Roadburn Festival Day 1 By Saul Crowley …   Leave a comment


Roadburn Festival has become the leading European event in all things heavy and psychedelic. With a line-up of stunning bands, a calm and chilled atmosphere, superb selection of merchandise and enough pot to please the most avid stoner, its no wonder that each year Roadburn attracts a large number of devoted fans from all over the world. As was evident by this years turn out the weedians had followed the smoke toward the riff filled land.

With wrist bands attached and beer in hand, it was off to see the first band of the weekend Quest For Fire. Though it became clear, entry into the Bat Cave was a no go, due to the room being overcrowded. So with this in mind it was off to the main stage to catch the awesome Acid King. As punters filtered into the venue, the smell of hashish washed over the crowd, and as a projection of Horror and Biker flicks was kicked into motion, the blistering opening riff of 2 Wheel Nation splintered through the crowd. As the cosmic riff grooved along, Lori S’ sultry and hypnotic vocals took hold, and soon the bands sheer presence and powerful sound became captivating.

The projection of bikers whizzing past the camera helped bring the bands lyrics vividly to life. The bands lumbering, bluesy sound perfectly evoked the atmosphere of the festival and through many of their tracks, the bass rumbled through the jiving crowd. Through each planet destroying riff a multitude of scorching lights shone over the crowd, soon the room was a hot, sweaty vortex of sound. While the band played a wide range of songs from their numerous albums, it was great to hear Silent Circle, Electric Machine, Busse Woods and Sunshine and Sorrow in a live setting, the stunning sound system was incredibly immersvie and complemented the music perfectly. However the highlight of the set was the new song which fits perfectly into the bands cannon of music. With its acid drenched, guitar sound and masses of volume it creeps along at a brilliant pace, and as one would expect from Acid King it has a heavy, bludgeoning central riff and trance like vocals. This untitled new song was by far the best song of their set. As this was my first time seeing Acid King, I was blown away by their sheer power. A truly great set.


So with Acid King’s riffs swirling around my brain, it was off to the Midi Theatre to see a different kind of heavy band, Blood Ceremony. A band whose self titled début album was a great mix of Jethro Tull inspired flute work, and brooding Lovecraftian lyrics. The theatre held a good sized crowd who were hungry for some Organ tinged doom. Kicking of their set the band opened with Into The Coven, an aptly named track rife with evil witches and Black Magic ceremonies.

The hypnotic, pan like flute was hard to resit and it set the imagination on fire. What was striking about the band was front woman Mia O’Brien, she struck a foreboding and dreamlike image, dressed in sequenced frock she jived around her keyboard and offered up satanic flute sounds. Return to Forever was next which opened with a pure Sabbathian style riff that make Toni Iommi smile with joy. As the song went on the volume increased to a deafening decibel, and the songs drug induced visions were highly cinematic.

The bands set consisted of songs from their début, but the majority of the songs from their new LP Living With The Ancients.Tracks such as ‘Daughter of the Sun’, ‘The Great God Pan’ and ‘The Witches Dance’ sounded far away from the slighty hooky songs of the first album. These tracks seemed more structured, but still in keeping with the Hammer horror inspired lyrics and forboding, groovy feel. In terms of projecting a demonic and evil sound, Blood Ceremony delivered in spades, although I was slightly optistic of how the bands songs would sound in a live setting, by the end of their set I was highly impressed.


