Valada is a quiet place located 60 kms North from Lisbon, thus offering an interesting location to gather rockers from different latitudes. On top of that, this small town is not strange to loud and fast live shows, once it held, many years ago, the dead Festival Tejo, where bands as Moonspell and Ramp played in 2005.
10 years have passed and the conditions of the place just got better, with the green park located next to Rio Tejo creating the ideal conditions to a new festival concept: the Reverence one. Almost 60 bands on three stages, from 12:00 to 06:00 AM, in an easygoing mode, without confusions, battles or distresses.
As this reporter way of life is still not enough to pay the bills, on Friday we could only arrive at 18:00h, on time to catch up with RINGO DEATHSTARR on stage Rio. Alternative indie rock was the mood for this North American collective, whose approaches to some shoegaze rock made it a very promising start to our first day of Reverence. It’s always good when you can start a festival with smooth interludes such as the ones provided from these Austin guys.
Even calmer was the performance of WOODS at stage Sabotage. They were able to join a significant mass of festival-goers to watch and listen to their woodstock trendy rock. The sound kept really homogeneous throughout the concert, while the band seemed to be in total communion with their music. It will not be the concert of our lives, but we kept easily till the last melody was pulled out of that blues orientation.
Then the main stage opened its doors, with British THE WYTCHES taking control of the perfect scenario offered by the huge Reverence stage. Did you think that grunge was dead? Well, think again, because this young English trio came to prove you different. In some moments we couldn’t stop thinking about Nirvana, namely because of the voice, figure and attitude of the band, even if they added some personal marks to the show, as slower themes and some riff breaks, while introducing their latest effort “Annabel Dream Reader”.
But the pace of the festival returned to lower rotations just afterwards, when SWERVEDRIVER hit the main stage. Reformed in 2008, this English collective has built a strong name in the alternative rock scene, even if with few studio works. We can’t say we had a blast with their performance, because we felt too much pop-rock feelings, in a concert that was too soft for us.
Well, maybe all that softness turned out to be the best appetizer for what was coming next: RED FANG. This North American guys unleashed the fastest concert of the whole festival, pulling their stoner/heavy metal to a higher level. Less refined than Kyuss but faster than QOTSA, Red Fang members gave it all during almost one hour, creating some agitation in the crowd and proving that they deserve the quick reconnaissance they’ve been having in the mainstream heavy scene. It was the most intense show of the festival that far, provided by four high rotation musicians.
The next artist was the long awaited GRAVEYARD, for the first time in Portuguese territory. Well, that was in fact one of the major differences between this organization and the majority of others operating in Portugal: they brought new, different and not so often bands to our lands. And judging by the affluence, it was a gained bet. Returning to the Swedish collective, no one could expect other than psychedelic blues and heavy psych rock, once this not a band made to create moshpits. Instead, the strong feeling they caused us led us to deeply enjoy an easygoing way of being, forced to even embark on some dance steps. We felt that every single lady at the festival should have been invited to one dance during that show.
But the main reason for our presence at that first night was soon coming and it didn’t take long to ELECTRIC WIZARD maniacs hit the stage, fulfilling the needs for those connected to the black arts. The sound was terrifically dragged during the whole show, and we believe that some of our hallucinations in the following days were still the reflexes of some riffs that echoed in our minds for days. Starting with the ultra dragged “Supercoven”, other hymns such as “Witchcult Today” build a perfect communion with the audience, even though the concert was sadly influenced by the strangely bright stage on which Electric Wizard performed. We are used to see them in darker venues, with no white light effects, and so the Luciferian content of their performance turned out to be somewhat less appealing than in other occasions. As one of the major marks of their career “Black Mass” anthem was the higher point of a solid performance.
If darkness were not completely unleashed by the British Doom masters, the Portuguese ones seemed to have delivered nothing but it. Because we had 20 minutes break between the two shows, our minds could rest enough before another intense encounter with PROCESS OF GUILT at stage Sabotage. Starting with “Harvest”, the dark quartet occupied half of their setlist with the advance of their future release “Liar”, from the upcoming split with Rorcal. The blistering sound coming from the amps proved that POG aren’t going to stop their dark desires. With only 30 minutes to play they carved every second of their performance as the last one they had on stage, finishing with the best song they’ve produced till date – “Faemin”.
With so many soft bands throughout the bill, the organizers mixed some of the hefty ones all in a row, when the clocks announced that Friday was becoming a very dark Saturday. And so, when POG finished, WHITE HILLS had already started on stage Rio. It’s been two years since we’ve last seen them, and the best compliment to make is that they look better, visually (well, at least Ego Sensations in her black leather suit…) and musically. The North American space rockers lifted our minds to a fuzzy level of enlightenment, using and abusing their shoegaze synth guitar game, which made us balance even after the show.
The time to rest came after these three intense concerts, profiting from the already existing pick nick beer garden, where you would find drinks and foods at inviting prices. But even there we had music, coming from the Dj’s stage, and one hour of industrial/metal from Dj Mário Valente kept us sharp for the next gig at the Sabotage stage: NAAM. Can you imagine what The Doors would sound like if they passed through the XXIst Century? Neither do us. But NAAM guys may have a pretty close answer to that question. Consumed keyboards opened the sky road for some acid take-offs, whose wheels seemed to never actually returned to the ground. And if they did, they passed through it, digging an astral cave under our feet. And that was where our energies rested till the next morning. 5 A.M..