We didn’t go to the Friday of Desertfest 2013 because we have jobs and couldn’t get the time off. Yeah, that sucked. Still, it meant Hugh Platt was 50% less “fragrant” than the vast amounts of beards bustling around when he headed up to Camden on Saturday afternoon to get his fill of fuzzed up dirty stoner metal.
Six Things we learned on Day 2 of Desertfest 2013:
1) Yeah, we all know how the routine goes by now – Thrash Hits loves Turbowolf. Truth be told, they’re one of the more lightweight choices on the bill over the entire weekend, but that they give enough of a nod to Desertfest’s psychedelic inclinations is enough for them to pass muster as the band opening up the Electric Ballroom bill today. New song, ‘American Mirrors’, drips with swampy-boogie and indicates what we might get from the band’s forthcoming second album, which they’re apparently busy working away on right now.
2) Germany’s Dÿse are in many ways the antithesis of the Serious Beard Man Music that makes up so much of the Desertfest line-up, but the contrast works in their favour. Jari and André both seem to delight in bantering with the crowd at the Underworld almost as much as the crowd enjoys the duo’s craggy, no-frills riff workouts.
Watch Dÿse doing what they do at the German leg of Desertfest 2013:
3) War Iron do what they do very, very well. The Northern Irish sludge/doom combo might not do very much that borders on being original, but there’s a casual mastery going on with the way they slip Eyehategod-isms about that makes them a charmingly blunt band to knock back afternoon whiskey to.
4) Things take a bit of a dip back at the Electric Ballroom – while the sound quality was fine earlier for the ‘wolf, when Lowrider take to the stage there’s a noticeable dip in the quality of the sound coming off the stage. That’s no comment on the performance of Lowrider – the only thing the reformed Swedes rock harder than their instruments is the fine array of double-denim most of them are sporting – but the Ballroom’s sound system. It’s just a shame that what looks like it might be the last hurrah of this Scandinavian stoner mob was hamstrung this way.
Listen to ‘Dance of the Vampires’ by Pagan Altar:
5) Things get a little hazy in the early evening – Dozer at the Electric Ballroom stumble over the same poor sound quality issues that plagued Lowrider earlier, and while we feel somewhat cruel for comparing Pagan Altar frontman Terry Jones’ style to Vic Reeves’ club singing, once that idea gets stuck in our head, no amount of Pagan Altar’s doomy NWOBHM can shift it. Even if the newer material (like ‘Dance of the Vampires’) actually sounds pretty goddamn special.
6) We chose to close our Saturday with Italy’s Ufomammut, having spectacularly failed to catch them on their last visit to these shores, and shamefully not writing about them in any length here on Thrash Hits to boot. The Underworld has performed above expectations all day – both in respect to the performances of the bands playing there, and the venue itself’s sound quality – and it allows the absorbing, hypnotic swell of Ufomammut’s brooding heaviness manages to ride the line perfectly between a savage crispness the fuzzy distortion that this whole festival has as its hallmark. A towering end to Saturday’s proceedings.