Drains all over the Netherlands were cleared as the legions of beardos descended upon Tilburg for 2012’s instalment of ROADBURN. Unlike previous years, Nederland Waterspiegel was prepared and had teams ready round the clock to service the public sewer systems should a catastrophe similar to last year, when the streets were flooded with bong water and pubic hair following the annual stoner wash, occur. This year’s theme, Muppets In Space, was a hit with Statler and Waldorf hosting the event as honoured delegates. Highlights included Tommy G Warrior debuting his new line of leather racer jackets and beanies under the moniker ‘Cold Break’, the unveilingof a Scott Kelly statue in the town square made entirely of discarded ‘Van Halen’ cds and a moment of silence for Cathedral, who mercifully committed suicide this December after a long bout with Crohn’s disease.
Friday began on an unfortunate note as the drummer from dISEMBOWLMENT lost his contacts during their set, having to fumble around on the ground, inadvertently pressing pedals but mostly just the kick drum. Agalloch followed including a performance of the twelve minute jingle commissioned by American Apparel to be given away free with every copy of Vice Magazine EU and a brief but insightful lecture on existential nihilism. Doom legend Al Cisneros made his first appearance of the weekend with OM, this year being particularly special as the band was filming their highly anticipated Kundalini Yoga instructional dvd. Emil Amos was able to stretch himself into the Boar Overlord pose, reaching stage 32 of Enlightenment in front of a very stiff but slowly loosening audience. Cisneros later lead a Himilayan themed guided meditation, bringing out a heard of yaks and several monks to add to the proceeding’s authenticity.
Friday began with Nachtmystium playing their ‘Saved By The Bell’ medley, while Conan hit the infamous brown note, resulting in a code red alert at Nederland Waterspiegel following what has been called ‘the great pants purge’. Black Breath brought it like a boss pedal but left many wondering if their drummer was a man or a loaf of bread. Tragedy struck yet again when early in their set, YOB’s Mike Scheidt dropped a green juice on his stack and was forced to improvise by feeding 32 of his 54 amps through a giant kazoo. Luckily, Scheidt’s tye-dye exhibition based on the seven colours and characteristics of the chakras went without incident. Voivod performed their latest concept album about a hockey game in space, while Celeste re-enacted the plight of the coal miner and dedicated their set to the dozens lost around the world this year.
Saturday saw The Obsessed and their life support systems wheeled onto the stage to perform the entirety of their hit Icecapades show, ‘Frosty the Doom Baron’ whilst a hologram of the actual ice show was projected around them. Cozied up in king size posturepedic mattresses and 400 thread count sheets, Sleep performed the entirety of their Roadburn exclusive double vinyl release, ‘Vapid Eye Movements’, which is a recording of Al Cisneros and Matt Pike actually sleeping after a boozey night out. The rumble of their snores has been called the final frontier in avant garde and doom, being dubbed ‘post-avant-avant-garde’ by Terrorizer. Though unable to reach some of the lower snorts, Pike mumbled what he’s called in interviews “the bane of his existence”, the recurring dream where his stuffed dinosaur is stolen by bullies on the playground. Over on the Toke ‘er Hard Bro Stage, Bongripper, Bongthrasher, Bongboner, and Bong Bah Bah Bong Bong Bo(oooo)))ng kept the munters in a quasi-religious trance, the puddles of drool remaining post-ritual resulting in more than a few lower lumbar injuries.
Guess what, kids! Satan’s got a brand new bag and it’s a pan flute! The Afterburner began with The Mount Fuiji Doomjazz Corporation’s ‘Lonely Library Lullaby’ set. Internal Void kept the audience reading whilst the munters were compassionately given a much needed dose of YOB and Bongripper, again. Coroner confused the tired and stoned with an average bpm of well over 60, leaving many bewildered and highly disoriented, a couple people actually fainting from apparent panic attacks. By the end of the day, the lack of ale in Holland had taken its toll on many a British pensioner, and the frustration and unwillingness to adapt finally boiled over, resulting in numerous altercations outside the 013 regarding previous years’ Orange Goblin set lists.
Next year’s Harry Potter theme and wizard exhibit by J.K. Rowling is to coincide with the hologram of Ronnie James Dio performing with Rainbow, but there are talks of Electric Wizard harnessing their underground scene cred to actually resurrect him from the dead so Rainbow can perform the entirety of ‘Rising’ with the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Whatever the organisers dream up for next year, we can rest assured knowing that a bunch of bands will play the entirety of something… and twice.
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