Posts

As a few days have passed and the hangover had time to wear off, it’s time to reflect on yet another spectacular Desertfest London. We kickstarted the weekend at The Black Heart at 2pm on the Friday for Israel’s ‘The Great Machine’, who totally kicked ass, by the way, before venturing out in the rain heading towards Electric Ballroom where Old Empire had curated the stage for the day. We caught soothing Jaye Jayle who were a nice little ‘calm before the storm’, as we knew we were about to get our ears blown out over the course of the next 48 hours.

Ben McLeod, All Them Witches

After a Black Heart pit stop for a rum and coke, it was time to interview Swedish ‘Skraeckoedlan’ where our first questions were “HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE YOUR NAME WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHERE DOES IT COME FROM AND WHY DID YOU PICK IT?” We’d tell you the answers to all of the above, but we’d rather keep ya hanging so you’ll watch the interview we did with them once we release it in about four years time. We can tell you this though, they shared their thoughts on it perhaps not being the most beneficial name when it comes to world domination and reaching an international audience – no shit. Still, lovely guys and killer musicians, and totally cool with getting interviewed outside in the freezing rain, gotta love viking Scandis.

Over at the Underworld L.A record label Riding Easy was showcasing a selection of it’s bands, and we caught heavy rock band R.I.P which catered for those wanting fast and heavy rock ‘n’ roll. Later on in the evening saw OM headline Electric Ballroom, Electric Citizen the Underworld and Skraeckoedlan The Black Heart, before The Shrine played Electric Ballroom’s midnight afterparty, which was their first London show with bassist Corey Parks.

From previous year’s we’ve been pretty spoiled with sunshine and summer during Desertfest, something we had to pay for during the Saturday as we had thunderstorms, rain and hail all at once, which also called for yet another great outside interview with Savanna’s swamp metal band Black Tusk who were headlining the Black Heart later on in the evening. The Saturday consisted mostly of legging it between venues to catch as many bands as possible, all while not becoming a soaked mess while doing so.

Isaiah Mitchell, Earthless

Sunday was the grand finale, where we headed early to catch up with Earthless before their show, followed by Witch, All Them Witches and Fu Manchu. Once the Roundhouse headliner finishes everyone knows it’s do or die to get into the Black Heart, where we miraculously landed a table and spent the rest of the evening people watching and drinking until closing time at 3am, which then again calls for another half an hour (at least) lingering outside in the street hoping that somewhere else to party will somehow appear – it did. Fast forward two more hours to dehydration and a headache, and it was time to realise Desertfest London was over, for this time.

Charles Michael Parks, All Them Witches
Desertfest afterparty.

Lo and behold, Desertfest London 2019 is upon us! With just a few more days to go, it’s time to take a moment to check you’ve got everything you need for this years festivities, you wouldn’t wanna show on unprepared now, would you?

Ticket

Well, have you got your ticket yet? If not then you best get going, there’s still some left at Desertfest’s website, phew.

Denim Vest with 8000 patches

Please tell us you’ve got your Desertfest uniform ready to go, no? Well, you’re in luck. As we mentioned above there’s luckily still a few days left, which means plenty of time for a bit of last minute DIY, ripping sleeves and stitching patches to the soundtrack of Sleep and Black Sabbath

Waterproof everything

If you’ve been to Desertfest and The Black Heart before you will be aware of the unisex toilets in their 2am state. If not, well, we can only word this nicely – enter at own risk and don’t ever with a hole in your boots. Bring a wetsuit and and oxygen tank to avoid drowning in a puddle of piss. Do your drugs elsewhere.

Earplugs 

A lot of you kids and grownups thinks earplugs are uncool, but we’ve got news for you, pal, so is permanent damage to your hearing. Yours truly have made the mistake of attending the majority of shows without protection and am now a constant victim of white noise should the decibel reach a certain level. Now that we’ve warned you, don’t look at us when you ears fall off having stood next to an AD200 for three hours.

Band- and music related pick up lines

Guy spots girl wearing KISS t-shirt “Hey girl what’s up, you sure pull the trigger to my love gun!”

….which brings us to the next one…

Condoms

Kidding, no one ever gets laid at Desertfest.

Requests 

Have you got your song requests ready to plea the after-party DJs? Bet you do. DJs LOVE requests and a crowd loves an obscure B-side, keep ‘em comin’!

Suncream 

English people get sunburnt everywhere, even at the Underworld at 11pm – it’s unbelievable.

Cash for Kebabs

Drinking solidly for 11 hour straight will take it’s toll and eating is advised – Woody Grill is often the ‘go to’ place for survival and with good reason, killer kebabs and great veggie options. Also conveniently located only a stone throw away from Black Heart, Underworld and Electric Ballroom – perfect when all you can handle is a 40 second stumble.

