at this one. My flight is booked to Zagreb, and from there I’ll travel to Slunj for a couple days to hang by the riverside and cover the Bear Stone Festival, which has completed its 2024 lineup with the additions below. You can se Kadavar joining High on Fire in the headliner position, and as Greek heavy rock kingpins 1000mods add the fest to what will no doubt be another busy summer, they’re joined in this last announcement by a swath of bands representing Croatia’s local underground — Them Moose Rush, Muscle Tribe of Danger and Excellence###, and so on as you can see below — and others from Austria, Hungary, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Poland. It’s like an international conference, and one which I’ll be honored to attend.

Not even going to pretend to know all the names listed below, but I’ve included the descriptions with the announcement in case you’d like to check them out as well as for my own reference to study up before departure. While I’m talking about it, thank you to Bear Stone for inviting me. I look forward to being in Croatia for the first time, seeing old and new friends, and of course being pummeled into oblivion by volume for a few days. It’s going to be quite a summer. Stay tuned, and thanks for doing so.

From the PR wire:

Bear Stone Festival 2024 Full Lineup Poster_Square

Bear Stone Festival 2024 Full Lineup Announcement

Ticket link: https://eventix.shop/cexrwn4b

Here it is, the full lineup for Bear Stone Festival 2024!

28 bands spread out across 3 stages with our festival veterans Sviraj!Jam taking over the Jam stage as always.

There will be a couple more surprises announced as we get closer to the festival, so make sure to stay tuned to our socials.

Standard festival tickets include parking and camping for the entire duration of the festival and they are available on our website and via Entrio. There will be no day tickets.

Get your festival tickets here: https://eventix.shop/cexrwn4b

KADAVAR (DE)

We are beyond happy to announce the legendary Kadavar as the second headliner of Bear Stone Festival!

Their meteoric rise began with the release of their debut album in 2012, followed by breakout records like “Abra Kadavar” and “Berlin”, which earned them critical acclaim and chart success in Germany. With subsequent albums like “Rough Times”, “For The Dead Travel Fast” and their latest album “The Isolation Tapes”, Kadavar continued to evolve their signature sound while also establishing their own label, Robotor Records.

Known for their energetic live performances, Kadavar’s self-recording approach and unique production techniques ensure an authentic representation of their dynamic stage presence. Their riff-heavy sound resonates with fans of Hard Rock and Psychedelia alike, solidifying their status as pioneers in the modern Rock landscape.

1000MODS (GR)

Rising from smokey basements to packed arenas, 1000mods stands as Greece’s most successful rock band of recent decades. Their seminal album “Super Van Vacation” in 2011 revolutionised European rock with its heavy sound and vintage vibes, cementing their role as leaders of Greece’s Heavy Rock scene. With subsequent releases like “Vultures” and “Repeated Exposure To…”, they showcased remarkable songwriting skills and garnered critical acclaim, setting the stage for international recognition.

MUSCLE TRIBE OF DANGER AND EXCELLENCE (CRO)

Muscle Tribe of Danger and Excellence, born from the vibrant Zagreb Stoner scene nearly two decades ago, brings together top musicians from diverse backgrounds to create a potent blend of Rock and Metal.

With two albums and EP’s under their belt, the band’s latest release, a new EP titled “Call If You Need Anything Else” featuring three fierce tracks, solidifies their reputation for delivering energetic, no-nonsense rock with their thunderous frontman Domagoj Šimek leading the charge.

THEM MOOSE RUSH (CRO)

Them Moose Rush, though often likened to Mars Volta due to their specific vocals, carve out their own sonic niche with a blend of influences spanning from Mike Patton to Radiohead, resulting in a unique fusion of Prog, Noise, Math, Pop, and Stoner elements.

They are already notorious for their DIY art, inventive videos, and critical acclaim from outlets like Prog Magazine and Metal Injection, the band returns with their fourth studio album, “Zepaxia”, featuring 16 tracks, embarking on a European tour and gracing festival stages to promote their latest release.

BLITZPOP (AT)

Formed by Yves Krismer from Mother’s Cake, Pia, Arthur, and Kajetan from Motion Sick, Blitzpop emerges as a revolutionary, convention defying musical force with an ethos that transcends mere music and embodies a vibrant philosophy that resonates with contemporary social dynamics.

Their compositions echo the raw intensity of Dead Weather and Nirvana while forging a path uniquely their own, marking a bold new chapter in the realm of rock ‘n’ roll.

### (CRO)

### (pronounced by hitting a random object three times) is a band best described by instrumental guitar noise, feedback and pulsating lights. They are already well known in the Balkan underground for their DIY approach while avoiding a normal course of things, they have recorded and/or performed in abandoned ironworks buildings, roofs, lavatories as well as moved a whole studio to a squatted cinema.

Since 2013, this group of people have tried the best they can to harvest the silence of their small hometowns Sisak and Novska into a self-propelled world of video experiments, tinnitus and print stains on their fingers.

ZOLLE (ITA)

Zolle, the heavy rock duo comprised of Stefano on drums and vocals, and Marcello on guitars and vocals, defy conventional boundaries with their raw and intense sound, echoing the primal essence of existence.

Their latest album, “Macello”, delves into the complexities of human existence, exploring themes of ambivalence, contradiction, and paradox with unapologetic honesty. From the chaotic energy to moments of profound introspection, “Macello” invites listeners on a journey through the raw, visceral realities of life.

KAYLETH (ITA)

Formed in Verona in 2005, Kayleth draws inspiration from the Stoner/Desert Rock sounds of Kyuss, Monster Magnet, and 37005, infused with space influences. Over the years, they’ve self-produced several EPs, evolving their sound to incorporate space/psychedelic landscapes, culminating in the release of “Space Muffin” in 2015 under Argonauta Records.

