What is the best festival experience you’ve ever had? This could mean a lot of things to a lot of people and I have had a lot of festivals under my belt as a reviewer and a fan to pull from. However, you have to just stand back in awe when a festival gets almost everything right and exceeds every potential expectation. This has happened to me one other time – at Roadburn. Having just moved to Northern California this year BottleRock Napa was definitely on my radar. When I arrived at the festival for the first day little did I know what it had in store for me.
Decibel Magazine’s Decibel Metal & Beer Fest was, to put it simply, stacked. Fourteen bands across all variants of Death, Grindcore, Prog, and Doom, descended onto Orange County for a weekend of heart-pounding jubilation. The two-day event was held this year at The Observatory, a large yet paradoxically intimate standing-room-only venue, intelligently designed to put the audience at three different heights across the entire space, offering uninhibited views of the stage beyond the perils of the pit.Continue reading
For just one weekend the Banc of California Stadium was transformed into a carnivalesque outdoor funhouse for the Adult Swim Festival. The stadium was alive with colorful distorted animations reminiscent of children’s cartoons and claymation scenes warped and hyperbolized beyond the mind’s comprehension, while a giant Meatwad dome sat across an even larger inflatable slide shaped like Morty’s head vomiting a rainbow.
I arrive to find Trigger Thumb just on stage, with a quite busy and appreciative crowd in front of them. The room is already warm and echoing, though neither of these things seems to put off either audience nor band, despite the slight disservice done to Trigger Thumb by this. Even from the third song in, there are noticeably more heads nodding along and more movement in the crowd from earlier, as the Bradford 3-piece start to quickly work over the crowd, with vocalist/guitarist Arron’s self-deprecation between songs raising a number of smiles around the room, as he says, “We are Trigger Thumb and we are losers”. Musically, they veer between noisy Math Rock and some quite delicate guitar and vocals, showing an homage, at least, to The Mars Volta, whilst nods to the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Faith No More pop through at various times. They perform their set with a minimum of fuss and thoroughly earned the loud applause they garner at the end of their set.
In the face of trying financial times for bands and gig-bookers alike, the fact that Damnation Festival still pulled off another sell-out edition is both impressive and heartening. Despite their own admissions about a couple of missed opportunities this year, Damnation always manage to bring an unmissable line-up that caters for a wide fan base, be it lovers of Extreme or the more Progressive, and once more they have done so with love and more than a few surprise additions!Continue reading