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2017-05-11

ROADBURN Festival 2017 • DAY FOUR: Sunday, April 23rd

- The silence of the wolves -


Emma Ruth Rundle

Sunday began with sunshine and my feet wondrously not hurting.

At least it felt this way in comparison to the agonies of the night before. So I packed my camera bag and went on a walk through the nearby natural reserve Kampina. I tried to cover a part of it I didn't know from previous visits, which for temporal reasons alone wasn't that easy.
When I was already so deep in the landscape that a march of several kilometers to get back was unavoidable the sky grew darker and I feared to get soaked any minute.

But apart from a few lonely drops I was spared and the weather provided some interesting light for photographs like these medium format pictures with my Holga:

Kampina
Kampina

Soon I had another reason to be pissed anyway.

Come on, you're boring us with pre-Roadburn camera talk again? - Yep.

As mentioned in my Saturday report, for my concert pictures I had two toy cameras called Digital Harinezumi with me. The Harinezumi 3.0 works with regular batteries, while the advanced Harinezumi 4.0 is rechargable via USB.
I assume that the manufacturer didn't believe that anyone would shoot with this deliberately trashy cam so often that the inner battery couldn't be recharged any more. Well, here's the one guy in the world who regularly used it to shoot concerts. I had just turned it off and reconnected it with the power bank, when after a short flash it went dead. For good.

Won't buy a new one, because despite this flaw of a built-in expiration date they are really worth something now, starting at ca. 666 Euro, which is multiple times of what I paid, or in other words: just pure insanity.

I still had the older cam for the festival though. Only needed a new battery for this one now, because I had lost one yesterday, probably by accidentally digging it out of my pocket with my wallet or something like that.
 

the last picture of my Harinezumi 4.0


By now I should know how holy or not Sundays are in the Netherlands. But of course I wasn't. Turned out that many stores including Media Markt were open in Tilburg. But since I was uninformed, I took a useless extra walk to the station in hope to find my battery there.

So while it couldn't diminish my overall motivation for the final round of Roadburn 2017, I unquestionably had some frustration and returned bodily pain in me, when I was one of the first visitors to enter the 013 and find my place in front of the main stage.


If only there could be a band now, which was able to channel my inner aggression into something positive...

Enter Temple Ov BBV!


Temple Ov BBV

Temple Ov BBV

Since the drone masterstroke that was Gnod's joined Saturday set with Kuro had me deeply impressed, there was no question that I had to start Sunday with the last and largest performance of the "Artist in Residence", this time under the moniker Temple Ov BBV, merged with the dutch psych rock band Radar Men From The Moon, resulting in the main stage being crowed by a fuckzillion musicians including two bass players, two drummers and two angry shouters.

And damn, this show was something. Naturally performing material from their fantastic self-titled album, Temple Ov BBV demonstrated a meditation on aggression, as contradictory as this may read. It was pissed, it had the noise, the drone, the punk attitude, the heaviness, yet it was also hypnotic and majestic in its bleak industrial grandiosity. Fuck, this was good. Elaborate and primal at the the same time. The Temple Ov BBV smashed on all levels! Once again one ov those daily openers that makes you think (and my neighbour in the first row say) that you could go home now.



The next circle on my running order was around Oxbow, but squeezing myself into Het Patronaat in the middle of their set seemed too stressfull now.
The Green Room wasn't an option either, as it was already totally overcrowded by those who wanted to see the living industrial noise cyborg Author & Punisher with his self-build drone and stomp machines. Fortunately I had already seen him the week before at the Droneburg Festival, so I was content to fetch my last dose of daylight before I returned to the main stage.



Pallbearer

Pallbearer were the closest thing to traditional Sabbath and Candlemass doom metal I saw on this weekend. Yet as doom afficionados or anyone who has heard their new album "Heartless" knows, there is much more to them, as they are clearly incorporating other modern (sludgy tone) and classic (Floyd anyone?) elements in their songwriting.
But at their hearts Pallbearer first and foremost worship grand melodic epicness - and they have the guitarists and singers to deliver it first class.

I hope the band didn't take it personal that there were some almost awkward silences after the applause between the songs. That's just the normal afternoon on festival day four and part of the "Afterburner", even if the Sunday isn't officially called so any longer and is indeed a full regular day now, with only the Extase stage already closed.

However, Pallbearer delivered - how could they possibly not with these great songs? - and the audience loved it.


For convenience I had decided to stay in front the main stage and now reserved the best possible spot in the front row again, even though I didn't have too much recollection of what the next band was about. One guy who - unlike 99 percent of the audience - was vitally alive and jumping like a superball, when he secured his place beside me. Obviously a fan.
He told me that he had come all the way from Australia only for Sunday to see his favorite band right here. Wow! I said something like "Isn't the only country even further away New Zealand?" To which he responded that this was where he originally came from. That put tomorrow's impending car drive - no matter how exhausted and dragged out it would be - a little bit into perspective.


Les Discrets


Other than the happy bloke from down under I have slightly mixed feelings about Les Discrects, though the band overwhelmingly left a good impression.

The easiest way to describe their music is to extract the clean parts from Alcest (who are also singing in French),  but of course there is more to Les Discrets, albeit I can't fully put my finger on it. I loved their calm and dreamy basic mood, which fit just perfect at this point of the weekend, when the melancholy of having to part from Roadburn soon slowly sets in. So for the most part this was just beautiful.

There were only some songs where I just kept asking myself why they had to roll over the beauty with such cold robotic metal drum arrangements. In other songs I explicitly liked the rhythms, but the few stinkers really annoyed me.



Even though the classic prog rock madness of  Gong in Het Patronaat was tempting, there was no way I would throw my first class ticket for the next main stage show away, and so I stayed until Ulver were ready to totally blow everyone's mind.


Ulver

Ulver


Ulver may be one of the music world's greatest institutions of unpredictability. The "Wolves" from Norway, who once started as a black metal band, have seemingly cultivated the art of picking a new genre for each album and then creating a masterpiece of that style.

When I had seen them on this stage in 2012 they were honouring psychedelic tunes from the late Sixties, after that they released a.o. a collaboration with an orchestra as well as one with Sunn O))), an ambient soundtrack and a double album based on live improvisations. Quite a range only since then.
Their newest work "The Assassination Of Julius Caesar", which was presented in full here, is a heavily 80s-inspired synth pop / art rock album.

And even more than the grandiosity of the album suggests, this show was nothing but spectacular. Or in one word: LASERS! Lasers galore, while the band members where mostly present as black silhouettes, providing the elevating soundtrack to the impressive effect show.
There was no direct communication with the crowd except that one dry humorous moment when one guy used a moment of Sunday silence to shout "Play some black metal!" and got the most unimpressed "no" imaginable as an answer.

The show went on longer than the album, so there were spaces for extended jams the band used to make the happening even more unforgetable.
For many fans this performance was the highlight of Roadburn 2017, and while I don't even want to settle on one band, I cannot seriously disagree.


It was with a heavy heart that I left before the end of the show, but the call of the Green Room, where Emma Ruth Rundle was almost ready to begin, was just too strong.



Emma Ruth Rundle


Technically silence is just the absence of noise. But still one silence is not like the other, there are differences you can clearly feel. So while I have mentioned the typical "Afterburner" silence a few times now, the silence during the solo performance of Emma Ruth Rundle was of a different kind, firstly because it wasn't a phenomenon of the pauses between the songs, but a room packed with over sixhundred people being spellbound by one singer / songwriter and her guitar.

Ulver in the next room where still overrunning their final trance jam, when she had to start, so everyone was relieved when the disturbing boom boom stopped after a few minutes. And then the magic fully set in.

Her voice as well as her instrument (which had a couple of effect layers on it), played on a big range of dynamics, all following the deep, raw and dark emotions of the songs.
I won't say you could hear a needle drop, when she went quieter, yet only because to my knowledge no needle had been dropped to prove that assumption. But this was definitively the only show I've seen where it already annoyed me when a cup was dropped or even the shutter of a camera clicked.

