October means DesertFest Antwerp, which means another quality edition for the fuzz lovers!
Words by Mr. Stone, Mr. Witchfinder, Mr. Dopesmoker & Mr. Fuzz
All pics by Mr. Witchfinder & Mr. Fuzz
Swan Valley Heights
Mr. Stone – Freshly arrived at the Trix, we went to get a beer at the Vulture Stage and get our ass kicked by the German power trio of Swan Valley Heights, touring this fall with Truckfighters. I got lucky to catch them a week before in München and I knew it was a gig I didn’t want to miss in Antwerp. These guys craft a fuzzed-out stoner/psych with a grunge twist on the sound and attitude. Bringing everyone in the proper mood to launch this fest, going from heavy riffs to space thrusts always keeping it fuzzy as hell.
Mr. Fuzz – Aaahh! One of the gigs I was most looking forward to seeing this weekend! My favorite Space-Kraut Rockers from The Netherlands, Monomyth. Indeed I didn’t catch these guys for such a long time I was dying to see them again. And it was also the first time I’d be able to see them play with the new lineup, since the departure of the guitarist Thomas van den Reydt who was replaced by Boudewijn Bonebakker.
So how did it go ? Amazing of course! Monomyth always had a place in my heart since I discovered their first self-titled album in 2013. They returned in 2019 with a 4th album “Orbis Quadrantis” and the DesertFest crowd had the pleasure to listen to some songs taken from it. They have the power to put you directly into their repetitive dreamy atmosphere, subtly adding layers of sounds as the songs progress, it’s a real instrumental trip. There’s no other band like Monomyth and that’s what makes them sensational!
I’m sad it was the 2nd gig of the festival and it lasted only 40 minutes, I think I would have enjoyed even more later in the night, but at least they were on the Canyon stage, the best one in my opinion at the Trix venue.
Mr. Dopesmoker – All the way from Holland, with two members of Death Alley and no record yet, here is Temple Fang and their two left handed guitarists. What a good inspiration it was to leave Nebula’s show early and be a part of the soundcheck. As the sound was getting better and better, I felt immediatly the need of getting in front of Jevin de Groot to watch him play. If you already went to Desertfest Antwerp then you know how hard it can be to get a comfortable place in the smallest venue of the Trix. Earing is obviously not a problem as the sound is huge but seeing is, especially if you’re a 1m70 tall french guy in the middle of all those flammish, dutch and german dudes.
With songs filling easily a LP side, these boys seem unstoppable as they start a song. Jammy, groovy, spacy, that’s right, this four piece leads the whole Vulture to a psychotropic mood. The repetitive rythm section leaves all the space needed by Jevin and his perfectly mastered effects arsenal. Imagine Earthless on acid, and be sure you’ll hear of them very soon, as they already are on Freak Valley’s bill.
Mr. Witchfinder – As they said, so they did. Truckfighters returned after a 1.5-year hiatus to continue bestowing their immortal fuzz upon the riff-hungry crowd of the world. Starting their tour in Trondheim earlier in June this year, they finally made it to Desertfest in Antwerp as well. Headlining the first day of the festival, Truckfighters managed to reassure the people that their energy went nowhere and that the riff still resides deep within.
Playing the entirety of their most acclaimed album ‘Gravity X’, these Swedish fuzzers were literally all around the place. Ozo relentlessly ripping his bass while faithfully singing along, Dango flying all around the place being the wild guitar beast he has always been and Toro banging the hell out of that poor drum set. It didn’t take long for the people to suck all that raw energy and return it with double the power. Whenever Dango came up close to the barriers to crank a solo, fans were thrilled and all bursting with excitement. Halfway down the set, one could even spot people crowdsurfing and trying to channel their hype in ways rarely seen during stoner rock performances. Truckfighters are professionals, delivered a solid set and visibly put their hearts into that night. Enough said.
While I had mixed feelings about the band’s reasons for their swift return, whatever made them come back together, it surely turned out for the better. I’m glad the Desert Cruisers are back, it’s always great to have living legends around.
Mr. Fuzz – I discovered Yatra in January when they released their “Death Ritual” album, and I remember I enjoyed it quite a lot. Now in October, I forgot a bit about them honestly. But I saw they were on the DesertFest bill, so I thought I should at least check them out. And damn I did well! They totally win the “Fat Level” prize of the weekend 👊
Yup, a true wall of sound, delivering some of the heaviest fuzz I ever heard in my face. And surprisingly, Yatra felt way more groovy here and less “doomy” than what I recalled from their studio work. A very good point for me, as you know I prefer my fuzz to be energic and not too slow 👌 Come back soon to Europe guys!
