This report is a joint effort between all the More Fuzz team members (and some guests) who were at the festival :
Writing : Mrs. RandomJess, Mrs. Freaksandgigs, Mrs.Marble, Mr. Haze, Mr. Stone, Mr. Jones, Mr. Fatso4Giorgio & Mr. Fuzz
Photos & Videos : Mostly Mr. Fuzz and some from Mrs. Freaksandgigs & Mrs. RandomJess
Words by Mr. Fuzz
Mother’s Cake was the last band to be announced by the DesertFest this year, and even if I was already very pleased with the lineup, that last minute addition was the icing on the cake ! (pun intended).
Indeed I discovered Mother’s Cake a few years ago with their first album “Mother’s Finest” and I was instantly hooked at the first listen ! They have a different approach to the Heavy music than most of the bands out there, particularly a huge groove across all their songs and some great high-pitched vocals. So yeah, it was one of the band I was really looking forward to see at this year DesertFest Belgium
Mother’s Cake was the first band to open the big Desert Stage, and to be honest I think it’d have been even better if they played on one of the 2 smaller scenes, but let’s not complain, they still rocked the place. But the big question is : Did it groove ?! Oooooh Hell Yeah !
Everything I loved in the studio was there live, the plus was to see the guys having fun on stage, especially Benedikt Trenkwalder the bassist who occupied well the stage by going everywhere and also had a big smile on his face during all the gig Talking about Benni, every bassist should listen carefully to his bass lines, they’re crafted to headbang, even more when he slaps hard on his blue Fender !
In the end, Mother’s Cake’s gig was a perfect way to start this 2nd day, full of groove !
Words by Mr. Fuzz
Just the time to leave the Desert Stage and we head to the Canyon Stage without knowing what the next band is. First a beer at the bar, and without even seeing the musicians on stage two other of my senses tell me it’s going to be a very doomy band.
First I hear some deep & heavy sounds, but most of all I smell a very particular and strong odour, like if the Canyon stage suddenly transformed into a Buddhism temple spraying incense in every corner of the room… Intrigued by this unusual set-up, I moved to the front row and discovered I was wrong about the Buddhism temple, it was more a Satanism temple !
Indeed Wolvennest was certainly the band with the best stage decoration of the weekend : encents & candles everywhere, human skull and various figurines, occult atmosphere at its best !
Regarding the sound Wolvennest plays a very atmospheric doom. Slow but heavy rhythms and spacey synths sounds coming from the bewitching frontwoman Shazzula will transport your mind in a gloomy universe among the deads… A great gig, would have been ever more with a joint in the hand
Words by Mr. Stone
Giöbia is one of my favorite bands, ever, since Mr. Radio introduced me with “The Magnifier”, which I put in my top 20 of last year’s albums. Since then, I’ve seen them twice, one at the Freak Valley, which was amazing, in the afternoon under the sun and the clouds all white, and now with the DesertFest, in a tiny and dark room, that suit them a lot more if you ask me, and both these gigs make me regret I haven’t ranked them higher !
These Italians deliver some spaced-out fuzzed-out psychedelic rock that will always remember me old Pink Floyd (Barret era), but more fuzzy, enchanting and oppressing, that takes you by the gut and lock you in their grasp with some krautrock repetitiveness vibe. The rhythm section is really deeply involved in the landscapes created here, keeping a straightforward strong base for the rest of the sound to rest on, progressively getting inside your head and making you vibrate in harmony.
Stefano, the frontman, pulls out such a positive energy, smiling all along, and interacting with the audience and his bandmates, playing his strings wonderfully, be it a guitar or bouzouki or sitar, while his nonchalant vocals echoing above the music. And Saffo, the synth/effects/organ goddess, will always keep you in her nests crafted with layers and layers of spacey sounds and synths when she doesn’t bewitch you with her Devil’s Howl, that can just resonate with your inner self and make it groove amongst the stars !
Words by Mr. Fuzz
This was certainly the gig I was waiting the most during this weekend, 1000mods were among the very first bands that got me into Stoner Rock with their excellent debut album “Super Van Vacation”, but I never had the chance to see them live ! So did they live up my big expectations ?
Well… Yes and no.
