2019 marks two decades of Roadburn Festival. That’s 20 years of ambitiously-curated lineups and daring collaborative sets that have made the yearly Dutch festival an essential event for all fans of experimental and extreme music. Since Decibel won’t be in attendance this year (Roadburn falls on the same weekend as Decibel Metal & Beer Fest: Philly), we invited Old Man Gloom drummer Santos Montano to prepare readers for the festival. What follows is Montano’s exhaustive and less-than-serious previews and predictions, based solely on artist photos used on Roadburn’s site.
A. A. Williams – Huh. Well. This is a tough one to start with. I mean, this person is being deliberately deceitful by making their name “A.A.,” thereby being the first in every list ever. They’re also hiding half their face and their entire outfit in the photo, so my guess is their music is misleading and sneaky. Like that weird Hot Topic metal that bursts into EDM right in the middle. I don’t think this would be allowed at Roadburn, but I bet this is just as sneaky. Also, everyone knows you have to wear another band’s shirt in all your band photos so we know what kind of band you are. Everyone. Knows.
Agrimonia – This is more like it. These guys aren’t wearing band shirts, but they’re giving me something to work with. Scratch that, he’s wearing a Bolt Thrower shirt. Now, on first look, I saw chunky masculine jewelry and 70’s facial hair, so I’d assume Stoney Baloney, but the Bolt Thrower shirt and the spooky clinical name make me think death metal. Either way, I bet these guys buy expensive denim and know how to party. I’m in.
At The Gates – I’m just gonna… leave that one alone.
Bellrope – Well, I’m not certain every bell has a rope. In fact, I know they don’t. Here are bells that don’t have ropes: doorbells, sleigh bells, Taco Bell’s, Belle and Sebastian, jingle bells. I could go on. The point is, really only big church bells have ropes, so I bet these guys are Christian rock, and kudos to Roadburn for keeping Christ’s light in mind while booking the fest.
Birds in Row – I’ve heard of this band. I’ve never heard it, but I believe it’s popular right now. That leads me to believe it sounds like whoever did the Friday Night Lights soundtrack, with occasional blast beats and screaming. Because that seems to be what’s popular right now. Their photo also shows that they buy well-tailored shirts, which is also very popular right now. These guys have a future.
Bismuth – So I’m all about vibes and this article is obviously all about vibes considering I’m just looking at a picture and making a decision. So my problem here is that my vibes are all fucked up. I had to open the band preview page and look at the full photo of these guys to get my vibe horse saddled and there it was… shorts and a winter hat. I mean, winter hat says “I’m driven by the frost of the north, my heart is cold and I want to keep it that way, Hail Odin.” The shades and the shorts say “I found this hoodie in a Costa Rican hostel common room and it had a pill in the pocket, so I took it and woke up in Panama… It was killer!” So I don’t know where to go with this one. Bismuth is a very metal name though, in a good way, so I’ll watch these folks and I guess I’ll have to just make a decision based on their music, which is probably a decent idea anyway.
Black Bombaim and Peter Brötzmann – I mean, this is bloops and bleeps and racket and noisy tin cans through computers. It has to be, right? The photo just screams “You won’t get it, Santos.” I bet Aaron Turner has all their minidisc and reel-to-reel releases.
Bliss Signal – Huh. Well. Bliss signal. I actually think that’s a pretty good name. It doesn’t feel like a metal name. It feels like a band that would have been on Jade Tree in 2002 that no one listened to because they were too busy thinking Dashboard was never gonna not be in their hearts. But then in 2010 they found Dashboard NOT in their hearts and the Bliss Signal CD in their rack with the cellophane still on, opened it and realized it was awesome. So Bliss Signal are a band from a dark period in music that could actually play and were awesome, but we were all too dumb to realize it. That’s just a guess.
Bossk – I know Bossk! Because they played with OMG, which is the only way I know anything. I have a Bossk shirt, in fact. I will say, they are unrecognizable in this photo to me. I think they were smaller and younger when I saw them. I’m also put off by bands smoking in photos. It leads me to have panicky thoughts like “Man… are they gonna be smoking all the time around me?” I also worry about them and the long-term effects of their smoking. If they couldn’t even stop smoking for band press photos, they smoke way too much. Like when Van Halen needed to smoke in the middle of songs. Not good. Eddie got cancer.
Cave – I mean, yeah! Look at these fuckers! Bikes, ball caps, fuckin’ camo! These dudes are having a good time and I bet they can’t wait to get to Holland and have MORE of a good time. I don’t know what they sound like, but I bet they’ll definitely ask the audience how they’re doing and I fucking BET the audience will be doing fuckin’ good. I will watch these guys. And hopefully go on bike rides with them in Holland.
Cave In – Yeah, I know. I should be nice because of the whole Caleb thing. You know what, I don’t have to, because we’re all in this shit together. It’s kinda like how I tell people Chipotle is legitimately my favorite burrito and normally people would call someone who says that an idiot, but I’m actually Mexican, so they can’t say shit to me. Your burrito opinion is null and void, non-Mexican. That being said, my former favorite burrito was made by Adam from Cave In who is not Mexican, but damn does that white boy “get it.” Wow. I really lost track of this one. Moving on.
Coilguns – This is not sitting well with me. Three of these people are the same person. I know this. They have to be. If they aren’t the same person, then they’re triplets, and that’s even more fucked. I am very uneasy about twins. The weird secret twin language, the telepathy, the constant Parent Trap tricks, etc. I do NOT like it. Luckily I’ve never encountered triplets, but I imagine the trickery would be tripled and FUCK THAT. So watching a band of triplets would be a nightmare because I would be on edge waiting for a trick the whole time. I’m just hoping Coilguns is a photoshop trick and that it’s just a two piece, but I have to show up to find out, so I’ll definitely watch these guys. Please God don’t let triplets show up. Or even twins in the audience. I’ll freak out.
Confusion Master – Oh, now we’re fuckin’ talking. Just look at this God damn photo! They hired a fucking cinematographer to light this shit. They look spooky and handsome and I’ll tell you this: when dudes wear that much outerwear in a practice space, it’s probably in Scandinavia. Or maybe the Midwest. Whatever, I’m going Scandinavia, and I bet these guys have big deep voices and very rough-feeling hands. Is it just me or can you smell their sweet apricot and honey hair from looking at this picture? 100% will watch.
Conjurer – Have people debated whether it’s Conjurer or Conjuror? I could Google it, but I’d really break my flow here. Con-Juror could be a hardcore band with legal procedural-themed lyrics. Anyway, I’m guessing these guys are heavy and maybe kinda slow, and probably know magic. That, or really whimsical, upbeat noodle soup with high pitched vocals. Which is to say I have no God damn idea.
