From Aural Innovations May 2009 update
4/22: We all caught the cheap Norwegian Air flight to Amsterdam. Seven of us. Scott, Martin, Rene, Jens, Nils, Magnus and Tom. We are all in a great mood and very psyched up for the concerts. A lot of great bands. We had a beer at my place and then another one at the airport. All went well on the flight but some of us were spread around on the plane. We had no problems getting to Amsterdam and the same hostel as we were at last year (Winston) in the red light district. We went out and had some crap food and then we went around to a bunch of coffee shops to see what was about. After a good hunt (AK47, Super Lemon Haze, Cheese, Laughing Buddha, Northern Lights, Amnesia Haze) all were set and we crashed out after a couple of beers at a rock saloon next to the Bulldog.
4/23/09 Day 1
There were too many snoring people in this small room, so I hardly slept at all. Took a shower and joined the other for some breakfast. I think Magnus and I were the last up.
11:07 and we are on the train to Tilburg. We see a few others going that way and we actually meet Kozmik Ken on the platform where we switched trains last year as well. My friend Santtu, his 1 yr old son is sick so Santtu will be arriving a few hours later than planned.
15:00 We just missed the bus we should have taken from Hilvarenbeck and will arrive pretty close to 16:00 now. Magnus and I have the same room at the Hotel Brabant that we had last year. The other guys are close by. They have remodelled the back yard and it is super nice to sit out and have a beer there. Weather is super as well.
15:25 I checked another bus stop and the guys went to another and smoked some Amnesia Haze, are really flying and in a good mood. I did not sleep that well last night again and am also hungry and need to eat as soon as we get to the venue.
16:00 I got in just as Ufomammut started in the main stage room and I found the others on the balcony not long after. It took them longer to get it. Everyone is in a great mood and it is so cool to be back here again. Ufomammut are pretty damn cool. Very dark visuals. We can only see like 30 minutes and have to run off to squeeze into the bat cave for Farflung. Farflung were totally amazing and blew us away completely. In the booklet they had a 1½ hour slot but they played far less than this, but the triple guitar attack was amazing. Pity the sound guy could not really see them and all the lead guitar work was barely audible when each guy soloed.
Ufomammat Farflung Farflung Tommy
When Farflung finished Magnus and I got on the balcony in the green room and were blown away by Radio Moscow.. From full on space rock to going back to jamming in 1969! This young band writes such cool foot stomping catchy early 70’s style blues rock and the guitar player is not scared to take a long solo and just rip it up! Great band. Now off to the big room to see Orange Goblin. We watched about 60 minutes of their set and I had low expectations but they actually really rocked the place and sounded great. A much cooler groove than I had thought they would have. Crowd loved it and they were recording this for a live CD.
Radio Moscow Orange Goblin
20:15 We sit and wait for Amon Duul II to start. People are really high. Tom and Magnus took some mushrooms and are really flying now. The visuals and set for Amon Duul II was great. The singer, she was sick so her singing was a little off but I thought they were really cool and authentic to their old stoned 70’s vibe playing mostly their classic songs. Jacob from Causa Sui did the projections. We headed off to squeeze into see some of Zu but this was packed and a bit too far out but I think we did not give them enough time to soak in. I went back to the big room to set up to record Motorpsycho and sit down.
Amon Duul II
22:00-00:00 Motorpsycho played a very cool and long show. They started with a long and spacey version of All is Loneliness. I am not sure all what they
played but they played most of the new record. The set list at the soundboard was quite funny with tracks like:
Rolling new Mojo
Anyway, they did a ton of jamming and really sounded amazing. By far the best sound of the day in the big room and although the room was not totally packed after 90 minutes or so a solid crowd stayed and was into it. Amazing live band.
00:00 I was off to catch the other guys who I suspected would be in the bat cave for White Hills as only Martin and myself really like Motorpsycho a lot. We all try to get in this one corner just around the bar as there does not tend to be so much movement and pushing and shoving as people try to find a place. White Hills started off a bit slow but in the end played amazing psychedelic rock and just some killer guitar solos. I was pretty blown away. I think these guys and Farflung were the best on this day but damn, every band we saw was great this day, not one weak act! Amazing day!
4/24/09 Day 2
I slept a bit better but Magnus was totally spaced out from too much grass and alcohol. He and Tom are really partying hard. Hope they can remember something later.
11:00 Magnus and I are the last ones up. The others are already out back in the sun enjoying a beer and talking about the amazing day yesterday. Today looks to be as good as yesterday but a bit heavier!
