Roadburn 2013 Part I: undercover at the Schwarzkopf Metal Hippie feast

Sometimes life is all about stepping into the unknown and for people doing their casual commuting down the E19 north from Brussels, the fearsome Friday night traffic holds few surprises. No wonder then that I got taken off-guard and duly copped out even before Mechelen, with a bamistaaf from the gas station that I never ordered or ate, leaving the highway to head north to Tilburg’s Roadburn festival over secondary roads…

… just to get stuck in a former Belgian State Colony for homeless hobo’s: Wortel. A closed colony, with a jailhouse in the middle, surrounded by fences. On the backside you can even see some more fences around fences around fence around a children’s playground, much like in those weird FEMA conspiracy videos you see on the youtube.

Wortel Kolonie, Merksplas. A former colony for hobo installed by the Belgian State near the Dutch border.
Wortel Kolonie, Gevangenis, Merksplas.

Driving through the dark desert highway of the colony, I got stuck somewhere in the woods and got detoured East… I hit north only to be encounter a massive roadblock in the other direction (leaving the Netherlands).  No idea what they were after really, al the doomers were heading the other direction, invading the flat land with unearthly grunts, snores and drones. It seemed that you can check out any time you want, but you can never really leave…

Once I got to the gig some four hours later, I parked in the residential area where the signs assured me that nothing would happen on a Friday night after 20pm. “Nothing” is much to say about a doom rock event taking place a very Catholic location.

foto 4

There even was a stained glass window depicting the original hippie, animal right fighter and ecclesiastical romantic saint Francis, selling Red Bull and beer at the prices of a few tokens. This seemed like the ideal location to see the Swedish Waldorf school dropouts of the band GOAT

foto 5(3)

foto 3They seemed to endorse some kind of transcultural arabesque in countertime rhythms, fired on by some outlandishly-dressed and fearlessly dancing titless witches on coke & tambourines, belting lines with an ignorance of tone that didn’t become the location too well, but in its own freaked-out way got really compelling.  Yes, there were people actually dancing, probably already taken by the fictional voodoo cult the sack-headed lead guitarist laid on them with distinction and verve.  Truly, there was some Zappa in there…. quite a lot…, but no actual goat fucking, alas!

But there was more than just goats and saints…

foto 1

More to the point and rocking there were the Pretty Things — except they were everything but pretty things, going on 60 and weighing about  20 stone each.  Tinged in a psychedelic, but definitely soulful groove, they kind of delivered the goods, but not the looks. I mean, look at the Eagles, these guys all had dental surgery and can still play a decent solo. I’ll probably come back to this. Still, these fella’s didn’t cut no chase, even in 1966:

Everybody’s talking about my LSD. I say talk is easy, generic celexa online money’s never free: LSD!

It’s a good thing that we get some very Kinks-like riffs to enjoy the trip:


Not-So-Pretty Things: “Look mum, I go’ me specs on to see me Gibson’s fret markings!”

Tell you — if you have to wear glasses and watch the fretboard to play a standard A major barred, that sure must have been some decent lysergic. Still, I should say I really dig the black shirt, but, honestly, what’s up with the Status Qua like pony tail? And the shades, bro, seriously — is this Miami Vice? God forbid that that is a loosened tie that I see, just let it be a simple black guitar strap. Or even a strap-on for that matter — but no tie…

No member of the Eagles ever wore a tie.  And I would bet my life that if they would play Hotel California wearing the most ridiculous ties cooked up by gay Americo-Italian designers, it would still sound DA BOMB.  Still, there was no tie problem in the other boiler room of this trendy socialist Tilburg hothouse 013… slow spaced out doom rock hailed us inwards.

Still, I would like to pause a moment here and deal with a specific problem that would impede any cerebrally blessed being from enjoying the doom groove.  It goes by many names, but I would like to denote it here as the Schwarzkopf Metal Hippie.  I truly understand and feel for people who, due to some childhood trauma, have turned away from society and all that is beautiful and embrace all that is dark, black and eerie with every bone in their skinny vegan asses.  But spending all your dough on high-class kiwi or mango fragrance shampoo, really dude, where is the social nausea in that?  This rock concert didn’t smell of beer or puke or smoke — it mostly smelled like a fruitcake…

When I was seventeen I first played music in public, it was at my high school.  This was 1991 or something.  We played some conventional pop/rock bullshit, but were alone in this.  The rest of the band, spouting impressive names like DEEP PENETRATION (they got their name from a bottle of household detergent), SWEET ANNIHILATION or THE OTHERS, all played twice as loud and thrice as ugly as anything I heard on Roadburn.  Strangely, all the bands there had bass players, though none of them had any use in the sound of the band – playing guitar on the top bass string.

foto 4
Psychic TV

Psychic TV played for a half empty main stage while everybody was packing into the Patronaat location to see Amon Ra, an advanced and interesting band, not even mentioned on the festivals own report for that day.  That page does reveal that I missed songsmith Nate Hall, who sings even more out of tune than me, but has some nice accompanying vibe going on…

So, I returned home, but not before accepting this little present: