When the motto of a heavy music festival is “Sun – Sea – Beach – Surf – Pool – Skate – Music” you know you are in for a treat! And what a treat Sonic Blast was… Located on the northern coast of Portugal, this outdoor festival offered two stages, two swimming pools, a few bars, food stalls with different type of food (there was even vegetarian menus), a place where you could skate and free camping in the woods (with free showers) located just a few hundred meters from the beach! So yeah, a place like that is pretty much hard to top. Even more so when you wander the streets and discover how gorgeous Moledo is, and how great its restaurants and bars are.
Sonic Blast celebrated this year its 6th birthday with an amazing line-up over two days on two different stages. The Pool Stage hosted the bands who played in the afternoon and the mainstage hosted those who played in the evening, so there was no issue with the running order, which was great. Moreover, the food stalls and the bars were easy to access and it was quite cheap, everything was done so that we could have a good time. It was refreshing to see big hairy dudes fooling around in the swimming pools, guys and gals lying around on the grass enjoying their drink and smoke… It was truly relaxing despite the type of music that was playing on the stages.
All pictures taken by Caroline Goulin
Those guys should have called themselves “Brain Melters”. Chasma Hideout and Magnetosphere were among my favorite releases of their respective years, so I could not wait to finally see them live. And I can tell you that they fully delivered! Listening to Brain Pyramid is like having sex with a rainbow, their jams are pure eargasm!
It’s funny because I always assumed that Acid Mess was a sludge band because of its name and imagery. It didn’t take me long to realize how wrong I was! Right from the first notes, Acid Mess takes you to a faraway land where everything is smooth, warm and fuzzy. The trip is slow, long and pleasant. They take you by the hand and lead you through their hazy, wonderful world. There is no denying that Acid Mess plays great psych-rock, it’s simple but efficient. Well, “simple” may not be the right word for it, but it really looked easy for them!
Sacri Monti is what happens when a bunch of friends solely listen to Hawkwind and Earthless. Clearly influenced by 70’s psychedelic and progressive rock, their music is bright and powerful. What I liked the most was how noisy they sounded: it was loud and messy but in a good way. Indeed, they looked like they were jamming during the entire show and once you taste freedom like this, you can’t go back: you only want more.
All Them Witches
All their albums end up among my favorite releases of the year so I was super excited to see them on stage for the first time. Those guys are so different, their music is miles away from the rest of the psych-rock sphere – their sound is truly unique. It’s very easy to find live recordings of their performances on Youtube and Bandcamp, which can give you a glimpse of what they are capable of doing. Because the real magic happens on stage. Indeed, once they are done tuning their instruments and began playing, they are unstoppable. They catch a vibe and don’t let go, they capture the atmosphere of the place and turn it into music. What I love the most about their live performances is that they are all different. You will still find the same essence in their songs, but every time it will be slightly different. It looks like the way they feel influences the way they play. You just need to observe them a bit: they often look at each other as they play in symbiosis. You can feel that they know what they are doing and that they played A LOT together. So yeah, to make a long story short, these guys were well worth the eleven-hour drive it took us to get to Moledo, and we can’t wait to see again this fall in Belgium!
For sure THE heaviest gig of the weekend. Spelljammer released one of my favourite albums of 2015 (you can read the review here) so I could not wait to see them on stage and I was not disappointed! It is was CRUSHING, the sound was massive, it felt like getting suck from the inside. Their thick riffs led us straight to space, far away from that hot stage by the pool. It was truly astonishing to see how easy it was for those guys to deliver their sweet psych-doom under a blazing sun.
The Black Wizards
You may have seen this band name around last year. Their last album (recently released on vinyl) was mentioned in many top-of-the-year lists of 2015 and for a good reason: The Black Wizards kick ass. I’m not usually a fan of female vocalist but there is something very catchy about her voice and her groove – it goes perfectly with their bluesy, fuzzy tunes. It’s pure, solid, heavy blues.
You may have discovered these guys on Youtube with their epic track I’m The Mountain a few years ago. There is no denying that it kicks some serious ass but the story does not end here, Stoned Jesus have so much more to offer! Their set-list was solid and varied, from the rousing Here Comes The Robots to the explosive Electric Mistress, the Ukrainian trio knows how to please a crowd. What struck me was how comfortable they were on stage, they looked less stressed than they were at Hellfest, it felt more natural. Igor Sidorenko (the guitarist) broke one his string right from the first notes of I’m The Mountain, laughed about it and changed it as his mates got the audience to clap along to encourage him. It was quite funny and it felt as if we were spending a cool time with some friends.
Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats
It was the third time I saw those guys live and even if I enjoyed it, I have to admit that it was not as exciting as the first times. Don’t get me wrong, their act is efficient and I strongly encourage you to go out and see them if you can, but they mainly stick to what you can hear on their albums. They do not jam or play around with their songs. Nonetheless, it was a solid show and the audience was very responsive. People were so enthusiastic they even started to mosh! It was a bit weird because Uncle Acid music is quite introspective, but it was a funny thing to witness nonetheless.
If there was ONE band that you should see live, it’s definitely Truckfighters. They are so full of energy that you cannot resist the urge to headbang even to their most laid-back songs. I don’t know how they manage to do it, but every time I see them at a festival or a gig, they look as if they were playing their very last concert and Sonic Blast Moledo was no exception. As always, Dango (the guitarist) was jumping around, playing with the photographers and stirring up the crowd. Ozo (the vocalist/bassist) and El Danno (the drummer) looked a bit more focused but still very pleased to be there. This is what I like about the performances of this band: they have the time of their life on stage and it’s contagious as hell!
The crowd thinned a bit after Truckfighters. You can’t blame the people who left, it was almost 2am and the previous gigs were pretty tiring after all. But damn, how I pity them! The courageous ones who stayed were rewarded with one of the best gigs of the festival and definitely the weirdest one.
The members of the band were not very talkative and for once, I liked it because it was justified: they stayed in character from the beginning of the show until the end. They even went as far as doing the soundcheck with their masks on. Although there is no real secret regarding their identity (it was pretty easy to spot them among the crowd during the day), it is quite fun to see how dedicated they are to preserve the mystery that surrounds the band as an entity.
The show started as the guy who played the keyboard snapped a clapboard shut – the tone was set: we were invited to the freakiest play of the weekend. Behind them was a big screen displaying extracts from old horror movies, thus reinforcing the strange ambiance of the gig. It was strange for different reasons, their freaky tunes are of course a bif part of it, but the outfit of the band members also played an important role, and especially of the guitarist who wore drag clothes: it had a very strong visual impact. Moreover, the band members seemed to be in their own little world, playing in a disinterested way, as if life did not really matter. It perfectly fitted the ambiance of the album. However, it was obvious that they liked what they were doing – especially the bassist who couldn’t stop smiling at the crowd at the end of every song. But at the end of the show, they left as the came, with a few timid waves. It was the end of the play and the end of two days of psych-rock gigs and beers with friends.