Tissues

For wiping tears of joy when ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is played at the afterparty.

Once again Desertfest London has gone and done it and put together yet another cracking lineup for this year’s festival featuring bands and artists such as OM, Fu Manchu, Earthless, All Them Witches, Kadavar, Electric Citizen, Witch and more. We might still be a while away, but we’re impatiently waiting as we count down for the festivities to begin.

The festival is held every so slightly later than usual this year as it’s taking place over the weekend 3rd to 5th of May, and as spring should have properly sprung by this point we’re hoping for even sunnier conditions than last year – there is just something beautiful about casually bumping into about 98% of the people you know drinking sunny pints at 3.45 on a Friday in the designated Desertfest area outside the Black Heart, browsing through records and merch while chatting along. 

Desertfest means madness to us at Orange, and we’d probably all clone ourselves if we could to stretch out between the different venues to catch all the bands as well as conducting all the interviews, shoots and unsuccessfully trying to upload Instagram stories while in our favourite but 4G-less basement at The Underworld. In many ways, it’s very much like a wedding, our wedding – lots of planning and excitement during the months leading up to it, until day one’s all of a sudden there and you’re jet launched into an overwhelming experience of people to talk to and a gallon of booze thrown into the mix. Not your average day in the office, and sometimes it’s hard to differ between working hard or hardly working – somehow the two go hand in hand delightfully during this weekend.

As always, there’s always some acts that excite me to the point of explosion, last year it was Hawkwind who’s set timed perfectly with me finishing all interviews for the weekend, allowing embrace the space and go full Rainbow Rhythms in the crowd during their set. This year I’ve got my heart set on Earthless at The Roundhouse despite having seen them a whole bunch a times before, the last one being at Brighton’s The Haunt where I for a second thought I’d take off into hyperspace during the 20 minute long into. My heart sings for Earthless, the finest psych connoisseurs and masters of their instruments, and some of the kindest people in the industry. I spoke to guitarist Isaiah about his expectations towards the gig, and being one of the bands chosen to close the festival at Roundhouse on the Sunday;

Earthless at Islington Assembly Hall April 2018

“We’re stoked and honoured and excited to be playing with all these bands that we love, and to play a venue such as the Roundhouse makes the whole thing even sweeter! We can’t wait to get to London and let it all out.”
– Isaiah Mitchell, Earthless

Another band I’m genuinely stoked to see at the Roundhouse is All Them Witches – having first seen the band play London’s Lexington just three years ago it’s incredible to think how much they’ve grown during those years, from Lexington to Scala to Koko to the Roundhouse – almost sounds like a classic case of “dreams come true”. Having recently parted with their keyboard player the band is now performing as a three piece, so seeing how they’ve adapted their music to be performed one man down is pretty exciting. Everyone loves a power trio, and ATW might just be the next big one.

Day passes and weekend tickets are up for grabs via Desertfest London’s website, so get your hands on yours before it’s too late.

I must be getting older cause the years keep flying by, and it’s time for Desertfest London yet again, having just about recovered from the last one. Just kidding, I’m totally recovered from that one, but still slightly sleep deprived from last weekend’s Roadburn festival – anyway, enough about myself and my speedy or not so speedy recoveries.

This weekend, as every other year, Camden will be infiltrated with mostly longhaired, although not limited to, music and beer enthusiasts ready to shout along to some of their favourite bands before let’s admit it, getting hammered at the Black Heart and The Dev until 3am before when it’s time to, venture to Woody Grill for lifesaving kebabs that will prepare them, myself included, to do the same thing all over the following day – and then again, the day after that.

Covering last years festival I started out incredibly professional with pen and paper in my bag for professional notes to go in my professional daily recaps I’d be getting up at 8am the following mornings to write, and earplugs because we only get one pair of ears and we must look after them. Four hours into the festival I’d had about eighteen pints, lost an earplug, and a single puff of a cigarette that definitely wasn’t a cigarette and sent me on a magical mystery tour for about 3 hours, making me run away at an incredibly slow pace from my friends to watch various bands in the dark on my own, all while feeling uncomfortable about the way my arms were attached and hanging down the side of my body and accidentally brushing unknowing by-passers.