Despite obviously being a little shy and overwhelmed by the experience, Emma Ruth Rundle had the whole room in her hand. With all the people hanging silently on her lips it became so quiet that during the last song "Real Big Sky" she could step way beside her microphone and still enchant everybody without problems. 

Had there been a lack of stunning female singers until now? With Esben And The Witch, Chelsea Wolfe, Subrosa, Oathbreaker... Certainly not.

But even in this company; to watch Emma Ruth Rundle was a true revelation and will surely be talked about by the attendees for years to come. I imagine that maybe seeing Tori Amos at the very beginning of her career must have felt similar.



Come To Grief


The contrast to the next band playing in Het Patronaat could hardly have been bigger.

Come To Grief, the band formerly known only as Grief punished my ears with some of  the meanest brutal noise I've heard the whole festival. It was a good punishment though, a relentless doom/death/sludge torture, with painfully shrieking guitars.
Due to its super professional production Roadburn manages it to present the most extremes drone and noise orgies in a somehow bearable way, but when a guitar player decides that he really wants to fucking physically hurt you, what can the sound guy do? 

So in conclusion Come To Grief are basically fucking assholes - in the way you would say that to your best buddys. They killed it!


I surely would have enjoyed the whole show, but I hadn't yet been in the Cul de Sac today and a band with the strange name MNHM (which pronounces "Mannheim", but doesn't have anything to do with the german city) was about to play there.

Well, I know this now, but right there the only things I remembered from my running order preparation weeks ago was that they played some kind of instrumental music and that I really didn't want to miss them, even though I couldn't remember why.  


MNHM


As soon as I got to the stage and saw the saxophone there, I had a first clue. Doesn't this look like the one that guy from the Dead Neanderthals played last year? Their two men free jazz inferno was one of the greatest craziest things I've ever seen here.

And indeed MNHM turned out to be a quartet which included both the Dead Neanderthals drummer and saxophone player, plus bass and guitar. 

MNHM's sound was not jazz, but an equally mental mixture of post rock, mathcore and advantgarde (and doom and psych and nothing of all these).
Brutally in your face but then with weird sidesteps and loopings through your brain.
One trick they played a few times was to build up to what you would expect to become a grand elegiac post rock hymn, only to clusterfuck it over Zorn/Patton style. Very weird and challenging stuff, but kicking butt big time.


After the show I sacked their debut album and then quickly went back to the 013. It was almost midnight now and Radar Men From The Moon were already deep in their psych jam.
Having witnessed the stellar Temple Ov Bvv performance in which they were involved in the afternoon this just had to be my Roadburn finale for this year.


Radar Men From the Moon


And yeah! This was some heavily pushing und pumping hypnotic space shit. Nothing better than a total interstellar freak-out to end these four days of sensory overload on the highest note!

The only downside to the Radar Men From The Moon show was that of course the merch tent with their stuff was already closed afterwards.

On the way to my car and hotel, with their beat still in my head, came the realization:
Wow. This might have been the strongest Roadburn sunday ever!

But who am I to compare?
And why should I even try?




So, here I am again. At the end of my review, yet still somehow still process all the impressions...

I could try to sum up the whole experience now, pick my favorites of all four days (as if it was about that...), write my wishlist for next year or just bore you with exciting details about my trip home on Monday.

But honestly, I'm just happy that I finally wrapped Roadburn 2017 up now.



What an experience!



reviews of the other festival days:

ROADBURN Festival 2017 • DAY ONE: Thursday, April 20th
Roadburn destroys minds and will not play Stonehenge again

 

ROADBURN Festival 2017 • DAY TWO: Friday, April 21st
The riverbed will run red with the blood of the saints and Magma of the holy

 

ROADBURN Festival 2017 • DAY THREE: Saturday, April 22nd
She's a droniac, droniac on the floor  / And she's droning like she's never droned before

 






Temple Ov BBV:
 


























Pallbearer:













Les Discrets:














Ulver:





















Emma Ruth Rundle:
 










Come To Grief:













MNHM:






Radar Men From The Moon:














 

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