2:00 We arrive back in Tilburg and have lunch at the Grass Shop. Seems the food is not as good as last year even though the Lasagne that Magnus and I had was pretty damn good with a lot of garlic in it. Oh well. A cool place to hang out. Some people from Madrid Spain that are also at our hotel are there and Jukka, who booked the last OSC gig in Finland, he was there as well. People are all in a great mood.
15:45 We are having a beer in the sun with Guf and Henrik (Dragontears) and they tell us an unreal story about being stopped in Hamburg and fined 300€ for drugs and stuff. Far out… People are in a fantastic mood and Dragontears plan to just completely space and blast the place away! Tom and Magnus ate some mushrooms.
16:00 Bohren und der Club of Gore was starting things off on this day and I have to say this is a strange choice to start the day off. And after seeing 30 minutes of their set I really do think they should have played as the last band after Church of Misery, where everyone needs to come down from the intense experience. Anyway, a strange and cool act but you have to be in the right mood. I went and saw some of Negura Bunget and this was surprisingly cool. The sample I heard on the net sounded like death metal but this was much more. A very atmospheric folk tribal inspired death metal. They had one really cool jam with xylophone, 3 drummers, bass, no guitars or keyboards. Very cool. I watched about 30 minutes of them and then headed up to the top again in the big hall where we always meet up to see Angelwitch.
17:30 Angelwitch... wow... I had seen them play two times back in 1991 when they played a few shows in Berkeley and San Francisco. They slayed the place and sounded amazing. Kevin sounded great and after the first few songs played great guitar as well. Not sure how many of these guys are from the old days but at least one was not that young. Great set including all the classics from the first record: Sweet Danger, Confused, Gorgon, White Witch, Atlantis, etc… They ended with a sing along with the audience and their song Angelwitch. Awesome choice…
I had been wanting to see Vibravoid for some time as I have all their records and now was the time. Magnus and I hung out on the left side. Wow... this guy Christian has a wicked guitar sound that is so spaced out. He also had like 18 pedals that I could count. Far out. Anyway, they played like a greatest hits set opening with Tomorrow Never Knows, Doris Delay, Christmas on Earth, Void Vibration, Hallucinations, and like 5 more tracks. A lot of spacing out and great visuals. The best band of the day for me so far, even though I was 100% into Angelwitch as well.
Magnus and I caught 4 songs of Atomic Bitchwax from the balcony in the green room. It was hot and totally packed. We heard two instrumental tracks, maybe I’m a Leo from Deep Purple and one from the first record called Hope you Die! Bob from Monster Magnet was playing drums with them, which was a pleasant surprise. Great drummer and cool person. Anyway, we left to go catch Seven that Spells from Croatia, another band I had never seen before.
Atomic Bitchwax Vibravoid
This new V39 hall was a very cool place. 7 that Spells started very soon after we got there and they were to play two sets, the first old stuff and the second new stuff. Niko and I had been in contact for some years so it was great to meet him. Fantastic person and far out guitar player. They played very intensely for like 20 minutes and then the guitar head blew up and it turns out this is the second one that has blown up on Niko. Walter came over and was not very happy about this as most of this equipment is borrowed from other bands in Holland and stuff. Anyway, we only got to see 20 minutes and were off to see Outskirts of Infinity who would also play a long set in the V39 tomorrow. This V39 hall was a great idea with all the band merchandise upstairs and this club and bar in the basement.
7 that Spells
20:20 I had never seen Outskirts of Infinity but I own all the records and all the Bari Watts solo material as well. He used to be an amazing guitar player but I was not really sure what we would get here as the last few live things I had seen were quite sloppy and not that well played but damn, I was pretty blown away as after a few songs he really was spot on and killing it on the guitar. We got to hear some classics like Eyes in the Back of my head, Fire, Gemini Machine, Stoned Crazy, Lord of the Dark Skies with a long solo. They had some malfunction with the security system to the bright white fluorescent lights were on the whole set and you could not really see the visuals and this clearly annoyed the band as well. In the end, Bari smashed one of his hand painted strats and threw it out into the audience. One of the folks that works for Colour Haze got it! Roadsaw played at this same time and Nils said they were really great. It had been more than an hour since I had seen the two trippers, Tom and Magnus. No idea what happened to them. Tripping out! I ran back to catch a little bit more of 7 that Spells before St Vitus and now the room was packed and they were totally far out into psychedelic space this band... phew... wish I had seen more of them.
He got Bari Watt's smashed guitar
22:00 Up to the balcony for St. Vitus. Everyone is flying high and really up for this. I had a chance to see them in 1986 in El Paso when we went to the club to see them play with the Mentors but the bands never showed up. Oh well, here we are and damn, if St. Vitus are not the best band today. They sounded totally amazing. Wino just delivered the vocals with such passion and intensity and Chandler still plays mean, heavy riffs and totally spaced out guitar solos. Amazing set for about an hour or so. Nils and I are especially blown away and we were the most into it. Rene complained that the drummer totally sucked. Sadly, we missed the complete Dragontears concert as they overlapped with St. Vitus. I was told they were the best act of the day. I am just glad that we also saw the best act of the day if we had to miss the other best act.