Conny Ochs – Look at THIS fucking guy. He’s a God damn dream boat! This is who I imagine my wife leaving me for as I fall asleep every night. In my mind, he LOVES hiking and giving massages and made a fortune writing code in the early 2000s. So now he’s loaded and just plays sweet metal solo jams between hot yoga seasons and oiling his abs. Then he connects spiritually with every person he meets before making a vegan soufflé for his grandparents. I will not be watching this wife stealer.
Crippled Black Phoenix –
Candidate 1: “I mean, why does it have to be a black phoenix? Can’t it just be a phoenix? Do we need these labels, people? We are all God’s phoenixes.”
Candidate 2: “But….he’s black. Look at him. He’s literally a black phoenix. And I think he’s hurt. Hey, can we get someone in here to look at this phoenix? He’s got something going on.”
Candidate 1: “And this phoenix, it has to be a he? Can we ask “it” what it prefers as far as gender?”
Candidate 2: “Again, I’m looking right at its little Phoenix penis. It’s definitely a he. And HE is really not doing well, can we get a phoenix doctor in here please?”
Moderator: “I think we should take a quick break and get this little guy some medical attention.”
More brilliant screen writing like this available upon request.
Crypt Trip – Holy moly. Look at this sweet angel. I’ve never wanted to be friends with anyone more in my life. He’s like a heavy metal Obama, I’m just drawn to him. That delightful little smirk, that shirt, his really well-kept hair. What a delight. I hope to never not be his best friend, because we’re best friends now. His band can just be the sound your brain makes when you lick a popsicle stick on repeat and I’d still stay for the whole set just to say “Man, you were awesome up there. Wanna get a slice?”
Daughters – I guess I should know what these guys sound like. Truth is, I don’t. I have a Daughters record. I know I do. I know I’ve even listened to it, and I remember very specifically never listening to it again because it made me very VERY uncomfortable. I know some people are drawn to that; I am not. My life is very uncomfortable by my own unintentional design, so when I put on music I need it to make me feel better, which is why I only listen to Crypt Trip, even though I have no idea what he sounds like. Those eyes though… Sorry. Daughters. People I know are freaking out about their new record so I bet they’re very good still. I will definitely be watching them.
Deaf Kids – I don’t get a lot of clues from their name but the idea that a bunch of deaf kids would play Roabdurn really makes sense to me. What other festival is experimental enough to allow people who can’t hear their own music a venue? I’ve often wondered if the band I’m watching can hear the trash they’re playing because it’s so awful, so it’ll be nice to watch these guys and say “hey, they can’t even hear this shit!” and for once, it’s true. I think the entire room will just be impressed that they’re out there in the game. I know they aren’t really deaf, probably, but man what a good schtick if they were. I might steal it.
Doolhof – Well, this is obviously Aaron Turner trying to triple cash in on that Rainburn money. Typical. So I’ll try to be objective and put all my Aaron “stuff” aside, because I don’t know the other people doing this. So let’s look at this picture, shall we? Oh, neat, it’s a piece of chewed bubble gum sitting on an old chicken liver and then some kid took his own poop and scribbled all over it. Great. So this is gonna be scribbles and scrobbles and scrangles and strobles and sprangles through amplifiers. I will NOT be watching this, and I will probably try to get the other non-Aaron guys in this band to start a new band with me where we just sit in the pocket and play some sweet grooves and try to forget how Aaron makes us “be art.” But seriously, I’ll probably watch this.
Drab Majesty – Oh Hell yes. This is how it’s done, folks. This looks like one of those fuckers that paint themselves silver and pretend to be a statue at piers and town squares. I hate those guys, but only because they are ominous and provide no other service other than being ominous. This dude has it right, he’s a painted statue man who ALSO kicks out the jams. I mean, I’m assuming. If this fucker just gets on stage and stands still being ominous for 45 minutes, I’ll freak the fuck out. KICK. OUT. THE. JAMS. STATUE. MAN.
Emma Ruth Rundle – Once again, I know all my friends and bandmates like this person and are into her music. I just don’t know what it sounds like. I like her because my friends like her, and I’d even lie if someone at work was wearing her shirt. I’d be like “Oh! That’s cool, she’s great. Buddy of mine, in fact. We’re doing some shows together in a few months,” but it wouldn’t be true. But the person I’d say that to wouldn’t know I was lying and it’s almost true. I mean, when something has the possibility of becoming true, it’s basically true. It’s 2019, folks. So, yeah, Emma is a buddy of mine. She’s awesome. We’re doing some shows together in a few months.
Fauna – Yikes. Look at this dude. He is NOT fucking around. I can’t really be shitty about this one because I’m legitimately intimidated by this guy. Maybe we should flip the narrative? Maybe we should all imagine that he has an iPhone sitting in that bowl, and he’s just using that bowl to get the phone speakers to be a little bassier. You know that trick. And on that tiny TV he’s watching an episode of Chopped and he’s saying “No! Don’t try to do risotto! There’s not enough time! That’s the kiss of death! And you undercooked the chicken! Geoffrey won’t even taste it!”.Now if that’s happening, I’m thinking this is a fun dude! I mean, he’s weird, and he watches TV topless, and he’s kinda filthy, but he always has snacks in the house…
Update: I just noticed the other dude in the photo and now I don’t know what to think. This photo is spooky and I want to watch this band and I don’t want to be too close to the stage because they’re intimidating again.
Fear Falls Burning – It took me a minute to get my head around this. What I’ve decided is that there’s a small town in middle America called Fear Falls and in 1946 there was an out-of-control blaze that wiped out half of the town. This town was known for making an early version of the t-shirt. After the blaze, in one of their factories, they found a batch of shirts charred and mangled. The townspeople were so destitute and desperate they wore the charred shirts, these shirts, and the shabby long-haired look of these people launched the first community of crusty metal dirt heads, and gave the metal community the aesthetic we still rock today. Never forget Fear Falls. They’re more important than Black Sabbath. I hope this band plays a rock opera based on this story.
Fotocrime – It took me a minute, but I know this dude. He was in Coliseum. I like that band, and I like him. So…. I don’t know how to say this… But what’s with the leather jacket? I know, every leather jacket has to be new at some point, but you don’t put it on when you’re in a cemetery taking band photos. You let it live a life for a while, put it on while you’re shopping for snow tires, or wear it in the car on your commute everyday. Give it time to find its wings! I know he has a leather jacket that has seen some shit. I know this in my heart, so… why? Because he wants to project that this band is his new leather jacket, that’s why! He wants you to know its gonna smell weird and be a little uncomfortable and it’s gonna project the endless potential that the future holds, just like a God damn new leather jacket. Not to mention the lining hasn’t fallen out yet, so Fotocrime is gonna be more cozy now than they will be ever again. I mean, if cozy is your thing. They’re probably gonna be awesome and I look forward to smelling his jacket in person.
