Here we are again. I like this festival. Not as cold as last year but freezing all the same. The line-up is good but maybe lacking some diversity other years have given us. Anyway let’s go…
Typical, roll through the door, thinking this sounds great for a kick off, just as the riffs hit, they turn round and switch the amps off. Good start.
Not previously converted, they somehow remained under a scorched desert rock. Bardo Pond slows in the afternoon with some thickly fuzzed out grooves seeping into the skin and somehow transport the whole mundane shed to somewhere a little warmer. If i knew
Wolves in the Throne Room
Wolves in the Throne Room deck out the stage in blackened forest scrawls. Dry ice takes out the front row and guided solely by blue emitting l.e.d lights pegged to their fretboards open up with their new slab Celestial Lineage. How this manages to work at approx 19.00 hours is anyones guess but when Vastness and Sorrows epic downer opening notes spread out across the floor more than a few clench fists are in allegiance.
to this rhythm the world moves
the sun blasts down upon the earth
until the sun turns to powder and blows away
Aaron Weaver, drummer (and brother of guitarist Nathathan) nails the breakdown as the room goes a little blacker and the rest of WITTR go fuckin hyperspeed.
he rides day and night
the relentless hoof beats echoes
Did anyone notice the fuckin outrageous poster in the midst of floor to ceiling merch. I didnt (dickhead).
Pharoah Overlord and Circle are two peas in the same pod. Someone suggested they have crossed over. The Circle set appeared more like the Pharoah Overlord set last seen in the same venue same stage some years ago. Pharoah Overlord this time appeared a little more static and toned down into sublime riffage and occasional twisted venom from vocalist. Playing almost an identical set to last years Roadburn. Pharoah Overlord execute their path way more static than their Circle brotherhood, Eyes closed and mute, the rhythms come through thick then a small gap opens and it all trips out backed by monochromatic projections of pulsing lines. The only problem is the overlapping with Electric Wizard. Decisions, decisions.
Where to start with this one. Everyones (and i mean everyones) favourite doom band. Yet somehow all the real doom heads are missing? Everyones favourite doom band unless you actually listen to that shit? Yob was packed full of flares, cut off denims and a sense of collective fuck offness that is somehow missing here. The festival crowd lap this shit up though, wizard have a new line up. Someone will inform you that its their best yet. You will probaly ignore them. As you have heard it all before and by the time of writing they’ll probably have two new members. However they played a pretty killer set. All the classics “Return Trip”, “Funeralopolis” and a rejuvenated version of Black Mass that seems light years away from the lacklustre show in London last year.
Wow. First off the sound was fucking immense. They had a bunch of black balloons in front of the speakers and they danced apeshit through the entire set. Sometimes you could forget SD where actually playing and just watch a bunch of black balloons jerk about happily in their own peculiar way. Try describing this shit. Its a journos wet dream. Arab on Radar without the spastic speed. Wire or Gang of Four blended through a Ren and Stimpy show. No revivalist bullshit and kind of refreshing amidst all the festival stalwarts. Even people danced. I think.
Did this look like a Gaviscon commercial or was it just me? Drenched guttural vocals. A backdrop of intense heartburn. Red flames and pain, maybe old nick in there somewhere. Frances Monarch was new to most of our crew and maybe got the shitty end of the stick. Last up in the depths of midnight only the true were up front and loyal.
Fuck. Im used to going to bed around 23.00 hours so the night befores late night antics took their toll. Watching Manchester United get royally fucked by City in the local alehouse soon got the spirits up. As did a tall boy of black strong coffee. What this has to do with Eternal Tapestry i am not quite sure but they either appeared as a sweet comedown from the night before or a delicate start to Day Three. Maybe a mixture of both. Soft pysch jams that pack more groove when Nick Bindeman goes full noodle on his guitar.
Its around 17.00 and already looking pitch black outside. Winters arrived and Barn Owl are up next. Never having the pleasure to see them before the need to get a good spot in the tricky wide venue. Most of the time i got in late, found the gap around the central support beams then try and squeeze in when someone leaves to check out a band next door. This usually works out alright. Is their an underlying rule or code at these things? Dont get in the way of someone smaller is usually an unwritten one for me. However no-one seems to care so fuck it. Straight to the the front. Usually theres a bunch of space down there anyhows and no one seems to get particularly annoyed (or i have thick skin). Anyway a stellar spot down at the front. Eyes shut. Breathing slowed right down. Tranced out. Everyone says they sound like that band. Who gives a fuck. No percussion straight drone with accentuated lingering. Nailed it live. Amen.
Fire w/ Oren Ambarchi
Silver Apples or Fire. Thats a tough call. Fire win it out for me momentarily. Its not too busy in the venue. Ive never heard them or claim to know shit but am attracted to the fact that Ambarchi is with them. Grab another brew on the way in. Okay so i just googled them. They are from Sweden. I thought they were local for some reason. What do i know. The drummer is so pysched i watch amazed convinced that their ampeg head is gonna rock right off the cab directly onto him. The whole set is crankin. Ambarchi is crouched off stage throwing fucked up shapes out. Then things slow down and get a little dub. Then i make a disastrous decision to go catch Silver Apples. Dickhead. Bump into the crew who sit in the tent amazed at how shit they are. Minus the drummer. Its one Silver Apple. Go figure. They convince me that i do not want to check them out for myself. Easily persuaded. I then persuade them to see Fire, we catch two more songs. They are equally amazed.
Are you a circle fan? Do they take the piss? (overheard that one) Euro frauds? NWOFHM? Avant Rock? Costumes? I like that record but not that one. They are better when they riff out, smoke out, trip out? Of course they know their shit. They play like total retards. Have a fairly theatrical stage set (definitely not cool these days?) Have a cult like following (okay only two people dressed accordingly). Yet its claimed had the best show of Supersonic right here. After catching them a couple of times and giving up half way through.Solely cos i wait to hear Nopeskuningas, they dont play it, i pronounce they suck and leave. Here they straight ripped and do play Nopeskuningas. I nearly ran in the same spot jogging for a lost siberian train on the track to nowhere. I turn around and all my crew are also running in the same spot (whilst fist banging) on the track to nowhere too. Then Miko stops and gets all avant weird. Hushing the crowd. Then making them surge. Crawling all over the keyboards. Goose stomping behind the rhythm section. Anointing the rest of the bands heads with a bottle of water. Nopeskuningas goes on forever. Nopeskuningas. Nopeskuningas. Nopeskuningas.
I am fickle. I wait for Nopeskuningas, then think fuck it and split for White Hills. One night they played over the road from where i lived.I had no idea. Literally across the street. In an old church, I sat awake and wished someone would pull the cord. It sounded a gigantic mess. Echoed through the channels of religuous virtue. A couple of days later i got tuned in and regretted it. Every time since i try and make up. The sound was great. Even though they apparently didnt think so. Who gives a fuck what it sounds like on stage. Fuck them. They looked pretty great of course. Dave had a dashing shirt. Ego had a bitter snarl. It sounded fucking mega three people deep.
Till next year…
Words – Adam Cooke
Photos – David Smyth