00:00 Colour Haze was up next. We went out for some air before they started and I came back in and saw a bit of the soundcheck where they tested the sitar and acoustic instruments. I only saw about the first hour of their set as Church of Misery were on at 01:00 and I did not want to miss them as I did last year and I can’t see them when they come to Copenhagen in a few weeks. They played amazingly as always but I am totally bored with the songs they play. I will wait some years before I go see them again and hope the set is fresh.
Set List: Sundazed, Moon, Aquamaria, Lights, Zen, Stars, Acoustic Set: ?, ?. Flowers.
Peace Brothers and Sisters, Tempel, Love
00:00 Off to see Church of Misery on the balcony. Nils and Magnus were already there and damn it was hot up here. Magnus had thrown up a while ago and was in a spaced state. These guys were flying high on all the good grass from Amsterdam. Church of Misery were just amazingly intense and just destroyed the place with brutal guitar riffs, intense vocals, and just nearly non-stop riff after riff. Tom did not play as many ripping solos as the year before but he was still great. Crowd loved it and also the visuals of all of the serial killers. If you don’t know this band, all their songs are about serial killers or mass murderers. They have a lot to choose from. Intense…
Church of Misery
Wow... today was just as amazing and intense as yesterday. So many great bands. Would have liked to have seen Saviours but they were on at the same time as Colour Haze and Church of Misery. Heard they were cool. I am tired. Today was for sure the day for guitars, with many bands having just amazing guitar playing that was what was leading the way!
4/25/09 Day 3
Wow... it is only half over. Magnus was totally far out last night and he ended up pissing in our sink and passing out on the end of my bed. I had to move him to his own. He has no memory of this at all. Far out… take it easy buddy,…
1:30 Some of us are on the bus. Tom, Magnus and Rene all had a tough night and will come later. Today will be the more dark and experimental music day. We end up out on the main street having some beers and not so good food with Kozmik Ken. He is in a great mood and doing fine and enjoying the festival a lot. We are all in a very good mood and just hang out here until 15:30 and then we go and look at the merchandise.
16:00 Grails started things off today and were super cool. They play very laid back and spacey music with a lot of Pink Floyd, Gong and stuff in it but they do it in their own way. Grey Daturus were next and this was extreme stuff. Wall of sound noise approach to music. The first song we heard was long, repetitive and heavy as well. I think the guitar player was a woman of sorts. Bizarre stuff and very extreme…
17:25 We are up on the balcony for EARTH. They are pretty laid back but have a really unique feel to them. I really liked the first two songs they played but wished the guitar player would just let go a bit more and play some more interesting solos. Great atmosphere. The third song was some sort of post rock thing and just too pretty and boring. We left for Eugene Robinson from Oxbow. Magnus, Martin and I watched him deliver as strange story for about 30 minutes before he was joined by the guys from Black Sun for a heavy rock track that was not that good. If you did not hear the whole story and came in late you probably thought he was crazy but the story had a thread in it and truth about his life and how he was beaten up and abused by bigger kids when he was young and then ended up being someone who helped set up people to be tortured in order to get them to pay their debts. Far out…
Grails Grey Daturas Eugene
18:50 We sat down on the balcony and saw the whole Young Gods show and that was damn cool stuff. Industrial, electronic pre-techno rock or something. It was a pity that most all the guitars were pre-recorded, including guitar solos so it was like the band just played along to samples. His voice could have been sampled as well and most people would not have noticed. I am nearly 100% sure he sung everything though. Cool light and visual show as well. A big surprise.
20:15 We had a little break and then came back in for OM. I am still not really taken by OM. Again, Nils said that the bass sound was just not right or massive enough. I think he needed to be on the floor and not the balcony to get the full effect of OM. We saw like 30 minutes and then went to see Zeni Geva from Japan. Zeni Geva was some extreme math metal freakout rock. The drummer from Acid Mothers Temple was playing with them. Very tight and intense stuff. The lead singer had this amazing far out guitar sound. The other guitarist was also a freak (they had no bass).
21:00 Off to see US Christmas in the bat cave. God damn, they were cool and I loved this stuff and was blown away and totally sucked into the music. NO idea where anyone else was so I saw this by myself. They played a slow, stoned, psychedelic space rock blues. Not sure how else to describe it. The singer has a very cool and passionate voice, also tortured and intense. He also plays a mean spaced out guitar and was very cool. I need to hunt down some of their music right away.