No, because it was just too short, damn only 40 minutes to see one of my favourite band ! But mostly because they played a lot of their recent songs, especially coming from their new one “Repeated exposure to . . .”. Well, I don’t blame them, when you just released an album you wanna play it live. But like I said, I really wanted to hear more songs from their debut, we only had “El Rollito”…
But I also said Yes. Yes because it was still a fuckin’ amazing show ! A huge energy, a wall of fuzz in our faces, I can tell you I was not the only one headbanging like crazy. And dude, I finally saw 1000mods live, I couldn’t be a happier after this short but intense gig from my favorite Greeks
Words by Mrs. RandomJess
Another casualty of Greece’s Airport strike the 3 piece from Boston, United States didn’t get to play the set at Desertfest Athens the week before. The devastation I felt relaxing in the nice hot weather on my little holiday (Such a hard life) was soon overcome with the realisation that I would still be able to rock out again at the main stage in freezing cold Antwerp. (ahhh wonderful- except the cold).
Watching them walk out on stage brought a smile to my face and a proper roar from the crowd. Taking places, you could tell we were in for a trippy ride. The stage dark; the three men showing as silhouttes the further you went back. (Beer break of course.) Straight from the get go Elder surpassed all expectations. You can listen to the records, study each track, but nothing will prepare you for what they deliver on stage. “Dead Roots Stirring” was a highlight. It was like they were raising a wall of sound, layered with rolling guitar riffs that built up in energy, punctuated with fat bass and splashy cymbals.
The light show and visual effects made for a psychedelic rock adventure. Surrounded by friends and fellow rockers nodding along it was a beautiful thing. The entirety of the TRIX Muziekcentrum pulsed with Elder energy. These guys were a joy to watch for old fans and new. The fact that they were able to encapsulate the whole room in the expanse of their superb sound without any bit of pretentiousness is a really good superhero power. Nice one Elder.
Words by Mrs. Freaksandgigs
In my opinion, the set delivered by Norway’s most underground noise band was one of the biggest (and nicest) surprises of this DesertFest edition. Very few people knew who they were but many knew a guy who couldn’t resist praising them. This certainly lead lots of festival-goers to have a glance at the Vulture Stage while both Elder and Cough were playing.
I must admit, I was literally baffled by what I saw and what I heard, it was miles away from my kind of stuff and yet, I was like mesmerized by their performance. Arabrot’s frontman, Kjetil Nernes, had this thing that intrigues you, fascinates you in some ways. Next thing you know, you are under the band’s spell, ready to drink his “Gospel” like a hundred-year-old bottle of red wine and join his cult. Not really Satanic but heavily esoteric, the Arabrot effect left the Vulture stage spellbound until the very end.
I still remember the goosebumps I had after their set, screaming at my friends: “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS? HOLY FUCK, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? THAT WAS SO AWESOME!”. The leaflet said about them that they have “always been described as ‘weird and heavy’”, I think they forgot to warn us about the power of Arabrot on live because I still can’t find a cure against that and neither were those who were there…
Words & Pictures by Mrs. RandomJess
There was a little extra excitement heading to see Cough at the Desertfest stage as they had to cancel there set at Desertfest Athens the weekend before due to countries mass air strike.
The crowd was mesmerised by the sludgy psychedelic doomsters from the United states of America. A nice contrast from rushing from the end of Elders set. Marching face first to the wall of filthy, fuzzy noise vibrating through every inch of us. We watched them do their thing in awe. Overall heaviness of the whole set is perfect.
The shivers you get from listening to Parker Chandler and David Ciscos voices are fantastic. The slow and heavy crushing sound that doesn’t let up with perfectly powerful riffs and punch of the drums made every second worth it. You could tell they enjoyed playing with little smiles towards the sea of banging heads in front of them.
I am definitely glad I got to be there to hear, see (the handsomeness), feel (the epic reverberation) and witness one of the heaviest acts out there at the moment that is Cough.
Words by Mrs. Marble
If there was any doubt concerning Hangman’s Chair musical genre, the hangman’s noose on their bass drum sends a clear message: it’s doom. The name of their latest album rubs it in: “This is not supposed to be positive“.
Everyone was transported by the opening number ‘Cut up kids‘, a mix between buzzing riffs and pain in Cédric’s melodic vocals. ‘Dripping Low‘ and ‘No One‘ kept on building a cold, heavy atmosphere. We felt like we were bogged down in a gloomy alley. Yet, the Parisian quartet released energy and gave it to the audience. The front row had to be careful not to be hit by Julien’s guitar !
