In the latter half of April, the city of Tilburg is taken over by Roadburn Festival for four days. But is “taken over” the right term to use when a city so obviously embraces the festival the way it does? From bars and restaurants adding special menus (why not go for a “Baroness Steak” right around the corner from the 013?) to the city of Tilburg allowing foreign visitors of the festival to legally buy weed from the coffeeshops, as opposed to only the use of weed being legal.  Roadburn is an integral part of the city.
One of the many thing that makes Roadburn stand out is the use of a guest curator during the festival. One prominent musician or band is given the opportunity to book the bands they want. In previous years artists such as Mikael Åkerfeldt, Voivod, Tom G. Warrior, Lee Dorrian and Neurosis were given that honor, this year the guest curator is Baroness‘ John Dyer Baizley. Previously, the curator would get full control over all stages for one day, but starting last year that changed to the curator booking the Main Stage on Friday and Het Patronaat on Saturday, which has lead to a more focussed line-up on those stages.
There are five main stages scattered across an area of Tilburg. The 013 is the main hub, where the Main Stage (3000 capacity) and Green Room (700 capacity) play host to bands. In addition, there is a converted church annex named Het Patronaat (650 capacity), Extase (250 capacity) and the Cul de Sac (150 capacity) – both latter venues are bars with stages at the back. With all stages located close to each other, it’s a constant buzz of people walking or running from stage to stage, grabbing a bite to eat at one the many food vendors, or just catching up with old and new friends. The attendees are often mixed with visitors of the city itself, out for a drink at one of the many bars in the vicinity. It gives the outdoor part of the festival a cozy feeling.
As is customary for Roadburn, Cul de Sac hosts a pre-party on the Wednesday evening to set the heavy tone for the next four days. In the space of three bands both local and further afield, we get stoner tunes from California’s Atala, Dutch 80s thrash in Distillator, and sleazy black ‘n’ roll from locals Heretic. This diversity is only a small mark of the festival’s eclectic lineup, a trend which continues as the festival goes on.
Thursday marks the official beginning of 4 days of Roadburn and with people slowly spreading themselves out over the various stages, I make my way to the Green Room to witness Ash Borer perform their atmospheric black metal. Two vocalists providing shrieking and deep growls make for a balanced sound in the vocal department, and the atmospheric aspects provide well-timed breaks in the otherwise furious parts of the set. Sadly, through various factors outside of the band’s control (my less than comfortable spot near the side doors, not being in full festival mode yet), Ash Borer is only able to hold my attention for half of their set, so I leave the Green Room to see what else is playing to open the festival.
I enter the Main Stage just as Crippled Black Phoenix is finishing their first song of the set. Long live independence they proclaim in the set opener of the same name, and it’s a perfect description of the rest of their set. The mix of progressive, psychedelic and goth rock stands out at this festival. Looking at the line-up, I can’t find another band that sounds anything like them, not even in previous editions. Yet, their sound feels right at home at Roadburn, a testament to the diversity of the festival. The sound is rich – three guitars, a piano and a synthesizer, none of which take precedence over the other. The long instrumental passages and solos are reminiscent of Pink Floyd, though it becomes clear that Crippled Black Phoenix is its own entity. At times intimate and fragile (‘Scared and Alone’), at times grand (‘Champions of Disturbance, Parts 1 & 2’), but at all times massively impressive. When the band leave the stage and the crowd slowly disperses, I start wondering how this band has managed to fly under my radar for so long.
One area Roadburn always excels at is special shows, whether bands that haven’t performed live in several years, or performing an album in full. SubRosa performing their 2016 album For This We Fought the Battle of Ages is one of those occasions. Joined by Kelly Schilling from Dreadnought on flute and backing vocals at various points throughout the set, the band not only manage to recreate the massive doom sound from the album, but exceed the quality of it. The violin parts played by Sarah Pendleton and Kim Pack range from beautiful to intense, and add an extra dimension to the already impressive sound of the band. A personal, slightly unexpected, highlight comes when Rebecca Vernon starts playing the lyre for the short intermezzo ‘Ill Cappio’, with Sarah Pendleton providing the vocals, silencing the audience gathered in the Main Stage. After closing out with a heart-wrenching rendition of ‘Troubled Cells’, we are left staring at the stage with a couple of tears in our eyes and the knowledge of having witnessed something special.
