Roadburn Day III: Blood Ceremony Soars, Tau Cross Roars, and Converge Goes Goth
English folk rock, violin breakdowns, unplugged hardcore, and more Finnish drone freakouts marked the third day of Roadburn madness.
Day III of Roadburn was wild—I made a concentrated effort to see as many bands as possible, and ended up pleasantly surprised. One of the best things about this festival is that, if you take the time to peek into the smaller venues or stick around the main stage for an extra few moments, you're bound to discover something weird and wonderful. Yesterday's standout performances are therefore a mixed bag the obvious and the unexpected—with lots of violins.
My favorite discovery this year was Dead to a Dying World, a band I've known about and enjoyed in passing for quite some time, but never really got until I saw them play last night. The irony of my coming all the way to the Netherlands to fall in love with a band from Dallas didn't escape me, but everyone else I was with (a motley collection of Brits, Americans, and Dutch) seemed blown away, too. The violin breakdowns alone are worth the price of entry, but Dead to a Dying World's uncanny ability to combine literally everything I want in a band—black metal, crust, doom, strings—with utter grace and savage intensity made them a shoe-in for my personal band of the night (and the packed-out Green Room crowd seemed to agree!).
Galley Beggar, on the other hand, was a revelation in paisley. Their pastoral folk rock—based heavily on the traditional, with flourishes of 70s acid rock and an extremely English mien—seemed tailor-made for Het Patronaat's graceful beams and stained glass windows, and even their guitarist's endearingly corny jokes about Geordie Shore prefacing the old murder ballad "Geordie" couldn't shake us out of the moment and the magical vibes. It was a lovely way to start the day, and watching the band members interact with one another onstage, all big smiles and laughs, made it even nicer.
Given that I got my first Amebix tattoo over six years ago and have worked with the band and now its successor in various capacities ever since, there's no way I can give Tau Cross an unbiased review. I will say this, though: after tonight's performance (during which a packed crowd bore witness to Voivod's Away rocking a Crass shirt while the Baron called down the heavens with his trademark gritty roar), I might just need to add a little TC ink next to the "No Gods, No Masters" lines on my neck.
It was impossible to squeeze into the Green Room to watch Artists in Residence and perennial Noisey faves Misthyrming play their brilliant debut, Söngvar elds og óreiðu, in full, so after popping my head in to listen for a bit (it sounded album-perfect, though I guess playing half a dozen sets across three days will do that!), I decided to be a adventurous and check out Blood Moon, Converge's collaboration with goth queen Chelsea Wolfe. As the combined band (which included Jacob Bannon, Kurt Ballou, Nate Newton, and Ben Kollerand with guest musicians Chelsea Wolfe, Ben Chisholm, Stephen Brodsky, and Steve Von Till) vibed its way through unexpectedly hushed ambient/post-rock interpretations of Converge's past work, I hadn't realized Converge's Jacob Bannon had such a powerful clean voice, or just how well it would mesh with Chelsea Wolfe's; I stood rooted to the spot for a good half hour if not more, totally sucked in by what was happening onstage. It was obvious that the musicians involved had put a lot of thought into what they were presenting up there, and when I ran into Brodsky afterwards, I begged him to convince the rest of the crew to bring the show home to the States. Fingers crossed on that one!
Back over at Extase, the curiously-named Crumbling Ghosts tread a light, folky path, and were a nice breather before Atomikylä blasted us with a batshit doom/drone onslaught. I'd been haranguing people all day to go and see them, and judging from how slammed it was in there to soak in the unassuming foursome's mind-melting barrage of undulating, deconstructed drones and screaming psychedelic freakouts. Much like their brothers bands Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Budda Rising, these Finns conjure up the best kind of bad trip.
While Neurosis held court in the massive main space, Blood Ceremony bewitched Het Patronaat; knowing that the former will be playing another extensive set today, I beelined over to see the Canadian trickser rockers summon eldritch darkness instead. I definitely made the right choice, too, because while Blood Ceremony is always great live, they were next level fantastic last night, sounding heavier (and witchier) than ever thanks to perfectly crafted riffs and their trademark wild, expressive flute acrobatics. Jethro Tull, eat your heart out.
The rest of the evening was devoted to Metal Karaoke (capped off by a rousing rendition of "Ace of Spades" from Walter Roadburn, Orange Goblin's Ben Ward, and Primordial's Alan Averill), pints at the Little Devil, and the blessedly serendipitous discovery of pizza joint that was inexplicably open at 5AM and happy to cater to a bunch of tipsy weirdos.
Onwards and downwards to Day IV, the Afterburner!
Our intrepid snapper Maija Lahtinen was on hand once again to capture the scenes on and offstage—check out her photos below!
People of Roadburn
Kim Kelly is an editor at Noisey, and is very, very tired; follow her festival exploits on Twitter.