Tuesday 23rd April 2024,
The Black Planet

Report: Roadburn 2023 – Day 3

Elsa Marques 21/06/2023 Festivals, Reports Comments Off on Report: Roadburn 2023 – Day 3
Report: Roadburn 2023 – Day 3

Marco Manzi continues his Roadburn 2023 report. Read all the details regarding his experience on day 3, which took place on Saturday 22.4

Did I already mention how nice it is to be able to meet like-minded people and have casual conversations throughout the festival, no matter where or about what?
That’s how the third day started, and also the reason why I ended up skipping the “Folk stories…” panel at V39. The socializing aspect simply took priority, and I have zero regrets about it. Besides the weather had been better during the morning so it was good to enjoy it while it lasted. By the time I was having lunch at the Pit Stop, it had started raining a little bit, so it was time to get back inside and check out the merch stands before Pupil Slicer started the day in the Engine Room.

This was the first Dutch appearance of the young English band. They performance had the effect of a repeated series of slaps in the face, perfect for waking up the crowd and face a new day head-on. It was easy to identify their talent first hand. Their mix of extreme sounds – mathcore, death and grind – certainly makes the band stand out. They primarily perform material from their debut record “Mirrors” but there was room for some new material from their sophomore – yet to be released – album. The alchemy amongst the band clearly stands out and adds to their show and the crowd shows their appreciation. Not only with a good enthusiastic responses but also for being present this early in the day.

Pupil Slicer

Next up was Sangre de Muerdago, now a welcome and familiar presence in these early afternoons. The reason why the band has been performing at these specific times was due to the fact they could play undisturbed by any interference coming from the main stage, in order to get the most out of their instruments. I must say that worked pretty nicely, and so was alternating more extreme bands with them on the running order.
Joined on stage, once again, for this third and last performance of the weekend by the duo Judasz & Nahimana. The purpose was an original commissioned piece called “As voces da pedra” (the voices of stone), this particular piece left extra room for exploring new sounds and push the creativity of these musicians even further. It has been a pleasure to see this collaboration unfold over the course of the weekend and I am sure many Roadburners appreciated the effort put in by these artists.

Sangre de Muerdago

The day was starting to get busy, as we got to another collaboration project, the commissioned piece performed by Duma and Deafkids. What is amazing is that these musicians hadn’t even met before and only during this week been in the same room. The resulting work was somewhat unexpected: knowing the explosiveness of Duma from last year’s gig at Roadburn and being familiar with Deafkids’s rhythmic beats and unique sound, one would have expected something really powerful and energetic. Contrary to expected, at least the first few minutes, portrayed a more experimental approach, with an entirely different flow and tuned down intensity. They were clearly favoring something new, that didn’t quite sound like either bands, while still able to recognize them both.

Duma and Deafkids

Unfortunately, duty called again and soon after I was already back at the Engine Room to witness Healthyliving’s show. This was the first live show ever for the band, made of familiar faces from the previous day – as it features members of Ashenspire and Maud The Moth. The captivating soundscape in which the band immersed the audience and the freedom to experiment something new with each song clearly sets the trio apart. The fans got to enjoy, yet again, something fresh in perfect tune with the “redefinition of heaviness” – which is Roadburn’s motto.

Healthyliving

For a moment, it was easy to forget about everything else than these emotional melodies, until reality hits and head to the Next Stage for the dutch nordic folk act Sowulo. Sound-wise, one could set them in between Heilung and Wardruna.
To help add layers to this profoundly spiritual music of pagan roots, the show involves several traditional instruments. Such as, long horns and harp, as well as violins, drums, nickelharpa, and other uncommon instruments. Most of the show is focused on their latest efforts, “Wurdiz” and “Mann” (2022 and 2019 respectively), and fans of this genre had a hard time not to appreciate the performance of this collective. One could visibly tell they were enjoying themselves on stage as much as the crowd in front of them.

