As much fun as your ‘50,000 twats in a field’ type of festivals can be, let’s be straight with ourselves for a minute—nobody really likes camping. No, they bloody don’t. Well, I don’t anyway. Fuck that noise.
So, waking up to the sunlight streaming in through the huge windows of our lovely massive hotel room, with our curiously-Continental single beds (this seems to be ‘a thing’ when you book a double room, at least in lovely Dutch hotels), having a lovely shower then trotting downstairs for a lovely breakfast was, um, lovely. Fair sets you up for the day, it does.
Good job too really, given that the other thing about Roadburn is that despite it being in a foreign land and having one of the smallest ticket allocations of all the more famous multi-day metal-ish gatherings, I seem to know a bloody lot of people there. Which is, again, lovely, but it means that what could and should be an adventure through new and bold sonic reaches ends up becoming four days of getting in various states of disrepair and occasionally remembering that the reason you put up with the lack of legroom on the flight over here was to see some bloody well live music.
Yeah, I missed rather a lot of the Friday. Stuff that I remember clearly enough to tell you about includes these scintillating (*cough*) insights:
1. Witch Mountain are truly bloody ace live. Uta Plotkin’s voice, man. She is incredible on record, but it doesn’t prepare you at all for the sheer jaw-loosening presence of that soaring, dolorous howl when you’re in the same room. Blessed with Het Patronaat’s staggering acoustics and probably slightly too-large PA system, she detonates your heart and brain with a clarity of tone and a primal, saucy darkness that could make a frothy-lipped zealot of you, were she to be preaching any kind of gospel other than that of the unholy riff.
2. Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats. Sigh. It’s probably just me (it’s not—Ed.), but I’m not feeling any kinder towards this lot after seeing them live. I thought their first album was pretty cool, but the second left me, at best, a bit puzzled and seeing those newer songs limply trundled out in front of a packed main room in the 013 didn’t change my mind much. Three or four wheezy yawnfests later, I went and had a lovely pint of Guinness in the early evening sunshine instead—way better.
3. Things got a bit blurry from here. Electric Wizard were as lysergically menacing and fuckalmighty loud as you’d ever hope they could be, but a lot of the impact of their set was dulled by the fact that you couldn’t bloody see what was happening—the most packed I’ve seen the 013’s main room, I think. Still, that meant I didn’t feel too bad about abandoning them a bit early to catch something very special indeed (and have a much-needed wee).
4. Sweden’s Goat released a bit of a sneaky corker with their album World Music, a collection of voodoo-drenched fusion-ish experimentalism that is seemingly capable of waggling even my notoriously stoic booty—given the right setting and a run-up. The buzz around this set was starting to feel a bit daft, until it actually happened and proved the grapevine very, very right indeed—definitely my standout moment of the festival so far, and in the running for the very best of the whole weekend.
5. Amenra. Doooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom. That is all. (It was terrifying actually, but I have a reputation for liking the nasty stuff to uphold, so, yeah…)
I saw more than this on the Saturday, promise. Do be a love and come back to find out what, exactly, whenever that may be.