Gold – There hasn’t been a band called GOLD before?! Are you shitting me?! These folks have literally struck Gold by calling their band Gold. It doesn’t even matter what they sound like, the name Gold is just too good to not make any band worth checking out. If you called Sugar Ray “Gold,” I would go to a Sugar Ray show. And probably have a decent time because, honestly, I just wanted to bring up how much I’m into Sugar Ray.
Gore – Now, this one’s important. The name Gore takes you somewhere kinda obvious in metal festival terms, but the photo really takes you out of it. I know he isn’t a real rabbit. I KNOW this. It doesn’t matter though. I’m letting him or her BE that rabbit. I’m along for the ride. I will let my mind BELIEVE they’re a rabbit. And I don’t like it. This rabbit is NOT playing baseball. Rabbits do not LIKE baseball. He is trying to intimidate me and it isn’t working, because I know rabbits are fucking wimps. I’ve intimidated more rabbits than rabbits have intimidated me, and even with that bat, I feel like I’m still gonna come out on top. If that rabbit is legitimately inviting me to play baseball, I’m IN, because sports are often fun. I have completely abandoned trying to talk about anyone’s music at this point. Fuck it.
Gösta Berlings Saga – I am just stabbing in the dark here, but these guys are definitely not an acoustic outfit. They have fucking computers. These guys have more computers than almost anyone at the festival. Modern computers that don’t have track pads, the kind you have to furiously type at to make anything happen, like in movies. But I look in their eyes, and I know they don’t make “loops” in “GarageBand”, these guys are furiously typing complicated codes to make futuristic hellscape music. Or they’re an acoustic outfit and I’m full of shit.
Have A Nice Life – so I’m starting to wonder, are these photos accurate? It’s starting to feel like not many “bands” are playing this fest. Seems like just a bunch of duos. But maybe the photos are all just cropping out people these bands don’t want us to know about? Anyway, I like when other metal dudes wear glasses in photos. I like wearing glasses. I’d even wear them on stage if they didn’t fly off all the time when I’m doing my sweet head bangz. So I feel empowered when I see other band people wearing glasses. Maybe me and this guy should team up and make a line of “rock glasses” that’ll basically be like those crazy goggles NBA players wear, except for cool rock dudes. So they’ll have flames and dice pentagrams and shit on them, because that’s the garbage cool rock dudes wear. I can see Niki Sixx wearing a weird leather cowboy hat and my Rock Spex with flames on the side while he gets fitted for pre-distressed jeans backstage. Anyway, have a nice life.
Heilung – What the shit is going on here? This looks banana boats. This looks like if Fraggle Rock and a hobo colony waged war for 1,000 years and this was what society looked like when they put down their knives made from old chunky soup cans and Doozer-produced uzis. I fuckin’ love shit like this. I mean, if you’re gonna go for it, GO FOR IT. I don’t want my Scandinavian metal dudes wearing those hammer necklaces and battle vests but then backstage being like “Oof ya, Uli, I prefer Android to Apple, ya?” Fuck that. I want these fucking weirdos drinking from a horn and eatin’ on a big-ass turkey leg. Will watch, will not care what it sounds like.
Henrik Palm – Not gettin much here. I guess I’ll just cling to the little glimmer of hope that I’m drawing from his name. Palm. I hope that he changed his name to Palm because he loves tropical vacation resorts and margaritas. Like, you know, Jimmy Buffett, except maybe a solo, lo-fi black metal version. Wouldn’t that be a nice change of pace? That tinny, crunchy black metal, but about 4-wheeling in the sand and getting lit up on coconut-flavored rum with your sandy-haired soul mate on an air mattress in Costa Rica? Gimme that please.
Imperial Triumphant – I was starting to wonder how the hell I would get through this dumb project I started, then these weirdos pop up and I have renewed enthusiasm. I’m not saying I know, but as far as masked bands go, I’d bet Slipknot has a whole team of “maskers” and “mask scientists” making sure their suits are moisture wicking, breathable and probably have electrolytes in them, whatever the fuck electrolytes are. Probably mini robots, anyway, no one knows. These fuckers do not do that. They wear horsehair cloaks and wooden masks held on with bailing wire. You know why? Because it’s fucking METAL, and Rostburn doesn’t want a single fucking electrolyte anywhere NEAR their festival.
Jaye Jayle – I don’t understand how to say these words. My brain just wants to say “JJ,” then right after I want to say “DYNOMITE!” But that’s not what these words are. And beyond that, I’m starting to think that none of you European creepazoids who’re gonna be attending this festival will understand the reference “JJ” and “DYNOMITE!,” and that’s super sad. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe you guys had Good Times, maybe it was dubbed in German and the title changed into “The American Working Poor Who Seem to Have Good Times While Obviously Living in Less-Than-Ideal Conditions.” I don’t know. What I do know is I want tell secrets to Jay Jayle’s beard. Secrets even he can’t hear. And I hope to do so at Bradburn.
Laster – I DO NOT LIKE THIS PHOTO. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m very intensely afraid of aliens and this is too alien-like for me. I also don’t like this weird homemade bike tire and duct tape space ship thing. I can see it’s a bike tire and duct tape, but it still feels like a space ship and these are the aliens who fly it. I know this is just some band, but they did such a good job setting this creepfest photo that I will not be watching them because they might come out in these masks and I will freak out and just leave Tinsburg, or Frillsburg, or wherever the fuck this festival happens. If you like things that make you scared, then go see this band. I also suggest you watch horror movies, which I also will not do. Sorry, Laster. I know you’re probably nice aliens, I just can’t hang.
Lingua Ignota – From this picture alone, I imagine this person is making static sounds with their mouth. How perfect would that be? You’re attending the show, getting a drink, chatting to some metal hunk and this person takes the stage. They say “Hello, we are Lingua Ignota, we are honored to be at Braeburn Festival, here’s our first song, it’s called ‘Bandaid Residue.’”
Then they just start going “hsshsshssssssssssssssshssssssshhhsssssshsssshasssskwaaaaaaaaaaaahshhhhhhhh” with no instruments or backing tracks. I mean, that’s how I imagine Rodburn. And people will eat that shit up. They’ll blog on their Netscapes about how much stage presence they have and how there aren’t boundaries that can contain them. And I guess they’re probably right.
LOOP – So when it comes to band names, if you always have your name in capital letters, it really sends this subtle message that “this means something else.” Like in the ’80s, when we all thought WASP meant “We Are Satan’s People” and KISS mean “Knights in Satan’s Service.” Well, LOOP doesn’t have an S in it, so we can forget about some link to Satan. But Satan isn’t even a big deal in 2018, especially not at Robeburn. So what cryptic message are these tricksters pushing? “Look Out Our Porthole”? “Listen, Our Organ’s Playing”? “Learn on Our Piano”? These are all pretty innocent. I feel like we could have gotten someone a little edgier, but hey, I’m not Waltburn.