Sowulo

On a sad note, I was unable to check out Deathless Void, heading instead directly to the long-awaited Chat Pile show, with the band now taking the main stage after their secret show at the Hall of Fame the previous night.
If anything, the big stage gave lot of room for the singer Randy “Raygun Busch” Heyer to roam around the stage – mic in hand – in this European first for the band (I recall one member mentioning he hadn’t even been outside of North America ever). The much-anticipated gig easily fulfilled the expectations and then some. Although, you can clearly tell the band is definitely more used to smaller, more intimate settings for their performances. On the other hand the view of a full 013 at a glance looked great, and I can imagine how that would be for them from the stage. They still delivered one of the best shows of the day, of which I had to skip the last ten minutes in order to grab a cheese sandwich on the way to Sierra (and the busy part of the day wasn’t even there yet).

Chat Pile

Sierra had the chance to get people familiar with her contagious beats and energy already the night before when replacing Boy Harsher in the late night DJ set. Seemingly in anticipation for her show, the Hall of Fame was even fuller than the usual. This was a very appropriate appetizer for the lovers of the this genre and a good dancing warm up, that continued later in the night at Boy Harsher’s show. The French artist shows personality and talent – nothing new if you had the chance to see her play live before – and this provided the audience an extra boost of adrenaline to get the evening started.

Sierra

What I was not prepared for was the wildness of the audience at High Vis (we are back in the Engine Room). The post-punk Brits combo has definite hardcore roots that reflect in their crowd, and in what has been – I am quite sure – the biggest moshpit of the weekend. For me, this was as intense as quick, because David Eugene Edwards was about to begin his solo gig on the Main Stage, but something I absolutely want to revisit with more time on my hands.

High Vis

As for Wovenhand’s main man, this acoustic show saw him sitting way back on the main stage with his guitar while performing pieces from both Wovenhand and 16 Horsepower, as well as a few covers (among which Bob Dylan’s “As I Went Out One Morning” stood out). Personally, I will never get tired to mention how welcome were these “breaks” – lower tempos acts alternating with more intense shows. This really gave time to catch your breath, sit down, and fully appreciate the moment. In that sense, this plan – and this kind of running order – worked very nicely, as there was never time to get bored.

David Eugene Edwards

My first visit of the day at The Terminal, was to witness Candy performing their “Heaven Is Here” record in its entirety. But don’t let yourself get fooled by the sweetness in the name, cause these guys poured doses of acid violence on an excited crowd, with vicious riffs and anxiety-inducing package of aggressive noise that felt like a personal assault delivered straight into your ears. Hard to pin down this band to one particular sound as there is so much variation from one song to another, with their sheer intensity being the common denominator of a gig where the band pushed the proverbial “pedal to the metal” down to the max from start to finish.

Candy

Still dazed by what just witnessed, it was a good opportunity to take a short stroll outside of the borders of the traditional festival grounds towards the nearby LOC brewery, where Terzij de Horde was performing as part of the Roadburn “offroad”-program. Or so I thought, because apparently a whole lot of people had the very same idea. It took as long to squeeze my way in and find a stool to stand on in order to see something, as it took to realize it was soon time to head back towards 013 once again. Despite that, TdH seemed to have a very solid performance going on, fueled up by the enthusiasm of the locals, as the band is on its home grounds.

Terzij de Horde

It was time to slow down a bit for what was, even for Roadburn terms, a peculiar set. Broeder Dieleman is a folk artist singing in his local dialect from the Zeeland region of The Netherlands. While I was imagining one guy sitting on a chair with his acoustic guitar, I admit I was way mistaken as the show included a full-fledged band including even a theremin player, something completely unexpected from the little information I had on the band. In retrospective, this was pretty in line with the “weirdness of Roadburn”. This was a pretty nice show, as Dieleman himself was in very good spirits, cracking up jokes in a language I don’t fully understand (but I am sure those who could understand, actually appreciated). This was again a good “intermission” before Cave In took over the main stage.