Radio Moscow, Desertfest Antwerp 2017

This year I’ll be kickstarting my festival nice and early on the Friday when London noise connoisseurs Swedish Death Candy takes the Black Heart stage at 2.45pm. I’ve seen ‘em a million times before, but they continue to deliver impeccable live performances every time, so I wouldn’t wanna miss them. Following that, I’ll be making my way to The Dev for Orange ambassadors Lionize where guitarist Nate will brighten the place up in his all gold outfit, which will most likely be the only all gold outfit at the entire festival. After that, we’ve got Orange ambassador Anthony Meier taking the stage at Underworld, which might just be my favourite venue in all of London, with his band Radio Moscow, and I’m pretty sure will be one of the festival highlights as they blew the roof off as headliners at last year’s Desertfest Antwerp. When Radio Moscow ends, I’ve got half an hour to make my way to KOKO where the kings of Gothenburg and 70s revival rock Graveyard will be headlining the night, with bassist Truls Mörck flaunting his AD200 (Product placement, advert, shameless name drop etc.)

Saturday I might as well set camp at Electric Ballroom with bands such as Church of Misery, Weedeater and High on Fire playing. London, lock up your ladies cause who knows what’ll happen when a shirtless Matt Pike plays his first note through his stack of turned up to eleven Orange amps taking everyone on the train to vibration station – the entire Roundhouse will be speaking in tongues not knowing what hit ‘em, most likely all in a haze of, uhm, Willie Nelson scented incense. ‘Incense’.

Church of Misery, Desertfest Antwerp 2017

Then there’s Sunday, the grand finale which already had a pretty damn strong lineup since day one, until they about a month or so ago threw in King Buffalo which will be headlining the Black Heart at 9pm, Elder playing Roundhouse at 4.30pm, a band that simply just blew me away when I saw them for the second time last August, having added a second guitarist/keyboard player to their line-up, as well as adding a second headliner for the day which is none other than Hawkwind. Hawkwind. H A W K W I N D. ‘Hawkwind live at the Roundhouse’, kinda rings a bell, doesn’t it? The legendary kings and pretty much inventors of space rock will be taking the stage at 7.50pm, and that really is a show I don’t wanna miss. I met Phil Campbell last year, and he told me Hawkwind live was ‘the scariest fuckin’ thing he’d ever seen.’ Fair, that was in the 70s when they had a topless Stacia on stage surrounded by some of the trippiest visuals the world had ever seen at that point, but surely even decades down the line Hawkwind are destined to provide you with a night you’ll late forget. Let’s not forget Monolord who just finished touring with Black Label Society where the played London’s infamous Royal Albert Hall, and will be taking their caffeine fuelled doom to yet another iconic London venue as they open up the Roundhouse at 3pm.

Monolord, Desertfest Antwerp 2017

Between all of this, running between shows, catching up with friends from near and afar and drinking lukewarm, flat beer that I’ve held in my hand for far too long, I’ll also be conducting artist interviews and keeping Instagram a float, keeping you guys up to date with the mayhem and the madness going down in Camden town.


If you wanna join the madness and share the fun, head over to Desertfest London’s website and get your hands on a or two ticket before they’re all completely gone – see ya there!

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters

Sunday, the grand finale! As I arrived in Camden, I met up with the guys from Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters as my hair braiding services had been requested before their show at The Black Heart later in the evening. We sat camp at The Blues Kitchen, they cracked open their flight case of make up, and we got going. Three grown in tie dye men having their hair done while applying layers of corpse paint, at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. A sight for sore eyes, to say the least.

Elephant Tree

As I finished my duties in the beauty department, I ventured over to the Underworld for Elephant Tree. This was the third time I’ve seen them, and they continue to blow me away. They sounded absolutely immense, and the Underworld was the perfect fit for them – their heavy sound bouncing off the walls in the underground bunker. As they finisher their set, we headed back out into the daylight, and across camden for Saint Vitus at the Roundhouse. Sadly, Saint Vitus were a bit of a let down after Elephant Tree, so again, fucking well done Elephant Tree!

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Saint Vitus finished, and it was back to the Underworld, which has pretty much been my home away from home over the weekend, for Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. The New Castle band with the band name that puts your tongue in a twist. And again, yet another band that killed it at the Underworld! They’re great on record but that still doesn’t do them justice at all as they’re absolutely mind-blowing live.

As Pigs x 7 ended, it was getting late and time for me to face my inner demons – would I go see Sleep at the Roundhouse, or Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters at the Black Heart, followed by Samsara Blues Experiment at Underworld? I went with Chubby and Samsara, and god damn I’m glad I did! Chubby was a big ol’ sweaty mess of riffs, tie dye, corpse paint, cowbells and bubbles, and just one big party – and Samsara? Well, they were sensational.

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters

Samsara Blues Experiment

So – if I were to summarize this weekend, I’ll have to say it’s the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. The line up was absolutely sensational, and I’m currently suffering from severe post Desertfest blues. Roll up Desertfest London 2018 – it’s only a year away, but who’s counting?

