The outside area around 013 was set up as a place to relax away from all the noise. You can hang out at the picnic tables, drink local specialty Schröbbeler (a sweet herb liquor) and enjoy food from one of the many food trucks that adorn the festival these days. Continue reading
Have your earplugs at the ready and put your day job put on hold, because the day we marked on our calendar 366 days ago has finally arrived. In the vibrant and ever-changing Dutch city of Tilburg, an influx of heavy music fans from all over the world are taking over the town as Roadburn Festival is ready to kick off. A couple of thousand people will spend their weekend sauntering between five magnificent stages, from the cushy cafes of Cul de Sac and Extase, to the wooden beams and stained glass windows of Het Patronaat and the two fabulous stages of music venue 013: the 3000-capacity monster main stage and it’s little quarter capacity brother The Green Room. Roadburn 2017, we are ready for you!Continue reading
Noticing Amenra would be doing an acoustic set on Saturday, it brought nothing but confusion since they are well-known for their vigorous, powerful live performances. Acoustic? Singer Colin van Eeckhout even admitted feeling very nervous at the beginning of the set. The band was sat in a circle in the semi-darkness of the stage, only slightly illuminated by beams of light. 013’s brand new main stage felt almost obscenely big for such an intimate setting. However, once they got started, this added a vibe of disconnection from the band that almost gave you a feeling you were watching something you weren’t supposed to see. They managed to find a way to play their 2009’s acoustic EP Afterlife so timid and delicate, that the crowd seemed to be in trance and didn’t wake up until their cover of Tool’s ‘Parabol’, which earned them a deafening applause. For their second set at the Afterburner, they were back to their post-metal selves, screeching, pounding and shredding in exactly the way we know and love them. Leaving us to timidly watch the ripples forming in our beers as if a T-rex came stomping by, while the magic from the night before faded to a distant memory.
An unexpected highlight on the Saturday was Brothers of the Sonic Cloth. Both captivating and furiously loud, their psychedelic visuals and droning music created the perfect setting for a lot of people to hang out on the floor of the main stage and take in the wall of sound the Americans produced. For those of us feeling more awake, progressive space-rockers Astrosoniq, led by a very Rock’n’roll looking singer, gave a more fast-paced performance in the Green Room. Walter, in official terms the artistic director of Roadburn, but in reality the true heart and soul of the festival, brought out his visuals to accompany Astrosoniq’s very psychedelic guitar riffs.
Roadburn 2014 favorites The Vintage Caravan showed up for a surprise gig at café Cul de Sac on Sunday. Well, I say surprise, but 30 minutes before showtime the venue was absolutely packed with people. There is only one way to actually see a band in Cul de Sac: be hella early. So we found ourselves snuggly between 150 hot and sweaty, hungover fans with no chance of reaching the bar or the toilets in the next hour-and-a-half. But boy, was it WORTH it. The Islandic rockers tried to drill out our hangovers with their heavy bass and guitarist Oskar‘s relentless headbanging let us forget that this was our fourth day at the festival already and we were supposed to be very tired.
The greatest thing about Roadburn must be the diversity of the people you meet. Surrounded by more foreigners than native Dutch, you usually leave the festival a couple of Finnish words wiser than you were before (none of which probably as innocent as they led you to believe). However, I’m not going to lie: people watching is right up there on my list of favorite pastimes, and there really isn’t a better place for it than Roadburn. Mainly because metal shows in themselves are beacons of creative and eccentric people. And Roadburn, well, that is the holy grail of metal shows. Amidst a goldmine of glorious manes and enviously long beards, there seem to be more crust punks than usual (thank you G.I.S.M and Converge) and of course every back patch under the sun.
One of the most spotted patches this year was obviously Neurosis. You’d think that playing two ’30th Anniversary’ sets would bring about its problems. After all, having a thirty-year spanning discography to choose from can’t be easy. Remarkably enough Neurosis managed to represent each and every one of their records during their shows, right back to their 1985 hardcore punk debut Pain of Mind. It is astounding to see how much they have grown and changed over the years, before they settled into their skin of a contemporary hurricane of genres, set to a baseline of doom. When the final tones of 1999’s ‘The Doorway’ sounded at the Afterburner, it left us with nothing but goosebumps, hands sore from clapping and a profound sense that 366 days are way too many to wait until the next Roadburn.
WORDS BY CÉLINE HUIZER
We’re five days into Incubate Festivaland still shivering from the impressive performances of The Melvins, Girl Band and Shining. Ready to watch some more of our favorite bands and discover another handful of new ones, we once again throw ourselves into the lively heart of the city of Tilburg.