Broeder Dieleman

First of the two shows for the band on this Roadburn weekend (and the only one I would be able to attend), the gig was composed of a very special set entitled “Interstellar Mixtape”, whereas the second show would see them play the new “Heavy Pendulum” in full.
As much as the title of this performance might make you think about the tapes in Guardians of the Galaxy movie franchise, the result was even weirder. Covers of Cure, Fleetwood Mac, Codeine, came more or less in succession one after another, all of them made into the band’s own interpretation. There was still room for some of the band’s own early material, touching albums from their debut up to the “Perfect Pitch Black”. I am personally not a huge Cave In fan, but I have to admit this was something pretty unique even for their own audience.

Cave In

At the same time, the best was yet to come as Zola Jesus own Nika Roza Danilova gave such a brilliant performance under her solo monicker of NIKA. As unsettling and disturbing as unnervingly beautiful, this mesmerizing show consisted of her sitting, bending, crouching and twisting – at times standing and even jumping. All happened on top of a small platform on stage, while turning nobs and producing eerie sounds – for everyone’s surprise, there was also occasional sipping of tea. It was so incredibly hard to take your focus away, and yet when closing your eyes this uneasiness and fascination for the music was pervading your entire thoughts. I was not expecting anything like this, and now I only crave more of it.

NIKA

However, the prize for the most overwhelming show of the festival must go to Boy Harsher. The duo – who couldn’t make it in time the previous night for the promised DJ set – got the entire 013, upper floors included, to dance without a care in the world for well over an hour. Even I completely lost myself in the music for a while, which sometimes can be the best feeling in the world.
They immediately, and provocatively, invited whoever was not a fan of dance to leave the hall, and got the party started with “Keep Driving”. During the gig they also played some material from the soundtrack of their own short movie “The Runner”. While the atmosphere got hotter and sweatier by the minute, you could almost feel the vibrations in the venue from everyone jumping and waving their hands to these catchy electro-pop tunes, with their cinematic vibes. In between, the cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” spiced things up, and the set ended with “Pain”. Most importantly the set ended with happiness and big smiles of satisfaction on everyone’s face, making this show a strong highlight of this year’s Roadburn.

Boy Harsher

It was hard to get down from the high created by the American duo and put yourself into a different mindset for the last show of the night. Although, Iron Jinn still managed to leave a positive impact on a very good night. The show worked also as a release party for the self-titled band’s debut record, and I am sure that as the crowd inside of the Next Stage, the band was excited to showcase their work live to such a dedicated audience.
Hailing from Arnhem in the eastern part of the country and featuring Oeds Beydals (The Devils Blood/Molassess/Death Alley), Wout Kemkens (Shaking Godspeed/De Niemanders), Bob Hogenelst (Birth of Joy/Molassess) and Gerben Bielderman (Pauw), this rock ensemble still allowed us to finish on a high note with their groovy melodies, with vocals that at times bring the latest Ulver to mind. The four conquered the audience with ease and gave their fans something else to sing in their mind while heading out in town in the windy and wet dutch weather.

Iron Jinn

Once again it was time for some well-deserved late drinks somewhere in the Weirdo Canyon, waiting for the last day and already starting to think back at the festival so far. For sure Boy Harsher conquered a special place in this year’s edition and in its memories. Other shows that clearly stood out on a personal level are NIKA, Chat Pile, Candy and High Vis, but today was filled with really interesting performances and it wouldn’t give it full justice to just mention a few bands. I am just grateful to Roadburn for making this happen.

P.s. in all the excitement late in the night, I had completely forgotten to check out Shagor, which makes it two black metal acts I ended up skipping today (and will have to check out properly at the next occasion).

Text and photos by Marco Manzi
Managing editor: Elsa Marques

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About The Author

Adopted the role of the zine Finnish emissary, and since my addition to the roster, I have been juggling the tasks of Editor-in-chief, Promoter and Manager of the zine social media pages. As part of the permanent staff of the zine, album reviews, video and written interviews, covering live shows (text, video and photography) have been also a strong contribution to the zine work. Besides the zine "hobbies" I am also a origami, music and travel enthusiastic. Academic background: Biology degree from the University of Coimbra (Portugal); Master of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the Center of Neurosciences & Faculty of Science and Technology (Portugal); PhD degree from the Medical Faculty, University of Helsinki (Finland).

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