Black Moon Circle
Mr. Stone – This was one of my most expected gigs of the day, and surely the best, if not of all the festival, in my opinion. After Yatra, I needed a bit of time to get back on Earth, so I sadly chose to miss Zeal&Ardor to get a good spot for this one. Shortly after getting myself a last Caipirinha, Dr. Space arrived on stage, and started to work his magic on modular synths, before his three Norwegian bandmates came, smiling, and launching the rocket with one of their crazy spacey jams.
It’s wonderful how they are relaxed and laid-back, grooving their way through the cosmos, at a gentle pace, and yet they must have bent time at some point because it felt like it was over in less than 5min. They have their way of making cosmic waves into music, and back to cosmic waves, their riffs taking you from written parts to totally improvised outbursts, always trying to keep the limit between the two kinds of blurry, to take you further and further onto their journey through space.
Mr. Witchfinder – Closing day 1 came the first Polish band to ever play Desertfest Antwerp. Going by the name of Sunnata, these folks arrived well prepared and with great company as they were just at the end of their west-European tour with the Yatra. Yet this was no ordinary closer. In fact, a rather outstanding one.
Sunnata plays some ‘ritual heavy music’ as they put it themselves but that’s for sure a great simplification. Blending the grungy feel of Alice in Chains, Kylesa’s obscure hypnosis and their own unique touch of impending doom, Sunnata quickly went off to show what they got in store. Trapped in the Canyon stage with a rather large crowd (considering the late hour), these guys took some time in the beginning to ease into the night but swiftly dropped some heaviness that everyone was anticipating. Dancing with light and darkness, Szymon (guit./voc.), Michał (bass), Robert (drums) and Adrian (guit./voc.) played a variety of tracks primarily spanning their two most recent albums, Zorya and Outlands. What was perhaps most intriguing about their performance was the fact that what we saw, was exactly what we heard and what we felt. As the musicians were constantly shifting from light to shadow, so was their music. Balancing all so well between the punishing doom and remotely unsettling sparks of hope, Sunnata held us at the verge of our sanity by simply teasing our poor souls. It was seriously tense.
This gig was my highlight of the day as I totally didn’t expect the last act to raise so much fire so late in the night. And tell me dear reader, when was the last time you saw people moshing, falling ON the stage and even occasionally breaking ribs during a doom metal act? I can’t recall either, apart from this very time.
Mr. Stone – I ended the first day in a galaxy far away after Black Moon Circle, and started it around the same spot with this wonderful dutch power trio. They got everyone’s attention with their “Schwerpunkt” released at the end of last year, and they had some killer show this summer (including a mindblowing set in the woods of Yellowstock in August). I knew I didn’t want to miss them, to put the second day on the right tracks. Heavy-riffing their way through fields of asteroid, with some nagging rhythms to take your mind on a journey only to bring you back to earth with nasty riffs a few seconds later. The skills of these doomsters are obvious, and unravel along the gig, from an atmosphere to another, progressively building up through psych-induced phases, including finger-tipping, badass drum rolls and groovy bass, playing with your nerves to climax in a blaze of heavy-psych glory. No doubt we’ll see those flying dutchmen in great places in the years to come 😉
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell
Mr. Dopesmoker – What about some British old school Hard Rock vibes in the middle of a Saturday afternoon ? Already on last year on that same stage, but stuck between Frayle and Dead Meadow, this time the slot is perfect to bring some Rock ‘n Roll freshness to the Canyon Stage.
A bit different from the rest of the weekend line-up, the trio brought some big smiles on festival-goers faces, reminding us the glory of some classic bands of the mighty 70’s. Sympathy capital at its best for those veterans and a special mention for these delighting guitar licks reminding of Hendrix or Uli Jon Roth.
Mr. Witchfinder – Fireball Ministry came to Europe to do only two exclusive shows, one here in Antwerp and another one at the ‘Into The Void’ Festival in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. That’s not a band we often see around in Europe, so how was their performance?
