2 weeks ago, some friends & I went on what is becoming a pilgrimage to the Holy Land of the Heavy Music community in Europe : Freak Valley Festival in Netphen, Germany !
This was my 2nd year there, and if you still haven’t trodden upon this fabulous festival, I can only recommend you to save up some money, as it’s magical experience for every fuzz lovers 🙂
This year (like the last one) was superb. I met some cool & passionate dudes, chatted with some good friends, even if I missed a lot of you guys who were there… Maybe next year we should do a “More Fuzz Meetup @ Freak Valley Festival” haha 😀
The fest “crew” was very kind and always helpful. And most of all we saw so many great bands, with a fuckin’ great sound, and every musician seemed to be so happy to be part of it, that really shows how people perceive this great festival.
In the end, it really feels like you’re at home, with your brothaz & sistaz, all forming a huge and passionate family of Heavy sounds lovers 😉
My Favorite Concerts
I decided to split my favorite concerts by Atmosphere Levels
and also some cool discoveries that didn’t fit in there…
I’d like to say a huge thanks to Jens from Radicaleye Photography (website – facebook) and Django from Django Foto (website – facebook) who kindly allowed me to use their gorgeous photos in this report. Also thanks to the people who uploaded their videos on YouTube, and my iPhone for some of the short videos you’ll also see below…
By Fat Level
A mighty concert for a mighty (old) band ! Goatsnake just released “Black Age Blues“, 11 years after their last EP “Trampled Under Hoof” (recorded with Scott Reeder from Kyuss), and it’s a majestic comeback !
Low-tuned strings, a fat fuzzy sound, it was certainly the heaviest concert of the Festival ! Goatsnake is considered as Doom, but as Pete (vocals) said, they play a fantastic kind of “Bluesy/Classic Doom” : Groovy as hell riffs, often faster than all the other Doom bands, and of course Pete strong vocals play a huge role in defining their sound. On stage this guy put all his heart into singing his songs, yeah, a strong presence melted with so much emotions, WOAH !
Just watch by yourself with this video captured during the concert :
If Goatsnake was not the heaviest concert of the weekend, then it was Eyehategod. Serious headbanging & mosh sessions happened during this one ! In fact these pioneers of the NOLA scene were a bit like a UFO in this sweet festival, where most of the bands this year were clearly more playing Retro/Heavy Rock than a fuckin’ nasty dripping Sludge !
I’m not too much in this genre as you guys know, particularly because of the harsh vocals… But F*** ! It was so MASSIVE live ! In the end I really enjoyed this show and I think I was not the only one 🙂
And we end this selection of the greasiest live performance of the FVF 2015 with a 3rd American band, the greasiest live performance of the FVF 2015 with a 3rd American band, Egypt ! I think when it comes to heaviness the country of Uncle Sam is really the king, don’t you agree ?
I didn’t know much about Egypt (even if I really enjoyed their split with Wo Fat when I listened to it in 2013) butI knew I had to see them. Like Goatsnake, they have that very enjoyable bluesy touch in addition to the doomy side of their sound. But with them, it’s way more pronounced into their riffs, melodies, solo parts, and overall grooviness.
So as you would have guessed, I also headbanged a lot during this one. I particularly enjoyed Neal’s killer guitar solos, and Aaron funny way of singing, being so low and huddled up 😉
By Purple Haze Level
Oooooooooh my god Monkey3. I think it was the band I was waiting the most for this 4th edition of the FVF. I remember seeing them in my hometown, and it blew my mind. So I wanted to see and hear how those beasts would do on a bigger stage and in front of a bigger audience.
They fuckin’ did not disappoint.
They played at the perfect time, just when the sun went down, for us Freaks to be hooked by their unique cosmic atmosphere… By the way, I have to tell the lights on stage were very nice, each time capturing very well the band’s identity.
A good combination of sweet & trippy parts thanks to enchanting keyboard & guitar melodies and on the other hand some kickass heavier parts where the rhythmic members of the band literally crush your head ; this is also the moment when Boris, the guitarist, unleashes all his demons ! This guy has the talent to create very memorable melodies, and when you hear them, it simply gives you a huge thrill in the spine… And what’s even more awesome is the whole band plays just so perfectly their songs. No fluff, no failure, just a pure blast of Heavy Psych magic in your face.
Too bad the show didn’t last longer, I would have loved to stay starring at the planets colliding and asteroids brushing past my ears…
The most famous Heavy Psych jam band of the planet closed this festival the Saturday night with a beautiful show ! Even if we saw them in my hometown 1 week before, I enjoyed way much this one at Freak Valley Festival 🙂
How could you resist to be transported by Earthless songs ? It was just so EPIC ! Isaiah guitar skills are so impressive, this dude is a real god to me… But of course Earthless wouldn’t be as good without Mario & Mike supporting wonderfully the frenzy of Isaiah !
