Posts

For those who’s not familiar with Khemmis, can we get a brief introduction?
Ben: I moved from Mississippi to Colorado in August 2012 to begin my PhD at CU Boulder. I put an ad on Craigslist looking for some folks to play heavy music in the style of Neurosis, YOB, Rwake, etc, and nobody responded. I reposted it with a picture of Jawas carrying a Sunn Model T and Dan responded fairly quickly. We met up at TRVE Brewing to grab a drink and talk music. We didn’t know it at the time, but the head brewer, Zach, had recently relocated from Texas and was itching to create some heavy tunes too. Phil was actually a student in the same PhD program that I’d just entered, and I mentioned to him that some folks and I were putting together a band and were looking for a singer. Although he had never sung in a band before, he had cool gear and good taste in music. After the two of us got together and jammed on a bunch of riffs through obnoxiously loud amplifiers, I immediately knew we’d found our Huckleberry. 

Khemmis was an ancient Egyptian city, any particular reason why you went with that as a name?
Naming a band sucks. We landed on Khemmis because it’s short, doesn’t tie us to any singular sound/style, and someone else hadn’t already taken it. 

For the average Orange reader, how would you describe your music?
Khemmis: We call ourselves doomed heavy metal. We draw inspiration from a wide variety of metal subgenres such as death, black, sludge and trad, but we strive to ground our music in the feeling(s) most strongly associated with doom metal. That said, I recently saw someone on Twitter describe us as “Candlemass meets OSDM” (old school death metal), and we really dig that description as well.

….aaaand how would you describe it to your grandma?
The Devil’s Music.

Okay – let’s talk gear; what are your different history and experiences with Orange?Ben: Shockingly, I don’t think I ever played an Orange amplifier until our set at Psycho Las Vegas in 2017. I plugged into a Rockerverb 100 and a pair of PPC412s that night and conjured the best tone I’d ever had in this band. I knew and loved the magical Orange cabs, but that amp blew me away. As luck would have it, our friend Eddie of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Beer Guy podcast was in attendance along with Alex from Orange Amps. We got off the stage, took our guitars to the hotel room, and then saw a message from Eddie saying that Orange wanted to talk to us about working together. We soon sold off the amps we’d been using and all switched to the same kickass Orange heads we’re still using today. Though that was the first time I’d played a Rockerverb, I own a PPC412 with v30s and WGS ET65s in an X-pattern that has been “the cab” on everyKhemmis recording. Dave Otero, our producer, has been trying to buy the cab from me for years! 

Dan:  Ben sounded amazing that night. I saw Sleep with Matt’s wall of amps, mostly of the Orange variety.  I was sold in that evening, and knew that nothing crushes like an Orange. 

Phil: That Orange sounded so much better than the Marshall I played that night. It was night and day what the better amp was.

What’s your current set ups?
Ben: We’re not the sort of band that throws a Muff or Rat in front of an amp from the 70s and calls it a day. That’s not to say that approach is flawed—it just isn’t the one for us. Phil and I both use Rockerverb 100 MKIII heads, which are simply the perfect amps for our sound; the gain channel is thick with just a touch of fuzz while retaining the clarity to allow complex chord voices to ring out without turning into a pile of mush. Even though we both use the same head, our guitars and signal paths allow for two decidedly different flavours of heaviness. My main guitars are both Dunable Asteroids (flying Vs). My go-to has a mahogany body and neck, burl maple top, ebony fretboard, and Seymour Duncan JB and 59 pickups. It is the best guitar in the world. My other Asteroid has a maple body and neck with a claro walnut top, maple fretboard, and SD Nazgul and Sentient humbuckers. I use a lot of “flavour” effects to add texture to our music, but my main rhythm tone is a Seymour Duncan 805 into the dirt channel. I switch from the 805 to a KHDK Ghoul Jr to shape my lead tone a bit differently, cutting some lows and adding a bit of grit to make my solos slice through our wall of riffs. I use a Fortin Zuul, which is the best noise gate I’ve ever used, to keep things quiet and under control.

