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LIVE REVIEW: Eyehategod, Loppen, 07.04.2015

in Live Reviews by
Eyehategod (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

The evening’s proceedings were scheduled for a late start Tuesday night, with LLNN kicking things off at 21:30 as the first supporting act. A spiritual offshoot of The Psyke Project, which disbanded in 2014, LLNN retains guitarist/vocalist Christian Bonnesen and drummer Rasmus Gajhede Sejersen, who have more than 20 years of experience between them playing the Danish hardcore scene. Bolstered, and in a way guided, by the addition of Sejersen’s little brother Ketil on synths, the group takes a measured approach to rhythm and tempo, which gives their re-appropriation of hardcore staples like red-faced screams and crunchy guitars that sound like they were strung with rusty chains a fresh sense of urgency and weight. The way LLNN does it, those abrasive elements are coming through clear; doused in reverb and tremolo, their suffocating bigness is not the kind that wears on you, but one that sets the mood.

Tombstones (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Tombstones, the program’s second supporting act, are interested in a more classic breed of rock. This Norwegian trio still believes in the guitar riff, unabashedly chugging power chords with the palm-muted drive of an icebreaker. Appearance wise, they fit the mould of a throwback, modestly bedecked in Chuck Taylors, tight pants, and shirts ranging from T, to sleeveless, to none. In a context that’s otherwise licorice black (noting the cloaked mannequins at either ends of the stage), Tombstones inject a refreshing bit of regular hard rock into their visions of doom, featuring plentiful doses of sustained growls and droning distortion. This combination helps them build suspense and dread like the best horror movies, letting the audience fend for itself in the dark before the cathartic upswing of a groovy bass lick.

“Guitar strings are not meant to last” quips bassist Ole Christian Helstad at the expense of his six-string counterpart, whose instrument failed him on the previous song. Still, we all cheered when it roared back to life.

Eyehategod (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

 

A half hour before midnight, Eyehategod unceremoniously take the stage, futzing with their instruments for a couple minutes. For singer Mike Williams, who’s double fisting a couple beers, that means putting one down to take off his backpack, contents unknown, while drinking the one he’s still holding. At one point Queens of the Stone Age’s “Tension Head” plays over the house speakers: “I’m feelin’ so sick—no more.” The self-canceling proclamation of misery in that lyric is inherent to the very act of singing the blues—by singing about something that makes us feel bad, we feel better. With all the bad stuff that Eyehategod are about to unload on a room full of people, however, that Queens song couldn’t be more wrong.

If you reversed the sound of a giant, rusted-out machine grinding to a halt, you’d get the opening number “Agitation! Propaganda!” The guitars of Jimmy Bower and Brian Patton whine between fits of aggressive chord chomps while Aaron Hill explodes off the drum set like he’s dropping bombs. The drummer matters here, as the gears turn and the machine gathers speed. Williams isn’t as much singing as he is retching, unable to spew more than a couple throaty syllables at a time. The violence of the music reflects the activity at the front of the stage, which seems to liquify into a mess of thrashing bodies.

Eyehategod (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

 

Things don’t settle down exactly. It’s more that you get on Eyehategod’s level, where the stickers on Gary Mader’s bass reading “THIS IS LA. / NOT L.A.” begin to make sense. “New Orleans Is the New Vietnam” is a power-to-the-people rager with an infectious central groove reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine back when they were first coming up in Los Angeles during the early ‘90s. Where both crackle with a fire for social justice, the difference is that neither Eyehategod’s production nor message cleans off the ashes: “Shoes don’t fit, you don’t fit / This shit don’t quit, we don’t fit.”

As they rattle off bangers like “Medicine Noose” and “Zero Nowhere”, Eyehategod make an impressive show of ending songs on a dime. It’s like they haven’t lost a beat in the prolonged absences of them playing together as a group over the years—they’re still as tight as ever. And this is all in spite of the fact that Williams is tying one on, big time. There’s a moment when the band nags him to decide on a song. Williams takes his time, mugging for the crowd a little bit. Eventually he agrees with their choice, “Revelation/Revolution”. Who knows if it’s an act. It’s kind of charming though. We want the guy to rock on.

You know you’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid when the crowdpleaser is a song called “Sisterfucker (Part 1)”. For as filthy and destitute as Eyehategod’s themes can be though, their music is fun. In a live setting, it’s obvious that this is the result of a total partnership between friends. As we near the end of the 90-minute set, the songs go nameless, but they’re no less anthemic in their sense of triumph.

Huh, I guess they were singing the blues.

Eyehategod (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

ARTICLE: Who will headline Roskilde Festival 2014?