With successful albums like “Colossus” and “Back to Earth”, Kayleth continues to captivate audiences, earning praise from both critics and fans alike, eagerly anticipating their forthcoming album slated for Spring 2024.

STONETREE (AT)

Emerging from Austria, Stonetree delivers a potent blend of riff-oriented Heavy Rock, characterised by explosive instrumentation, dynamic vocals, and polished production. Formed in 2016 following the disbandment of Machine Zoo, they’ve honed a distinct style fusing elements of Alternative Rock, Grunge, Stoner Rock, and Prog Rock, showcased in their debut album ‘”The Tempest” (2017).

Renowned for their energetic live performances staged from “Evertruck”, an old Volkswagen van transformed into a live stage, the trio has continued to innovate, releasing EP’s like “VOID FILL” and “VOID FILL 2” during the pandemic, setting the stage for their upcoming EP “VOID FILL 3”.

ENTROPIST (CRO)

Entropist is a Rijeka-based trio whose musical oeuvre spans through Instrumental Doom with nuanced influences of Space, Psychedelic, and Post-Stoner Rock, reflecting their diverse musical palette and harmonious fusion.

Their low-key approach and affinity for a bold, robust sound turns their live performance into a must-see experience of their sonic ethos. While carefully balancing diligence with patience amidst the pandemic’s challenges this trio dedicatedly crafted a commendable debut album which, in their own words, is best experienced live.

ACIDSITTER (PL)

AcidSitter are a vibrant musical collaboration, uniting seasoned Psych Rockers from Poland and Japan, headquartered in Krakow, where they delve into a diverse spectrum of psychedelia fueled by Rock ‘N’ Roll fervour and Punk vitality. Having graced stages at renowned festivals such as Red Smoke and Soulstone Gathering, and even embarking on a brief tour alongside King Buffalo, they’ve solidified their presence in the live music scene.

Their latest album “Make Acid Great Again” represents an exhilarating journey through dreamy, spacey realms intertwined with a solid Rock core, evoking a uniquely grounded yet fuzzy sensation akin to stepping into a new Earth.

MISERY CROWN (BIH)

Originating from the picturesque city of Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina alongside the scenic river Una, Misery Crown emerged in 2012 as a Southern/Sludge/Stoner band with influences from genre pioneers like Down and Crowbar, evident in their debut album “When North Meets South” released in 2013.

Evolving their sound with subsequent EPs “One Stone” and “Northern Wind”, Misery Crown balanced homage to genre roots with a quest for originality, culminating in a performance at Croatia’s Bear Stone Festival, marking their debut in the country’s vibrant music scene.

VAN MANAKIN (AT)

Van Manakin, a Vienna-based instrumental duo formed in 2020, has been crafting music together for nearly a decade, channelling their daily experiences into their jams and performances.

Creating wild and energetic soundscapes in their natural habitats, the rehearsal room and the stage, Van Manakin’s music is a cathartic blend of Post-Rock, Stoner Rock and Progressive Rock with hints of Metal and Funk, inspired by the panamanian bird of paradise known for its lasting friendships, creative sounds, grooves, and mesmerising moves.

AZUTMAGA (HU)

Azutmaga, a Budapest-based instrumental stoner rock duo, embarks on a sonic journey marked by climbing riffs and tribal rhythms, interspersed with improvised departures. Founded in 2019 by Patrik Veréb and Martin Várszegi, their music is a meditative massacre, blending psychedelic elements with the raw energy of Stoner Rock.

https://www.instagram.com/bearstonefestival
https://www.facebook.com/bearstonefestival
http://www.bearstonefestival.com

Bear Stone Festival 2024 Spotify Playlist

Bear Stone Festival 2023 Aftermovie

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Days of Rona: Nikola Runjavec of Them Moose Rush

Posted in Features on June 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

them moose rush

Days of Rona: Nikola Runjavec of Them Moose Rush (Bjelovar, Croatia)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

Initially, we were quite sad as this is our release year, and we have realized that crucial component of promoting our release – live gigs, will not be possible. We needed to cancel all our shows and postpone the EU tour. As time went by, and we were allowed to meet again to rehearse, we experienced this childish excitement and feeling of being re-united again and allowed to do what we do best. We transferred all our energy as a band into writing new stuff, and now we are quite excited as this situation gave us more time than ever to invest into songwriting and jamming, so we are really generating a lot of new songs and preparing to record new stuff. We realized that making new songs is what makes us happiest as artists.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

We are quite happy how this was dealt with in Croatia. Our authorities have commanded total lockdown quite early, so we are already few days with 0 or only few new cases. This collective awareness contributed to faster recovery and is now allowing us to come back to normal. I think some open air concerts with limited number of people are already allowed in Croatia.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

The worst thing you can do is being bored. In general. If a person is healthy, I think this is highly disrespectful in context of a life that’s been given to us all and endless opportunities to grow as a person and musician. We used this time to learn new stuff about music, gear, production, songwriting etc. Things for which we now have a bit more time and we feel happy about it.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

Besides the obvious horrible impact of COVID-19, I think the world learned an important lesson – that life is possible without daily rush for profit and that nothing bad will really happen if things get paused for a little while. I personally finally got some extra time to take care about myself and think about my lifestyle and make some concrete positive actions as learning to cook more different recipes for example. It’s kind of back to the basics – you just need closest companions, air and food to survive, and everything else is up to you and your little universe which you create to make you happy. Thank god there is so many things which can keep yourself busy with all technology available in our times, especially if you are into music/songwriting/music production.

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