Phil: I try to keep things relatively simple while complementing and filling out the space not occupied as much by Ben and Dan’s sounds. I also use a Dunable Asteroid (mine is mahogany with a maple cap), loaded with some humbucker sized p90s that Dunable built for me, and I play very, VERY hard with my picking hand. I have a Reverend Volcano with p90s as a backup, which sounds very similar and is also a great guitar. Naturally the p90/heavy handed playing combo produces a lot of upper mid range and very ‘present’ sounds, so I have my Rockerverb and pedals tailored to emphasise that. My main dirt is a Way Huge Saucy Box overdrive, which I like because it doesn’t really effect the tone of my guitar other than adding a bit more “push” to the amp, and I use the Orange Two Stroke EQ in the effects loop for solo boosts to get some additional volume, cut low end, and boost the upper mids a bit more. Other than that I rely on Mr Black pedals for some ambiance, their Wolfmoon for reverb and the SS 850 for delay, which I absolutely love and never take off my board.

Dan: The first time I plugged into an AD200, I knew it was exactly right for me.  Tubeyness and plenty of headroom… but just enough to still get that growl. The Orange 810 is dark and doomy without losing expression. I don’t know if a cab can be tight and fat at the same time, but if it is indeed possible, the Orange has achieved it. I am keeping pedals quite simple these days.  Before the amp, the venerable Darkglass Alpha Omega Ultra is the go-to, mostly-on, pedal.  On occasion I’ll add the DOD Preamp 250 in front of the UltraOmegaOk. A touch of the Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster in the back reintroduces some thickness.  Much or all of this may be replaced with the Orange Bass Butler, which I experienced for the first time at NAMM.  Ade and Alex hung out with us during the demo, from which I am still recovering. I’ve enjoyed playing Dunable Basses for many years.  However, like all true gear heads, I’ve had fun mixing and matching a bit. The mainstay for touring in 2019 was the Sandberg California Grand Dark TM4.  I also have a very cool Sandberg VS4 that is far too nice to travel with.  The Grand Dark is very versatile, sounds great, and plays oh so very nice.

You’re heading to the UK for the first time ever in a couple of months where you’ll be playing Desertfest London, are you pumped?
Ben: We are honored to be part of Desertfest and can’t wait to finally perform the UK. The lineup is nuts! Quite a few folks in the Nuclear Blast UK office have been asking when we’d finally make it over there, and we can’t imagine a better debut than being part of Desertfest.

Dan: So very excited. I love London. I was able to visit for the first time in 2018 and I just couldn’t get over the rich history, architecture, and musical pedigree of the city.  Desertfest is a tremendous honor.  

Phil: I’ve never been, and I’m am super excited! It is a great fest in a really cool part of the world that I’ve always wanted to visit. I’m hoping to stay after for a bit on my own and make a vacation out of it.

Your latest album ‘Desolation’ was released in 2018, will there be a follow up soon? Maybe some new material played live in London….?
Khemmis: We recently began writing for album #4, but these things take time to get right. That said, we might have a new track ready for Desertfest, who knows? Regardless, we do have new material coming out this year. We contributed a song to Magnetic Eye Records’ reimagining of Alice in Chain’s Dirt, one of the most important albums ever to me. That should arrive this spring. We also have something special that we’ll be announcing sometime next month. What could it be? Stay tuned, hellions!

Give us your best joke – GO!
How do you think the unthinkable?

With an itheberg..

Truls Mörck of Graveyard, Desertfest London 2018. By Ella Stormark

At this point in time, many of you might still be knees deep in post-Christmas depression and January blues while dreaming of better days, potentially made even worse by dry January (I caved on the 9th and had a glass of wine, it doesn’t count if it’s with food right?) which equals stone cold sobriety during what feels like three hour long days. It’s okay though, spring’s not actually that far away – just look at this as an excuse to be a record recluse for a bit, personally I’ve only socialised once in the entire month of January, and hell, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m not quite sure when I’ll emerge from my winter slumber, but, it will definitely be in time for Desertfest London.

