Archive for April, 2009
Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2009
Leslie Hadlock was asked by Roadburn to make an official blog about the festival. This is her impression of the weekend that was Roadburn 2009.
“My initial impression of Roadburn 2009 was: Wow, it’s Alaska! Everywhere you looked: men. Lots of men. Big men. Lots of beards. Big beards. And the big bearded man next to me “singing” along to Baroness was indeed reminiscent of a moose calling. It’s Alaska! But Alaska with bands. Great bands. Are there even any bands from Alaska?”
Pics are by Paul Verhagen.
If you got observations of your own that you want to share please put them in the comments.
Back when Walter was putting together the Roadburn 2009 booklet he graciously invited me to blog during the entire festival weekend. We agreed that it would not be some kind of tickertape up-to-the-minute report, and I definitely did not plan to share personal and thus highly subjective reviews of whatever gigs I managed to catch; instead, the idea was simply to offer impressions of the festival to anyone who wasn’t able to be there — or couldn’t remember…!
Good plan, right? However, that was right before my birdwatching trip to Portugal and Spain, so we didn’t have any time to flesh out the logistics. Naively, we figured we’d meet up at the festival, he’d give me a quick Blogging 101 rundown and voila. Wrong! I arrived in Tilburg on Thursday afternoon and I saw Walter a grand total of, what? Three times? And sure enough, each time we were dashing through the 013 in the opposite direction, beaming and waving madly at one another, calling out “(something-something)…blog! Ja! Is goed!” as we rushed past, clearly on an important mission.
By Day 2 it was clear: there would be no blog! But you know what, that was fine. As you can see, you’ve got JJ’s blog over at Brooklyn Vegan, Terrorizer’s weekend summary, individual reviews and tales detailing highlights, heartaches and headaches are pouring in on DFFD and Stonerrock.com, and I’m sure many of the individual band site forums, too, are rife with stories. So instead of offering all of my various Roadburn 2009 impressions after the fact, I thought I’d share a few, and conclude with an anecdote that to me pretty much sums up the weekend and the spirit of Roadburn in general.
GREETINGS FROM ALASKA
My initial impression of Roadburn 2009 was: Wow, it’s Alaska! Everywhere you looked: men. Lots of men. Big men. Lots of beards. Big beards. And the big bearded man next to me “singing” along to Baroness was indeed reminiscent of a moose calling. It’s Alaska! But Alaska with bands. Great bands. Are there even any bands from Alaska? Wasn’t there some nu-metal or metalcore or whatever you want to call it group from Alaska, 36 Crazyfists? Hang on; I might be getting confused with the pay-per-view offerings back at the Mercure hotel room. Anyway. Alaska!
See, I know you folks in the UK and the US are used to big beards but it’s kind of a novelty here in Nederland. Maybe it has to do with the overall population density; you know, when you’ve got over 16 million people crammed into less than 42,000 square kilometers, it’s not like there’s all this room to let your facial hair run amok and take up its own zip code. The Dutch government may even impose a tax, or require a permit, I’m not sure. Sideburns have been a common sight at shows for years, sure, but beards?
I’ve attended a lot of Roadburn events over the years, from the smaller-scale “Roadburn Presents” shows like Spirit Caravan & Beaver at the Paradiso upstairs in 1999 and Roadsaw, Nebula & Orange Goblin at the Melkweg in 2000, to the beginnings of The Festival. Back in the old Effenaar days in 2003 it was Firebird, Astrosoniq, 35007 and Fu Manchu, and of course back in 2005 [at the 013 venue] with High On Fire, Electric Wizard, Sunn O))) and more, but even as recently in 2007 when the festival featured a strong Neurosis accent I still don’t recall seeing so many beards. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, mind you. Just an observation.
I also can’t remember ever seeing so many female musicians performing at Roadburn as this year, and I found it very inspiring. From the Bat Cave to the Main Stage, the ladies were rocking.
This was also easily the most international edition of Roadburn in the festival’s history, and it was so cool to walk through little pockets of French, Italian, German, Finnish, Dutch dialects, etc, not to mention the spectrum of English and American accents.
THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
Favorite t-shirt spotted at the festival: “Anonymity is Not a Crime”.
Favorite tattoo spotted at the festival: the owl on the forearm of the guy in the merch area wearing the animal liberation t-shirt.
Favorite crowd moment: the chorus of “YOU’RE AN ANGEL WITCH, YOOOOU’RE AN AN-GEL WITCH!”
Favorite making up for somehow never having seen them before moment: The Young Gods.
Favorite long time no see moment: Zeni Geva, last witnessed live at Vera, Groningen, in 1994 (!)
Favorite nickname I made up for us non-boozing Burners: Souls at Coke Zero.
Favorite festival food: the sweet potato curry. It was also nice to see so many of the nearby restaurants and cafes offering a special Roadburn menu.
Favorite personal embarrassing fan moment: emerging from the V39 Saturday afternoon after the 13:00 screening of the Amebix documentary, which included an interview with Steve von Till and Scott Kelly, only to see the pair sitting outside a café and being unable to smile or even nod in their general direction, let alone actually go up and simply express my honest appreciation for their contributions to the festival on so many levels. Therefore, if by chance you happen to read this, Steve, Scott, and everyone in Neurosis, thank you.
Favorite fan moment: every time someone would get Wino to pose for a picture; inevitably he would pull a menacing Doom Face while they grinned hugely, unable to contain their ohmygodit’sfreakingWino! exuberance. Not Doomy, but utterly sincere.
Favorite 013 employees: everyone. Everyone was so friendly and chilled out. From the food vendors to the bartenders to the security personnel to the coat check people downstairs. I’m serious. Everyone I met was helpful and kind.
So it was late Thursday night and I’d already enjoyed enough great shows and camaraderie to feel like everything else over the next two days would be a bonus. I know, that alone says enough, right? But I can’t sign off without first sharing this.
I was in front of the main stage, grooving along to Motorpsycho, who were more than two-thirds of the way into their lengthy set. In fact, it was right during “Vortex Surfer” when this moon-faced death metal kid turns to me, gestures to the stage and announces disgustedly, “ZION WATCHES!” I said, “Uh, what?” He frowned and repeated, “ZION WATCHES!” I’m searching my brain, trying to decipher his cryptic proclamation when he obligingly adds, “POOZIES! Dey. Are. Poozies!” and promptly hunches over and resumes headbanging, right hand firmly planted on his right leg, which is slightly bent and supporting his black-clad frame, left arm in the air.
Ah, yes, now I get it. “Zion watches.” Het zijn watjes. Which is indeed Dutch for “Dey. Are. Poozies!” And yet look at him. He cannot turn away. He cannot stop. He is powerless to do anything except yield to the music and commune with the mighty Riff.
Now that is Roadburn.
-Leslie “Lighthouse Girl / Little Lucid Me” Hadlock