Not planning on staying at the Main Stage the entire day, I decide to head to the Extase to see Pinkish Black, after their description of “just drums and synthesizers” piqued my interest. Sadly, this is where I ran into the biggest problem of Roadburn for the first time: with there being so many people at the festival, the smaller venues often have to deal with long lines and overly crowded audiences in the venue itself. After hearing only shreds of 1 song – and realizing this is about as good as it’s going to get – I head to one of the other 5 stages at the festival…
…that other stage ending up being the Main Stage again, why not? Wolves in the Throne Room are starting their set. I had lost track of them release-wise since I last saw them, and am pleasantly surprised to see them perform on the Main Stage in front of a large crowd. Too bad I can’t say the same thing about their performance; the sound isn’t mixed properly and because of that the guitars are barely audible, most of the time it’s just synths and drums – the irony of missing out on Pinkish Black is not lost on me. On the few occasions the sound comes through properly, I do hear a band that has matured a lot since the release of Two Hunters in 2007, and is able to find the balance between atmosphere and pure black metal a lot better. Once the final tones of ‘I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots’ fade away, I hope that next time I see them live, the sound issues will be a thing of the past.
Recall earlier about bands who haven’t performed in several years? How about a band that hasn’t performed live in over 30 years and are only now performing in Europe for the very first time? Roadburn have managed to book Coven to perform their psychedelic, occult rock. With Jinx Dawson walking out of a coffin (that almost gets opened too soon by an enthusiastic stage hand several times) and the band dressed in robes, Coven launches into their brand of rock that was considered extremely controversial in their time. It’s undeniable that Jinx Dawson still has a very strong voice and there are no real flaws to find in Coven’s music, but the theatrics around it makes everything look closer to a corny Halloween theater show than something intimidating and occult, something that greatly detracts from the live performance. After a couple of songs, I’ve seen enough and decide to head outside to go still my hunger.
Passing the Green Room on my way outside, I hear Suma playing in the background; quickly making a mental note to come back for them after getting something to eat. Having never heard a single song by them, that small piece of music was enough to catch my attention. The thought crosses my mind that it could be well worth watching a bit before Dälek start at Het Patronaat.
Fifty minutes later, and that “bit” ended up being the rest of Suma’s set. Their sludge/doom sound draws me in completely. The long post-metal-esque build up in their songs eventually morphs into repetitive stoner riffs. The shrieking vocals have an almost desperate feeling and add an extra layer to an already full sound. Suma are heavy and unrelenting until the end. When the band leave the stage and I slowly come back to my senses, I quickly realize that my original plan of watching them for a short while before seeing the start of Dälek’s set did not survive. But that is part of the beauty of a festival like Roadburn: letting go of plans and discovering bands you might not have seen otherwise. A quick stop at the merch stand later and I possess Suma’s two latest albums.
With time to spare, I enter Het Patronaat and still manage to see a good part of Dälek. Their presence at Roadburn might raise some eyebrows, but not with the packed audience in the venue, who are loud and welcoming for the hip-hop trio from the US. In the time I’m watching them perform, Dälek confirm what the Roadburn staff already knew: they are a perfect fit for the festival. The heavy industrial undertones in their songs are no more foreign to the festival than a large portion of acts that have played (and will play) here throughout the years. And a quick look at the bands that Dälek have toured and performed with shows that they are no strangers to these kinds of audiences. 
Closing out the day is the Mass of Batushka in Het Patronaat, and what better location than the old annex of a church? We are all members of Batushka’s congregation, addressed with chanting, spoken word and black metal shrieks from behind an altar. Batushka bring something unique their live performance. Dressed in robes, part of the band standing as if in a choir, and with the burning incense, the audience is slowly drawn into a ritualistic experience. The impression Batushka leaves is that they understand the added value of their image and stage presence. It never takes priority over their live sound, while at the same time it greatly adds to the experience. And even if they would take away the robes, the unique positioning of the band and the altar from which behind Варфоломей (Varfolomej) is delivering his vocals; Batushka’s live sound would still hold up on its own.
End so ends Day 1 of Roadburn. From the unique sound of Crippled Black Phoenix to the black metal of Batushka, the musical variety is already in full swing and the next three days should be just as eclectic.
Sadly, the Friday begins in the worst way possible. Early in the morning, when I was still sleeping in my tent, someone stole my phone from almost right underneath me. Waking up to this realization, added with the stress of everything that comes with it, puts my mind in such disarray that even in the afternoon, during the first few bands, I can’t focus on anything that happens on stage. I recall Magma leaving the Main Stage at the end of their show to a thunderous and long applause, but much of what preceded that has not fully registered with me.