The setlist was mainly composed of songs from their new album and we were even treated to a more punchy new song called ‘Give And Take‘. They ended their set with “The Saddest Call“, the opening track of their third album, the truly wonderful gut-wrenching “Hope///Dope///Rope“. This gig was loaded with sadness and distress yet beautiful.
Words by Mr. Jones
Well what else to say? We couldn’t expect more from the DesertFest crew to come up with an honorable replacement for Graveyard. Despite the fact that their recent split threw a dark cloud above the festival, the DesertFest didn’t want to disappoint the fan and it was with a huge ovation that the people of Antwerp welcomed the three keepers of the true and original spirit of what we can now call, Heavy Psychedelic Stoner.
The Desert Stage, the biggest stage there, was packed, like children waiting to open their gifts on Christmas Eve. People in the crowd couldn’t wait any longer, asking each other about what song they wish they’d play tonight, smiles, laughs and harmony were definitely here!
As always, Colour Haze didn’t use the whole width of the stage, that was obviously way too big for Stefan, Philip and Manfred who always play close together. You were here to take your concentrated dose of mind-blowing heavy-psych experience! They all as an individual musician and as a band are amazing!
Throughout a 45 minutes set, starting with the beautiful song “Circles” from their latest album, Colour Haze showed the full range of what they are into at the moment, we had the chance to witness, one of their major songs from their latest two albums, with a brilliant version of “She Said” from their album “Transformation“. Those three guys took their audience to a whole new level, bringing us to the warming comfortable and colorful side of their universe.
They wanted more, we wanted more, but they couldn’t do as they did during the first DesertFest Belgium, come back and play ONE MORE SONG! Sadly the schedule was tight, that makes our landing kind of rough but those guys still got so many things to show us, and we still want to discover new territory thanks to them.
You can still purchase their new 3-LP “Live in Europe” they released earlier this year from their 2015 European tour, it is full of wonderful version of their most iconic songs from their latest 5 albums! This is brilliantly EPIC!
The Atomic Bitchwax
Words by Mr. Fatso4Giorgio
Colour Haze gig is done, tripping show as they always do.. but is still something past 20, people want to ROCK! So everyone is going upstairs, waiting for THE, mighty, Atomic Bitchwax! And the stage is already full before the first note! First time for me seeing them, few minutes and they appear with a 32 teeth smile on their faces as their music describes them.
Joking with audience like a very experienced band do, they start their gig with the powerful first LP song “Birth to The Earth”, we already understood what is going to happen… The sound is massive, the drum is so fast but at the same time so accurate and brilliant, and all together they’re perfect entertainers for who want to see some Hard Rock played Heavy!
The setlist is awesome, a perfect mix of new and old songs, always with foot on the accelerator.. and new songs are great as the old ones! Some are headbanging, some are dancing, but everyone is happy to see such a great show as The Atomic Bitchwax did @Desertfest Belgium 2016!
Words by Mrs. RandomJess
From the silhouette of the bottle of Jack on stage before they even start, you know you are in for a good old time. Weedeater from North Carolina definitely put on a good show with their crushing, punishing sound played with an energy rarely seen in stoner bands.
The smokey whiskey fueled voice of a man with experience, ‘Dixie Dave’ kept the crowd entertained. He is able to express the ugliest hate fueled love you will ever feel from a band to the crowd. Drummer ‘T-boogie’ is a spectacle in his own right with the constant stick tricks and high kicks. ‘Shep’, ‘T-boogie and Dixie are a good trio with their own blend of heavy southern non-stop sludgy stoner rock.
The crowd was in awe ‘God luck and good speed’ had everyone surrounding me loving the flawless delivery and Dixie grabbing the cymbal in perfect time. Those moments in the pit where you just can see it in people’s faces that everyone is enjoying the moment that is not going to be forgotten for a while.
If you ever get a chance to see them, finish your shot, light up a smoke and get in there. Dixie is love, Whiskey is life.
Words by Mr. Haze
I saw those guys a couple of months ago at the SonicBlast Festival in Moledo, Portugal, so I thought I was prepared for this gig but I was quite wrong. Although I had a blast the first time I saw them, there was something that slightly bothered me but I didn’t know what it was. Maybe they had a hard time setting up their weird atmosphere because the open air stage was too big or maybe it was because they were impressed by the crowd. Whatever the reason, this gig was different and for the best.