The Groundhogs

Ah, day two of Desertfest! As mentioned in my previous post, I started day two on a staggering hangover, but managed to make my way to Electric Ballroom to catch The Groundhogs at 2.30 – there was no way in hell I was gonna admit defeat and miss out on THE Groundhogs, who’s 1970 album ‘Thank Christ for the Bomb’ has been on repeat for the last couple of months. The Groundhogs came, played, and did not let me down – they pretty much tore shit up and blew me away! Musically I reckon they’re proabably one of the best acts at the entire festival, and it baffles me that they were on so early as they’re a pretty damn hard act to follow.

Post Groundhogs, we ventured the The Black Heart to catch some of Iron Witch, before having a three hour long sit-down and beer break while waiting for Turbonegro. As a Norwegian, I think of Turbonegro as a national treasure – I’m raised on their denim death punk, and until last night, I had not seen them since 2007, let alone with Tony Sylvester fronting them. Having a frontman replaced can be scary, heartbreaking and gut wrenching, and I wasn’t sure what to expect as Hank left pretty big boots to fill… All of my fears, worries and concerns, disappeared in the split second Tony strutted out on stage in his tight, cropped sleevless tee, combined with some outrageously tight denim cutoffs, a hat, and his trade mark make up. It was, in a way, the campest and most masculine thing I had ever seen, all at once. They’re a party band of a different dimension, and they were fucking sick. I left the venue sweaty and stoked in my newly acquired Turbonegro ‘Taste it & Get Wasted’ t-shirt that I will live my life by and wear like a badge of honour til my dying day. Also totally applying to join Turbojugend, asking myself why I haven’t done so years ago.

Turbonegro

After Turbonegro I made a half hearted attempt of queuing to get into The Black Heart afterparty, but decided to call it a day so I’d wake up fresh and fine for the grand finale. Not one from learning of my mistakes, but as I’m sat here feeling fresh AF, well rested and rejuvenated, I’m feeling pretty good about myself and ready to take on the day.

The Black Heart //  2.45pm – 3.30pm – Venomous Maximus
Underworld // 3.30pm – 4.15pm – Elephant Tree
Roundhouse // 4.45pm – 5.45pm – Saint Vitus
Underworld // 6.30pm – 7.30pm – Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
The Black Heart // 8.30pm – 9.15pm – Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
Roundhouse // 9.15pm – 10.45pm – Sleep
Underworld // 10.30pm – 11.30pm – Samsara Blues Experiment

I have my heart set on seeing all of the bands above, but am coming to terms with the fact that I’m gonna have a nervous breakdown at around 8.45, trying to fit in Chubby Thunderous, Sleep and Samsara. Shit.

The Well

The first day of Desertfest is done and dusted, and I’m about to look into ‘Creative writing for dummies’ as I’ve had about 3 hours of sleep and am currently recovering from five thousand pints – but hey, that’s ok, because yesterday was pretty amazing – well worth it.

As planned, I started the festival checking out Texas three piece The Well at the Underworld, and they did not did not let me down – quite the contrary, they were god damn great! They set the bar for the whole shebang really high, and I reckon they’ll be one of the highlights of the festival. Left Underworld to find a bunch of familiar faces drinking outside The Black Heart – big Ben Ward from Orange Goblin, Daniel from RidingEasy Records, Leigh from Riff Rock Records and Jimi from RIDDLES. Stayed for a bit, until I had to rush off to Electric Ballroom to catch 1000mods. They were also pretty rad, and as they finished their set I ventured back to The Underworld for Vodun to find front woman Chantal Brown working her magic like a witch doctor and Zel setting fire to her cymbals.

The Well

Then – Lowrider. Who despite having not released anything since their debut album ‘Ode to IO’ in 2000, managed to pack out Electric Ballroom, and for good reason. They were absolutely brilliant, and at this point I decided it was time to venture into the pit. Got knocked over, picked back up, and decided it was time to leave the pit. Last gig of the night was Slo Burn, before heading over to Black Heart for bad decisions and more beer.

As I write, there’s a mere three hours until things kick off again, and I’m in for yet another day of sick bands. Have not figured out time travel yet, but if I do, these are the guys that’ll please my ears today;

Underworld // 1.15pm – 2pm – Sonic Gypsy
The Black Heart // 1.45pm – 2.15pm – Samavayo
Electric Ballroom // 2.30pm – 3.30pm – The Groundhogs
The Dev // 8pm – 9pm – Welcome Back Delta
The Black Heart // 8.15pm – 9.15pm – Stubb
Electric Ballroom // 8.30 – 9.45 – Turbonegro
The Dev // 10pm – 11pm – Chron Goblin