After enjoying the Pagan sounds of Blood Ceremony, I headed out for some fresh air and a cheeky joint, before catching the next band on the main stage. Feeling nicely stoned I headed into the venue where there was a hum of excitement, it became apparent that the majority of festival goers were heading to the main stage, to catch one of the finest Doom bands – Pentagram. For my sins I knew very little about Pentagram, apart from the band were one of the early pioneers of Doom Metal and took inspiration from Black Sabbath and Sir Lord Baltimore. So with that in mind I was excited to see original front man Bobby Liebling take to the stage. As Bobby appeared under the bright lights, a roaring applause met the band and they bolted into ‘Forever My Queen’, a kick ass tune in the classic sound of those early metal bands. As the band rumbled through the song, Bobby strutted around the stage, curling his hands into beastly claws and pointing at the crowd. Roaring through ‘Pay for All Your Sins’, ‘The Ghoul’ and new track ‘Into the Ground’ the crowd lapped the band up, singing along with Bobby and enjoying every minute of it. The set was a greatest hits of Bobby Liebling Pentagram. While it was nice hearing some of the older tunes, I was frequently reminded of how long the band has been around for, and how important they are to the Doom scene. Furthermore Bobby was on great form, constantly thanking the audience and praising the musicians around him. It was great to see a great vocalist on top form and clean. The highlight of the set was the bands encore in which they blasted out ‘Sign of The Wolf’ in which the crowd went ape shit for, faces scrunched up as the heavy riff took hold, and soon the crowd bopped and grooved to the songs heavy beats. Pentagram were by far the best band of the day. A hard band to top.


Next up was The Atomic Bitchwax, the American Stoner Rock band who I knew little of. TAB couldn’t have been further from the doom and gloom of Pentagram, it was exactly what the evening needed; an injection of fuzzed out riffs, scorching tunes and funky jams. A few songs in and the band had the audience in the palm of their hands, bopping and freaking out to the bands awesome tunes. A mixture of Stoner Rock and free form jams, TAB are the perfect band to get high to, with their mix of crunching Hendrixesque riffs, and bluesy vocals it was easy to find your personal space, and freak out with the band.

So Come On with its kick ass opening riff, and rumbling bass was one of the best tunes of their set. Rumbling along at a million miles an hour the bands sunbaked sound perfectly matched the blazed and drunken attitude of the crowd, and as each song ended a multitude of multi lingual complements flew their way. The bands sound perfectly evoked the feeling of fast cars and good times. As the band sauntered around the stage, the smell of weed became ever present and soon it became entwined with the sweat, and smoke that clogged up the tiny room. The highlight of the gig was side A of their new record ‘The Local Fuzz’, a 20 minute behemoth that switched between groovy psychedelic riffs, face melting solos and delirious drumming. The song took up a large majority of their set, but it was a great song, and whets for their album. All in all I was blown away by the bands stomping, galloping tunes their high energy and tight musicianship.


With time to kill before Soilent Green, I headed outside to indulge in my Weedian nature and get my smoke on. Sitting in the cool breeze, toking on some of Tilburg’s finest Mary Jane, I was struck by how laid back the festival was. Everybody was either stoned or drunk sometimes both, smoking pot openly, chatting about their favourite bands of the afternoon and how stoned they were. You could feel a genuine passion for the bands that were playing at the fest, everyone was there were same reason; to kick back and take advantage of what the festival had to offer. With people from all walks of life gathered in one place, it was hard not embrace the relaxed atmosphere and awesome sounds.

After a couple of joints it was time to catch the last band of the day Soilent Green. My friends had been raving about these guys, so I was curious to see what they were like. Despite a mediocre turn out, the band were stunning. Their pummelling guitars and guttural, sucker punch vocals were a refreshing change of pace. As deep bong hits of smoke settled around the stage, the band plunged into Build Fear, which shuffled between evil, Satanic thrashing and kick ass sludgy riffs. Standing close to the speakers I frequently felt the bass rumble through me, sadly the bands monstrous sound sobered me up, it was no time for self pity though as they sped into ‘For Lack of Perfect Words’ which kicked my ass and sent my head spinning. The band tried energising the crowd, but punters were too baked or drunk to respond, yet they head-banged gladly and hair whip-lashed the air and fists were raised in appreciation after each song ended. Through each juicy thrashy riff a scorching light show accompanied the band, which helped define the idea that at Roadburn the line between performer and audience is blurred and when a band plays a song that connects with an audience, all feeling and emotion is intensified and that song becomes the joy of life. There was not one track that stood out, as each song was heavier and better than the last. However best song title of the night was ‘Gag Whore’ a genius title for a song, and a catchy tune to boot. As the last boisterous riff left the speakers the first day of the festival was over, tired and sleep beckoning it was back our Jungalow for a few joints and wonder what tomorrow’s bands might bring.

Words – Saul Crowley


Posted May 20, 2011 by doommantia in Roadburn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: