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2018-05-01

ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2018 • DAY TWO : Friday, April 20th

- Go Spread Your Psych -


"Choo Choo Valley" (home of Koepelhal and Hall of Fame)


My hotel was not only attached to a restaurant which due to its location at the edge of a national park attracts cyclist tourists and hikers. No, you can also book a room for your horse there. And since the stable is right next to the restaurant, only seperated by a window, you can also watch your horse poop during lunch. Well, of course I only had breakfast at the place and that was in another room, so I didn't have that experience.

I'm just giving this picture here, so you can imagine that at my check-in on Wednesday as well as on Thursday morning, I felt that I would mainly share this place with horse-crazy families.
But not all Roadburners already arrive in the early Wednesday afternoon, so now at breakfast things looked quite different. Or darker if you want to speak in metal shirt clishés. Props to the guys all the way from Slovenia - that's quite a distance by car.

The photo tourist in me would have had a couple of ideas which directions of the environment to explore, but my sore and tired feet had already given their veto. So all serious activity besides dozing through the rest of the morning was limited to just a very short walk around the block, saying "hi" to the locals:





After that I drove down to Tilburg again, had lunch (at least I think so... drinking seemed more important during this whole warmest of my six Roadburns) and then shortly after three in the afternoon a whopping two hours of Motorpsycho in the 013.


Motorpsycho

The first row was filled with a lot of different faces than at most other Roadburn shows, because the Norwegian trio (plus Reine Fiske on melotron and guitar this time) clearly was the band responsibly for the sale of most of the Friday-only-tickets. Seriously - I know that there are a lot of good reasons which I can very much relate to, but still... peeping into this festival for only one day and then having to leave again must be fucking painful.

Well, back to Motorpsycho, who I had seen the last time almost exactly half a year ago in Hamburg, where they had totally blown me away. And honestly the bar was set too high back then to overleap it now. The setlist was still centered around tunes from the sensational "The Tower" album, but the selection of the other songs around them seemed a bit more diverse in Hamburg. At this recent show too many tracks culminated in an endless uptempo jam. What is kind of Motorpsycho's signature move, I know, and it is fucking cool and they are masters at it.
But they can mix it up more than they did at Roadburn, so even though I loved every minute of it (especially the highlight "Ship Of Fools"), at times it felt a little too one-trick-pony-y, if that is a word.

Fuck, this must look so nitpicky. But it's not my fault that they were so good even by their own standards last year.


Kikagaku Moyo

Today the new big Roadburn location, the Koepelhal opened its stage, so on Friday and Saturday there was a total of six venues on the running order to choose from. My next choice however was easy, because it was the least clashiest possibility to check my first Koepelhal show. I also wanted to see at least one of the many Japanese psychedelic rock bands playing this year.

And the "friendliest band at Roadburn 2018" award goes to... Kikagaku Moyo.
The mostly more light-hearted and dreamy jams of this group, which includes a sitar player, perfectly matched the milky sunlight coming through the eastern windows of the hall. That is not to say that they didn't have some well placed sonic explosions up their sleeve.
But all in all the Kikagaku Moyo show made Roadburn feel more like the sunny open air festival that the weather suggested than anything else. This was so positive, so clear, so flawlessly executed...

Suddenly I caught me asking myself "Am I allowed to love this more than Motorpsycho today?" Well, the question probably already is its own answer.





After my Koepelhal initiation it was time for my first Hall Of Fame show.

The Hall was mainly dedicated to the "San Diego Takeover", which meant that Roadburn invited not only one or two bands, but basically the whole Psychedelic Rock slash skateboarding scene of San Diego to take up residence here and from time to time mix up with their Japanese counterparts.

Yeah, all this sounds weirdly specific, but if you haven't noticed by now: Roadburn is made by and for music nerds.


Sacri Monti feat. Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless)


So what was on the menu in the small venue now?

Sacri Monti, a heavily fuzz and Hendrix inspired group playing the first of two shows with the not too surpringing addendum "jam". This meant that they started with a guest on stage, the guitarist from Earthless. And boy, those guys wasted no time for long and winding build-ups, but started their howling excessive session right on with all gears on maximum. Damn, that was some hot shit!

At the end of this initial jam Isaiah Mitchell hectically grabbed his stuff and left, because he had another gig. I guess that meant he had to prepare for the show of Damo Suzuki & Earthless later. So to slide in this extra appearance before - that's commitment.

The rest of the show was filled with songs from their regular repertoire. And that was some pretty dope stuff too, so all thumbs up for Sacri Monti!



Minami Deutsch

After the triple of Motorpsycho, Kikagaku Moyo and Sacri Monti I still didn't have enough psych infusions, so I scrapped Converge from my running order and went into the Green Room, where Minami Deutsch were already in action.

The name ("deutsch" = german for "german") may give away that this Japanese band is rooted in krautrock traditions. That doesn't only mean that some melodies breathe that certain air of a light naivity, but most notably that these guys are operating on a very stable robotik rhythm foundation.

While I enjoy their first album, but don't think that it's overly sensational (the new one I grabbed from the merch table is certainly better), this show left me with no doubt, that Minami Deutsch are primarily meant to be enjoyed live.

These guys know their shit sauerkraut!


Father Murphy

Of the fittingly clerical show which followed in Het Patronaat, I could sadly only see a small bit. That's why I didn't title that picture above "Jarboe ft. Father Murphy".

During what I think were the first two songs, the singer of Swans fame simply hadn't joined the two Father Murphy musicians on stage yet. A pity since this was a welcome change of pace and an impressive display of introspective atmosphere and great vocal abilities so far.

But I just needed a little rest in the front row before this year's most nostalgic Roadburn performance now.


Godflesh
Godflesh


Fuck, that was a long wait! Considering how important Godflesh were for me in the Nineties, it is almost unbelievable that I've only seen them live one single time in Hamburg. They were touring in support of their album "Selfless" back then, that same album they would perform in its entirety(?) now.

Their "Streetcleaner" performance took place before my Roadburn days and in 2013 when they played "Pure" I also wasn't there, which was one of the reasons I haven't skipped one year since. 

Admittedly this show was played for fans. For someone not familiar with the band this long and minimalistic display of bleakness, performed by two dudes and their drum machine surely was challenging. But the bass was snarling so good and Justin Broadbrick even delivered some vocals worthy of an extra applause. The teenager in me was so happy to finally channel his Godflesh angst again.

The set ended with a disappointment though, because despite the length of it promising at least some version of it, they didn't play the epic album closer "Go Spread Your Wings".
I didn't know many songs over twenty minutes back in the days, but this one... I can't even describe how obsessed I was with this mean monster. And it still ranks among my favorite long tracks ever. Unsurprisingly I wasn't the only one who missed it.

Asked by a fellow fan about its lack Justin had said, that they would have needed keyboards to play it, but that's a kind of lame excuse for a band with computer drums. Just be honest: you're a busy man and you've recorded some stuff over twenty years ago which you just don't know how (or didn't find the time) to recreate anymore.

On the other hand I was happy to hear the title track of the "Merciless" EP close the set.

Nostalgia succesfully fed, yet endless bliss prevented.



The running order held several interesting options now, but I went to the merch area in the Koepelhal now, where the weird opera meets death metal meets rave sounds of Igorrr came from the back. That show certainly generated a lot of interest, because even though it has room for a thousand people, this was the first time I saw a waiting queue here, while the show was already in progress.


I had other plans though. Tonight's final concert waited for me in Het Patronaat.


Gallops

Dang. How to describe Gallops?

And did these three guys from Wales play their instruments (keyboards, drums and drum pads, guitars and guitar synthesizers) and tons of effects themselves - or were their bodies instead controlled by their equipment? Even though I was as close to the action as I could be, I can't surely tell.

What I do know for sure is that their show was one of the biggest surprises this year. Their mixture of retro synthwave, post rock and modern dance music (hell, I have no fucking idea what they are really doing!) was delivered so amazingly rich and precise, it was the purest blast.

This was like using a time machine to take a peek of partying in a utopian future. Star Trek writers, take notes!

Thus the longest Roadburn night sent me off on an extremely high note.



After the walk to my car and the drive to Loon op Zand it was three hours after midnight when I was finally ready to sleep. What better time to make the acquaintance of the weaknesses in the holding system of the slatted frame of your hotel bed?
Parts of flexible rubber? Connection parts that are too short? Yay, no better fun than removing your matress to repair your bunk in the fucking middle of the night.








HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY:

Definitely not that fucking bed.
Other than that it's hard to say. But since my A priorities Godflesh and Motorpsycho both left me with luxury complaints, I have to go with the flawless shows of Kikagaku Moyo and Gallops here.


MOST PAINFULLY MISSED:

I've made peace with not being able to see The Ruins Of Beverast as well as Jonathan Hultén long before, so the worst thing was that I didn't stay for the whole Father Murphy concert with Jarboe. Other than that I guess I'm fine.

[edit: Shit. Hooded Menace played a surprise show in the Cul des Sac, probably with some stuff from their latest album. I've almost succesfully bocked that out.]





reviews of the other festival days:

- Attakk of the Evil Belgians -


ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2018 • DAY ONE :
Thursday, April 19th

- Put me down where I can see the Bong of Doom and Christmas -


ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2018 • DAY THREE :
Saturday, April 21st

- If it doesn't make us wiser
Doesn't make us stronger
Doesn't make us live a little bit
What are we doing? -





Motorpsycho:

















Kikagaku Moyo:















Sacri Monti:

















Minami Deutsch:













Godflesh:















Gallops:












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