Lumerians opens our Friday night in one of the smaller rooms of the immense theatre of Tilburg. The audience has taken a comfortable seat on the wooden tribune that opposes the stage while the band plays a hypnotizing, spacey post-punk with a light 60’s sound to it. They are dressed up as monks in robes of a shimmering, glittery material and behind them play such fantastic psychedelic visuals that we’re too mesmerized to even think about dancing along.
One big bonus point that comes with having a festival bang in city center is the abundance of good food. Overpriced hamburgers and soggy fries don’t make it on to our menu during Incubate. On our way to Hall of Fame to see Grave Pleasures, we find out that, what previously had been an abandoned industrial park crossed by rusty old train tracks, suddenly houses an atmospherically lit and freely accessible food truck festival. Dinner this weekend: sorted.
When we manage to tear ourselves away from the smell of freshly ground coffee and char-grilled hamburgers, Grave Pleasures, risen from the ashes of Beastmilk, give us a theatrical and captivating performance. Their sound is edgier than before but still has that recognizable apocalyptic feel to it. For a complete change of sound, we head off to Little Devil, where Belgian Associality shows us the fun side of punk with songs about punk granddads and a man who only drinks Jupiler beer.
We’re still singing along to the chorus of the beer song when we arrive at the biggest name of the day: Converge. In a relentlessly loud performance, the hardcore punk legends live up to their name and put down one of the best shows of the week. A few hundred people are stage-diving and dancing in the pit as if their punk credentials depend on it. Frontman Jacob Bannon radiates a contagious energy as he belts out hit after hit. Sweaty and exhausted, we call it a night.
Saturday brings about a problem of an entirely different caliber. With so many different venues with each their own selection of beers on tap, we have a bit of a heavy head on our way to the first name on our list. Finnish K-X-P’s melodic, electronic sound with a definite hint of krautrock wouldn’t feel misplaced in the vaults of an abandoned Berlin power plant. However, the wooden beams, high ceilings and stained glass windows in Dudok, create a beautiful contrast to the industrial noises and ghostly sounds of the band. They put on a captivating show that calms our heads and prepares us well for the rest of the night.
Extase’s small stage and low ceiling sets the perfect vibe for a loud, no nonsense punk band and this is exactly what we get from Priests. Frontwoman Katie Alice Greer has an incredible stage presence. She parades on stage, screaming, singing and roaring in a skintight, giraffe-patterned suit and manages to give the audience a permanent death stare that would make Courtney Love green with envy. Priests gives us precisely what we go to Incubate for: seeing a relatively unknown act for the first time, who absolutely blows the patches off our jackets.
On the final day of the festival we finally have a sunny day and immediately take advantage of it to watch a show in the Muzentuin, a courtyard of the town’s art academy. We watch Surfer Blood play alternative rock with a lovely summer feel to it, before we decide it’s time to dive back into the loudness and head to Hall of Fame where the hardcore punkers from Jesus Police are tearing the stage to shreds. With so many bands playing at the same time, it’s sometimes tough to decide which ones to go and see and we may have been slightly favorable towards Jesus Police because of their name (it was a tough decision to skip Cocaine Piss later on).
Melodic post-rockers The Black Heart Rebellion whip us up into a Seventies progressive rock infused dream as they close the night in a ram packed Little Devil. With the imprint of the happy, sweaty faces of the crowd still in the back of our minds, we dash back to Midi to catch the second half of Wire, who have called upon about twenty guitarists from other bands at the festival to join them on stage. In a haze of perfectly orchestrated noise, they temporarily form The Pink Flag Orchestra and perform their 1977 debut album song ‘Pink Flag’ in a playful and legendary conclusion of the festival.
We cool off outside, still a little high from Wire’s brilliant performance, and convince ourselves that, yes, we still have enough spirit and adrenaline to make it to the after party in Extase. Chief Developer of Incubate Joost Heijthuijsen is one of the DJ’s, so within an hour of arrival we are part of a long conga line and attempt to dance to German schlager music. What a way to end a festival! The next day we hear that Neneh Cherry, who closed the festival in the Muzentuin on Sunday, was apparently part of that conga line and had a great time at the after party. She’s 51 years old and we had to agree she definitely beat us all at being the coolest person at the festival that night.