It’s not until Oathbreaker is a couple of songs in their set that I’m able to clear my mind and once again fully enjoy what I’m seeing live. “It’s so strange. Being able to feel nothing,” Caro Tanghe shouts, and slowly I feel all the stress fading away. At that point I also realize that the vocals are mixed in way too low, but it doesn’t bother me. Oathbreaker is drawing me in and not letting go until the very end. There is a heavy focus on 2016’s release Rheia, with only one song out of the nine coming from another album: the amazing ‘The Abyss Looks Into Me’ from Eros|Anteros. The mix of (post-)hardcore and black metal resonates well with the audience, and when Caro Tanghe is on her knees during the end of ‘Immortals’ rocking back and forth on the melody, the audience is slowly moving their heads along.
“When my band and I first started really touring in 2012, a lot of people didn’t know what to make of us, or where to put us, but Roadburn and its audience welcomed us with open arms(…)”  In 2017 those arms seem to have become even more open and wider. When Chelsea Wolfe performed at Roadburn in 2012 it was in the Green Room, this time the Main Stage has opened its doors for the singer-songwriter from California. What’s more: I’m completely taken by surprise when I enter the Main Stage a couple of songs into the set. Not claiming to be overly familiar with Chelsea Wolfe’s music, I’ve come to know her music has atmosphere and intimacy, with the occasional metal and industrial influences. But what I’m witnessing on stage can only be described as forceful, with the vocals still maintaining that intimate sound. When Chelsea Wolfe ends the set with ‘Survive’ and slowly builds into a climax a lot of post-rock bands would wish they could write, I decide I must delve deeper into her discography. Another welcome surprise at Roadburn!
With some bands you know exactly what to expect when they arrive on stage after you’ve seen them a couple of times. Amenra is such a band. A pessimist could say they are formulaic: black and white footage accompanying repetitive songs, Colin van Eeckhout standing with his back towards the audience for the majority of the set, no audience interaction; and no new songs since Mass V was released in 2012. In short, no real surprises. That pessimist would gloss over one important thing: that Amenra is one of the best live bands around today. It’s true, the songs they play aren’t especially exciting, and for a large part during their runtime they repeat the same rhythm. But it’s played with such entrancing conviction.
Whenever Colin van Eeckhout turns around to face the audience, the effect of him suddenly addressing the audience directly with his characteristic screams has an increased impact. No audience interaction? During the small moment I allow myself look around me, I see an audience so completely captivated and focused on the music, that everyone is moving their heads as one. The problem of no new songs should even be addressed soon, with a new album coming out this year. And as if this hypothetical pessimist has been heard: there are surprise appearances during the massive ‘Nowena 9 | 10’ by John Dyer Baizley (Baroness) on guitar and Scott Kelly (Neurosis) on vocals. An Amenra performance always ends the same: completely free of any worry I might have been feeling, both consciously and subconsciously. Amenra have perfected the art of cathartic metal.
After giving myself a couple of minutes to come back to Earth, and once again realizing that Amenra is one of my favorite bands to see live, I head to Het Patronaat where Naðra are close to finishing their set.
After Naðra leaves the stage and people slowly start to claim a spot for the next band, there is an almost nervous chatter in the air. Zeal & Ardor is up next, and based on conversations heard throughout the past two days, Manuel Gagneux’s project s one of the most popular acts on the line-up. On album, the mix between black metal and slave spirituals is slightly unbalanced at times, but it has not prevented Zeal & Ardor from creating a lot of buzz. Two songs in and a couple of things are already clear: this sound was made for a live environment, the new material has the balance of two very diverse sounds worked out perfectly, and, finally, the hype is justified. Manuel Gagneux has gathered a talented band around him, to perform the songs and especially the use of two backing vocalists add a lot to the rich sound. The audience is incredibly enthusiastic and welcoming to the band, and the serious looks on the faces of the band morph into genuine smiles of gratitude – and perhaps a bit of shock at the roar that goes through the crowd. The atmosphere that has taken over the venue is so enthusiastic, that despite the PA dying twice, everyone stays loud (and more importantly: stays). During the second time the PA cuts out, someone in the back of the audience starts an a capella version of ‘Devil is Fine’, which leads to Manuel Gagneux shouting the lyrics at the song at the top of his lungs.