I especially loved the last 4 covers done by the San Diego trio : Jimi Hendrix’s Foxey Lady, Groundhogs’s Cherry Red, Earl King’s Come On, and my favorite, they didn’t perform in Nantes, Led Zeppelin’s Communication Breakdown !
WHAT AN ENDING 😀
3. Electric Moon
I knew this show was going to be the trippier one, and guess what ? I was right. 1 hour of crazy, repetitive psychedelic sounds making all of us fly through several space-times, eyes closed the head up to the sky or down to the ground, each of us having his own way of feeling this majestic trip…
I guess it was the best concert of the Festival to blow up one in the crowd 😉
I was impatiently waiting for the performance of these Greeks, seeing how I enjoyed so much their last album “Desert Overcrowded“. They found the great formula melting simple but effective heavy chords progressions, and sweet, repetitive melodies full of delay !
So yeah another nice & pleasant show under the hot sun of this Saturday afternoon… Too bad I didn’t buy their vinyl at the merch table !
By Temperature Level
1. The Vintage Caravan
WOW ! These 3 Icelandic really had a lot of energy to deliver ! Blasting catchy as hell Heavy Rock songs, it’s an awesome live band for sure 🙂
Between Oskar (vocals, guitar) mimicking and funny faces, Alexander (bass) headbanging and moving everywhere on the stage, and Stefan (drums) hitting hard on his drums, this concert was very hot & captivating, and I think all the crowd would agree with me !
As I’m a bit older than them, I really support young bands like The Vintage Caravan who are taking the reins of Heavy Rock and perpetuate so well this rockin’ groove we all enjoy 😉
2. The Muggs
This trio from Detroit was my favorite discovery this weekend. I saw their last album “Straight Up Boogaloo” passing when they released it in March, but didn’t really had a listen. I was wrong, because The Muggs are so groovy & lively !
Fronted by the talented Danny Methric at the vocals & guitar, backed by Tony DeNardo playing the bass lines on a piano and Todd Glass on drums, these dudes play a stunning mix of Heavy & Bluesy Rock, always with a smile on the face ! They even played a cool Black Sabbath cover, Tomorrow’s Dream, I featured on the TOP 51 Black Sabbath covers.
Really one of the highlights of this festival !
The Black Sabbath worshippers named Orchid were the headline act of the 2nd day. And even if you can reproach them to copy a lot the sound signatures of the first metal band ever created, they do it so well !
Indeed, the devilish riffs, the doomy sound, the killer bass lines, the solid drumming, and the powerful high-pitched vocals, make them a must-see band for every Black Sabbath fans, this means all of us 😛
So yeah the temperature level was quite high during Orchid performance, I mean all of their songs are so effective, they just work and stay into your head for several days, can’t stop the headbang !
4. Valley of The Sun
Too bad Valley of The Sun played so early and not on the main stage because I really love what these guys do… So yeah I missed the majority of the show and maybe saw 2-3 songs, including one which was cut in the middle because Ryan had a problem with his guitar…
But from what I heard live and already heard on studio, they’re one of my favorite Stoner Rock band of the moment. Catchy fuzzy riffs backed by awesome strong vocals, I hope I’ll catch them on tour someday 🙂
Watch a new song they played at Freak Valley Festival :
Other Fuzzy Discoveries…
Again another killer band from Sweden perpetuating a Classic Rock tone we love so much ! I mean of course we can only love Siena Root because a lot of us grew with those mighty bands from the 70’s like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath ! So when a band like Siena Root plays so well this groovy & rockin’ music that reminds us our childhood, we can only approve and move our (stoned) heads 😉
I really liked the complicity between the musicians and the whole “jammy atmosphere” that I felt during this concert. Special mention for the keyboard giving a killer Deep Purple touch to their sound !
I also bought their last album “Pioneers” on vinyl and talked a bit with the guys. One of my question was why Swedish are so damn good at music ? And one of them told me it’s because 90% of the Swedish population plays an instrument ! 😮 Now I understand !
What ? Swedish again ?! Told you fuzzers ! 😀
Dead Man was certaintly the “less heavy” band of the weekend and felt like a cool refreshing moment of Psychedelic/Folk Rock. Sweet bass lines & sweet melodies, skillful solos & vocals, fans of the calmer songs from Witchcraft and/or Graveyard, I warmly recommend you to have a listen to them.
Their last album is from 2008, so I hope they’re onto something that’ll be released sooner than later 😉
Hope to see you next year..!
So here are all my favorite concerts of this fabulous 4th edition of the Freak Valley Festival. Sorry for the ones I didn’t mention, I was maybe too stoned, not really paying attention to it, or just didn’t like enough what I heard, even if I must admit the slogan “No Fillers – Just Killers” perfectly sums up the quality of the bands that played during the weekend !
For those who were there don’t hesitate to comment just below and share your experience, or simply your favorite concerts like I did 🙂
Thanks again to Jens and all the crew for making this festival better every year ! I’d have just one suggestion for the next year : I’d love to see more “pure” Desert Rock bands, or at least putting them on the main stage would be cool 😛