Louise Lemón – In case you guys don’t know, LuluLemon is a place where people in America buy expensive yoga gear. It’s a great place to reference when you want to make fun of yuppies. I do it all the time. If this person is really named “Louise Lemón,” I hope she sues those assholes and makes 10 million dollars. I hope she shows up to Rollburn with a golden harpsichord, that she runs through a spaghetti clump of effects pedals while she goblin chants into the mic. I hope Louise takes down that corporate monster to be a goblin harpsichord monster for the rest of her life on a private island. I support this campaign.
Lucy in Blue – Well, these seem like nice people. They’ve got a real ’90s Seattle vibe to them, except for guy on the far left; people in ’90s Seattle didn’t wear those gigantic billowy scarves that exist now. So I guess with the Seattle vibes and the big billowy scarf, I bet this sounds like the Singles soundtrack mixed with, um… whatever big, billowy scarves sound like. Fuck that, let’s just cross our fingers and hope these guys just walk out on stage and literally play the Singles soundtrack. I mean, everything at this fest is so challenging, can’t we have a little break? And seriously, if you looked at the back of the Singles soundtrack CD case and saw a band called Lucy in Blue on there, would you even bat an eye? Fuck no. I actually think they might be on there! That being said, I once worked for Matt Dillon and he found out I was a drummer, so he would play bongos at the bottom of the ladder I was up on while I was painting his bedroom. True story. I will watch these handsome and nice looking people play their revival grunge.
Malokarpatan – Holy Hell. What’s going on here? I had to actually click this photo to get the wide angle and when I did, POW, that fucker to the far right shows up. This is classic misdirection. Homie in the middle is like “don’t step, or I’ll hit you with this tiny stick.” And you’re like “huh, not that big a deal, bro.” What you don’t realize is that wingnut to the far right is holding a full-on Samurai sword behind that tree, and it’s not a razor-sharp ancient Japanese ghost sword. No, he bought that shit at a pawn shop in Fresno when he was shopping for a new cordless drill. That shit isn’t going to cut you clean, it’s just gonna hurt like hell and definitely get infected. That being said, I love this band’s deal, whatever the fuck their deal is. These guys have stories, and probably a ton of traffic violations. These guys have definitely vandalized a construction site at 1 am. No doubt. I’m IN.
Marissa Nadler – I’m just… at a loss. I mean, she looks perfectly nice. Not doing anything I can make fun of. She also doesn’t have a weird band name. It’s just her name, and I can’t think of anything funny or weird to say about it. I’m sorry. Sometimes, well, sometimes things are just kinda nice and normal, and this is one such occasion. I almost feel like I need to show up to her set and find something to nitpick considering what’s happening here. Dear Marissa Nadler, if you show up to Railburn and take the stage in cargo shorts, I will come for you. If you wear sunglasses on stage in the dark, I will make it known I DO NOT approve. If your drummer wears a leather jacket and no shirt underneath while playing, the world will FEEL my criticism. Or maybe we can all just get some fries and fancy cocktails and call it a day. I am running out of steam.
Messa – OK. Well, these fellas have super metal vibes in the photo, but I’m hung up on Messa. “Mesa” is “table” in Spanish, so I’m really hoping these guys are a “foodie metal” band. That has to be a thing within like one or two weeks of me doing this. Come on! Bands get away with lyrics about absolute nonsense and it gets its own genre, so why not this? An angry song about how your enemies will surely perish by their consumption of high fructose corn syrup? Begrudging your family for their support of non-local ingredients? Short foodie grind bursts called “micro greens”? A whole god damn concept album about an InstantPot?!? It’s all right there people. Just reach out and grab it. Don’t forget to stop by the merch table for a Dutch-inspired tasting menu!
Midnight – I hope this band has existed for over 30 years. If they haven’t, we all should be ashamed of ourselves for not scooping up this band name. Regardless, this kind of foresight deserves to be rewarded. This guy also holds the patent for fidget spinners, owns a stake in ShakeShack and knows exactly when the Botch reunion will happen. He also probably plays whatever music will be very popular in a few years, which means we probably won’t get it. We still have to go and watch though, so we can be shits and say “Oh ya, bro, I saw that shit in like 2018 and like 20 people were there. It was SICK.” And who doesn’t like saying shit like that?
Mono featuring some other people whom I also don’t know – Holy Hell! I know Mono. I mean, not personally, but I believe I’ve met them, and I have definitely seen them live. It almost feels like I should opt out of previewing this band because I could actually give some actual information on what to expect. It feels like a betrayal. I guess I should focus on what is likely to happen at Ropeburn though, which isn’t like what I’ve seen in the past. Maybe they’re gonna do a full set of contact mic plate spinning and ping pong balls hitting water glasses music. I’m also now wondering if I’ve made up this ping pong balls hitting glass thing. Anyway, there will be smoke and weird guitars and it’ll be a good time I assure you. Will attend.
Mord’A’Stigmata – I had to totally copy and paste this name. There was no way I was getting it right, and now it’s changed my font and everything in my notes app, because that’s where I’m doing my previews, sitting in my car on my phone. Just like a real writer, right? Charles Dickens wrote Catcher in the Rye in his car sitting in a parking lot, right? Anyhoo, Mord’A’Stigmata are surely metal, and the tangled spooky tree branches in their photo let me know they’re some sort of earth and tree-based Audubon metal, and for every $20 you spend at the merch table, one bird gets a plastic Roadburn attendee bracelet removed from its beak and face. Don’t even get me started on the Roadburn Bracelet Island in the middle of the ocean suffocation dolphins. It’s the size of Tilburg!
Morne – Oooooh. I like this one. These guys remind me of the door knockers in labyrinth! I bet one always lies and one always tells the truth. So you have to figure out which is which before you can buy a 180g swirly black and pink copy of their LP.
Me to dude on left: “Are you in a spooky metal duet?”
Dude on left: “NO.”
Me to dude on right: “Do you like the Old Man Gloom record NO?”
Dude on right: “NO”
Me to both: “I’m already tired of this. You’re definitely in a spooky metal duet, dude on left, and you definitely DON’T like NO, dude on right, because it’s universally unlikeable, so I know you’re the truth guy and he’s the lie guy. How big is a medium in the shirt with the knives and syrup logo shirt, and don’t fucking lie to me?”
Dude on left: You definitely can fit into a small.
Dude on right: You definitely are somewhere between medium and large.
Me: Gimme a triple XL hoodie.
Myrkur: Folkesange – Well, now we’re starting to help our audiences out. This is in the name! Murky folk songs! I mean, that’s what it looks like. I don’t speak whatever language this is, but come on, it has to be murky folk songs! And that fits perfectly with the Raabburn aesthetic. I imagine this person covered in blood, wielding a beat-up old acoustic and singing traditional wherever-they’re-from folk songs. The blood thing has made it so they can’t work the farmers market and train station circuit, so they have waited for a venue to showcase their murky folksongs. They found it. Hopefully the fake blood isn’t scented, that would be very distracting, and I’m very sensitive to scents.
