June 26, 2011


Day 3 is also the last regular day of the festival, although, with the expanding Afterburner you might call this a 4-day fest, but more on day number 4 later. You might think that nothing can top SunnO)))day, but I mean, this day I’m finally going to see Shrinebuilder, Weedeater, Stone Axe and Swans... April 16 is also Record Store Day, and I took the short walk from the hotel to the Sounds record store. I was hoping to buy the Nirvana “Hormoaning” 12” and the Neurosis “Sovereign” 12” but they were nowhere to be found. I did however walk away with the Sonic Youth “Whore’s Moaning” 12” and the 2010 reissue of the self titled Grand Magus LP (clear vinyl, and not a RSD release, but still). On a side note, when I got back to Stockholm there were lots of RSD vinyl still available, so no harm done.

Why not start the third day at the Midi Theatre with the, apart from Sunn O))), best performance of the entire fest. The air in the venue is thick with incense smoke and the stage looks like... well, it looks like Master Musicians of Bukkake are about to enter, and they are, and I am blown away. Such an amazing performance, performed by amazing musicians. I know some people think their theatrics on stage are a bit much, but I like it, it fits with the music perfectly. And you don’t have to take everything 100% serious all the time either. I mean, come on, the guy has glowing fingertips, lighten up. They start by calling our attention with a dungchen, you know, those big ass Tibetan trumpets, and give us new songs from their excellent latest album, “Totem Three”, including favourites like “Prophecy Of The White Camel / Namoutarre” and “In The Twilight Of Kali Yuga”, as well as the awesome krautrock gem “Failed Future”. The Master Musicians played a free show a couple of weeks later in Stockholm, and it was just as good that time around as well. Hope to see them again soon.
Master Musicians of Bukkake

Master Musicians of Bukkake

On to the main stage to catch the last 30 minutes or so of the Candlemass set. I walked in just as they were finishing the “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” set with Johan Langquist on vocals. Would have been great to see the whole thing, but you can’t be everywhere at once. Especially when you’re attending an amazing Bukkake session. Langquist, although perhaps not much of a stage persona, still has that amazing voice that made me fall for Candlemass in the first place. Luckily for me he enters the stage once again, this time alongside Robert Lowe performing “Don’t Fear the Reaper”.

Finally it’s time for Weedeater. Dixie was in great form, informing us that “There are usually only two people in the audience, one with weed and one with coke. I’m sure those people are here tonight as well though, we’ll meet up later.” He of course drank whiskey all through the set, washing it down with beer, but he managed to not puke, probably to some people’s disappointment. The new songs from “Jason... the Dragon” have really grown on me and they were even better live. The first couple of times I listened to their latest album I thought it was good, but felt that they could do better. After about a week of listening to it I loved it! And after experiencing the songs live in their right environment I love them even more. We also were treated with their cover of the excellent Lynyrd Skynyrd track “Gimme Back My Bullets”. The only thing I’m missing now is a Barstul performance, man that would have been great for the Afterburner...


Unfortunately I didn’t see much of Voivod at the main stage. I thought though that they were a bit uneven in the beginning but it took on after a while. From what I could gather later on their set at the Midi the night before was much better. Should have been there...

We’ve waited a year for the mighty Shrinebuilder, and fuck was it worth the wait! As you probably know they had to cancel last year because of Iceland and them not managing to keep control of their volcanoes. It was really an overwhelming experience to see these four dudes on the same stage. Anyone doesn’t know by now who they are? Ok, for the last time; Scott Kelly, Al Cisneros, Dale Crover and of course, Wino. There, what more do you need? I can admit though, that somewhere in the middle of the set they faded a bit, only to regain strength after a while and finishing in great form. I also wish that Al had more time on the mike, not that I complain when I hear Scott or Wino. It’s hard to describe Shrinebuilder without writing cliché after cliché. But yeah, they were heavy as fuck and I guess we could be glad that another volcano didn’t erupt during their performance. What a way to go though.

After this I literally ran over to the Bat Cave to witness the last half hour or so of Stone Axe, who had finally made it over to Europe. I’ve been a big fan ever since their first 7”, “Riders of the Night”, in 2008, and am a fan of Mos Generator as well of course. The first thing that struck me is that damn what a great vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff is. I mean, of course I knew the man could sing, but to manage to make it sound exactly like on record is rare. I could tell that they gained a lot of new fans that evening. Overheard several people who had just walked in not knowing who Stone Axe are bursting out their love for them. The show ended quite abruptly though; the band was having so much fun on stage that they didn’t notice they were out of time. They promised to come back next year, don’t know if they meant Roadburn or Europe in general, either way, be sure not to miss them. And buy all their vinyl records. I have.

Never thought this day would come, but there they are; Swans entering the main stage. They start off with the intro to end all intros. We’re talking 20-30 minutes of pure bliss. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any louder it does, and drumsticks are flying all over the place. I’m not the only one finding myself just standing there staring with an open mouth in complete awe. The high point of the concert is an amazing performance of “Sex, God, Sex” from the 1987 album “Children of God”. I guess I can die now. The new songs from the “comeback” album “My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope To the Sky”, like “Jim” and “Eden Prison” are experienced in their right element. There seems to be some tension on stage from time to time, at least it looks like Michael Gira tells off the band on a few occasions, maybe it’s just the perfectionist in him, I don’t know. There are some laughs on stage as well though, like when Gira introduces the band and turns to the long-haired caveman-like Thor Harris and says, “This is Thor, he looks like one of you.”

The next morning Michael Gira comes down to the breakfast buffet at the hotel, of course with his big white cowboy hat on. He walks around, carefully looking at the various dishes, and then leaves. Maybe he wasn’t hungry, or maybe it was because the rest of us stopped eating and just started staring at him in awe again...

No comments: