On Friday we were awaken by Sleep’s check sound as a way to warn us that a massive day of sound was ahead of Reverence. On the way to the festival area we soon found out who the surprise guest was: the unbearable hot sun that impelled us to drink liquids. Alcohol mostly.
So the first sounds came from BRAHMA LOKA, opening our day at stage Rio with some well inserted drum punches that sometimes pulled us back to some gothic pop rock. Sweet voices and a modern contrabass replaced properly the bass guitar with increasing groove.
Soon after, youngsters FUZZ presented their punk at stage Praia, introducing some Tool alike down tempo passages. If the harsher parts were fast, the clean vocals proved to still need some more tune.
While dj Pedro Ramos was pulling some old school heavy sounds in the forest, Ukrainians STONED JESUS grabbed the biggest audience of the festival that far at Rio. We got surprised by the number of festival goers that were into their sound. Much more than just Stoner rock. More than just Faith no More influences. A real hard blues concert during which no one left. Best ambient till that time. Well done with the Prodigy cover, proving Igor’s deep voice range.
And so the feast of awaited bands was on, with Finnish GRAVE PLEASURES playing precisely under the sun at Praia. More than for us we imagine that it sure was strange for them to play in those conditions. Choosing an impeccable setlist, “Out of Control” opened the ceremonies, eagering the appetite of a significant number of followers that marked their presence since the first chords. With a new work on the ground, Grave Pleasures were also able to bury down Beastmilk for some time, introducing some new songs such as “Crying Wolves”. We imagined them to play faster live, but we’re guessing that some speed was being lost with the heat because they sure weren’t expecting to play under a 34º sun. Under a new name but already establish the fan base proved to be quite considerable, staying till the end of their show. With Kvohst proved to have a profound live voice with deep range. But it was mostly when a guitar problem occurred during “Genocidal Crush” that the frontman took his role as a leader, holding the sunny troops till the end. As if in a sign of recognition they offered the audience with two of Beastmilk’s most celebrated songs: “Nuclear Winter” and the final “Holding Onto Love”. Best concert of the festival till that moment
But were we satisfied to have a gothic rock moment as the best of the day? No. So we marched in pursuit of a darker cave. And two gigs later we found ourselves entering PROCESS OF GUILT’s abyss. Well, not exactly a cave anymore. They now have main stage privileges. And for the sign of it, it won’t be the last time. As followers of their art for many years it was with no surprise that we saw them filling all the main stage space with anger, negativity and corrosive sharpness. The presence of JP Schopfer on the synths since the first song added a note of mysticism that we haven’t experienced before with POG. Shooting the “Liar” movements like torches frying our egos, the massive wall of sound impressed all those not familiar with the harsher performance of these two years of Reverence. The heaviest song of this year was also written under their sign, with “Faemin”, before an introduction to a new track, played in monolithic pain. 50 minutes of demonical doom over our heads, in broad daylight.
And so we took the time to prepare ourselves for the next journey, inside BIZARRA LOCOMOTIVA’s wagon. With an acclaimed album out this year, the band mixed the setlist between new (“Na Febre de Ícaro”, Mortuário”) and settled themes (“Ego Descentralizado”, “Desgraçado de Bordo”) showing their ability to please the different factions of an audience as wide as the Reverence one. With the main stage transformed into a grey warehouse, the engines kept at full speed, breaking only when “Sudário de Escamas” read our biblical rights. In a concert where the sound engineer pushed the level close to the tolerable limit, the slumber industrial atmosphere was raised again towards the end, in a concert where Rui Sidónio did several dives into a stunned pit, launching the insane platform for the final anthem “Escaravelho”.
Returning to less industrialized fields, Italian band BLACK RAINBOWS were starting in stage Praia. These three guys performed a stunning stoner concert, always played at full speed. There was melody, weight and balance in the exact quantity. The audience couldn’t react differently, and that’s why the applause was so intense. A band to return. Definitely.
As the night was getting higher the festival ground was also looking more agitated. Even if hundreds of people were moving (or crawling) in different directions, it seem that the number of festival goers was, at least, close to last year’s numbers.
Again in Praia. Again with Italian artists. This time they go by the name of UFOMAMMUT, and they had probably the biggest audience in two years of that stage. You who have been there can understand why. Starting with the first two tracks from “Ecate”, we immediately felt the more electrified vibe of this live show. Maybe less weight and more electricity than our prior live experiences with Ufomammut Being this year one of the few bands using video wall projections on stage, if you wanted to get psycho that was the time. Balanced bass, perfect percussion exhibition, and their usual guitar crescendo kept us fighting till the end, where their monolithic riffs created the perfect scenario for the final “Oro” songs, to quick ass. Not their heaviest show till date, but an insane electric demolition.
The relaxing pause during John Spencer proved to be of great utility 30 minutes after. Yes, because having a band such as SLEEP as headliner promised something good. But sure not the experience they delivered in that Reverence stage. A full set of massacring doom with non-stop psych blues interludes for more than one hour and a half. The astonishing wall of sound created what it seemed to be a lethargic, monolithic and automated reaction from the audience. A mass of people balancing together, each one within their own journey. The so called “veterans” gave us tickets to travel upon “Dopesmoker”, “The Sciences”, “Dragonaut” and even Sunn O)))’s alike “Sonic Titan” where the eternal seats in which we laid down in this trip seemed to have lift us to a place from where we haven’t still returned. Have you?
After an experience such like that there was no will, no strengths to march to another stage immediately. So, we had BLOWN OUT as the last plate of these Saturday long feast. With a hell of a drum and a hell of a bass, sounding almost as a contrabass, this trio grabbed our attention from the start. And let’s not forget the entrance of the hellish shoegaze guitar. In a very strong day, the best to say is that those guys kept us there without thinking about the previous experiences.
And there were some very intense ones. See you tomorrow.
Photos of Reverence festival, courtesy of:
Valentina Erno ( Brahma Loka, Stoned Jesus, Blown Out, Ufomammut & Sleep);
João Ribeiro ( Black Rainbows & POG);
Natacha Monteiro ( Bizarra & Grave Pleasures)
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