ROADBURN 2012 – An Adventure in Heavy Metal

I planned to write about how you could get tickets for next year’s Roadburn in Tilburg, but they sold all 2,500 tickets in 7 minutes! Luckily, I managed to get hold of one for myself and I’m excited to report from the festival in April next year.

Roadburn is undoubtedly one of the finest weekends during the heavy metal year, and has been for a decade. Like the All Tomorrow’s Parties events, one artist hand-picks a lineup for a single day. Previous curators have been Neurosis, Sunn 0))), Triptykon and Current 93. This year, heavy metal legends Voivod were graced with this honor and their Au-delà du Réel event is Thursday April 13th, with the band playing two gigs (one will be a complete run through Dimension Hatröss). They have yet to finish programming the line-up for Thursday, but so far, Swedish prog rockers Anekdoten, the crust of Black Breath, underground legends Doom, J Mascis’ Witch, doomed Yob and Nachtmystium (who’ll focus on their release Instinct: Decay) are among the scheduled acts.

The organizers themselves helm the rest, and they’ve been lucky this time. Many acts are giving their fans welcome reruns of some of their classic records, including dISEMBOWELMENT, Nachtmystium, Voivod, Celestial Season, Leaf Hound, Bongripper and Yob. A few groups play multiple times than once: Voivod, Yob and Bongripper all do two concerts each, while Justin K Broadrick is the “Artist in Residence” and performing three sets on different days with different bands. But the pièce de résistance is the span of genres one can listen to—country, drone, jazz, doom, black metal and post rock all converge, all with a heavy common denominator.

Roadburn’s booking policy is critical to its ongoing success. Bands like Killing Joke and Sleep are less blockbusters than underground legends. But instead of focusing on big-name bands and supplementing with unknowns, they keenly book consistent, respected acts and create a truly unique vibe. When I visited in 2009, I quickly discovered every concert brimming with expectant crowds. The festival has made 013 its home, but last year it had to expand to the Midi theatre next door to make room for more bands, fans and concerts. In between these two venues is a street of bars and cafés serving beers and burgers to a horde of black-clad rockers, who are the true essence of Roadburn.

To help meet the demands of these people, Roadburn has evolved into a mighty four-day event, with the earlier years’ Afterburner Party now mushroomed into a full day of destruction, and the impressive result is 70+ groups gathered with thousands of dedicated fans for the best bender of the year.

The current 2012 line-up is:

Thursday, April 12thLineup complete (Doors open: 14:30)
Agalloch
Ancient VVisdom
Ancestors
Chelsea Wolfe
Christian Mistress
d.USK/diSEMBOWELMENT(playing an exclusive set of diSEMBOWELMENT’s legendary funeral doom opus, Transcendence into the Peripheral)
Michael Gira (acoustic solo performance)
Hammers of Misfortune
Horisont
Killing Joke
La Otracina
Lord Vicar
OM
Orchid
Priestess
Red Fang
Saturnalia Temple
Sigiriya
Spiders
Ulver
Virus
Voivod
White Static Demon vs JK Flesh(Justin K Broadrick Residency)
Year of the Goat

Friday, April 13th – Voivod’s Au-delà du Réel at the 013 venue (Doors open: 14:30)
Anekdoten
Aun
Black Breath
Celeste
Conan
Danava
Doom
Dopethrone
End of Level Boss
Farflung
Kong
Nachtmystium (playing Instict: Decay in its entirety)
Valient Thorr
Voivod (playing Dimension Hatröss in its entirety for the first time ever)
Witch
Yob (playing The Unreal Never Lived in full)

Friday, April 13th – Roadburn Festival at the Midi Theatre (Doors open: 14:30)
Barn Owl
Final (Justin K Broadrick Residency)
Gnod
Hexvessel
Sólstafir

Saturday, April 14th (Doors open: 14:30)
40 Watt Sun
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell
Bongripper
Celestial Season (performing Solar Lovers in its entirety for the first time ever)
Church of Misery
Dark Buddha Rising
Devil
Heavy Jam (J Mascis, Mario Rubalcaba, Mike  Eginton, Graham Clise)
Jesu(Justin K Broadrick Residency)
Jucifer
Leaf Houndplaying their seminal Growers of Mushroom LP in its entirety
Necro Deathmort
Necros Christos
The Obsessed
Pelican
Purson
Saviours
Sleep
Tombs
Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies

Sunday, April 15th – The Afterburner (Doors open: 14:30)
Atlantis
Black Cobra
Bong
BongripperSatan Worshipping Doom: entire album performance
Dragged Into Sunlight
Coroner
Fleshpress
Internal Void
The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation
Urfaust
Yob (playing Catharsis in its entirety)

 ~Mats Johansen

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