Desertfest Antwerp 2018 – Day 3

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Desertfest Antwerp 2018 – Day 3

14th October 2018

Review and Photos: Ryan Whitwell / Shotison Media

After a very hot and heavy second day, the third and final day of Desertfest Antwerp 2018 was upon us. The line-up promised a lot of quality music and more than a few new discoveries for me.

Timestone

Timestone
Timestone

Some nice grooves to ease the early birds’ Sunday morning hangovers. Although on the surface they have smooth and laid back vibes, the flourishes of technical musicianship didn’t go unnoticed, especially in the opening number where a really cool and very funky bass solo caught a few of us attendees off guard.

Timestone

Child

Child
Child


Aussie bluesy rock got the second stage off to a winning start. Steady beats and infectious grooves with some great moments in a few numbers that almost sounded like a jam session, just riffing over some sweet rhythms. The big heavy bass lines were really being felt too, as the mix had a real punch to it.

Child
Child

 

Ancestors

Ancestors
Ancestors

Slow, emotive but still macabre, their style of anthemic and building music was a great way to open the main stage. They have definite prog influences but the tone can shift pretty quickly at times as the emotive chord progressions drift and sway through phrases. The fans seemed more in an appreciative mood, as the band are far from aggressive, but the musicianship and use of effects and synths sounded great where I was standing.

Ancestors
Ancestors

 

Heads

Heads
Heads

The trio of noise rockers upped the distortion and things started getting a bit hotter on the third stage. Big drum fills sounded great, and the building intensity before the onslaught of noise in a few numbers had a strong impact. A great timeslot for us groggy fans to start getting the neck muscles engaged!

Heads
Heads

 

Castle

Castle
Castle

The Frisco trio brought with them a lot of energy and plenty of hard rock. There was a bit of an old school edge to their sound and attitude with a no fucks given type of mood. The room was well and truly warmed up now, especially with this faster paced tempo filling the ears of attendees.

Castle
Castle

Castle
Castle

My Sleeping Karma

My Sleeping Karma
My Sleeping Karma

Before playing, there was a group huddle on stage with all of the band members. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before, but it seemed to work as a foundation for the positive vibe this band possesses: synth layers and down beat rhythms that sounded quite chilled out.

My Sleeping Karma
My Sleeping Karma

My Sleeping Karma
My Sleeping Karma

Elder “Secret Show”

Elder Secret Show
Elder Secret Show

Down in the basement there was a properly chill atmosphere as Elder played an intimate secret set to around 30 people. There was a real feeling of admiration among the small but packed room as Elder played what felt like a jam session. Riffing and flowing in their signature style, it was quite an interesting experience. They would be back again on the main stage later, but it was good to see them in a completely different environment.

Elder Secret Show
Elder Secret Show

 

Sofy Major

Sofy Major
Sofy Major

Loud and hard was the order of the day here as these guys gave the third stage a good seeing to. Big angry sounds and some big drum hits. Their huge sound on the smallest stage made an impact that was hard to ignore, with a hot and sweaty crowd loving every second by the looks of it.

Sofy Major
Sofy Major

 

The Devil and the Almighty Blues

The Devil and the Almighty Blues
The Devil and the Almighty Blues

Walking out to ‘Oh Death’ by Pace Jubilee Singers, The Devil and the Almighty Blues set about filling our ears with a lot of heavy blues. These Norwegian gents were seen by me a few days before in London, supporting Wo Fat. I hadn’t really heard much by them before then but after seeing them twice in quick succession, I can declare I’m a fan.

The Devil and the Almighty Blues
The Devil and the Almighty Blues

The bassist was extremely active, throwing the neck of his bass down and pulling some odd facial expressions, with the guitarists alongside him also proving to add lots of movement to the performance.

The Devil and the Almighty Blues
The Devil and the Almighty Blues

Acid King

Acid King
Acid King

There were some peculiar bass effects on the opening number giving a near synth effect, which set the standard for their use of effects to make the three piece setup sound varied throughout the set. Even a bit of bass amp trouble during the second number didn’t stop this Frisco trio from getting the weed smokers and booze swigging crowd banging heads.