Once the PA problems are finally solved (by lowering the volume a bit, apparently), the band is able to finish their set with a new song, one that again has a much more balanced sound, and the already classic ‘Devil is Fine’, with a packed church chanting along the titular phrase. At the end, we all agree on something: we just witnessed one of those legendary-level Roadburn shows you often hear about. Considering the reports about the huge line of people wanting to enter Het Patronaat to see Zeal & Ardor, there were claims of the line reaching Cul de Sac (which would be a line of over 100 meters long), I would not be surprised if Roadburn books them again next year.
Even though there is still time to see another band at this point, there is a feeling, shared by multiple people, no other band should (and could) follow this. Maybe not in name and position on the line-up, but Zeal & Ardor was the true headliner of the Friday. It makes for a perfect end to a day that started out as low as it did.
On Saturday I’m once again reminded that you shouldn’t schedule your days at Roadburn too much. Something will always change your planning: a band you planned on seeing for a couple of songs turns out to be so good that you stay until the end, or maybe you walk past the entrance to one of the stages and hear a band you didn’t plan on seeing playing something right up your alley. Today my schedule gets thrown out of the window when it’s announced that Misþyrming will play a surprise show at the Cul de Sac. There were already rumours they were going to play, because as a lot of people deduced: with Naðra present at the festival, all the members of Misþyrming were automatically present too (4 out of 5 members Naðra are the full band of Misþyrming), and people noticed a large gap in the timetable at the Cul de Sac.
Regardless of people figuring it out beforehand or not, it’s just another small sample of nice surprises at Roadburn. The moment Misþyrming takes the stage in a crammed Cul de Sac, the temperatures reach a fever pitch – ironic given the Icelandic roots of the band. When Misþyrming played Roadburn in 2016, they took the stage in Het Patronaat and the Green Room, so seeing them in the smallest stage this year is quite a difference. It’s by no means a step down – the small bar adds the atmosphere and eventually I completely forget that I’m at a festival, and not at an underground black metal show. More importantly: Misþyrming can be rightfully called the leaders of the current wave of Icelandic black metal. They play with an intensity that at times transitions into a frenzy, and when they slow down or churn out a frantic solo, it works as a slight calm before the next storm. When I ‘m back outside after the show, I’m almost shocked the sun is still shining bright and it’s only late in the afternoon. A perfect, energizing start to the day.
When Oranssi Pazuzu played at Het Patronaat last year, there were scenes similar to Zeal & Ardor this year. An extremely long line of people wanting to see them, and a shared feeling that Oranssi Pazuzu had one of the best performances of the festival. Roadburn acknowledged that they underestimated the popularity of the band, so to make it up to the people that had to miss them, they invited the band back for this year’s edition, this time to play in the Main Stage. Considering how packed the room is by the time Oranssi Pazuzu starts with ‘Kevät’, they made the right decision. The unique mix of black metal and psychedelic rock is both extremely weird and the most logical combination I have ever heard. The two styles complement each other in a fantastic way, where neither style takes the upper hand. One song is enough to hypnotize me and before I know it, I’m slowly closing my eyes, letting everything come over me. One of the times I get snapped out of my trance, is when someone accidentally bumps into me. I don’t mind, because this give me a good moment to observe the crowd for a second from my place on the balcony: people slowly swaying back and forth with their eyes closed, or staring transfixed at the stage, or sitting down, with a big smile on their faces. Oranssi Pazuzu have completely drawn in the audience gathered in the Main Stage and more than justified Roadburn’s decision to invite them back.
By this time I’m slowly starting to feel the Burn of being on the Road. With today being a slow day already, I decide to take my time until the next band. There’s merchandise to buy, people to meet, food to eat and feet to rest.
By the time Wear Your Wounds, starts playing at Het Patronaat, I’m recharged. And that is for the best: once the last tones of ‘Goodbye Old Friend’ fade away, I’m emotionally drained. On the more experimental songs by Converge and during Converge’s Blood Moon tour last year (which also saw a successful show at Roadburn), Jacob Bannon has proven that his voice has an emotional, fragile edge to it when not shrieking his lungs out. He fully utilizes this edge with Wear Your Wounds, a side project by Bannon, who is supported in this live setting by (former) members of bands like Hatebreed, Trap Them and The Red Chord. Backed by songs that have influences of post-rock and ambient, the audience gathered in the church annex witness a very personal look into Bannon’s life. There’s a melancholy in the songs; more than once I catch myself rubbing the goosebumps on my arms, and wiping away the tears forming in the corner of my eyes. Wear Your Wounds pull no punches on emotional stability.
With Wear Your Wounds finishing while several other bands at the other stages have already started platying, or are past the halfway point of their set, some of the stages are already overcrowded again. And so I find myself browsing through my Roadburn-booklet to see what options are available.
A quick glance at the timetable, tells me a band called Slow Crush is about to start playing at the Cul de Sac. Why not use this time to discover something new? And what I discover is very pleasant. I later learn this is only their third performance ever, and officially they only released 1 single, but they could have fooled me. The shoegaze and dreampop, which calls to mind My Bloody Valentine, is played with confidence and creates a relaxed atmosphere in the small bar. Yet when the songs call for it, they also easily transitions into the noisy side often seen in this genre. Although Isa Holliday’s vocals frequently get drowned out in the mix, her voice perfectly complements the sound of Slow Crush. It’s easy to forget that I ended up in the Cul de Sac because there wasn’t anything else for me to watch at the other stages for various reasons. Slow Crush caught my full attention for the duration of their set.
In the Main Stage it’s time for My Dying Bride to perform their classic Turn Loose the Swans in full. I take position at the top of the steps on the ground floor of the stage and sit down, ready to enjoy the doom metal of the British band. But I quickly run into a problem I often have with the band. While I think that Aaron Stainthorpe has an amazing voice and, from what I can see, fantastic stage presence, My Dying Bride’s music just isn’t able to keep my attention for long and I actually find myself getting bored after a couple of songs.
Crust punk in a church? It seems like a weird setting, but even before Disfear take to the stage in Het Patronaat, the audience is already whipped up in a frenzy; there are crowd surfers before the band has even played a single note. Once the band, with Tomas Lindberg (who is widely known as At the Gates‘ vocalist) is on stage, the front rows turn into chaos. Stagedivers, crowdsurfers, a big moshpit. There has probably never been a more active crowd in the old church annex, and it makes for a wonderful sight. The band is able to draw a lot of energy from the audience and give it back in tenfold. If you’re not familiar with the band, you would not be able to tell that their last record dates back to 2008 and haven’t been that active since bassist Henke Frykman passed away in 2011: Disfear is showing no signs of performance rust. More than once I find myself wondering how the people downstairs in the restaurant are experiencing this show, with each song the atmosphere in the church turns more and more into that of an old-school punk/hardcore show. Disfear deliver one of the most electric sets of the festival, one that is able to somehow give the audience a burst of energy, despite walking into the stage feeling rather drained for the day.
What to do with that new burst of energy? I’m faced with several options, but in the end it’s an easy one to make. Bear are playing at the Cul de Sac, and based on an earlier live encounter with them, I know it has the potential to be one of the craziest shows at the festival. When I enter the bar, which is the emptiest I have seen it thus far (Bear has the unfortunate timing of playing at the same time as Mysticum and Carpenter Brut), they have just started playing and my hopes were valid: Bear are all over the place! The mathcore played by these Belgians is primed and ready to take over from The Dillinger Escape Plan when they take their final bow this year.
Nothing and no one is safe during the 50 minutes Bear play: everything in sight is used to jump on and off, bassist Dries Verheart jumps into the moshpit while still playing, guitarist Leander Tsjakalov ends up standing on the bar and eventually being carried on the shoulders of yours truly, and during the set closer – the aptly titled ‘Wreckthings –, the bass guitar ends up in the drum kit, wrecking the thing. But take all that away to focus on the music and you’ll find Bear is technically sound and incredibly catchy during the more metalcore-influenced parts. A lot of people missed on what was an absolute highlight of the festival. If Bear can keep up this pace, they are going to turn a lot of heads, especially with the aforementioned Dillinger departure. Oh, and that title of most electric set of the festival? Disfear managed to only keep it for a really short while.
Having used absolutely every last drop of energy I kept on reserve during Bear, I make my way back to the campsite. Has it really been 3 days already? Only one day left, but what a day it’s going to be with bands like Inter Arma and Ulver.
Where the Sunday traditionally was treated as an afterparty – carrying the name Afterburner, with bands only programmed in the 013 and Cul de Sac – it has slowly evolved into a full festival day, even dropping the name Afterburner. That the Sunday is now being treated as a proper full festival day, is also shown in Het Patronaat being open for bands for the first time.
It is a strange experience walking towards the city center for the last time this festival. Some festival goers are already making their way to the train station, only being present for the first three days. Upon arriving at said station, they will surely run into well-rested and enthusiastic people, attending only the Sunday.
