Thing is, there was something for everyone…and too much for anyone.
I started on a high with Year Of No Light. Some regrets about missing The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, but you pays your money and makes your choices, and YONL were transcendent.
Also regret missing Zoroaster, but no chance of getting into the Bat Cave and it was a toss up anyway with Acid King. Tails I lost.
Plan was Naam next, but backache rooted me to the Main Stage and a nice surprise in the shape of Wovenhand. Came across as less preachy live, though his message was still loud & clear.
First sighting of Circle was a blast. Been wanting to see them for a long time and they played a lot of familiar stuff. Great set, one of my highlights.
Then along came Wardruna and took it still higher. A magical, powerful, evocative - and rare - set, just topping the other first day highlights for me.
Carlton Melton would've finished things off nicely, but again, impossible to get into the Bat Cave.
YONL for starters again, this time soundtracking 'Vampyr', an old silent movie. It was that good I literally felt as if my blood had been drained. Amazing band.
Missed out on Aluk Todolo, sadly, but made it down to the front of the Bat Cave for Mamiffer. Gave their new album 5 stars on first listen, dropped it to 4.5 on the basis that it couldn't really be that good (could it?), but this was a 5 star performance. Loved it, and the perfect antidote to 'Vampyr'.
Circle with Pharaoh Overlord didn't do anything for me, neither did Beaver. Took in the first couple of Earth songs but Menace Ruine beckoned back in the Bat Cave. After a stuttering start, thanks to a blown amp, it all came together and the replacement amp just about survived the hammering. One of my 2nd day highlights for sure.
Sunn O))) were doing their thing on the Main Stage but this time it didn't grab me and I wandered off to the Midi for Voivod. Not my thing.
Back to the Green Room for Caspar Brotzmann Massaker. Missed the first song but still got 75 minutes of pure brilliance. Didn't know much about them beforehand but the Roadburn magic worked big time and gave me the highlight of the weekend.
A very tight power trio led by Caspar Brotzmann's guitar genius, they got 10 gallon hatted Michael Gira so excited he lead the encore chant. This set was of a different order to anything else I saw all weekend and ranks amongst the best I've witnessed. I hope we get a lot more from Caspar Brotzmann after this.
I'm a big fan of Master Musicians of Bukkake but forsook them for Black Math Horseman. Possibly a mistake, although BMH put in a nice enough set , with Sera Timms looking glamorous.
White Hills was the plan, but they're another band I've seen before and I decided to give Rwake a go instead. And didn't they give some back. Very intense. Great stuff.
Wondered what Pharaoh Overlord had to offer after Friday's disappointment, but I needn't have worried. Great set of trance inducing psychedelic Krautrock. Loved it.
Ramasses. Grabbed me by the balls. Very impressed. Big fan now. And a good prep for Ufomammut.
The Midi Theatre was the perfect venue for Ufomammut. I sat right at the back and the sound was excellent. Having put them on in a tiny (half filled) 150 capacity club room it was a revelation to witness them let rip on a big stage. They were great, giving their all and earning a standing ovation. A great end to the 3 day festival.
After the previous night's peaks, Sunday's Afterburner could've been a come down. But it wasn't. The plan was Dead Meadow and Black Mountain, but I ended up spending the whole evening in the Green Room.
I saw Sungrazer supporting Colour Haze recently, but with a longer set to play with, and a new song to unveil, there was a lot to appreciate.
Dragontears did nothing for me. Liked their last album but wasn't in the mood and took a break.
The final run in was The Machine, Black Pyramid, and Samsara Blues Experiment. All excellent. The second half of The Machine's 90 minute set consisted on a great new song and a jam that strayed into Voodoo Chile/Daddy Cool territory. Black Pyramid's set was relentless and, as anticipated, Samsara Blues Experiment was a great way to finish the weekend. Really great, as in one of the highlights.
Any festival that includes Caspar Brotzmann Massaker, Ufomammut, Ramasses, Samsara Blues Experiment, Wardruna, Mamiffer, Year Of No Light, Circle, Pharaoh Overlord, Menace Ruine and The Machine has to be special. Not to mention the numerous bands I didn't get to see, including the likes of Swans, Godflesh, Yakuza, Shrinebuilder, Weedeater, Winter and Pentagram.
Happy memories. Need another fix. That'll be Cough tonight then.