Roadburn Festival- 013, Tilburg, Holland 2008

From Aural Innovations #39 (May 2008)

April 16th, 2008

The Danish Roadburn crew of Nils, Scott, Magnus, Ole, Jens, Rene, and Tom (Martin meets us later) meet at the airport. The plane is due to leave a few minutes late but everything is fine, we have our luggage check or ready for carry on. We are on route to Amsterdam where we will spend the night before taking the train to Tilburg for the festival. All goes fine and no hassles and we arrive at our hostel hotel in the Red Light District before 6 PM. We ate an an excellent Thai Resteraunt called Chao Phraya. Highly recommended. Now it was time to hit the town and we headed off for our favorite coffeeshop called the Bluebird. They have a great selection of drinks and skunks to blow your mind. We have some AK47 and head out to a few bars. Not that much happening on this Wednesday night. After the first bar, Jens takes off to Panounaut to see a US garage rock band from MA called Tunel of Love. We finally find a bar playing rock music and hang out there the rest of the night. A place called Planet Rock. We have a fun time and get back to the hotel just before 2 and Jens is just arriving back. Fun night.

Roadburn Crew in AmsterdamHostel in Amsterdam

April 17th, 2008

Today is my daughter's birthday and I feel quite bad that I am away and she has been giving me a lot of shit for weeks now. She is having a fun party tonight though so it won't be too bad. We had a really nice breakfast and everyone is in a great mood. People did not sleep that well though as it was a fucking snoring nightmare. Rene snores incredibly loud and Nils, Tom and Jens all snore as well. I got like 3 hours sleep, maybe... Others were effected as well but not as much as myself. We head over to the Bluebird again, smoke some Ak47 and people get some Crystal Glo, Blue Cheese, NYC Diesel and Northern Lights and Nils and I buy some really cool mobiles that spin and make really cool patterns. You put them in the window. Awesome.

12:40 We are on the train to Tilburg and meet up with Martin. Everyone is having some beers and is in a great mood. Trip was uneventful. We meet up with many other people going to the festival as well. Most are camping out. We will stay in a hotel in Hilsvarenbeek. Meet up with Mart from the band Taak from Tallinin, Estonia. He is also at this hotel every year. Super cool guy.

15:00 We are now on the bus to the hotel in Hilsvarenbeek. We have some time but don't waste that much before heading back to Tilburg.

18:50 The first band is the Capricorns and the singer announces that this is their last gig ever, with this line up. I had a chance to talk to Walter for 5-10 minutes and meet his girlfriend before they started. Everything was going as planned. We saw about 20-25 minutes of them. It was ok but they could do so much more than they do. Next to the Green room to catch a new UK band called Diagonal. They will have a release on Rise Above Records later this year. Most bands playing on the bill today are on the Rise Above Label or somehow associated with Lee and the label. Wow.. these guys are really amazing. Two guitars, two keyboards, saxophone and flute, drums and bass. They sound and look alot like some of the Swedish prog bands. A bit King Crimson and Caravan inspired. Some heavy jamming as well. Awesome stuff. What a surprise.

Capricorns Diagonal

21:10 Magnus and I saw most of Grand Magus. They were pretty good but not as good as the last time I saw them. They got a pretty good response from the crowd and played a few new songs from an album coming out in a few months. Viking riff rock. We did not see any of Serpent Cult (heard they were not good) or Taint.

22:00 We are now sitting and watching DOWN and not really getting into it at all. They are like a lame version of Black Label Society to me. It just does not speak to any of us. After 30 or so mintues I just went around and talked with different people I know like Sara and Benni from Orange Factory (Sojo). We are just waiting for Litmus in the Bat Cave.

Grand Magus Down

23:00 Litmus hit the stage and totally blow us away. Wow.. this is some really heavy and fast aggressive space rock. The booklet describes it as Violent Space rock! It is great to see the band really exploring and jamming more now than they ever have in the past. They were really intense and we just got totally sucked into it. Met up with Jon Jarrett as well, who was headbanging like a madman! We met up with Sölvi as well and he had this killer 12 pack of joints from the Grass Company. 12 different kinds in a cool box. We thought he was pulling out a box of candy but it was not! We choose the Jack Herrer. Ole, Nils, Magnus and I really dug Litmus. They pretty much stole the show for the day and were our favorite band. Diagonal was our next favorite. The preburner was a success and a cool way to start. Tomorrow will be a hard one...