Starting of the day in the Cul de Sac is Dutch funeral doom metal band Faal. There’s a funny moment at the beginning of their set when a couple of band members have to wade their way through the sea of people gathered in the tiny bar in order to make it to the stage. But once the band starts playing the atmosphere quickly turns into one of gloom and doom. Faal, which translates to fail, is luckily not living up to their name: this performance is an absolute success. After 3 days of all kinds of music, the slow, melancholic doom of Faal is a very welcome start to the day; more than once I’m able to close my eyes and fully enjoy the music, forgetting that I’m basically running on fumes by now. If Faal keeps this up, they might have to change their name to something a bit more fitting.
From the melancholic tunes of Faal to the chaotic post-metal of Sumac in Het Patronaat. Just because it’s the last day, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy sailing for the day. Aaron Turner (ISIS, Old Man Gloom) is unleashing some of his heaviest work on the audience. Together with bassist Joe Preston (Earth, Melvins, High on Fire) and the insanely talented drummer Nick Yacyshyn, Turner is delivering a flawless performance with Sumac. Flawless, but difficult to digest: there is no real pattern to recognize in the songs, they seem to randomly shift rhythm and most of the time it’s as if someone is slowly pressing fast forward with each passing minute, until you’re left staring at the band in awe. Sumac is equal parts impressive and intimidating.
If there’s one band I’ve been looking forward to seeing the most at this year’s Roadburn, it’s Ulver. With them announcing that their show at Roadburn is going to be the release show for The Assassination of Julius Caesar, it led to speculating: is it going to be a full performance of the album? Or a regular set – as far as an Ulver show can be considered regular – with heavy focus on the new album? When the first notes of ‘Nemoralia’ make their way through the Main Stage, I stop speculating and start listening. Ulver transform Roadburn into their very own 80’s synthpop show and it never feels out of place.
Combined with a beautiful laser show, illuminating the room and showing projections on a screen, the full play-through of The Assassination of Julius Caesar (no more need for speculating) slowly turns into an absolute highlight of the festival. Ulver have the uncanny ability to take whatever style they want and make it work. When one fan “politely” requests that the band “return to black metal” and Kristoffer Rygg denies him with a short, soft, but very firm “no”, the audience reacts with laughter and applause. And why should they return to black metal? If you can end your concert at festival for heavy music with a 15-minute, danceable instrumental jam, you can do whatever you want. The applause that sounds throughout the Main Stage at the end is loud and well-deserved.
There comes a point at every festival, when it’s time to go see your last band. For me, that band is Inter Arma in Het Patronaat. It seems they are aware that they are the last band for pretty much everyone gathered in the church, because they start straight away with the intense ‘An Archer in the Emptiness’. There is no regard whatsoever for the exhausted audience and it’s for the best, because from the first notes, everyone is fully awake. At its core Inter Arma fall in the list of post-metal bands that are common at Roadburn, but the band are able to set them apart from a lot of other bands. Laced throughout their songs are influences of black metal, progressive and psychedelic rock and even some Americana. And it’s those progressive rock and Americana threads that make the majority of the post-metal of Inter Arma that much heavier and intense.
Heaviness isn’t always achieved by playing as loud and intense as possible, sometimes the heavy the parts in a song are made heavier by the subtle use of mellow parts, something that Inter Arma fully understands. The presence of a subtly used theremin, with its unique wailing sound, add another layer to an already impressive sound. By the time ‘Paradise Gallows’ is played, all these elements combine perfectly. If I didn’t know any better, I would think that Pink Floyd and Neurosis joined forces to create a massive track. At a festival that already has more highlights than I can count, Inter Arma isn’t satisfied with taking a back seat and firmly place themselves in the list of best performances at this year’s edition. I could not have seen a better band to end my time at this year’s edition of Roadburn.
And just like that, Roadburn 2017 is done. All around the venues people are saying goodbye to each other, knowing they’ll meet again next year to do this all over again. Other people are spending their last tokens on one final beer or something to eat. But everyone has the same look on their face: one of happiness, combined with maybe a little exhaustion.
Back at the campsite there are already significant less tents than in the morning and some people are turning in almost uncharacteristically early, because they have an early flight to catch next morning. As for me? I go to bed already knowing I’m going to be here again next year. Roadburn is the perfect opportunity to see unique sets, discover new bands and meet new people. It was only my second time here, but it already feels like a second home.
1. The use of weed is legal in the Netherlands, but it is illegal for foreigners to purchase weed outside of Amsterdam. This means that many foreigners ask locals to buy on their behalf – and Tilburg’s measure puts an end to this circumvention.
2. Read our article on Dälek’s place in industrial hip hop and connection to metal.