First of all, I want to say that I’m not the craziest fan of their music but I do dig a few tracks very much. Yet in all that I was perhaps the most excited to see Scott Reeder for the first time live, one of the most characteristic bass players of the stoner underground. Opening the main stage on the second day, Fireball Ministry started dropping hot Californian riffs to raise some fire and get the crowd excited. Despite the huge backdrop with some wicked visualizations and Scott’s fantastic bass work (I’ve never seen anyone slap that bass so hard, oh boy!), I couldn’t grasp the band’s energy as I guess it was just too frail. James did a fairly good job as a frontman and I was positively surprised by his voice sounding almost as on the records but that’s it. Emily’s cutting into some tracks was just out of place and John’s drum work could have surely been more energetic.
Overall, a pleasant opener but without that much power as the name might imply. Some tasty riffs and some awesome Scott-Reeder-being-Scott-Reeder moments. Still, it was great to see this formation live at Desertfest!
Church Of Misery
Mr. Dopesmoker – Our favorite Japanese gang paid their second visit to Antwerp’s Desertfest, each time with great pleasure. And as usual, Church of Misery began their set with El Padrino, that slow intro always works perfectly for a start. Of course the theremin stood in the middle of the stage and abused by Hiroyuki Tagano during the whole gig, and Tatsu Mikami still had his Rickenbacker on his knees.
Their last record is now three years old so nothing really new, I could nevertheless notice that the line-up seems now more established, as it was the first time I saw them with the same musicians on stage. With a great sound and nice rotating visuals, the boys from the land of the rising sun delivered once again a really well functioning show, but now could be the time to write some new material right ?
Mr. Stone – The Vulture Stage was the place to be at that time, despite being in between the mighty Church of Misery in the big hall and the totally full Elephant Tree gig upstairs, with the doors of the Canyon Stage closed before the gig even started! But some wise ones knew better, and I still had never seen the Belgian trio before, so I was there, waiting to witness the progressive heavy havoc the three Belgians summon on stage. Often referred to as the Belgian Elder, you can feel they’ve been deeply influenced by their American forefathers, but also have their special touch to it, with some sincere simple pleasure and heavy riffs so greasy you can’t resist. Their last record is only two twenty minutes songs, and you just love it when they take it that long, bringing the riffs back over and over, always heavier than the last time.
Mr. Fuzz – Always a pleasure to see the smiling faces of Jack, Pete, Sam & John on stage. Elephant Tree is another of my favorite band and hearing some new tunes was refreshing, they sounded great and I can’t wait to hear their studio version too, apparently it’s coming early next year so keep your eyes peeled 😉 Of course, they also played some classics like the neck-breaking “Aphotic Blues”, and I can tell you, it was beautiful to see the Canyon Stage crowd headbang in unison! Nice lads, killer music, keep on fuzzin’ brothers 🤘
Mr. Witchfinder – If there is anything more sinister, unsettling and so bone-piercing as Bongripper’s take on instrumental stoner doom, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll shortly tell you what was this madness all about.
Haunting Europe for a few clubs and festival appearances, Bongripper ended up on the unholy grounds of Antwerp right in time to finish their mini-tour. And what better way to summarize this run than with a grand sonic delirium at the main stage of Desertfest? Perhaps there is none. The Chicago-based doom quartet played a set that lasted for about 60 minutes but felt as if it went on for hours and hours. And by no means was this boring, on the contrary though, it was rather tense and ethereal, to say the least.
By kicking off with S, L, O and W off their recent album ‘Terminal’, Bongripper quickly showed the whole spectrum of their possibilities. There were as many moments of grieving anger, evil screaming out of the amps as there were melancholic soundscapes painted with sadness and hopelessness. When the track Satan came around, things took an even more sinister turn but hell how enjoyable it felt. Flawless, heavy as it could possibly get and more hateful than anything I’ve heard in a long while. Ending with Endless, a track seemingly coming from where rarely anyone ventured to, Bongripper decided to go full-on darkness mode. More than 17 minutes of twists and turns with both unholy blasts and moments of deceitful peace. After that ultimate gesture of doom, the formation left the room with the people all hollow and speechless. Only thing that could be heard was the fading resonation of guitars and the sonic demon quietly laughing somewhere in the corner…
Mr. Stone – I discovered this crazy South African trio with “The Fox”, got particularly hooked on by the “Seasons” EPs, and then live at FVF last year, but I also got a pretty efficient reminder of their gnarly heavy-blues maestria the week before at Keep It Low. That’s why we made the choice of seeing them twice that day, earlier in the basement secret show for an intimate and way too short performance, our faces melting from riffs, groove and raw energy. A few hours later they totally torched the Vulture Stage, with one of the hottest performances in that little bar.