Mythic Sunship – My first instincts were to write this whole long thing about this cartoon called Esteban and the Mysterious Cities of Gold where they had a mythical sunship and it was awesome. I just couldn’t get over this photo though. So much tension here. I can feel it. The dude on the right is CLEARLY living on the dude in the middles couch. And it is NOT going well. The band was going great, making some sweet tunes, landed a spot at Ronburn, the world was their oyster. Then homie on the right got dumped, and needed someplace to crash. “Sure, crash at my place, I’ve got a home gym that we can toss an air mattress in.” Well, it’s been four-and-a-half months, and dude in the middle spends leg day cleaning hair out of the shower drain, and hasn’t had a good night sleep because dude on the right writes on an acoustic at night. “It’s the only time I’m inspired. Don’t you care about the band, man?” This band’s last show will be moleburn unless dude on the right makes a love connection at the fest and moves in with that rebound. Which is always a bad move, FYI.
Noisepicker – Yeah, I instantly want to know more about these guys. I imagine guy on the left is one of those people that is good at everything that isn’t really useful but super interesting. For instance, he worked on a sugarcane plantation in Cuba for a year, knows how to make functional live-in barges out of trash and is really knowledgeable about Neptune. The guy on the right, well, he’s the protégé of dude on left, but he is really into drones, capoeira and renewable energy. This makes it weird because other dude doesn’t like these things. So they’ve made a pact to only speak through music. Dude on the left also pitches they only sing in Esperanto, which dude on right very much agrees with. Check ’em out.
Old Man Gloom – I know you’re all wondering if I’m gonna write about my own band. Of course I am. Every day, on every platform possible. Not here, because I’m only on O and I have a long way to go, so I don’t want to waste any brainpower.
Orchestra of Constant Distress – Dang. That’s a bleak mouthful. I mean, Orchestra of Distress, that’s distressing enough, but you make it an orchestra of constant distress? Shitballs. Thats a real bummer. It is a pretty interesting and clever move, though. When I say “Orchestra of Distress,” it could easily be a Mushroomhead side project with the DJ from, well, whatever shitty band had a DJ. It REEKS of side project. But in all seriousness, “Orchestra of Constant Distress” totally works and evokes, well, the kind of band that plays Barnburn and eloquently speak between songs about politics and experimental music and how they fuel the duality of love and distress and that we are all one and that you don’t need to go to the merch table because all they are offering is love and it’s free and it’s all around your earholes when they start the next movement. Yes, these guys are so god damn smart they don’t write songs, they write movements.
Ostinato – I’m fairly certain this guy is just a guy and not a band. I mean, I bet his name isn’t Ostinato, but I could be wrong. His name could be Ronnie Ostinato. Regardless, from the photo and the name, my mind just wanders into some sort of chaotic piano mess. Like, he’s the Billy Joel of Rogueburn. Something tells me this guy isn’t as big a fuck up as the original piano man, though. He doesn’t have that “30 years of alcoholism” look to him. Who knows, maybe this guy will crash his car into a canal, punch his piano and break his hand on stage, then marry someone 30 years younger than him. We should give him time to figure it all out. Regardless, I once put some shelves up in Billy Joels basement in the west Village. True story. I will watch Ostinato and hope for some antics. Don’t let me down.
Ovtrenoir – I’m just too literal, I’m starting to understand this shortcoming. Also, this fest is too, well, worldly. And I know there will be no “world music” at this fest. As much as you guys want some Peruvian pan flute jams, you’ll have to stick to crafts fairs for that. Anyway, I’m an idiot. Ovtrenoir is a word that I just simply can’t wrap my head around. In my youth, even the metal bands from non-English speaking countries had names like Kreator, Scorpions and Bryan Adams. I can wrap my head around that. These days, metal bands have the freedom to call themselves shit like Ovtrenoir. It’s good, they don’t need to cater to dumb dumbs like me and other Americans, but the little Donald Trump in my heart wants these guys to have a sticker on their album over their name that says “OvenDoor.”
Shit, this whole thing was stupid. I’m sorry, this is becoming unbearable. I most of all want to apologize to OvenDoor for not knowing what you sound like and being too dumb to know more than one language. Or even one language for that matter. I’m sorry. You’re very handsome people and I like your photo and that medieval wall. It was a good choice. I’m sorry.
Petbrick – See, this is what I’m talking about. This I can wrap my head around. A brick with a little leash? A brick just sitting in a litter box? A brick in a terrarium basking in a heat lamp? GOLD. No, not the band GOLD. We covered that. Anyway, Bricks are heavy, pet bricks are fun and funny, so I bet these guys are fun and heavy. I bet like $200 I’m right. Whoever can get to me first at BroBurn and shake on it gets the bet. If I’m wrong, I promise I’ll pay up. Although it might be $200 in GloomBucks, which are good at any Old Man Gloom show or meet and greet. Also good at my margarita singles mixer at this very fest.
Pharmakon – OK… It’s getting far into this very misguided project of mine, and the juices just ain’t flowing like they were 25 previews ago, so I cheated. I opened the band page on the Rugburn site and there’s a YouTube video of this person performing. Hole. E. Shit. This isn’t my thing, I admit that, and that’s why I don’t want to know anything about these bands in my preview because lots of things aren’t my thing, but boy am I glad I watched this video. Please go to 1:34 in the video, and you’ll see my favorite thing about this whole video. The security guard at this gallery is so fucking confused about whats happening, and he’s trying to just get through it. You can see him look over and then make the decision “I can’t watch this or I’m gonna crack.” I mean, I like watching stuff like this, it’s interesting. You don’t stay in a band with Aaron Turner for 20 years and NOT see stuff like this. I see it a lot, but imagine being a security guard, just trying to get through your shift so you can get home and watch some TV, see your kids, whatever and your job for the night is to protect a woman screaming into some sheet metal from a bunch of intellectual experimental music fans in $1200 glasses? Your chances of action are pretty slim. You can forget about pulling your service weapon…You may have to pull an epipen if one of these kids gets near a peanut, because from the look of this crowd the allergies are rampant! I will watch this woman’s set, because it’ll be weird and I also want to see what the security guards at the fest will think.
Pijn – I was just staring at this photo. Staring, staring and I realized all the words on the shirts are backwards. What the fuck? Why would they do this? It almost feels like they don’t want us to know what they look like. I mean, subtly, I don’t think I’ll be able to recognize these guys at the fest. I may see a guy and think “that kinda looks like the dude from Pijn, just, backwards.” That’s a trip. So I think these guys are doing this on purpose, and this will continue. I think their music probably tricks you, but you won’t realize it until you’re already tricked. It’s like math rock, but not complicated. So, like, addition and subtraction math rock. Which, let’s be honest, that’s the only math most of us can do. Oh, you can divide? Well, look at you Good Will Hunting and your fancy fucking dividing. Oh, and these guys kinda remind me of Good Will Hunting a little, now that I said that.
