Spring time – a time of new beginnings and a welcome boost for the soul after winter, so it’s fitting that it’s also time for Desertfest, the bringer of all things doom, sludge and stoner rock to various venues in Camden (all in a short walking distance apart), North London. Like all festivals there are be well known bands to pull the punters in and smaller bands aiming to make themselves better known, which is a festival’s beauty, to combine catching up with favourite bands, those you are anticipating seeing for the first time, and discovering new talent.
So to kick things off on Friday at the Electric Ballroom – the larger of the venues – is a collection of bands which should get the rocking well and truly started. Headlining are the mighty stoner rock groovers Red Fang, with a fine supporting cast including metal heavyweights Orange Goblin, touring on the back of last year’s “Back from the Abyss” album. Also appearing, with a new album due, is the energetic, ’70’s-style mega-riffing of The Atomic Bitchwax, who consist of ex-members of legends Monster Magnet. If, however, you prefer things downtuned and slowed down but just as heavy then over at The Underworld are Noothgrush and Minsk.
So onto Saturday, and at the Electric Ballroom The Vintage Caravan open proceedings with their brand of 1970’s soaked psychedelic rock. While demonstrating the musical diversity on offer the night will end with the angry and heavy kings of sludge Eyehategod. If you want your musical mind expanded and challenged then the Quietus promotions takeover at The Underworld should do it, with Bong providing sprawling drone and headlining is Obake. The metal pub The Black Heart, which is worth a visit anyway, has Eyehategod‘s Mike Williams doing a spoken word set. Big beards, twin-necked guitars, and therefore big entertainment, should be on show with The Bad Guys while finishing Saturday night is heavy sludgers Hang the Bastard.
New to this years festival is a prog rock stage hosted at the plush sounding Jazz Café. To demonstrate modern day prog’s broad and expansive diverseness will be the Mercury nominated Sweet Billy Pilgrim, who provide experimental pop folkyness. In contrast, the well-dressed headliners Amplifier represent the heavier side of progressive rock.
It is a diverse and intriguing line-up so there should be something for everybody. There is a lot more on offer so be sure to check out the website for the full and extensive line up, and for up-to-date ticket availability. Enjoy!