• One man's Roadburn odyssey

    19. Apr. 2011, 10:47

    Thu 14 Apr – Roadburn Festival 2011


    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.

    On reflection

    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.

    Special indeed.

    Happy memories. Need another fix. That'll be Cough tonight then.
  • Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra live recordings

    29. Mär. 2010, 13:38

    Recordings of the Bristol and Brighton gigs on the Kollaps Tradixionales tour can be downloaded from the Live Music Archive in V0 and flac:



    320kbps mp3s of the individual songs can also be downloaded at Sound Cloud.
  • Pit Er Pat

    18. Mai. 2009, 18:49

    Sun 17 May – Pit Er Pat, The Momeraths

    Bristol, this was a missed opportunity to see a great up & coming band...for nothing! Barely 20 people, and only a handful of them were attentive. Surprisingly the set didn't include any songs from the excellent 'High Time' album, and their style was different to what I'd expected, which bodes well for the next album. A 120 mile round trip from S. Wales and £5.40 for the bridge was more than repaid. Nice venue too.
  • O Motherfucker

    1. Nov. 2008, 10:46


    We were there more for Valet & Gnod than Jackie-O Motherfucker, who I'd struggled to get into before. This sold them to me big time. Valet kicked off a gorgeously transcendant performance with an extended song from the excellent Naked Acid. I could've listened to her for much longer but also loved her contribution to the full band's set. I'll have another listen to Jackie-O Motherfucker's recorded stuff but as a live band they're right up there with the best I've seen. Looking forward to the next time.

    Gnod were great too. This was the third time we've seen them this year and they've given a different performance each time, always leaving us high as kites. Tonight was a shamanic trip with a light touch, audience participation, twinkling bells and a touch of humour. Loved it.
  • Disappointing BS

    21. Jul. 2008, 5:45

    Sat 19 Jul – Butthole Surfers, Paul Green's School of Rock

    Maybe I've seen too many excellent bands lately, e.g. Oxbow and Battles at Supersonic last week, and The Fall and Wire, both in Academy 2. This was a major disappointment and I left after 5 or 6 numbers when it became clear that BS are nowhere near as subtle and humerous as they are on record, and that they were going to keep bringing on the frankly unimpressive School of Rock kids to play with them. Loads of people at the front were clearly having a good time, and maybe I was just out of step with the event, or had male PMS or something. Perhaps I should've given them the benefit of doubt and stuck it out a while longer, but it was a relief to get outside and consign this to history...which in my opinion BS ought to consider for themselves.
  • A gig to savour

    22. Mai. 2008, 9:26

    Wed 21 May – The Black Angels, Sian Alice Group

    These were the (approx) 29th & 30th bands we'd seen in 6 days. At ATP curated by Explosion in the Sky we enjoyed the likes of Battles (x2), Animal Collective, Broken Social Scene, Dinosaur Jr (x2) and the night before had seen A Place to Bury Strangers. The Black Angels and Sian Alice Group were at least as good as any of those and maybe better.

    Sian Alice Group are a rising force with the potential for greatness. For some reason my brain formed a neural link to Portishead. Their album 59:59 is guaranteed a place in my 2008 top 20. Live they're an intelligent, hypnotic delight. A UK band to get exciited about.

    The Black Angels are churning out the best psychedelic rock I know of. Their new album Directions to See a Ghost is another 2008 top 20 job. We enjoyed the excellent Dead Meadow a few weeks back but The Black Angels give something extra...maybe it's a slightly more elevating psychedelic trip. Whatever, they're mind blowing.

    A gig to savour.
  • Totally Wired

    4. Mai. 2008, 7:30

    Sat 3 May – Futuresonic Festival

    Wire were on fire. Loved every minute and all 3 encores. 23 Years Too Late would've topped it off, but maybe another time. Bring on the new album...

    The Chap were brilliant too. Great music, great fun, definitely want lots more of this band.

    I've tried to like the Dirty Projectors but don't. Just not my thing.

    Only caught the last 10 mins of Skeletons & the Kings of All Cities but liked what I heard.

    All in all, a blast.