The three newly German-based dudes manage to mix totally different influences from a really broad spectrum and yet make it sound so natural. You’ll be amazed by what you can find in their wild crucible, Acid, Psych, Doom, Grunge, even some hints of black, somehow making sense altogether. They are somewhere in the same galaxy as Child, Birth Of Joy or Chubby Thunderous &TBKM. Their energy and skill can’t leave you unmoved, this is some of the purest, hottest rock vibes you can find around these days.
Mr. Dopesmoker – Like Bongripper earlier on the same stage, Pelican is a kind of rare band, by their number of live appearances and also the music they create for more than 15 years now. Always evolving, too bad for those (myself included) who wanted to hear some old classic stuff, as the setlist was focused on their two last records.
Nothing to do with Stoner here, but still one of the finest Post Metal around. Though it seemed the soundboard was stuck on Bongripper’s settings, as the sound was loud as a mammoth, maybe a bit too much for a band with a bird name, at least from where I stood. Thus it could be hard to really appreciate the guitar work drowned into bass frequencies. A good moment though.
Mr. Fuzz – First time I was going to see the US quartet, Lo-Pan released this year their killer new album “Subtle” and I couldn’t wait to experience their catchy Stoner Rock live. Their formula is quite simple but that’s why it’s so effective. Riffs upon riffs, the Temperature Level is always very high 🔥, each song is such a banger! Special mention to Jeff Martin, one of the best clean vocals singer I ever heard in the Stoner Rock realm ⚡
I have to go to a sabbath. A sabbath, what’s that? It’s a certain type of black magic ritual…
Mr. Witchfinder – Having toured relentlessly ever since they released their recent album, ‘Children of The Haze’, the time had finally come for these polish doomsters to preach the stoner word to the people of Desertfest in Antwerp. Hitting the tight Canyon stage, Dopelord played a strong set bathing in green light, fog and the sweet heaviness pouring down their amps. And the sweet leaf of course, in all forms and shapes.
Despite the majority of the setlist being dominated by tracks off the newest record, one could also hear a brand new song, aptly-named Hail Satan. While for now I deem it as more of a filler rather than a killer, I shall wait with the final judgment until it’s all done and recorded. Regarding all the rest, it was performed with a high degree of precision and attention to detail. The samples were there, no chords or blasts were missed and the overall sound was crunchy and finely-honed. What’s more, the composition of the setlist was also given extra care as for example the gig ended with Preacher Electric that finishes with a highly characteristic keyboard outro that even after those 5 years of spinning, still brings chills to my spine.
Monkey3 (Special Show)
Mr. Fuzz – 2nd special show of the day in the basement of the Trix, and I can tell you this one was VERY special. When I entered the little studio room, the 4 Swiss were all sat on a chair, Boris and dB both with an acoustic guitar, ooooouuuutch this smells good 👌 I’ve seen Monkey3 a lot of times, being one of my favorite Heavy-Psych band, it was really interesting to see them in a different setting.
So how does sound Monkey3 in an acoustic set? Marvelous my dear! As I said to Boris after the show, they should totally think about releasing an acoustic album. It gives another perspective on their songs, and it fits perfectly. Special mention to the Door’s “Riders on the Storm” cover, very well executed, and I didn’t know dB was such a good guitarist, as we normally see him behind his keyboards. But Boris told me they also play the guitar together in a 70’s rock cover band, now I understand why 😉
So yeah, that set was calmer, more intimate than a usual Monkey3 show, but the 20ish people who were here experienced something truly beautiful, congrats boys 👏👏👏
Ty Segall & The Freedom Band
Mr. Stone – Headliner of the Saturday and always evolving prolific genius, Ty Segall is a guy that makes heads turn and tongues move, some were surprised to see him here, I was more curious. What the crazy blond dude was gonna bring to the party this time ? A full band (including 2 basses 😍) totally focused on kicking asses the best way they could and show to the packed Desert Stage they were not here to look pretty and smile.
Starting bluntly in a cacophonous spiral and going on from surprise to surprise, The Freedom Band never let the audience take it breath, nor did they try to keep it easy for us. Expressing a wide range of what Ty Segall is capable of, crazy enough to try and with the talent to turn it into gold. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this gig, and no matter what I foresaw, I got my mind blown in front of this mad fuzz scientist.
It’s really hard to describe as he reinvents himself constantly and still seems consistent throughout the years of his overactive career. The atmosphere was electric and the pogo kept on going during the whole show, some bands this weekend were amazing, but that dude is not from the same planet, he can do anything, and he will do whatever he wants.
Mr. Dopesmoker – In view of the number of blasts we had through this day, it indeed could be hard to get into Inter Arma’s Sludge/Doom. Those guys from Virginia are striking hard, too hard for a part of the crowd who ran away from the Canyon Stage. But once you finally get into their universe, you are able to discover some progressive and kinda psychedelic vibes, really well made and played, but with a violence close to Black Metal.
Remarkable headbanging and hard-hitting drummer, by far one of the most technical of the weekend. In the end, a good way to get our brains crushed before some well-deserved rest.
Mr. Witchfinder – This band here is among my favorite discoveries of this year. Having stumbled upon them at Roadburn earlier this year, I was stoked beyond measure to learn that they’d open the main stage of Desertfest in Antwerp on Sunday. So what’s Wolvennest all about?
Well, this Belgian formation here is one of those that takes its image as a band rather seriously and goes to great lengths to make it as complete as possible. Even minutes before the gig, one could already sense something peculiar was on the way as there was a guy walking around lighting up candles and incenses scattered close to the front edge of the stage. On top of that, in the middle stood an altar with animalistic (and human) skulls, candlesticks and other mysterious artifacts. It all was enough to at least raise awareness.
Music-wise, Wolvennest played a sonic blend consisting of ingredients taken from various corners of the ‘heavy’ spectrum. One could distinguish black metal influences, psychedelic grooves dominating most of the tracks or the classic doom-inspired tempo prevailing throughout the whole performance. All dressed in black, the band performed their instrumental rituals while Shazzula amplified all the darkness with her haunting vocals and incredible synth work. All that spiced up by the unsettling images shifting on the backdrop and the smell of incense crawling up my mind…
Rarely do I feel that bands are so cohesive with both their music and the overall character as Wolvennest is. Their performance at Desertfest proved just that, yet again. I walked out of the room with a strange feeling of disquiet, not sure what kind of demons has this gig awoken in me.
Mr. Stone – From all of the Deserfest announcements throughout the year, this name especially hooked my eye and interest. I didn’t know them so much but the description depicted a really intriguing performance, and on the Canyon Stage (my favorite, tbh) I was sure this show was one not to miss.
I was still amazed by the craftmanship unveiled on stage, the Belgian seasoned quintet went at full throttle, smashing our face and grinding our teeth with their greasy heaviness. And how wonderfully they shape their universe, able to end a nasty sludge song in a lovey bluesy drone, just to kick in with some noise hardcore energy right after that, punctuated here and there by progressive sections, hazy soli and whatnot. As heavy and crushing it can be, surprising you out of your comfort zone, they still manage to make it kind of catchy and maybe even easy-listening, giving something that will attract both the stoner veteran and fuzz beginner. These dudes are masters at their art, don’t try to resist and let yourself embark on a soul-crushing inside trip.
Mr. Fuzz – Clearly the gig I was the most looking forward to seeing for this 3rd day at Trix, and I was certainly not the only one, seeing how packed the little Vulture Stage was even before the beginning of the show. The Texas trio of Crypt Trip already made my Top Albums list with their 2018 release “Rootstock” and this year they returned with another wonderful piece of time travel machine to the 70’s, “Haze Country”.
And I can assure you they also RAWKS live! Yeap, Crypt Trip definitely catches the good vibes of that golden era of the 70’s. Really impressive grooves from the rhythmic section : Sam Bryant and his fingers of steel shows a strong bass game, and Cameron Martin and his jazz-style drumming also put a lot of the audience in awe, especially during his mesmerizing drum solo on “Gotta Get Away”! Last but not least, Ryan Lee is one with his guitar, delivering awesome bluesy licks and wah-wah solos, a real treat for the ears. Vocally I feel like he was better in studio than in live, I mean it wasn’t bad at all, just feel like he could have had a bit more presence and accuracy.
It was also nice to hang out with the guys during the night, such cool dudes! We made sure to catch them for the 2nd round in our hometown just 2 days after the festival, and even invited Ryan to our flat to end the night neatly ✌️
Fire Down Below
Mr. Dopesmoker – Traditionally a festival brings its own local discovers, and this year, one of the best was Fire Down Below. This young Ghent based band really surprised us with their Stoner Rock. Kind of classic at first sight, the John Garcia’s telling stories style mixed with some more Metal influences quickly got me into the gig. It seemed I wasn’t the only one as a few individuals acted like it was a Slayer gig, moshing alone in the middle of the pit, wrong place dudes !
