Roadburn Day 3
Photos: Antony Roberts
Candlemass opened proceedings and owned the stage, walking on to Marche Funebre then straight into Mirror Mirror. They started off with Robert Lowe singing but after around 5 songs he then asked if the audience wanted to see something they’d never seen before. He was going to do a magic trick and said watch me disappear offstage, before leaving and I started to get very excited.
The intro guitars for Solitude kicked in and the band walked back out with John Langquist and then worked their way through the entire of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, it was truly magical. After 45 minutes of standing watching masters of their art I very sadly had to leave as another weekend clash came up in the form of Rwake who I’d never seen live and I tore myself from Candlemass to go catch some Arkansas Sludge.
Rwake were another festival highlight, maybe it was just the excitement from finally seeing the band who have eluded England live for so many years. The vocals were barely audible down the front but this didn’t really matter as the energy put forward by the twin vocals of C.T. and B. made for a visual feast. Vocals were much clearer further back in the room. B. took the show bending over half backwards screaming before flipping the other way on to her moog. C.T. was visibly knackered kneeling down at points, and passing joints with audience members who seemed more than happy to share with the band. Another pit started, never have I seen such an active Roadburn crowd!
Having stuck around for the whole of Rwake meant missing some of Weedeater and the main room was absolutely packed.
I caught a few songs and fortunately due to the numbers in the main room it meant getting to see Ludicra was easier, and those that missed it missed an absolute treat as they were amazing. Like many of the bands who played over the days of the festival they looked genuinely psyched to be at Roadburn. The benefit to the crowd of this means that bands tend to put on absolute stellar performances, and it’s easy to see why so many people myself included class it as the best festival in the world. With Ludicra putting on such a good show I stayed for their whole set, despite being stuck right at the back (the bat cave was rammed). This meant I missed most of Evoken who I had originally intended to see.
Evoken next and originally meant to see more of them but stuck around for the whole of Ludicra as they were so good. Their Winter-esque doom death worked perfectly in the dark lights of the green room and their reverb vocals sounded from the depths of hell itself. I was quite surprised how easy it was to get in to see them considering the amount of people who had been watching Winter the previous day.
Next up was Voivod, and if anyone took the award for happiest band to be on a stage for Roadburn I think we found ourselves a winner. Singer Snake couldn’t contain how happy he was constantly beaming from ear to ear and it showed in the performance as blacky and chewy bounced around the stage hammering away on their strings.
I headed off to see the mighty Ramesses but even though normally you could (politely) push your way into a packed green room this time it was a no go. Bodies were spewing out through both doors and into the vegan foodcorner and bar area all with necks craned trying to catch a glimpse of the band putting out the great wall of sound coming out of the room.
I consoled myself with catching the last 2 songs of Imaad Wassif who was playing fuzzy psych rock completely different to the acoustic folk on the album I have by him. A man of many talents it would seem.
Shrinebuilder were on the main stage next, and following on from the disappointment of not making it last year due to the volcano showed Roadburn how a supergroup should sound. Wino and Scott Kelly both simply take over a stage they have so much presence. The tracks came across way more intense than the studio recordings perhaps due to the ferocity of Scott Kelly. Alot of people I spoke to after the performance felt the band didn’t live up to the sum of their seperate parts but I think you have to take things as they are. You are never going to be able to create or top the sheer brilliiance of either Vitus or Neurosis, this is a different beast and needs to be treated as it’s own seperate entity. If anyone else was putting out the quality of Shrinebuilder they’d be getting hailed for it!
Leaving Shrinbuilder early to ensure we got into Ufomammut and things did not look pretty. Walking out from the main 013 centre and around the corner a queue snaked from the front of the midi theatre around the corner and down the side street. We eventually got in and Ufommamut came on and showed why Eve got voted Roadburn fans album of the year. They looked like they were really enjoying the rapture coming from the crowd who lapped up every single note. Between every song the crowd were hollering and clapping their admiration for this band who are on fire right now. Playing Eve and finishing with a few live rarities including Braindome and then God they even stuck around to chat with the crowd after the set, happy to play large stages through to tiny venues like their last UK tour, they are the musicians band, hard working but humble. It also helps they write albums of the year. I think Ufommamut and Ramesses were the two mistakes of the festival, with both of them requiring larger stages for the amount of people that wanted to see them but with so many great bands playing I do not envy Walter’s job of trying to work out the schedule one bit.
Afterwards I managed to catch the last of Gates of Slumber, and “To The Racks With Them” from new album The Wretch sounded amazing live, will most definitely be checking that out when it appears next month.
After they’d finished I went and caught the last 2 songs of Swans. I’ve never been a great fan of them but I wish I’d got their earlier as what I caught blew me away, gutted.
That wraps up Roadburn 2011, oh wait a minute, there’s always the afterburner……