Roadburn Festival, already the worlds’ foremost underground music festival has named Sleep as the headliner for the 2019 edition of the festival. The band will celebrate with two epic headline sets, performing their classic Holy Mountain one night and their latest release The Sciences (Third Man) the next. Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates (Disfear, The Great Deceiver, ex-Lockup) is the curator of Roadburn 2019, and names such as Gore, Have A Nice Life, Heilung, Louise Lemón, Midnight, Seven That Spells, Vile Creature, have been announced. Many more names to come of course, as the fest will take place on 11-14 of April 2018 in Tilburg, NL at 013, Het Patronat and other venues. Continue reading
Long-revered European music festival Roadburn kicks off four days of heavy, avant-garde and challenging music and art experiences in Tilburg, NL. Dutch black metal entity Kjeld has been added to the bill due to Cocatenatus dropping off due to a family situation. In a post, Roadburn founder and creative force Walter Hoeijmakers updated attendees on the last minute changes to the bill. 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
Hailing from Amsterdam, Death Alley are making quite a name for themselves, and as such with the release of their special set at Roadburn last year as a live album, Ghost Cult decided to go see their release show in Utrecht. These shows they performed as Death Alley as a six piece, with the addition of Ron van Herpen and Jevin de Groot both on guitar. Known for their psychedelic infused hard rock that reminds of smoky back-room bars and topless dancing-girls, their live shows are known to be energetic and primal. 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
Saturday, April 11th
My impression of Acid Witch is that Heavy Metal has found an answer to drugs, and that answer is “Hell Yes!” This band is majestic mayhem on a stage, and their horror film inspired songs are a true pleasure to behold. Referencing Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop (set in their hometown of Detroit) for Metal Movie Marijuhana Massacre Meltdown, the bass player cheerfully yells out all of the song titles and their meanings. He also dedicates ‘Rabid Werewitch’ to all the ugly ladies. Besides the heavy grunting, the vocalist also has the best manic cackle I have ever heard. Despite having some technical difficulties leaving them occasionally unable to hear each other play, they really rocked their set and seemed to enjoy every moment of their performance. The audience sure enjoyed it, as the Patronaat was filled to the brim with head banging and swaying people.
Saturday saw the return of Fields of the Nephilim to the main stage of the 013, and the hall was almost as crowded as it was at their first set on Friday. With charismatic frontman Carl McCoy, this band is possibly the purest embodiment of Goth in existence. With a career of an astounding thirty years, they had no problem filling out two long sets with their soothing tones and hard edges.
Taking the slot of a band who regretfully had to cancel their performance at Roadburn this year, Urfaust were perfectly suitable for Roadburn. Having performed at this festival before, it was no wonder they had the audience trying to cram themselves into the Green Room to witness their spectacular music. Comprised of only a drummer and guitarist/vocalist, Urfaust manage to make a spectacular amount of noise. As usual, you only miss the absence of a bass for about half a song, until you find the bass sound in the guitar. I have heard the vocals described as the cries of a baby seal in the process of being clubbed, and I must admit that this seems, at times, an apt description of the exclamations heard. It was such a shame that the show was cut just a little short by the unfortunate breaking of a guitar string. Since they were close to time anyway, there was no chance to restring the bugger and finish the show in style, and as much as the audience regretted it, the musicians themselves seemed devastated to have to leave us in such a way. Alas, such things do happen, and even the mighty Roadburn is not impervious to technical issues. The upside of the problems is that we have seen truly passionate people work their way around every obstacle, both from the bands dealing with the hurdles as the amazing crew bending over backwards to solve every problem as quickly and effectively as possible.
Sunday, April 12th, the Afterburner.
The afterburner is the final day of Roadburn, and it always has a unique atmosphere due to the composition of the audience, which is either completely mellowed out by the onslaught of the previous three days, or fresh-faced and new looking for a taste of the festival. It is a great day for people who have never been to the festival and want to sample the atmosphere before committing to the entire thing. The only open venues are the Main Stage, Green Room, and Cul de Sac.
While White Hills heated up the Main Stage, I headed over to the Green Room to get my socks rocked thoroughly off by Argus. They play Heavy Power Metal with a touch of Doom, and this blend has a very smooth sound. Their bass player has stunning stage presence, and plays superfast fingered bass that was almost as impressive to watch as it was to hear. The music is heavy and catchy as hell, and is performed with enough power to illuminate a small country. There were a lot of fans and enthusiasts in the audience, happily banging away.
Possibly the most anticipated show of the Afterburner was the one performed by Anathema, who performed the “Resonance” set that they are currently touring. Resonance is a show that spans their entire oeuvre, named after the compilation albums that appeared in 2001 and 2002. With their ten albums, their music embodies a diverse reach of genres, and has had a number of changes in band composition. Two of the former band members, Darren White and Duncan Patterson, join the current iteration of Anathema on stage tonight in their respective eras.
The show is divided into three sections, and the songs are played in reverse chronological order. This means that it started off with the atmospheric and melodious style that we know today, and ended with the Doom that they started with, fronted by Darren White. In between sets there were a few minutes break to give the band the chance to prepare and make the necessary line-up changes.
It was great to hear so many of their heavier songs performed live, and I really do hope they will play a few of them on their regular shows from now on, as they have an amazing amount of energy.
There is so much to see and discover at Roadburn, that there are likely to have been people at the festival who have seen none of the bands I saw or described here. You have to make hard choices between awesome bands, but no matter what you choose, in the end it is always going to have been worth it, because Roadburn is a festival that gets into your blood.
WORDS BY LORRAINE LYSEN