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Its almost like talking about Christmas on December 26th but still people are starting to speculate to who will be headlining Roskilde Festival 2014 which is set to take place between 28th June to 6th July. Although its early in the day certain patterns emerge with festivals and heres our list as to who we think is likely to grace the hallowed Orange Stage in 2014.

Arcade Fire

Why?: Three flawless albums and another just around the corner with the release of their forth studio album Reflektor on October 29th. They’re set to go on a worldwide tour in support of Reflektor starting off down under at Big Day Out Festival, come summer they’ll hit the shores of Europe expecting to play some of the largest festivals this fine continent has to offer, what other festival is bigger in Scandinavia than Roskilde Festival?

Last played the festival: 2007 (The year of the flood)

Likelihood of them appearing: Highly

Trentemøller

Why?: Roskilde always try give a diverse mixture of Danish and International headliners and across the rest of the bill for that matter. Hes about to release new album Lost September 23rd. Trentemøller has already announced shows across Europe and North America with his popularity only growing since his last headline show of Roskilde in 2009.

Last played the festival: 2009

Likelihood of them appearing: Almost certain

Rage Against The Machine

Why?: Roskilde’s organisers are friendly people and each year they ask who the public want to see play their festival, each year RATM top that list (or somewhere close), we appreciate that they’re a tough band to book since they only play shows when it suits them. Next July will mark 3 years since they last played live together, however, theres every chance 2014 could be that year with them strongly rumoured to play LA Rising in August, Roskilde and a string of other festival dates in the summer of 2014 could be a nice warm up.

Last played the festival: 1996

Likelihood of them appearing: Slim, but theres every hope

Daft Punk

Why?: After dropping Random Access Memory this year we all expected them to play at least a few festival slots with strong rumours of them appearing at Primavera Sound, Glastonbury and even Roskilde. This unfortunately never happened. And while appearances from them have been minimal this year they made a short appearance at the MTV VMA’s last week and this could work as a snowball effect to have them announce concerts and festivals “around the world” next year.

Last played the festival: 1997

Likelihood of them appearing: Doubtful

Jay-Z or Kanye West (or both together)

Why?: The always active Brooklyn/Chicago rappers both have recently released their own albums Magna Carta Holy Grail/Yeezus (respectively) this year, common trend with these two is that they hit the European circuit a year or so after dropping an album. However both have just had their first children, this could deter them, however they’re entrepreneurs and know the value of touring.

Last played the festival: 2008/2009

Likelihood of them appearing: Fairly good

Eminem

Why?: He just played Reading/Leeds festivals last weekend and he’s about to release Marshall Mathers LP 2, I’m sure he’ll want to play a handful of European shows in support of the album. He’s isn’t as relevant as he was back in 1999 and sure he’s cleaned up his act, but he’s still got a back catalogue of hits worthy of any festival.

Last played the festival: Never

Likelihood of them appearing: Miracles can happen

Mew

Why?: They’re about to release their forth album and again another Danish band worthy of being a headliner. Although what goes against them is that they played Orange stage back in 2012, that wasn’t so long ago but they surely can’t miss out on booking them again.

Last played the festival: 2012

Likelihood of them appearing: Likely….but…..

Blur

Why?: With rumours of new material and them playing most other large festivals across Europe in recent years, 2014 could be the year they make it back to Roskilde Festival, after all Damon Albarn has a long lasting relationship with the festival having played recently with Gorillaz and three times previously with Blur. They performed at SmukFest in 2012 and this year could finally be the year they roll out the hits once more to a 60,000 strong crowd rejoicing to epic sing-a-longs to one of Brit pops finest bands.

Last played the festival: 2003

Likelihood of them appearing: Good chance

Vampire Weekend

Why?: Its sometimes hard to constitute who a headliner is at Roskilde, although they most likely won’t be billed as a headliner theres a good chance if they book Vampire Weekend they’ll make an appearance on the Orange Stage in a similar slot to what The National played at this years festival. The band released their third album Modern Vampires Of The City earlier this year to critical acclaim, their first two albums secured them headlining spots at several high profile festivals across the globe and have now proved themselves worthy headliners. What better music to hear on a Saturday evening as the sun is setting over the Orange Stage than Vampire Weekend?

Last played the festival: 2010

Likelihood of them appearing: High

Wu-Tang Clan

Why?: The Staten Island rap collective played many high profile festivals worldwide this year including their set at Vangaard Festival in Copenhagen. That hyped set has left fans purring for more and will most likely be one of the top 5 bands the fans vote to headline the festival in 2014, after all it will mark 10 years since they last played Roskilde!

Last played the festival: 2004

Likelihood of them appearing: High!

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