After they finished I ran off to the V39 for Outskirts of Infinity and I would stay here until the very end. I missed the opening 25 minute Roadburn jam, I am told. I hung out with Jacob from Causa Sui for most of the set. He was also pretty blown away by these guys. They played the most intense jamming you could imagine with 20 minute guitar solos, etc… they played Politician, All in your Mind and Sunshine of your Love with a 25 minute guitar solo at the end that was unreal. Never seen anyone ever play the guitar like that before. He also played Voodoo Chile, Foxy lady, Spanish Castle Magic, and ended the show with Stoned Crazy, The audience was blown to pieces. Best band of the day for sure… Pity those who missed this…
I was told that Neurosis put on the show of their life so that was great for the fans that are into that. We saw them for an hour last time and they are great at what they do but the music and images are just so dark and depressive. After an hour you just begin to feel bad about life and just want to end it all.
What a fucking night and we still had to go to the main hall and get our brains rearranged by sitting through Skullflower. Skullflower was the most extreme band of the whole festival. It was basically one 40 minute set of just full on screaming guitars and feedback with no rhythm at all. Very hard for the drummer as the stand up strummed bass and two guitars played nothing that resembled a rhythm, only a wall of sound. Insane… I think all the people who sat through this set had to be stoned…. No way around it.
Skullflower Tribes of Neurot
Tribes of Neurot, which has some members of Neurosis, ended the night and played from 1:30-2:30. This was super cool stuff. Ambient, dark, droney space music with amazing visuals on the screen. Some of the coolest visuals of the whole festival. Pretty damn cool music to experience live as well. Half of the people were passed out at this point… Another amazing day.
4/26/09 Day 4
Most of the people are gone today and only the true die hard folks, around 300, are left for the Afterburner! I did not sleep much last night as Magnus was a snoring machine. I now know you need to steal his pillow and put him on his stomach and he does not snore but damn, I slept like 4 hours last night max. I was the last one up today at 12:30 as I could not even start to sleep until it was light because of the snoring. I am very tired today.
14:15 We catch the bus to Tilburg and will go to this record shop and hear Dÿse play a short set. They are also the last band playing today.
15:50 Dÿse was crazy but also pretty cool stuff. Like a more intense version of Nonmeansno! This is a great record store with a lot of cool vinyl records. Stores like this don’t exist in Denmark anymore. I had a nice chat with Walter and this has been a very smooth running Roadburn and he was very satisfied as were we! Amazing.
Dÿse in the local record store
16:00 Dead Man, from Örebro in Sweden played a killer 90 minute set of 60’s rock mixed with a bit of stoner rock vibe. They write really excellent songs and take me back to the sound of Quick Silver Messenger service, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, etc.. The singer and lead guitar player was really hot today and played a lot of great solos. The new opening song was great! They also played Over the Hills, Heaven and hell and quite a few songs from the first record.
18:00 Solace, from New Jersey, were up and destroyed the place. This was a full on stoner rock groove assault. They also played two new songs, one that was like heavy metal and not that cool and the other called Eyes of the Vulture that was amazing. The singer is screaming and a bit too intense sometimes but so is the band.. Phew…. Great live band even though I have never dug their records that much.
Solace Dead Man
19:30 Firebird, a side project of Bill Steer from Carcass, was next. Bill was sick and had a puke box up on the stage but did not have to use it. I don’t think he was too sick though as he was drinking beer and some whiskey before the last two harmonica jam songs that were really cool. Anyway, I thought they were pretty damn cool but they did not really jam at all. Just play 3-4 minute song after song from the different records. A lot of cool songs but sometimes a bit too much the same foot stomping groove to them. Fun band to see.
21:00 The place was really packed now for Wino and he totally delivered the goods but I was surprised that he did not play any Spirit Caravan songs and there were no special guests as had been advertised. I think he only played about 65 minutes as well. Oh well, the new songs sounded great and the drummer from Clutch just rocks the drum kit and really adds a heavy dimension to the sound. He played a couple of Obsessed songs though. Lunar Womb being one. He plays intense guitar and also sings with so much passion and really has this insane look in his eyes. He totally lives inside this music. Great performer.
Wino Set List
Dÿse played for less people but gave 200% and just blew the place to pieces. Crazy but very fun band.
Roadburn 2009…. Over and out and we will be back next year. We have to come back. There is no other festival like this in the universe with so many diverse and fantastic bands and the venue, the people, are all amazing. Very few cell phones here, people are into the music and have put that fucking thing away just to escape into the world of Roadburn... see ya next year my friends.
The Danish Roadburn Gang in Amsterdam on the way back home.
Reviewed by Scott Heller