Since the launch of Desertfest London back in 2012, the festival has grown and gets bigger and busier every year, with 2020 looking huge. Among this years lineup, we’ve got some of the headliners from the first ever Desertfest London returning; Orange Goblin, who’s celebrating their 25 year anniversary this year, and Corrosion of Conformity. Also returning to the Desertstage is the mighty Graveyard, who’ll be accompanied at the festival by fellow Swedish countrymen Witchcraft, Maidavale and Lowrider, the latter due to release the follow up to their iconic 2000 debut album ‘Ode to IO’ on February 21st, a mere two and a half months before the festival.

Isaiah Mitchell of Earthless at Desertfest London 2019. By Ella Stormark

Mixing things up a bit at this year’s festival with sunny, progressive psychedelia, is US bands Sacri Monti and Monarch, both hailing from Oceanside just outside San Diego. San Diego’s been on the frontline of modern psychedelia since the formation of Earthless in the early 2000s, and Sacri Monti and Monarch are just two of many bands who’s followed in their footsteps with a modern take on older influences – the rise of successful psychedelic bands from the area is so high that ‘San Diego Psych’ has sort of become a genre of it’s own.

Of course, as always, Desertfest is also a fantastic platform for up and coming bands, featuring some of the finest heavy acts in the UK underground scene, such as London’s very own Green Lung, who’s 2019 debut album ‘Woodland Rites’ received critical acclaim from the likes of The Guardian and Kerrang. Joining them on the bill is also Birmingham’s eerie doom band Alunah, and another London local in the form of The Brothers Keg, who despite having just released two songs, have caught the attention of The Obelisk who compared them to both King Buffalo and Sleep, eagerly anticipating for their debut album to drop.

We’re also excited to catch hard hitting and heavy two piece Big Business, the former rhythm section of the Melvins, and of course, doom connoisseurs Khemmis who will also be crossing the Atlantic for our listening pleasure, so there will be no lacking in the heavy riff department (okay dad…), not that that was ever a concern of ours anyway.

There are still some tickets left for the festival, so head over to Desertfest London’s website to get your hands on a pair and hopefully we’ll see you there! We’ll be catching up with some of the artists playing the festival in the next couple of months, so watch this space.

Tell us about the name?

Robert: It’s a Swedish word, it’s pronounced Skraeckoedlan!

It’s actually spelt with the Swedish A and the two dots and the O but we spelled it more international and it hasn’t been to our advantage! Because no one can spell it or pronounce it! It’s a Swedish word and it translates to like the Horror Lizard, it’s like a Godzilla Reference.

Henrik: I think we had a name before the band was actually started, I think you came up with the name and sent me text. Do you want to play heavy doom rock fast rock and sing in Swedish and we will be called ‘Skraeckoedlan’.

Robert: That was the concept before we even rehearsed and its like a reference to the old 50’s horror movies and that sort of things Sci-Fi. Also the Blue Oyster Cult song ‘Godzilla’ of course!

Tell us about your new album?

Robert: I think it sounds the most of what we want to sound like now because you to rehearse at writing songs, you get better at writing songs. You have to write a lot of songs to know what you want to write. Also when you are younger, it was ten years ago when we started out and we were young kids and we wanted to play like your idols. Wanting to play metal and stuff we like. Now it has progressed into something more original now and I think we know that and i think when we write songs we want to write it for ourselves and not “cover” songs.

Henrik: That has become quite a natural progression, it’s not something we think conscientious about, it’s fun not to do the same songs and do something different.

Robert: This album ‘Earth’, our third album it is a concept album and we got the story behind the concept album written to us by a Sci-Fi author. We based the whole album on his story, so it was more of another take on songwriting, as we had to tell the story of this. The first needs to be more of an intro song and then we need to take it this way. It was a whole another way to write songs.

Henrik: It was a whole different approach that kind of shows up in the result as well.

Star Trek or Star Wars

Robert: Star Trek, Star Wars is not Sci-Fi, Star Wars is just a saga it is a fantasy! Just to clear it up.