Rakta – I don’t give a shit what these two sound like, I’m gonna like it. I’m ON BOARD. Look at them! They’re out there, traveling the world, wearing shades, smiling in photos! HATS?!? They could have gone the route we all go, bleak backdrop like an old brick wall, or a burnt-out old factory or spooky woods if you’re European. Throw up a mean-mug, making sure your sick ink makes the photo. Same old song and dance. But Rakta said “fuck that noise” and I think they’re the best band at the fest solely based on this photo. Are they at some UFO landing strip? Mexican Pyramids? Did they just split a soft pretzel and sit on some steps? I want to do this with them. I want to ride a Guatemalan chicken bus to some volcanic hot springs and pass out on their couch. I’d surely wake up to some graffiti on my face and a hot breakfast, because these two are fun. I know this in my heart. Will attend, will be front row.
Secret Cutter – I don’t know. I’m trying to stay positive with these things, but sheesh. That guy in the middle is NOT stoked about this photo. I mean, the band is called Secret Cutter, so that’s some heaviness. If I dig a little though, maybe I’ve got this all wrong. Maybe it’s not about someone who “cuts” in secret. Maybe it’s some who “cuts” secrets. Maybe that’s why he looks a little down. Maybe he’s exhausted from never telling or keeping secrets. He’s an open book! He tells it like it is! He reveals his and everyone he knows full darkness, and that’s fucking exhausting. I imagine it is, anyway. I’m a great secret keeper. Some would even call me a Secret Assembler, as I assemble the secrets of your and everyone I knows darkness and internalize it. Which is also exhausting. I will watch this band in hopes he will reveal on stage that someone else in the band is a bed wetter.
Seven That Spells – I can instantly feel this guys pain. Whenever someone at work or a dinner party finds out I’m in a band they inevitably ask what the band is called. Unfortunately for them and me, I never say “Maroon 5” so they can be excited. I have to say “Old Man Gloom.” The other person always says with a weird look on their face “Old Man GLOOM?” and I have to repeat it extra slow. This guy definitely has to say “Seven That Spells” super slow and articulately all the time, and definitely has to repeat it once, if not more times. That shows me he’s committed and doesn’t give a shit what his mom’s neighbor thinks of what he does with his time. He doesn’t care that the guy at Guitar Center will “check him out, you got Bandcamp?” Nope. None of that shit matters, he made his choice and he’s sticking with it. Kudos, three-word-band-name brother. Let’s make this shit happen. On tour this fall, Seven That Spells, Old Man Gloom, Seven Mary Three, Sisters of Mercy and Bad News Bears. And yes, I go to dinner parties. Please invite me to your next dinner party.
Slægt – Holy shit, I had to Google how to make that funny letter in the middle of this word. I got through it though, and it was worth it. THESE GUYS. Upon first look, I was instantly just drawn into this world. They fucking really killed it. I mean, I’m attracted, I’m curious, I’m wanting to be in that room to see where it all will go. I’m certain that more than three of these guys are really good at guitar. The guy who is least good at guitar is better than anyone I’ve ever met who plays guitar probably. And I once worked on a movie with Bruce Willis, so I’m not fucking around. My only issue here is my own brain. Whenever I see really metal dudes, I just go a different way. I want to see them in the off hours. My brain puts the blonde guy in a blue Best Buy polo shirt tucked into some jeans. The guy with no shirt on next to him, well, I see him in a white button down and a ponytail taking my order at a fancy restaurant. I get it, guys, when I take band photos I look super cool, but when I’m at work I wear the most embarrassing clothes ever created, Under Armor. It’s a nightmare. But all we can do is thank our lucky stars that we chose to be in metal bands so we can look cool sometimes, because reality is a motherfucking uncool place. Will watch, will look forward to whoever plays guitar because it’ll be good.
Sleep – What can I say about Sleep that you guys don’t know? Sleep don’t need my dumb ass drawing people in to see them, they’re doing just fine. So what I’ll tell you is that when we first announced Roadburg, I had this terrible idea to make fake text conversation with people who were instrumental to this year’s fest. I did one with Waltburn, founder of the fest, then I did one with Tomas from At The Gates. Well, people thought it was real and I spent an afternoon panicking and apologizing and trying to undo the damage I did. What you may not know is that I had one locked and loaded with Matt Pike from Sleep. The only joy I take from my debacle is that I didn’t post that fabricated text conversation, because I would have to take two punches in the face at the fest instead of the one I’m surely going to get. Also, why am I doing what I’m doing right now, when something just like this blew up in my face? Well, because I’m a God damn idiot who just can’t help but force what he thinks is funny onto the general public.
Soft Kill – Soft Kill. Soft Kill. Think that’s like a soft opening? Like when they open a restaurant and only invite their friends? I mean, a soft opening for a band is basically the first six years of being a band, right? Anyway, I think this is a pretty good name, and a pretty good photo. It reminds me of Tron, and seriously, if a band is Tron-themed, I’m totally their biggest fan. I will say, if I’m critical, I kinda get weirded out by people who play with their own hair, so the dude on the far left playing with his hair is throwing me off. Maybe it was just a bad moment, and no one asked him if he liked this photo. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. But I will show up to this set and see if this guy plays with his hair, and I’ll have feelings about it. Unless they’re Tron themed, then I won’t give a fuck. And they’ll be wearing neon helmets.
Stuck in Motion – Well now. This is confusing. Heavy metal photo shoots aren’t usually known for their picturesque American heartland sunset shots. It makes me instantly like these guys. It also makes me wonder if they’re Roadturn’s left-wing agenda to smatter up the joint with diversity. Maybe they’re so hellbent on diversity they MUST have a Trump-supporting, corn-farming, truck-driving pop-country band on the bill, and we as the audience have to “give them a chance” and maybe learn from their middle American, blue collar point of view. Kudos, Waltburn, you’re the diversity master.
UPDATE: This band is from Sweden. I was completely fooled, and I am NOT happy about it. Although I am pretty happy that my diversity bullshit rant wasn’t legit. Not that anything I’ve written here is legit. Anyway, these guys look mysterious and I like the name, and I want to lie with my head in one of their laps in that Swedish country scene and talk about our dreams and how we’ll get out of that small town someday. Maybe even suck on some chili dogs outside the Swedish Tastee Freez, with my hands between Stuck In Motion’s knees. WILL WATCH.
SUMAC – Booooooooooooring. That being said, I’ll be setting up a booth right in the front of the stage. I’m calling it “the distraction zone.” There’ll be TV’s playing American sports, a few slot machines and a frozen margarita machine. Not only do I want you all to have some fun during the SUMAC set, but I also want to do my best to throw these hacks off their game and TV’s, slot machines and frozen margaritas are the most distracting things in the world. Everyone knows that.
