Here we are with the 2019 edition of the most interesting and experimental metal festival in Europe: the Roadburn. Also for this year we will assist a never ending names of astonishing bands, such as – just to say the most important – Heilung, Mono, Myrkur, Thou, Tryptykon, At the Gates and Sleep, that comes back after 27 years to celebrate their music path on the Main Stage of the 013.
I must admit that I didn’t even plan to come to the festival this year: I made the wrong decision to wait until January to buy the ticket, and I realized it was too late. On the other side, I could expect it: the Roadburn is an indoor festival, which means that the capacity is strictly limited due to logistics reasons, and at the same time is THE place in which every metal fan would like to be (or at least, every elitist). The ticket race is therefore unavoidable.
Anyway, I got lucky and a friend of mine managed to find me an entrance. For me was a big surprise and I saw it as a reward for all the good actions I do lately (I am joking, of course). I also though it made even more important to write about the festival, and let the people were not able to make it feel a little of the Roadburn magic through my humble words.
For this reason I studied the running order and I made the clever plan to see as many cool bands as possible. This turned up catastrophically, as the decision of taking my camera and try to pictures my experience via first-hand photos.
On Thursday I managed to go out from work soon enough to arrive just in time for Lingua Ignota. Behind this moniker there is the performance artist Kristin Hayter, a tiny super blond American girl with an amazing strong and expressive voice. She performed in the Green Room that, as I should know in advance, was so packed that at the beginning of the concert I am not even able to see stage. This is not really important, considering that Kristin is actually playing her piano in the crowd, in front of the stage mix.
The songs are shifting from one to another, without any stop, and this make for me difficult to understand if every piece has a particular style or is a mix of different influences. In this hour of music I could hear machine noise, heavy loops, vibrato voice and even the romantic and dark cover of Jolene, one of the most famous US song that I know.
Emma Ruth Rundle
After the claustrophobic atmosphere of the small stage of the 013 I went to Koepelhal to see Emma Ruth Rundle. This artist is not only a musician, but also a painter, and during this Roadburn edition she exhibits some of her works in the Koepelhal itself:
What appears to me when I listen to this young lady, is a sort of Cure type of songs, which I like a lot. Her music is dark and dreamy, but the difference compared to the giants of the 80s is the roughness of the guitars.
Coming back to the 013, I decided to sneak inside Territoire concert. I did not have the chance to hear them more than 10 min, however I did like a lot the atmosphere, the breaks of silent, low and high volume sounds, the slowness of the performance and the use of distortions to elaborate the human voice.
Another project I told myself I surely wanted to see was Heilung. I have heard a lot about them and I needed to see if they were so unbelievable as people told me. I did not dive into their music before I reached them at the Main Stage, and I was expecting a traditional folk viking band, but when I entered the hall doors I saw the first extravagant thing: the members of Heilung were standing in circle, silent, hand in hand, in something that looked like a pray. They basically ignored everything that was going around them until the moment they had to start to perform, and even in that moment, there was the impression we were looking at a ritual and not a concert.
Just imagine a bunch of inhabitants of Northern forest during some primitive middle ages singing and making music to thank their Gods, using historical instruments, bones and drums. Extremely fascinating, but for me more a theatrical piece that actual music.
I left the room quite early to grant my spot in the Green Room to see Bliss Signal. I have a ‘musical’ crush for James Kelly, since I had the chance to see him performing his WIFE project. Which I consider one of the most brilliant experimental artifacts I have encountered recently. After that, I discovered Bliss Signal also casually, wandering in Cloud 9 when this duo was performing during Le Guess Who? festival. If you tell I like WIFE you can easily say I madly love Bliss Signal, so you can imagine my excitement when I say Kelly wandering around the small stage of the Green Room, checking every cable was in his view. Quite a perfectionist? Maybe, consider the fact that everything was ready in no time and the only things he needed were the cable connected to his pedal. I am joking of course (such a funny girl eh?), but this was something impressed me, together the awkward taste of his clothes.
I do believe that, due to the sound management at the mix, the show was not so powerful and inspiring as the one at the Cloud 9, which made me a little bit disappointed, however I was happy to see this duo playing again on stage.