What made you choose Orange?

Robert: It’s so connected to this genre and a lot of bands play Orange. When we started out that’s the thing you want, you want to play what your gods play. Then you try it out, it was so good for you and translated directly to you, we play a lot of pedals and the Orange amps really go well all the pedals. I think you had the TH100 first, that was the first one we had,

Henrik: Yes, then we wrote to Orange asking if we can have an Orange amps sponsorship and we would like these amps could you help us out!

Robert: I think it was 2014 we ordered Orange backline and we never looked back. I’m not so conscious about my sound, I think if it feels good and sounds good I’m satisfied and I don’t really know what I play. As long as it sounds great. I found that in the CR120 they are so convenient to have, they sound so great with pedals and don’t weigh anything and they don’t break down on tour. They are the best solid state amps they are the best I have played.

What gear are you using right now?

Robert: I have one of the CR120 Combos, the 1X12 and a 2X12 cabinet with a CR120 Head. I split the signal into two, so I play two amps, that’s my setup.

Henrik: I recently had the same head, the CR120 with a 412 stereo cabinet, I just recently bought the Rocker 32 stereo combo. So I haven’t really got a chance to try it out yet but i’m going to be experimenting with that in some form of Wet/Dry signal, so that’s going to be fun.

Robert: We like playing stereo so I think i’m going to buy that combo as well, it’s so convenient to have a stereo combo and not have to carry two big rigs. Tonight i’m not quite sure actually, our drummer is the one that is the most interested in those things. He wrote what we should have!

Henrik: He is the best at organising all of that sort of admin.

Robert: So we are just happy, we don’t know so much!

Corey: After being a band for a few years, when James, Andrew and I sat down to start writing music the stuff we were coming up with was just more of a punk influence. All of us have been huge punk fans since we were all younger so it was kind of a natural progression and kind of just go back to that. But we still also kept a lot of the heavy end stuff in.

Scary: I just joined the band after this record came out because they did a lot of second guitar stuff and they wanted to do it live. I’ve been friends with the band since they started, I did pre production for a lot of the older records, ‘taste of sin’, ‘set the dial.’ I would go to their space and record it and then send it off to their engineer that were actually going to produce the record. So i’ve known the band for a long time and they asked me to play after the record was done and i’ve been playing in cover bands with Andrew and James since i moved to Savannah so it’s been fun, i’ve known the guys for a long time.

Corey: So we we’ve been working with the company maybe two years but prior to that i’ve used a lot of Orange stuff when we would come to Europe and we would rent a backline. The bass stuff was generally an Orange and that’s what started my interest in using the amps.

Scary: I started using the Orange back in 2009 or 2010, I got the Rockerverb MKI and i bought it because I had seen so many great bands using it. I bought it on a whim and its been my tone ever since, in history!! I’ve had the Rockerverb MKI, MKII, MKIII and they just keep getting better, the MKIII is just awesome, I love it!
Corey: NERD!
Scary: I know! The stepped attenuators are fantastic!!

Corey: I like with bass something that has some kind of drive section and that is not just a clean, I definitely like tube and bit of a lower wattage than the big SVT type things, 200 is quite a good match. You can push the amp a bit more and retain a lot of that good EQ sound without turning it to one of five.

Scarey: Overdrive and the preamp section is really big for me because its like there are a lot of amps that have really good overdrive but then they sound a little fizzy. The gain on the Rockerverb has always been really nice in my ear and the reverb on the new MKIII’s are amazing, totally usable and then the clean is amazing for pushing pedals. The overdrive though has been something that has won me over for years, haven’t been able to find something like that, for something that fits my ear in years.

Corey: I have the AD200 and also the Two Stroke pedal and the OB1 as my backup amplifier. I’m using the Two Stroke as more of an overdrive pedal, not throughout the entire set or song. I always like a more treble sound like the old Jesus Lizard stuff, that kind of stuff has to have the midrange boost to kind of overdrive the amp nicely.

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