Svalbard – That isn’t a word. I know in my heart it isn’t a word, and I take on look at these folks and I know I’m right. Eatin’ donuts, touring in some prehistoric yellow hippy bus. I can’t believe anything anymore, but I certainly won’t be fooled by Svalbard. Now, if it was Svalbeard, well that seems like a word, but Svalbard, no way. Regardless, I will go watch these guys, because I know for a fact people who tour in hippy vans have a pretty killer bartering game, so if I take them a couple peanut butter sandwiches, I’ll likely be rewarded with some homemade peyote and a puppy, which I will take before the SUMAC set so I can be off my fucking rocker and really make a scene tossing a puppy at Aaron. (No puppies will be hurt at this festival).
Side Note: the guy on the far right’s hair cut, we used to call that the “soccer rocker” in high school. Let’s bring that term back please.
Territoire – OK. Now I admit, my first instinct is to say “this isn’t for me,” solely judging by this photo. This shit looks moody and spooky and complicated. Also, that drum set is not a drum set that makes sense to my dumdum drum brain. That’s what the “old me” would’ve said. But it’s 2019 and Nü Santos has opened his mind. I will watch this band, and I will be really into it. Well, I won’t, and I probably will only watch for a few minutes, but I’ll TELL people I watched it, and I’ll TELL people I was really into it, because 2019 Santos is all about people thinking he’s smarter and evolving, while not actually growing in any way shape or form, except for maybe getting fatter. So, I’m sorry, Territoire, in advance for not understanding your music, but I’m dumb and old and really only like podcasts about soccer. It’s me, not you. I promise. But I’m actually really into these guys. I fully understand and feel their music. I am evolved. No, seriously. j/k.
Terzij de Horde – I know. I know, I know, I know. Metal isn’t about hair in 2019. I know. But… isn’t it? Shouldn’t more than one guy in a black metal band have sick-ass hair? I’m not saying it makes you a bad band or less metal or anything, but let’s be honest: when bands have cool long hair, all the headbanging and stage moves are just way better! I’m right. I know I’m right. When someone bangs with short hair you can see how much work it is and it’s downright uncomfortable to watch. The hair provides a service to both the band and the audience, and gives a freedom to both to really lock into the music, as opposed to being concerned the person on stage is going to get super dizzy. I bet these guys are awesome, and I bet people love them, but I implore them, let that shit GROW until April! If it doesn’t seem a little better on stage, you can tell me I’m wrong and I’ll buy you a fruit basket, but if it’s way more awesome on stage, you can buy me a fruit basket. Deal? Basket for basket, that’s how we do it in the metal world. All that being said, I’ll watch this band and think about hair. Also, I swear the guy on the far right is Ryan Gosling.
The End – Fucking again. How has there never been a band called “the end” before? It’s fantastic. That being said, I have no idea what kind of band this is. This is a confusing group. Fancy pants in the middle with his fancy jacket, the guy in the back with what looks like a very soft T shirt (I hate overly soft t shirts, I feel like everyone is looking at my nipples all day), the guy on the far left who maybe cornered some people with a clipboard right before this shoot to get money for displaced otters and, well, the guy on the far right, use your imagination and pretend his sweater is the moon and his head is sticking out of a crater. It’s weird and makes me much more comfortable. They’ve obviously been told to fake laugh, and the woman in the middle was like “no fake laughs, only real laughs, so MAKE ME LAUGH, PHOTO MAN.” Photo Man couldn’t deliver, and I respect her for taking a stand. Anyway, I really can’t figure this out musically from the photo or the name, so I’ll show up and I bet this is good, because, well, they all look pretty good. That’s enough for me.
The Exorcist GBG – I know what the exorcist is. I am not sure what GBG stands for, though, and I don’t feel like speculating at the moment. Well, OK, maybe a few: Goof Ball Gals? Good Boy Gang? Great Barrier Grief? WHOA. That might be the best band name I’ve ever come up with. Great Barrier Grief is a fucking home run. Whoever uses that, please give me credit and 15% of all future profits. Anyway, I respect the time it took this band to wait for all three moons to be in perfect symmetry above the stair case for this photo. That kind of time and dedication to perfection probably translates into their music, and they’re probably tight as tight can be. I’ll watch them, and I hope they bring an elaborate staircase stage show with them. And I hope the GBG stands for “GameBoy Group” and it’s just a band consisting of synthesizers made from Gameboys.
Thor and Friends – OK. This is for me. Not only do I love meeting people actually named Thor, I love when metal dudes are stoked on friends. The whole “lonely in the darkest woods of the icy haunted winter island” shit is sooooooooo played out. What are we so moody about at this point? We get to play metal for people! It’s fucking cool! I mean, I’m sorry if you’re sad and cold in the woods. I should be more understanding. But you know what would make being cold in the spooky forest cabin a little more bearable? FRIENDS! Thor knows this, and so he’s bringing his friends with him wherever he goes, and it’s fantastic. I will show up and hopefully be friends with Thor and his friends. I bet this band sounds like an old-timey organ grinder, the kind where there was a monkey who would steal your wallet, but Thor probably built his own grinder, and his friends probably have THEIR own grinders, and it’s a symphony of grinders. GrinderCore is how I would describe this. Probably.
Thou – Holy Guacamole. Look at this bunch. Again, as I’ve stated in this very, um, whatever this is I’m doing, if you’re gonna commit, COMMIT. That being said, upon further gazing at this photo, I’m kinda feeling half commitment. The two people in the middle, they’re in. Gone for it. Done. These two definitely would put this shit on to go to the Walgreens to buy razors. They’re there, waiting for the razor guy to open the razor enclosure, and they’re FULL-ON spooking over razor guy’s shoulder. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they said in a spooky Transylvanian accent “I vould like no less than 6 blades in my product. I need smyooth skin as a canvas for my creation.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but is person on far right only wearing half the make up? That is maybe even more spooky. The two on the far left… well, they kinda look like they’re just having a nice night out. I don’t know. Could’ve been spookier.
I did NOT notice the spooky faces in the background. I now hate this photo because it’s actually spooky and I don’t like the way it’s making me feel. I will watch this band at Raulburn because sometimes I like to feel spooky. But not right now. I’m in a weird place and I’m alone and I don’t want the terrifying white people to come for me.
Treha Sektori – Fuuuuuuuck. I’m running into a problem. I’m now in the T’s, and it’s really starting to get tougher to differentiate between the legitimately cool photos of off-putting stuff. If I had started with this one, I would’ve had a field day. Look at this shit! It’s a pelt monster wading into a craggy old moon sea with a giant tambourine! That’s BANANA BOATS! But, well, all the bands have had cool photos, and I’m starting to become Creep-blind. I don’t even know whats creepy and spooky anymore. I can’t even conjure any fun from the crazy star wars name that this person has. I’ve backed myself into a corner here. I’m sure by the time April comes around, though, I’ll be first in line to watch this band play the giant Tambo though. I’ll rally. I promise.