WORDS BY CÉLINE HUIZER
The first rainy, windy days of September blow in independent music festival Incubate. But you won’t catch us trotting through muddy fields while drinking beer from plastic cups, because this art, music and theatre festival takes place in the lively heart of Tilburg city. Notoriously home to Roadburn Festival, Tilburg proves there’s more to it than just its large music venue 013. Amongst the venues used during Incubate are a church, an old cinema, a theatre and a skate park, alongside a range of bars scattered throughout the town. Each of the bars stick to their own theme; for instance Paradox has mainly jazz and avant-garde artists while Extase is the place to be for rock and psychedelic. Our home base for the week was Little Devil, the infamous metal and punk den of Tilburg.
Being a seven-day-long marathon of a festival, Incubate offers an impressive program. Every day you can pick from an incredible range of things to do: you can participate in the music quiz, watch a theatre performance, visit an art exhibition, see a film, do a beer brewing masterclass and hopefully you’ll still have time to watch your favorite bands perform. During the week, the music program doesn’t start until six so there’s plenty of time to explore the town and the entire culture Incubate brings with it.
But in the end, music is what we came here for and we didn’t have to wait long for the first excitement to creep in. Punk legends The Melvins played two exclusive shows this week, the first one rolling in on Tuesday. Big Business members Jared Warren and Coady Willis once more joined Dale Crover and King Buzzo for a loud and mesmerizing show at Midi, a former cinema where the comfy red seats are still visible stacked up behind the bar. We wish we could’ve been floating over the stage just so we could constantly watch the drummers captivatingly mirroring each other on a fused double drum set. As Jared Warren leaves the room after ending the last song with a hypnotizing “So long, we’ll never see you again”, Dale Crover pipes up to the microphone, singing “Until tomorrow, tomorrow, there’s another show, tomorrow, it’s only a day-,” Yeah, we were all guilty of singing along.
Trying to ignore the lingering realization it is a Tuesday, we pay a late night visit to Dudok and stumble right into Irish post-punk/noise act Girl Band. On the top floor of a former Catholic school, holy figures watch down on us from the stained glass windows as we try to catch a glimpse of singer Dara Kiely through the haze of legs kicking through the air. He’s suffering from a torn ligament and is determined to make up for his lack of running around, which means we mostly has view of an erratically shaking head of blond hair. Despite the religious feel to the location, Girl Band brings about an almost demonic amount of noise. Had it been up to Kiely, he would’ve crowd-surfed right with us in his wheelchair.
The best things at Incubate always happen when you get sidetracked from your plans because you accidentally run into something else. On our way into town to see Dead Neanderthals, we pass the Hall of Fame. This venue is set in a large old building next to abandoned train tracks, which nowadays houses the town’s indoor skate park. After dragging ourselves away from watching the skaters go on with their day as if Incubate is a film playing in the background, we end up in a backroom where Belgian hardcore punkers Daggers are creating the musical equivalent of a Molotov cocktail. In an explosion of noise and distortion, they took our after-dinner apathy and kicked it right up our ass.
Still experiencing aftershocks from the deafening volume in the Hall of Fame, we ended up at the old cinema again, where Dead Neanderthals were tasked with curating the Thursday. They had invited UK noise rockers Three Trapped Tigers to open the night and Norwegian blackjazzers (is that even a word?) Shining to end with a bang. Their own show is nothing less than a wall of sound. Just layer over layer of noise. We hear dark jazz, some metal, some industrial, and all of it blends neatly into a ball of pure awesomeness. When their set is finished, we overhear a guy saying: “Wow, now there’s noise and there is noise.” Sums it up, really.
Shining shows us exactly how sexy metal can be. Frontman Jørgen Munkeby almost makes you forget there’s an entire band behind him. The rawness in Shining is by now far gone and their music is so rhythmic it’s nearly impossible to stand still and look cool. From the hairstyles and matching black outfits to the technical precision with which all the instruments collide, everything is razor sharp and ever so slick. They put up a theatrical and energetic performance in which Munkeby and his saxophone often take the spotlight. Loud and in your face but, man, so super, super smooth.
In a haze of sweat and with our hearts still beating in Shining tunes, we stumble outside, only to land in the middle of a gathering. An unplanned gathering, that is. It happens a lot at Incubate. In front of every venue, people meet in the streets. Not only is the entire Tilburg music scene present at the festival, so are a lot of people who only see each other every year at Incubate (and maybe Roadburn). Meeting new people is easy, as “wow, what a show” seems to elicit reactions from pretty much everyone present outside, regardless of the show. It’s hard to think it’s only Thursday and the main part of the festival hasn’t even begun yet. But sleep is for the weak, and the Little Devil doesn’t plan on closing at midnight.
WORDS BY CÉLINE HUIZER