Just as the summer of 2012 is about to reach its peak, another event is around the corner with one major downer putting its shadow way ahead as the public water supply of the city of Erfurt has been facing a pollution problem for several weeks already. If not for the heat but for personal hygiene one is forced to by an extended fresh water stock, giving just one more point on the Pre-Festival Checklist.
Day one of this years’ Stoned From The Underground Festival starts quite adventures for one part of the Psychorizon staff. If you ever travelled Germany via train you are sure to know why. A distance of about 500 km means changing twice, waiting over a half hour, spending over six hours on the railway and all of this after getting up at about 5am. Well, if this is the only downside to the festival weekend, no need to complain. After another half hour waiting at Erfurt Central Station the other half of Psychorizon’s staff and me cover the final part of the journey by car, where we find the entire location covered in mud. Those who arrived thursday or earlier are talking about massive rainfalls that caused the sight, located next to the Alperstedter See to turn into a swamp rather than a nice campsite. Our decision was pretty easy to skip building up a tent and sleep inside the car, which would keep us dry and safe compared to the catastrophe of sleeping on the soggy ground. While sunblocker and hats where THE thing in 2011 you are lucky to have your rubber boots with you this time. But who are we to complain about the weather? My cowboy boots are good enough to keep my feet dry as well, so here we GO!
Kadavar-Frontman Wolf Lindemann
The first two acts of this friday King Kronos and Stonehead, both from Germany do not catch our interest much as we are still worn out from the long trip. Up next is another German act and this one we have been looking for a lot in advance: Kadavar from Berlin. It seems like those three guys participated in a weekend course on “How to act and look like a Rock Star”. Starting with the (stage-) wardrobe, amplification, instruments, accessories, all the way to the reserved interaction with the crowd, Wolf, Mammut and Tiger did their homework – ok, they tend to overdo on the fringe look. With their self-titled debut, which has just been released in North-America on July 10 via Tee Pee Records the bearded boys have an easy time entertaining the international audience.
Up next are Reykjavik-based Brain Police and we succumb to our gastroenterology urges, ending up with pricy fries and tons of toast.
On the one hand, it would be unfair to call Red Fang a hype, but on the other hand, the band has been able to amass a huge fan base in very short time so far. Billed in the afternoon, they were able to attract a lot of people, so the endless touring, especially with Mastodon, really seemed to pay off. With favourites like „Wires“, „Hank Is Dead“ and, of course, „Prehistoric Dog“, they managed to keep the energy level high at all times. The only drawbacks were high prices at the merch booth, but this didn’t prevent lots of fans to buy some apparel afterward.
Action on and in front of the stage during the Red Fang Show
With the impression of american Nerd Rockers Red Fang still vividly present our third leads the path to a some Backstage drinking action. What better acquaintances to wet ones whistle could you ask for then Welsh lunatics Sigiriya. After they arrived a day in advance to playing there’s lot of time for hanging around, teaching us important life lessons. As Tito & Tarantula enter the stage we don’t even manage to get up and just carry on, “After Dark” throws in some good 90s vibe. Siggy guitarist Stu would later regret his first day, as he also misses Wino and St. Vitus…sometimes you can’t wake up a loaded musician.
Illuminating the Night: Saint Vitus
One of the most legendary bands of the Doom Metal genre was headlining Friday night. When Sabbath left the throne, it were Saint Vitus who claimed and held it ever since. Lead by the almighty Wino, the band delivered an almost magical performance that consolidated its status once more. But it would be unfair to ascribe the fame solely to Wino. Dave Chandler, who also acted as the spokes person, managed to raise a smile with his guitar skills and showed that the grand seigneurs still know how to put legions of clones in their place. The rhythm section, comprised of bass player Mark Adams and Henry Vasquez on Drums kept a tight grip and really showed off during the jammed out parts of the songs.
Saturday starts off with more mud related issues, including one Opening Act getting pulled out the dirt track by a tractor. That’s some musicians who use their own hands not only for their instruments.
Kadavar trying to leave the camp ground
Somewhere between rain showers and freezing, the sun came out every once in a while. Making way for some sun and the first few bands of the day. Due to a serious case of unwillingness combined with goosebumps, we missed most of them. Finally the time came for Sigiriya to play – after I had a little chat with Stu over brushing my teeth I knew the guys would be on stage full in numbers. So, as the sun decided to stay a little while, four Welsh musicians enter the stage and cause quite a stir among the witnesses. Where the echo of Acrimony seems to land, voices around sind along with the tracks of their current album “Return To Earth”. Some new songs are presented first time to a live audience. Sadly enough as this turns out to be one of the final shows with Dorian leading the pack – after attending Sauzipf Festival in Austria, Sigiriya announced the end of this era.
Sigiriya – thanks for a great time together!
Playing the festival for the second time, Weedeater delivered an equally menacing show as two years before. With a new album released in between, the sludgemasters were responsible for the uglier side of life once more. Dixie Dave really enjoyed spewing his words of wisdom towards the crowd, while Shep and Keko clearly had a great time torturing their instruments. I’m always wondering how Dixie can be at the same time so fucked up and still be able to handle his bass with his fingers where other musicians in his condition couldn’t even use a pick…
It’s hard to describe a Crowbar show without outworn puns including words such as “heavy” or “fat”, so here’s my try: Homer Simpson is such a fatty, he could work as a riff for Crowbar. Alright, at least I tried… The gig was straight in the face, Kirk and his mates still know how to slowly grind you down and then give you that extra punch in the groins to finish you off. Although the band is well-known for its depressive sludge sound, lots of people not only in the first rows seemed to have a good time all along the set. New songs from the latest album “sever the Wicked Hand” were acclaimed next to classic masterpieces such as “Planets Collide”. The splendid and at all times very intense gig left the audience depleted and hungry for the next headlining band.
Orange Goblin rarely gig these days, so anticipation rose when they were announced as headliner on this year’s Saturday night. You just gotta love these four British gentlemen, who stick around since the earliest days of the Stoner Rock scene. The setlist included selections from their latest effort “A Eulogy For The Damned” as well as old classics and crowd favourites like “Time Travelling Blues”. Singer Ben Ward may truly be considered an elder statesman of the movement, delivering an outstanding performance on stage and taking it extremely easy when a few pixellated fans grabbed him right before the gig to take some pictures…