Litmus Litmus

1:10 We arrive back at the hotel and Ralph is there. He manages and does sound for Baby Woodrose. They are all crashed out. Some hang out in the bar and drink some more beers until they close at 2. I called it a night.

April 18th

9:30 I got up and had breakfast with Nils, Jens and Rene. Magnus is still sleeping. We are talking about heading into Tilburg a little early today.

11:15 Magnus and I have had showers now and are pretty much ready. Program looks amazing for today.

12:45 We are all sitting in the bar having beers with Ralph and the Baby Woodrose guys. We plan to catch the 1:37 bus to Tilburg. Everyone is feeling high and ready...

In the Bar The Grass Company coffeecup

14:45 We decide to go to a new place in Tilburg called the Grass Company for lunch. It is pretty full but we manage to find a table for 7. Lots of cool people and band members in this place. People are getting high.. We have some cokes and most of us order the excellent Lasagna.

16:00 The first band on is Danava, a band I have never heard of. I have to say we were pretty blown away by them. Really cool 70's rock but very progressive, lots of time changes and complicated parts but also some great spaced out synths and keyboards (that were far too low in the mix). They were really great. They are on the same label as The Sword. I managed to catch the last two songs of Blood on the Sun and they were pretty cool. Very hard rocking stuff like old Grand Funk. The drummer did all the lead vocals. Good jamming in the tracks I saw. Ran off to see some of Assemble head of SunBurst Sound. This was the start of the bad sound. The young kid mixing in the bat cave did a terrible job. He just could not hear the guitar for almost any of the bands and the guitar was way to low for most bands. Drums, bass and vocals sounded great but guitars and keyboards were always too low. He just did not pay any attention to the people playing and this destroyed this bands set for me. They played some prety cool stuff though. Now I was able to catch about 20 mins of Baby Woodrose before Zone Six, with my good friend Dave, would start. Baby Woodrose played a pretty cool heavier set with some stuff like Volcano, which they rarely ever play anymore. Crowd was really into it. Guf, he was really sarcastic and said funny stuff to and at the audience.

Danava Baby Woodrose

18:00 I went to see Zone Six and I think all the rest were going to see Witchcraft. I only caught their very last song after Zone Six played and it sounded great. I heard from the others that they were awesome! Anyway, Zone Six had Ax Genrich from Guru Guru playing with them and this added a really cool element. He is a great but crazy guitar player. Very experimental. Zone Six are like the Øresund Space Collective and they play totally improvised music. The first two jams they played got really heavy and spaced out and then the last two were more hypnotic and spaced out but the band was more together. A really cool 70 min set. They went 10 mins over so Gentleman's Pistols only had 20 mins to set up. Actually, only 15 by the time Zone Six could clear off all the pedals and stuff.

Zone Six

19:30 I saw the first two tracks of Gentleman's Pistols and they were really fun and totally rocked! Then I was off to see Trouble in the main hall. I saw all the Trouble set except the encore and they sounded great but I was surprised by the total lack of old songs. They did not play anything off the first 3 records until the encores. These guys are a great and powerful live band but they seemed a little off this night compared to when I saw them at Sweden Rock. Still, I enjoyed it a lot and sang along as I love this band and especially the stuff from the Manic Frustration CD.


21:00 Next up was La Ira De Dios and I was really excited to see them as I have all their records and just reviewed the new one. They did not disappoint and we took a really killer trip to another heavy spaced out universe with them. They really rock hard but have a totally stoned vibe to them. We were flying high as well. I was pretty blown away. It would have been better if the guitar was louder though. The singer asked for some delay on his vocal and the young sound guy was clueless and added reverb so his voice just disappeared into a void rather than repeated itself like he wanted. It sounded spaced out but it was not the effect he wanted. They played a lot of stuff from the new CD and the band was now a three piece with the soundmaker guy missing. They ended their set with a long spaced out track from their first record. Really cool set... Great band..