Acid King
Acid King

Acid King
Acid King
Acid King
Acid King

 

Eagle Twin

Eagle Twin
Eagle Twin

Grumbling and growling vocals filled the room alongside some big downtuned riffs and crashing drums.

The duo produce a really big sound with tonnes of fuzz and distortion. It seemed like guitarist Gentry Densley was determined to play the whole spectrum of notes, and drummer Tyler Smith offered plenty of shifts in rhythm to make for a varied set of headbanging goodness.

Eagle Twin
Eagle Twin

 

The Skull

The Skull
The Skull

Hard Rock aplenty! I noticed a few fans in the crowd really getting into it right off the bat. The band have a good “old school” vibe about them, with plenty of no-nonsense heavy rock to dish out. I loved the big heavy riffs, which sounded great on this second stage.

The Skull
The Skull

 

Elder

Elder
Elder

A different setting to when I saw them earlier today, but Elder are no strangers to bigger venues. I saw them earlier in the year during London’s Desertfest and they were great then, and I was pleased they were on form tonight (possibly due to that warm up earlier).

The fans seemed to agree with me, as there were plenty of people really getting into the music. They played a fair bit from ‘Reflections of a Floating World’, their latest album, but it’s hard to break the songs up sometimes as their drifting style lends itself to blurring the lines and merging songs. I always enjoy their strange time signatures and half beats here and there that keep you guessing. Of course, bigger fans know exactly when those rhythm changes are going to hit, so they timed their nods accordingly.

Josef van Wissem

One man, a seldom seen stringed instrument, and quite an aura around him. Josef Van Wissem was a unique act amongst the loud and bass laden bands on the bill around him. There was a haunting tone in each song he played as the crowd stood in near silence taking in the traditional music.

Naxatras

Naxatras
Naxatras

I love their low and steady desert rock sound. Naxatras are another band from an increasing roster of Greek stoner rock bands. The trippy vibes were greatly enhanced by the projector casting abstract designs behind them.

Naxatras
Naxatras

Playing songs from their new album, Naxatras III, and a few older numbers, these guys simply sounded great. The sort of thing to just listen to, which was made easy with the minimal lighting on the second stage.

Naxatras
Naxatras

 

Amanra

Amanra
Amanra

Mystery and misery were next up on the main stage with Amenra. Walking out, sitting with his back to the fans and creating a slow and simplistic beat with two sticks immediately set the tone. It was macabre and haunting, especially as the crowd was completely silent. A few minutes later the rest of the band appeared and a huge blast of noise sent a shockwave through the crowd as the set kicked into gear.

Amanra
Amanra

There is clearly a strong and intense following for this band, as people seemed to be in awe of what they were witnessing.

Amanra
Amanra

They have a reputation among us photographers of being notoriously difficult to shoot due to the lead singer nearly always having his back turned among fog and back lighting. Personally, I really enjoyed the creative lighting as it enhanced the performance.

Amanra
Amanra

 

The Well

The Well
The Well

Some really good quality, trippy, fuzzed out goodness to close the third stage for the weekend. The Well have a great live sound with big headbanging beats and some sweet riffs. No wonder the third stage was packed out for them with those ingredients being mixed up for a vintage psych vibe. A good mix of tempos too, keeping the set varied and allowing the crowd a breather before upping the beat again to get some hair flying.

The Well
The Well

 

Whores

Whores
Whores

I love Whores. Hard hitting heavy stoner was a great choice to end a fantastic weekend of excellent music. The crowd who lasted the duration of the Sunday gave everything they had left and the trio were giving them plenty of fuel to fire the room up.

Whores
Whores

Huge noise was coming from the stage, even the soundcheck was in danger of shattering some windows. Big sloppy riffs, screaming vocals, tonnes of bass, a kick drum that felt like the pedal was hitting you directly in the chest. Brilliant.

Whores
Whores

And that was Desertfest Antwerp 2018. A fantastic weekend for me, and I highly recommend getting a ticket for next year if you can.