Despite the global warming it was quite chilly in Tilburg when I arrived there on the first day of Roadburn 2012, and the weather was to stay like that during all days of the festival. For the first time I spotted Roadburn's advertisements, not only in Tilburg, but even on the railway station of Hertogenbosch I saw a Roadburn poster just on the platform. I thought it was quite dangerous: some stoned bearded bodies could suggest the trains to Tilburg go from that platform, which was not always the case, and would begin a journey to God knows where in the beautiful Netherlands.
The Tilburg's citizens were warned about the approaching event before they could enter the city centrum. Beware, dear citizens!
On the way to 013 I saw The Grass Company was open as usual, despite all the intentions of the authorities to stop selling of weed in the southern Netherlands from the beginning of this year. Roadburners went into the shop and came out apparently very satisfied. Later I was told the restriction was to be imposed on 1 of May, but I hope the dutch weed lobby will win again and Roadburn 2013 won't become weed-free. For the time being I cheered up, because it was clear that regardless of somehow non-crushing (for me personally) lineup, the lost of Midi Theatre with its cozy balcony and great stage, and chilly weather -- the festival will happen nevertheless.
It did not take me much time to change my ticket, get a wrist ribbon, meet my friends and get inside 013.
As usual, I came just in time to see the last song of the opening act. This time it was The Icarus Line, who also were the last addition to the lineup, something like one week before the festival. They got only half an hour to play and I got to see their last five minutes, so I can't say much about their music: I simply didn't have time to make an opinion, only to take a couple of pictures from the balcony of Green Room.
Since I didn't have lineup preferences in the nearest time I made a tour around all the stages to see what's going on there.
The main stage was occupied by d.USK. Which is the reincarnation of Disembowelment. Was funny to see how cautious they were to remind everybody that they were the reincarnation of Disembowelment. They put "d.USK / Disembowelment" everywhere: in the program, on stage background, on a merch place designation. For me it was the only remarkable thing about them, because their old-school death-doom, though with very profound and powerful growls, were definitely not my cup of tea. So I went on.
Went on just to discover that as well old-school Sweds Horisont, who began to play in Green Room, were not my cup of tea either.
If you can't succeed in 013 -- move to another building. As I mentioned, Midi Theatre was shut down from 1 of January by local authorities for God knows what reason. I suspect the authorities simply wanted to shut something down instead of coffee shops, that escaped their heavy hand. Not once during the festival I'd curse the local authorities and remember the cozy Midi's balcony. But that would be in the future, and now -- let's simply cross the street and go inside the Midi's replacement -- Het Patronaat.
There is definitely some irony in the fact, that the former church annex became a venue where the bands with the names like Hexvessel and Oranssi Pazuzu, Tombs and White Static Demon performed. Could you tell this if you looked at such windows
and such paintings?
Roadburn definitely surprises not only by the lineup.
Het Patronaat possessed balcony, but it was just a poor parody on Midi's balcony. Well, you could sit there, but you could see the stage only if you were sitting/standing in the first or, at least, second row. Or if you were a very tall man indeed. However, I didn't have much choice, neither had Roadburn.
When I first entered the premises, the stage was occupied by Norwegians Virus. Quite energetic death-rock was being played with quite impassionate outlook.
The vocalist assumed the position on stage before all the others, a small act of selfishness and arrogance :). Though I managed to listen only to a couple of last songs, I liked their performance, it definitely did not lack energy.
After Virus it was time to come back to the main stage of 013, because Agalloch, one of the (regretfully) few whom I truly looked forward to, was about to begin their concert there. I listened to the first songs from the balcony above, was surprised by poor quality of sound -- I almost couldn't hear the vocals. So I went down in front of the stage -- but still the sound quality was poor. It was even more suprising because Billy Anderson was ruling the sound during Agalloch's act. Unfortunately, this of course worsened my impression from the performance. But anyway, Agalloch performed exactly as I expected -- and nothing more. The only unexpectable thing was the behaviour of the second guitar player, who was acting like a post-hardcore musician, jumping, landing on his knees, putting a foot on a monitor and shouting the words of the songs aloud.
Since he did not possess a microphone -- nobody could hear what he shouted. Well, my personal conclusion: I can check Agalloch in my "Seen live" list, but I'm not likely to attend their concerts again. They will remain for me a band which is best to listen to alone, at home, during long winter evenings.
The next band I managed to see was Ancestors. Two years ago I saw them at Roadburn, one song. This time I saw two songs. Looks like in 10 years I'll see their whole set at Roadburn. Maybe. Currently I haven't yet developed an opinion about them.
It was time to run to 013 and elbow my way to the smallest stage there -- Stage01 (former Bat Cave) -- because there one of the two most expected bands was about to begin, namely Ancient VVisdom.
The Americans were the first band I experienced who added smelling flavours to their performance. Unexpectably, the band that plays demonic rock and praises satan in the lyrics used frankincense, and used so much of it that I suddenly felt myself bad and seriously considered running to the toilet. Luckily, soon enough I recovered and was ready to support the musicians in the first lines.
So the half-accoustic demonic rock was simply delightful! The vocalist's behaviour was as passionate as in their videoclips. And the percussionist at the back was drumming furiously, jumping as he did that and clearly having a lot of fun. And many of the people, who gathered at the stage, shouted the lyrics of almost all songs aloud (something you don't experience often at Roadburn). It was pure Godlike Inferno for half an hour.
Regretfully only for half an hour. The band simply does not possess enough material to fill the whole one-hour set that they received. A new song they played in the middle of performance didn't improve the situation. Their concert finished as incredibly fast as it was incredibly great. Unfortunately, at this Roadburn Ancient VVisdom was not the only band who finished significally earlier than the provisioned time. That did not add good emotions from this years happening.
I really hope that by the next time I am to see this band they will have many more songs and the perfect concert will last longer.
Since they finished so early, I had time to check other stages again. Had a glimpse on Orchid.
They can without any problems replace Black Sabbath. Also listened to a couple of songs from Ulver.
There was not so much audience at them, though they were the day's headliners, having received 5 minutes more than Killing Joke. I couldn't contribute to the crowd at the stage for long, because I went to see Black Tusk. Black Tusk happened to be extremely powerful live, I didn't expect such a furious flow of energy coming from the stage, charging the audience. They became one of pleasant Roadburn's surprises when you receive more than you hoped for. I only regret I came when they had begun playing already, so I spent almost half an hour trying to get at least to the middle lines where I could see at least a bit of what's going on the stage. I wish the organizers didn't put them on the smallest stage. When the band left stage, the crowd invoked them again for one more song, and the guys fully deserved it.
After this band I stayed as I were, to get a place with better view when Sigiriya should start.
And that was a good decision, since they played very energizing stoner-metal. I liked them. Unfortunately, I couldn't bear the whole performance as I was so tired after the day, so I left having listened to 5 songs. Hope I'll have an opportunity to see them live again.