La Ira de Dios The Groundhogs

22:10 Now it was a fucking hard choice. You had Church of Misery or The Groundhogs... damn..... I was one of the few of our group who went for the Groundhogs. The Japanese band Church of Misery are a great jamming 70's hard rock band but this was probably the last chance to see the Groundhogs and that I was not going to miss. This was not the original line up but was three old gray haired guys who kicked some ass. The drummer was really awesome and Tony, he still plays a mean and spaced out blues guitar. They did a lot of long jams and played tracks from Thank Christ for the Bomb up through Split. Cherry Red was the last song of the set but they played Split, Eccentric Man, and Mistreated from Blues Obituary.. A really great set of a little over an hour. I hung out with the Graveyard drummer most of the set. Jens saw some of it and really liked them as well. Crowd gave them a great response. I was pretty blow away.. I did not see any of Isis and I don't think any one from our group did either so I have no idea what they were like.

00:00 Now the choice was Earthless, who they had moved to the main stage or Scott Kelley from Neurosis doing some solo acoustic thing. We for sure went for Earthless and they totally blew the place to bits! We were really flying high by this time and Earthless just jammed like a motherfucker! Killer drummer and mindblowing guitar player (Isaiah) who just was a guitar solo maniac who did not know how to stop. They did 4 long jams in about 70 mins and were probably the best band of the day. Real awesome journeys... Jakob from Causa Sui was doing the visuals and they looked great on the big screen. We were pretty wiped out and did not stay to see Mos Generator.


Wow.. the end of the first real day of Roadburn and it was mindblowing. So many great bands. Compared to the last two years, there were far fewer bands using projections, especially on the big stage and the light people on the big stage were total amateurs and did not really do anything that was in sync with the music or add any mood. They were pretty lame. The sound people in the Green and Bat Cave were also not that good. The guitars were almost always too low for most bands. In the Green Room, they seemed to have tilted the PA down a bit more than in the past as the sound on the balcony used to be really good but now it was not that good. You mostly heard bass and drums and the guitars, vocals and keyboards were always too low. Walter should not skimp to try to save money on hiring inexperienced people for lights and sound. It is the most important thing. If the sound is bad, it ruins everything and often for some of the bands the sound people were not even paying attention at all. A guy would be doing a guitar solo on the stage and you would not be able to hear anything the guy was playing. That should just not happen.

April 19th

12:15 Wow.. I must have been really wiped out. I never sleep until 12! Some of the others had got up for breakfast (ends at 10). I did not eat anything before we went for the bus at 14:07. Everyone is just hanging in the bar and having some beers. I saw a lot of cool people yesterday like Stefan from Colourhaze, Marco (Custard Pie), Sula, Jon Jarrett, Santtu and Kozmik Ken.

15:40 First band for most of us today was Electric Orange. I have all their records but have never seen this band. I was really looking forward to this. They did not disappoint either and played a really cool and uptempo set. This was one of the examples where the sound guy was asleep as you could hardly hear one of the guitar players the whole show! The German band Long Distance Calling was playing at the same time but none of us saw them. I enjoyed their set a lot. Next we went to the main room to check out Cephalic Carnage. This was some slow, heavy, doomy stuff until the end when they put on some masks and played some fast death metal stuff. They had some really cool old films with the devil playing in the background which was cool. The singer, he was getting really stoned and smoking from a water pipe on the drum riser every 10 mins of so. Far out.. They were pretty interesting. Very intense. Magnus and I got totally sucked into it. Most of the others did not like them. The other choices were Jesu and Kruger. People did not like Kruger from what I heard. Next was a really tough choice. BORIS or The Heads! Damn... I really wanted to see both bands. We went for Boris and sat way up on the balcony. They had amazing sound, the best of any band at the festival. Boris started off really heavy and wild and then the show slowly moved into a different direction. They had the guitar player from the Japanese band, Ghost playing with them and he was playing really psychedelic and far out stuff. I thought they played a pretty mind blowing and spacey psychedelic set but there were a lot of this post rock dreamy guitar stuff that is getting quite old but they had a unique twist on it and Magnus and I liked them a lot. Great lights and sound as well. We heard that the Heads were mindblowing... Too bad..

