The third day began with Midwife, the slow melodies and velvety voice helping to gently transition into festival mood while watching the artist plays her guitar and sing attached to a phone handset mic that gives this distinct vocal sound.
Later Divide And Dissolve provided a different kind of ambience. The instrumental music created by the Australian duo is far heavier, “doomier” and somewhat haunting, but there is still also a more melodic component in the use of the flute and the saxophone – making their offer intriguingly unique. Another notable moment of this performance was Takiaya Reed’s speech about inclusion, minorities, acceptance, and respect for each other. Coming from a black woman with native American ancestry, along with her fellow Maori bandmate Sylvie Nehill, this garnered the rightful applause of the entire hall.
Jo Quail opened the day on the Main Stage with her commissioned work “The Cartographer”. Along with the Belgian Crossbones trombone collective, this was something hard to miss for the fans of experimentation and classical music combined, and whether you are a fan of Jo Quail’s work or not, definitely worth hearing for even a short while to this composition.
Another of the many surprise shows, Gnod took over the Next Stage with a heavy bass (even overwhelmingly so), and an attitude that went in stark contrast with what we just saw. It can be great to jump from one extreme to another sometimes, but it can also be difficult to switch gears (and mindset) so quickly. Nonetheless, this was definitely a positive surprise .
Verified also this year, one of the fans’ favorite of the festival, Emma Ruth Rundle gathered one of the largest crowds in 013 up to now. Emma managed to enchant everyone with her performance of “Engine of Hell”. This was another emotionally intense show, for the artist and audience alike, and being very open with her fans throughout the performance made the experience far more personal and intimate than anything you would normally see on a big stage such as this.
Finally I was able to see more of Karin Park, this time in her Årabrot clothes, together of course with her partner Kjetil Nernes. The US western-like vibes and catchy riffs of the Norwegian band are only a small part of the appeal. While I wasn’t very familiar with them up til now, I was conquered from the get go by their live show (thank you Roadburn once again).
Liturgy was next on the big stage for the first of two special sets as part of Thomas Sciarone and Milena Eva’s curation. For this one, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s creation focused on “H.A.Q.Q.”, pouring this experimental black metal concept album in all it’s strangeness towards the audience. Liturgy is in my opinion one of those bands you can either fully jump on the wagon and ride along or really hard to barely get on board. For one, I found this show very interesting and somewhat refreshing in the peculiarity of their offer.
Silver Knife, on the other hand – which I had originally high expectations – while having a solid drum base and all the elements in the right place, still sounded somewhat uninspiring. Lacking that something special expected from a band that has been hyped in the lead up to the show. At least I wasn’t the only one who had high hopes for this, judging from the incredibly long queue outside waiting to get in still halfway through the show. I am quite confident most of these people did not manage to see one bit of the band on stage and just queued listening through the wall.
The Icelandic trio Kælan Mikla delivered exactly what one could expect from them. The positive reviews flowing over the latest effort of the three young women are perfectly justified by their live shows, which literally bring to life their music. There are very few “up and coming” bands that really got my attention over the past five years or so, and Kælan Mikla still has my full support.
They would also have had my undivided attention, but as I quickly learned over this weekend, secret shows can easily put a wrench in one’s plans, so Thou (& friends) called once again to an overcrowded Skatepark (missing the obvious guest appearance of Neige on “Hvítir Sandar”). Each song featured different guest musicians, from Ethan McCarthy (Primitive Man), to Meredith Graves (ex-Perfect Pussy), Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota) – who took on climbing on the scaffolding of the small stage – as well as Madison Marshall (Cloud Rat) and members of Full of Hell. The party vibe was palpable during this hour.
Gladly I could enjoy it in its almost entirety – as it was truly fun to watch and bang your head to, so much it nearly slipped off my mind that I had to run towards 013 for Ulver. One thing that is a cornerstone of the Norwegian’s shows over the years, is the amazing visuals accompanying their music. While presenting live their “Flowers of Evil” effort, a double screen both in front and at the back of the stage projected stunning images that made the show well-worth watching. At least if you don’t care to see the musicians on the stage, as that was rather challenging.
Overlaps in the schedule brought me back again to the Hall of Fame stage where Dödsrit and their blackened crust sounded quite appealing. The band lead by Christoffer Öster delivered quite what promised, even though the “blackened” part was more predominant than expected – at least comparing live to what can be heard on record.
Finally I made it to one of the many Full of Hell shows, albeit probably the weirdest one of them all, in collaboration with the gloomy shoegazers Nothing (of which I missed the “solo” show). To be honest, I am still not quite sure what to make of it, grinding death and shoegaze blended into ambient, noise. Post-metal sound that hardly fit the definition of either bands, while still having recognisable elements that can be traced back to one or the other. This was plain weird, but of the “I want to see where this goes” – kind of weird. Confusing but highly effective in catching your attention.
In what felt – and likely even was – the longest of days, I somewhat managed to muster enough energy to catch the late night Kanga show (not the following DJ set – since that would have made it far harder to wake up on Sunday). This was a decision I would repeat without thinking twice. Dancing along some “dark electronic pop” (with some industrial touch) tunes felt like the best way to end a long Saturday night. The performance itself made it hard to take your eyes off the American artist, jumping, twisting, and shaking her body left and right on the stage – proving very contagious to the audience. It’s a great – and perhaps also bold – choice to have booked such a band at this festival, yet again proving how there are no musical boundaries whatsoever in what can happen here at Roadburn.
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