They played in a super small place just beside a bar in a corner of a big room, The Vulture Stage. Despite Weedeater playing almost at the same time, the place was packed and I think no one regretted coming because they put out a killer show! The boys were on fire and fully delivered. You could clearly see that they felt comfortable with their music and their freaky outfit onstage.
Regarding the setlist, they mainly played stuff from the last album and a couple of songs from their debut. They even played “Coal Mind“, a tremendous 12-minute instrumental. I never thought I would see this one live as it has a sort of laid-back vibe and a slow build-up but in the end, it proved to be an amazing song live.
Words by Mr. Fuzz
Aaaaaaah the Papa of Doom That gig was also on top of my list during this DesertFest Belgium, because like 1000mods, it was my first time seeing them. And god it was awesome And even if I’m not an ultra fan like a lot of festivalgoers in the first rows of the big Desert Stage, I needed to see this band that undoubtedly was the pioneer of Doom Metal in the 70’s.
I won’t be able to tell you the exact songs they played that night, but one thing I can tell you for sure is those guys are true professionals and set the stage on fire from the first note to the last one !
Of course their famous and crazy frontman Bobby Liebling plays a key role in making the gig as entertaining as he can for his fans. I won’t be the first to say that, but that man is literally possessed by the devil when he’s on stage ! Eyes wide open, dancing and moving all across the stage, playing air-guitar on Victor Griffin’s shoulder (who by the way had such a massive sound), that old man knows how to ROCK !
So yeah, it was an absolute delight to see Pentagram for the first time, and even more when I was in the photo pit, being a few meters away from these legends, it was hard not to headbang while taking pictures ! One of the highlights of the festival for sure.
Words by Mrs. Freaksandgigs
After a short but successful UK tour alongside the legendary Orange Goblin, the Cincinnati four-piece came to Antwerp to rock our socks off. I knew it from the moment I saw that glamourous-and-yet-wild-as-fire vocalist Laura Dolan entering the small Vulture stage in this sliver-glitter outfit and high-kneeled boots. She looked like she stole a TARDIS, brought her bandmates with her to the cheapest thrift store she found on her way somewhere in the ‘70’s and came back with a bigger, richer and louder sound.
Being there was like being somewhere back in time. It was a bit obvious when I first heard their debut record, ‘Sateen’, but this time, Laura had balls. Not only she had them but she was showing them and singing with them. It felt so good having this quite young band playing with such passion and a certain groove that makes their songs sounds like dancing anthems, the kind of stuff you want to boogie and headbang at the same time. It was also nice to see that despite his broken leg, bassist Randy Dolan was still rocking the place.
I heard a guy on the bar saying she was a mix between Lady GaGa and Janis Joplin. We can agree to disagree on that one but saying that Laura Dolan was a spotlight-stealer is an understatement.
But what about the songs, well most of the stuff they played were from their latest record, ‘Higher Time’, released last May and if some songs like ‘Golden Mean’ or ‘Two Hearted Woman’ sounds a bit okay but not transcending, live-wise it is a total different story. Just like ‘Light Years Beyond’ which is, since them, my new wake-up anthem. Electric Citizen is indeed electric and the Vulture stage seemed to be delighted to have been struck by such a thunderously promising band.
Words by Mr. Fuzz
How to end this 2nd day in a superb way ? Let one of the best Heavy Psych band play : the Swiss Monkey3 ! Oh god I love this band, and even more during a concert. The perfect dose of instrumental heaviness & epicness melted together to form a giant asteroid you can fly on !
So as usual, the guys delivered an amazing performance, but for the people like me who already saw them many times, we were treated with some interesting new things to enjoy.
The first was the cool stage decoration, electric blue neon shapes that come from the art of their last album “Astral Symmetry”, a nice addition that adds a little more to their mystical atmosphere.
But the main novelty was something you maybe have heard in this new album : vocals ! Yes Monkey3 is no more an instrumental band, and I must say hearing some powerful vocals from Boris the guitarist was very pleasant.
And last but not least, “dB” who is normally doing some crazy spacey shit behind his synths, and who, I admit, is often forgotten during a concert because he’s not in front of us and it’s more difficult to see what he’s playing, well that time he turned into a very charismatic lead guitarist ! Hell yeah, he played a killer solo just in front of a surprised crowd, and it seems he enjoys doing that seeing how much in a frenzy he was !
And it’s in this moment of bliss that ends the 2nd day of the DesertFest Belgium, time to get some rest for the last day…