Well written and more or less long songs, catchy choruses, complementary guitarists, thunderous drumming fitting with Rickenbacker, everything was here to make the Canyon Stage headbang as one.
Mr. Stone – With such a nice spot in the evening, in a full packed Desert Stage, fitting to the light (and now also smoke) show the Swiss quatuor impeccably delivers every time they set foot on stage, you could only expect an amazing show. And it was.
Unfolding a delightful setlist of both classics and fresh new tunes from “Sphere”, their last masterpiece released last April, they took us on a sweet journey through space, with their emblematic post-heavy-psych sound and visuals. The worthy heirs of Pink Floyd never fail to give their audience a hell of a time, and with all the perfect circumstances of that Antwerpian Sunday, it was even better.
Mr. Fuzz – I already saw the name of Big Business, and some people raving about them, but honestly never heard a single song from them. So it was a complete discovery for me. And what a discovery it was! Jared Warren (bass) & Coady Willis (drums) form a burning duo with such a massive and distinctive sound. Both showing impressive musical skills, I love the use of the octaver on the bass while playing those tricky riffs, and I was especially mindblown by Coady’s drumming 😲 This guy never stops, and he hits his drums so strong, he’s a real beast ! Best drummer of the whole festival for sure.
Being a quite old band (they formed in 2005) I don’t understand why I didn’t land my ears on them sooner, I just also read they come from Seattle and were both appearing on some recent Melvins albums, now it all makes sense, Big Business SLAYS!
Mr. Dopesmoker – Sludge godfathers finally made it to Desertfest Antwerp. First of all a part of the crowd was worrying about Jimmy Bower’s absence, quickly replaced by the pleasure of seeing Brian Patton back in the band after a few years away. That’s just a small part of EHG’s weird story I guess.
Then just a few seconds were necessary to realize that Mike Williams was in great shape, and as always nailed to his mic stand. I was personally looking forward to listening to how the NOLA gang would sound in this venue I love and know so much. And I must say that it was huge, dirty, powerful and clear at the same time. Of course, they played almost all their all-time classics, the house wasn’t fully packed as EHG’s filth doesn’t fit to everybody, but those who were there had for sure an amazing time, according to how fun was the pit.
Mr. Stone – It’s been years I hadn’t seen the Spanish post-stoner masters, and I’ve missed them badly. Despite Eyehategod playing at the same time, the Canyon Stage was packed with psychonauts wanting for the powerful and fuzzy post-rock the quatuors weaves in front of our wide-open eyes.
The psychedelia is strong with this sun-drenched music, kind of going sideways of what one can expect from post-rock, their warm tunes definitely bring something refreshing to the party! Soon our eyes narrow as they’re going further and further, while the crowd moves as a sea, rippled by the magical waves of greasy sound that flows out of the speakers.
Mr. Witchfinder – Sleep’s appearance at Desertfest Antwerp had been long-awaited. The main stage was packed with all sorts of weedians, hashishains, druids, dragonauts and other likes of stonerheads. Joints were being rolled, greens were being vaporized and in all that one could hear the characteristic Moon Landing Radio Transmission that Sleep teases people with right before their concerts. The rig was all set up waiting only to be wielded by no other than Al, Matt and Roeder. And then The Sonic Titan arrived.
Opening with Marijuanaut’s Theme, Sleep began delivering what makes them who they are. That is riff-laden worship backed with a wall of heavily-distorted sound, fueled by weed and dreams of space. The setlist continued with Holy Mountain and went all the way to Dragonaut in the meantime touching on two of the singles, The Clarity and Leagues Beneath. While we only missed parts of ‘Dopesmoker’ or ‘Volume 1’ in here, the gig still felt complete and as versatile as a stoner band like Sleep can ever get.
As I’ve said before, the room was full to the brim which combined with all the smoke made it for quite a sultry place to be. So much that one guy passed out and was dragged to the barriers where the staff retrieved him safely and carried out of the room. Others were either levitating with their eyes closed or hypnotically heeding the Sleep’s shreds. Rarely do bands acquire such a high level of symbiosis with the crowd without really doing much apart from just playing…
Overall, Sleep’s gig in Antwerp wasn’t that much unique as it was solid and fine-tuned. The sound was just on point, without being overwhelmingly loud yet still maintaining the power to shake one’s bowels. The atmosphere was self-explanatory and the setlist had all the essentials in it. What else could one dream for?