Turia – Well, I personally feel this man is threatening me. And I don’t care for it. It also seems that his friend on the left doesn’t like it either. He’s covering his eyes and saying “duuuuuuude, you can’t pull a knife on the photographer. We PAID him to be here.” Dude in the middle is like “No, bro, my people believe that photos take a part of your soul, and I want my SOUL back!”, to which stony-faced dude on the right is like “Dude. You use my HBOGO password, I KNOW how many times you’ve watched Sex and The City. Does this photo soul-stealing shit apply to Samantha?”
Which is just SUCH a Samantha thing to say, right?
I will watch Turia from the back of the room just in case.
Twin Temple – OK. I’m in. I’m so intrigued by this weirdness I might even look up these guys on the Youtube right now. That’s saying a lot, because I really only watch videos of woodworking techniques and tutorials on how to fix things I break. Really, if I’m honest, I want these two to have a kinda spooky, goth home show. Like whats “in” in goth home decor this season. Maybe even a cooking segment where a goth chef will come on and joylessly make some salt soup, which is just hot water and salt, and the live studio audience will all get a taste and get sadder. Maybe a goth from the local pet store can come on and show off some really un-cuddly animals, and they can disparage society’s obsession with dogs, because dogs have too much unchecked joy. I have to say, as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if I don’t know what these peoples are and I’m just calling them goths because I’m old and don’t know what stuff is anymore. My grandma called all music made after the ’30s jazz. Anything from the Beatles to Carcass was jazz to her. I will absolutely be watching this jazz band at Roseburn.
Uran GBG – What is this GBG stuff about? This is the second band with GBG in the title, and now I feel like I’m missing something. This isn’t uncommon for me; I can be a little daft sometimes. For instance, my best friend told me that you can get pink eye from watching a dog poop and I believed that until I was like 28. At the same time, I never got pink eye in all those years, and I still won’t watch a dog poop, so maybe he wasn’t wrong. We’ll never know, best to move on. Uran is a weird word, and they’re represented by a giant robot who smokes, so I’m expecting good things. You know how fucked up psychologically a robot has to be to be addicted to smoking? I mean, that robot doesn’t even have lungs or a bloodstream or anywhere for that sweet, low-tar toasted tobacco flavor to go! He’s just puffing away manically and he’s getting NOTHING from it. He’s trying fucking anything to calm his robot mind and soothe his robot heart. He’s trying to make it through some darkness we can never understand, and really fucked up dark manic robot addicts are awesome on stage. Guaranteed. Will watch.
Vile Creature – Look at this scene! Not a vile creature in the bunch! Cats rule. I love cats. I also seem to like people who like cats, so that’s a plus. Plus, these people look just like the cats they’re holding. The only off-putting thing here is that the person on the right doesn’t seem to be wearing a shirt. I would never in a thousand years hold my cat topless. My cat is a little fucker, so if I tried to cuddle him topless, I would be torn to shreds. Maybe that’s whats happening here, maybe that cat is the vile creature and part of their stage show is Heathcliff and Garfield come on stage with the band and just tear them to ribbons while they perform like some kind of GG Allin-meets-Cats-the-Broadway-musical mashup. All bloody and cat scratchy, eating cat poops, slicing your forehead with those sharp aluminum lids of cat food cans. It’s not a bad gimmick, if I’m honest. I would’ve called the band GG Whiskers, though. Will DEFINITELY watch these trailblazers.
Witte Wieven – At first, I thought this person had their photo taken up in a tree. That would be some revolutionary heavy metal photography. Black metal bands always have creepy trees in photos, so that’s been done, but climbing a tree and taking some treetop metal photos is territory that we can get into more. Not to mention one of the funniest things you can do in this world is to hide in a tree and jump out of it onto an unsuspecting person walking below. Granted, everyone involved will get really hurt, maybe even emergency room hurt, but it’s worth it. Trust me. So Witte Wieven are probably the sonic equivalent of jumping out of a tree onto someone, painful, dangerous, but ultimately worth it. At least that’s what I’m assuming. Don’t let me down…
Wolvennest – Holy shit, that’s a killer name. Can you imagine a bunch of fucking wolves living in a giant nest made from logs, chain link fence, truck bumpers and shit? That’s awesome. Although, if I’m honest, a wolf nest is also kinda cute sounding. For example, I see them cuddling in the nest when it’s dark out and they aren’t hunting. You never imagine wolves in a “pack” cuddling. At least I don’t. Wolves kinda shouldn’t nest, and as Danzig famously said “I ain’t no backdoor wolf,” which means no self respecting metal wolf would live in a house or a nest, they just suffer in brambles and drink swamp puddles or something. Unless they’re befriended by an elite military Native American cartoon character, they should be exclusively terrifying. This band has my wolf imagination on fire. Their picture is also pretty intriguing; that lady has a mic in one hand and is tickling the ivory with the other like she’s in some underground terrifying, wolf-themed Journey cover band. I’m fucking into it. Sign me up. Not possible to be disappointed with the evidence on hand.
Wrong – I know that I’ve heard of Wrong. I’m also fighting the temptation to make any kind of word play happen with “wrong.” Just putting it out there. I have a few in mind that I think are funny, but I’m steering away. Instead, I’m going to focus on this fucking photo. I love it. The idea was obviously “please shoot us like it’s 1979 and we’ve been locked in the basement of a Tempe Arizona Dairy Queen for three days counting and recounting the take from an underground casino run out of a livestock feed supply warehouse every Saturday night.” Nailed it. Will watch these guys, and I hope their set is just them sitting in metal folding chairs, chain smoking, talking about how 9/11 was an inside job and that the moon landing was real but the actual moon is fake.
Young Widows – These guys are awesome. Check ’em out.
Thanks for reading, I hope this provides you with a clear map of how to make the most of your festival experience! Don’t forget, Roadburn is also famous for their non-bands-on-stage events during the fest. Make sure you check out some of the following highlights:
Margarita singles mixer (Hosted by yours truly. Find love or, at the very, least a place to stay for the evening. Karaoke, tequila, and the “7 minutes in heaven” pop-up tent. Don’t miss!)
Battle vest patch-sewing session (Dental floss and needle provided. Professional crust punk moderator on site to provide patch groupings and placement advice).
The “make your own noise album” panel, hosted by Aaron Turner (Aaron will show you how to make your very own noise album using household items like stoves, electric razors and creaky hardwood floors. No musical taste, experience or understanding necessary).
And much much more! Just a reminder, this is a non-smoking event. Please make your way outside the city limits to smoke. Yes, that includes weed. We don’t want a bunch of stoney-baloney ding dongs bringing down the energy level. We need you sharp and alert!
See you there! Please don’t touch me!
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