Electric Orange Cephalic Carnage Boris

19:45 Heard a few songs by Nadja and this was cooler than I thought it was going to be. The Bat Cave was not as packed as usual.. We heard one song by Wolves in the Throne Room and did not really care for them at all so got a good spot up front for My Sleeping Karma. I quite like their CD and was looking forward to seeing them live. Rumor was they were great live. My Sleeping Karma started off in this repetitive Monkey 3 clone mode and too much of this dreamy post rock style with the dry guitar and then the big muff and a bit of delay for the more heavy parts. I was enjoying it but they always seem to come around to the same thing with each track, when they could really have taken it to another level with some cool lead guitar (there was no lead guitar, only riffing) or a jam. I hope they evolve. If not, they won't interest me much.

Nadja My Sleeping Karma

21:45 Tia Carrera from Austin Texas was next and this was going to be interesing. A three piece who basically just jam! These guys are really stoned. I think they played 3-4 long jams and that was it. The crowd seemed to dig their early 70's inspired jamming stuff. They were pretty good but the guitar player did not really blow me away. He was ok. Rest of the band kicked ass. I liked them but I had higher expectations. I went and checked out some of Enslaved and I could not get into it. The big hall was also half empty. I guess this was not a very good choice to replace Celtic Frost. Now was a big choice as well. We checked out the first 3-4 songs of Dixie Witch and they were kicking ass before heading back to the big hall for Acid Mother's Guru. Dixie Witch was real high energy stoner rock with a slight southern rock edge. They rocked and jammed pretty hard. AMG were totally amazing. I missed the very beginning but was told that Kawabata Makoto (guitar) came out and just went completely mad and played really intense far out guitar... The band were really great. Two drummers on most of the set and this was really excellent. They did a really long, 15 minute, but highly entertaining dual drum solo. Kawabata is avery unique and creative but totally insane guitar player. Over the top some times but then sometimes he can play very mind blowing Hendrix like guitar. They were amazing. Crowd loved it as well. The Swedish band Kongh was next but most of us had seen them recently in Copenhagen with Ocean Chief and Suma so did not go.

Tia Carrera Acid Mothers Guru Guru

The sound was better today and the young guy was not doing the sound in the bat cave, which was a good thing! A bit too much of the post rock thing going on with some of these bands but people dig that so what can I say.. Tom and Jens were really drunk tonight and Nils and Magnus very high... I took it a bit easy as I was really flying Friday night.

April 20th- The Afterburner and David Tibet Curates Roadburn

This is the last of 4 intense days of music. We start the day off with a really nice lunch at the Grass Company. This was a really great place to hang out. I am sure we will go there again next year. We arrive at 013 right at 15 when the doors are opening. There is some confusion and strange stuff with the way it works for people who have tickets for both events and will go back and forth between the big hall where the David Tibet event will occur and the other two rooms (Green Room and the Bat Cave). The system was not that good. You had to wait and get your ticket scanned by this security guy every time you wanted to come back to the Afterburner. Have they not ever heard of a stamp before? I mean this guy saw me like 6 times. Can he not remember me? Insane and stupid.

Scott outside the Grass Company

16:00 Graveyard hit the stage and blow us totally away. They were really amazing. The sound was great, the songs great, a little bit of jamming and we were in just the right mood after a bit of Crystal Glo. Flying high once again. They played their standard set (they always change the order) as well as two new songs. They sound promising. They really have a cool and unique sound of their own this band. A very good future if they can continue to evolve and learn to jam a bit more, I will be a huge fan. Great set.


17:00 I missed all of Baby Dee at the David Tibet event but was told it was pretty interesting cabaret stuff with an older woman who sounded like a stoned version of Tori Amos. I went and checked out the first 15 minutes or so of Skitliv, a band formed by Norwegian Black metal vocalist, Maniac from Mayhem. He started the set standing up against the mic and singing by himself some strange poem and then the music got quite heavy. Some of the band members really had special attitudes and they were drinking Jack Daniels on stage and pretty much acting tough. Musically they were not that interesting but Maniac was quite intense. He had apparently caused quite a bit of trouble and was thrown out from the backstage area and had to be paid off to be gotten rid of. He wanted money for drugs or something. Later during the Current 93 show he came back in and slit his wrists out in the main lobby. Insane..... He unfortunately did not die. People like that are not needed on this earth.

Skitliv himself

I caught a few songs by the German band Beehoover. They were an interesting bass and drum duo who also had a sampler or some keyboards as well. Pretty cool stuff. The singer said really funny and strange stuff between and during the songs. Unique! No other band sounded like these guys at the festival. Next up was the Dutch band, Repomen. They played very hard hitting and fast stoner rock. They were also really loud. A lot of bands on this day seemed to play louder. They had a great sound and really rock hard but it was a bit much after a while. We saw most of their set and then it was time for our friends, Dzjenghis Khan from San Francisco. These guys totally rock and I love the look of the drummer.. straight out of 1968! They sound a lot like Orange Sunshine and even more like Blue Cheer but they do it fucking good and lots of jamming. Guitar player loves to just go for it and he has the killer band to back him as well. I don't think they played any new songs. All stuff from their record. Kick ass band. The guitar player had lost his Rolling Stones tongue pin in my apartment when they stayed at my place and he was really happy when I gave it back to him. Nice guys. I could only see two songs of Ramesses before I needed to go to the big room again for David Tibet. They were really evil doom and fucking psychedelic at times despite having no guitar solos. Mean, dark, evil doom riffing with intense vocals. Phew.. Mind blowing...

Repomen Dzjenghis Kan Drummer Ramesses

I headed off to catch David Tibet and Current 93. I sat with some of the Danish people I know who had bought tickets mostly just to see OM who cancelled. This event was clearly not as successful as it was suppose to be as the balcony and 1/3 of the main hall was blocked off to make it feel more intimate. Still a good crowd, more than 500 people. Current 93 was a huge band with three guitar players, grand piano, synthesizer (which you could not hear at all), bass, drums, cello, two violin and sampler guy, plus David. David was in a good mood and drank wine and spoke a little here and there. The music was mood music and very good but I really missed the visual show. There were no projections or interesting lights. For this kind of music to really be a success you have to have that. Films that go along or really cool lighting would have made this from good to spectacular. Tickets were 40€, pretty expensive. Anyway, after 1 hr I headed back to the Afterburner.

David Tibet's Current 93

21:00 The GlassPack are about to hit the stage and I suspect from the sounchecking of the guitar this is going to be loud! It was also just announced that Orange Sunshine will play after The Glasspack. That is very cool. They played really high energy boogie blues rock. Status Quo with some steroid and punk rock attitude! The guitar player was in a good mood and quite funny at times. He and the drummer were drinking Jack Daniels and the bass player was smoking his own little joint between songs to keep themselves in that higher state! They wanted people to throw them up some space cakes as they could not find them in Tilburg! They really rocked and played a lot from the new CD. They ended with Louisiana Strawberry, a really heavy and jammed out track. Tom was totally blown away by these guys and Jens, he was smiling a lot and enjoying it as well. Great band. It was a little disappointing that when they came out for the encore they tried to play a song called Fire in the Trailer Park but had to abort after 2 short tries as the drummer could not remember the song. So they played a song they had already played before. Pretty lame. This band has 3 full length CDs and they can only remember like 8 of their own songs? What is up with that? Perhaps they need to rehearse every now and then.

The Glasspack Orange SunshineÆthenor

22:15 I headed back to the main hall to check out Æthenor. I guess David Tibet went over time as they were suppose to start at 22:15 and did not start until 22:35. It was pretty cool atmospheric and dark music with a lot of synthesizers. I was getting into it but know that Orange Sunshine were probably rocking by now and I really wanted to see them as well. This was pretty cool though. IF they came to town I would really want to see them. I am guessing the David Tibet event was pretty good. I did not hear any of Hush Arbors or Baby Dee but the rest was pretty intersting and diverse music.

23:00 Lucky for me, Orange Sunshine was still playing and I caught Rock me Baby, Gimmie Shelter and Hush Hush. It was fucking loud and they were kicking ass but it was pretty much the same stuff they played when we saw them the last couple of times. These guys have that Blue Cheer sound but do it better than the real thing. Raw bluesy kick ass rock and roll... They just need to come up with a new set of songs.. I am tired of this set... Still a great band and a great way to end 4 days of killer bands...

A huge success Walter and an amazing 4 days. I am so happy and privleged to get to cover this event. I hope you all get a feeling of just how intense an experience Roadburn is. You leave your normal life behind and enter into a completely different world of just pure music, drinking, smoking, laughing, seeing friends and just having a good time. Life is too hard and stressful but here in Holland you can just let your freak flag fly and have a great time. Amazing.... See you next year...

Reviewed by Scott Heller

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