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Day 3 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Underworld : A review in pictures

The last day of The Desertfest was looking the heaviest at The Underworld. The first half of the day had a lot of awesome rock n’ roll and experimental stoner bands on the lineup, and the second half saw some weighty metal bands that wasn’t for the weak. To sum it all up this was the lineup for day 3 at The Underworld


Crystal Head
Leaf Hound
Gentlemans Pistols
Black Cobra
Corrosion of Conformity

For me the day started with the three-piece band Throne (from London). This was the first time, in three days, where I saw a female member in a band. But as the day passed by there were a lot of female musicians that showed their prowess in bands like Gorilla and Undersmile. Throne‘s versatility was very evident in their dark approach towards the doom genre. They took things slowly and that is where their strength lies. Throne has a long way to go, and if they continue to have a consistent approach then things look bright for them, even though the genre they choose to play condemns brightness…

Next up were Crystal Head (from UK). Psychedelic influences woven together with a lot of rock, and projected to defy the rules of gravity. Your head will spin to this three-piece package that is Crystal Head. Post Crystal Head suddenly there was a surge in the number of people wanting to get inside the venue. The reason being two crowd favorites were about to drown the place with loads of music of the highest class – Leaf Hound (from England) and Gentlemans Pistols (British band). Leaf Hound belted out classics, blowing air into the sweating crowd, who in return blew kisses and shouted on top of their voices in support. These mushroom growers were mesmerizing. Gentlemans Pistols took the route of solos and animated stage presence to make it a memorable gig. As is the case with any of their shows, even this one had the band pushing the envelope in terms of giving the audiences several reasons to be present at their gig than anywhere else. I got shot, by Gentlemans Pistols!

gentlemans pistols

Now was the time for some metal to scare the attendees. Three metal bands back-to-back were going to stir up a hurricane, and the only way to escape was to leave the venue. Quietly.

It all began with American band Zoroaster who came and scattered the masses from one end to the other. In the process, drummer Dan broke the drum-kit, of course it had to break since he was pounding it so fucking hard. Good times. Ferocious sludge doom came from this three-piece which obviously could not last forever. Wish it had.

Following up from where Zoroaster left, Black Cobra (again from the US) made it hard for the photographers to just stand and click. The fans ran helter skelter all over the venue, moshing and banging their heads like there is no tomorrow. The band was louder, faster and angrier than ever. Unique sludge sound. Loved them.

The last band for the day was Corrosion of Conformity from America again. They’ve been playing southern riffs since 1981, have gigged like no other band at the festival, but still they took this one as seriously as they would take any other. The venue was cramped during their performance, as the band opened bottles of sludge wine and it was raining cheers and whistles from all over. Corrosion of Conformity put up a great show, and guess what they all looked younger too.

Shots from the performances of all the bands that you’ve read about on this article. To enlarge, click on them


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Day 2 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Underworld : A review in pictures


With day 1 behind me, time management had become an important aspect for the remaining two days. In any kind of festival holding the schedule and using your time effectively would help you catch maximum number of artists which would not happen if you go to one venue, hold a bottle of beer and keep appreciating the taste of the drink. I had a lot of running around to do on Day 2. Not only between the handpicked Desertfest venues, but I also had to visit HMV Forum. Boltfest was happening there on the same day. Wrong timing, and even though I was sad about missing out on bands like Orange Goblin, Church of Misery, Truckfighters, Slabdragger, Black Pyramid and the like, Boltfest was exclusive with names on the bill that are institutions of death metal. More on that another time, but this is how the line-up looked for day 2 at The Underworld

Shrine ’69
Valient Thorr
Church of Misery
Orange Goblin

Italian progressive sludge band Zippo looked prepared to take the audiences on a journey and sure they did!  The sound, feel and texture had me standing in the first row and focusing on the trippy trail they were leaving behind with each moment on their songs. The vocalist Davide was not in the same world as us, he was conversing with some creatures from another world and we were all watching him with undivided attention. Great band.

shrine ’69

By now I had no doubt about the choice of bands for The DesertFest. The event was on it’s way to being a perfect success with an impressive line-up. Shrine ’69 were next. Hailing from Suffolk, the four piece band had several plus points. Firstly they balanced gentle music and energetic instances with ease, and secondly they also had a unique style that also brushed blues. All in all a band I’d want to watch again!

Roadsaw came all the way from Boston, US and brought rock n’ roll gushing with southern riffs along with them. It was only a matter of time before they unleashed a raw sound that occasionally tilted towards the groove side of things. The smoke filled venue had it’s mood lifted by these four like-minded musicians who also carried the attitude to go with their music. One of the best half an hour I dedicated to a band at this year’s DesertFest.

The rest of the bands could not be captured, nor enjoyed since I had to get going for Boltfest.

Here’s a gallery that talks about everything Zippo, Shrine ’69 and Roadsaw did on stage.


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Day 1 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Underworld : A review in pictures

the underworld, camden town

The Underworld is located just outside Camden Town underground station in London, and was an apt selection for an indoor festival like this one considering the venue has played host to several metal gigs in the past. And going by the looks of all the posters that were stuck outside, it does not seem like the venue will be able to take any rest anytime soon. Extreme metal is going to ruin its peace, but hell who cares as long as everyone walking outside is made aware that metal is being blasted inside. It was at The Underworld where everyone had to officially collect their DesertFest wristbands for entry into all of the three venues. The second venue was The Black Heart (just behind The Underworld) and the third one being The Purple Turtle (took me eight to ten minutes of walking from The Underworld, but again it depends on how drunk you are). This venue had the biggest stage out of the three, and was to welcome some of the biggest names from the stoner, sludge, progressive, rock n’ roll scene.

Before I tell you what happened next let me show you the drum-kit’s condition before and after the show on day 1. Gives you a pretty good idea about how the place was brought down.

the bass drum (before)

the bass drum (after)

Line-up for day 1 at The Underworld

Sons of Alpha Centauri
Karma to Burn

The first band was scheduled to play at 4 pm and it was none other than UK’s Sons of Alpha Centauri. Only a talented instrumental band like Sons of Alpha Centauri could have attracted so much crowd. And I’m saying that because things had kicked off at the other two venues some two hours back. With a combination of progressive material and doom layered riffs, SOAC did not falter in putting across their strengths. Right after they left the stage California-based Ancestors brought in some real ass-kicking pure stoner/doom metal and served it to the hungry crowd with panache. Heavy at heart and exploding through the speakers, Ancestors must have surprised people who were hearing them for the first time.

Rotor. They are from Berlin, and Rotor is where a weed-smoking beer-drinking  kinda sloshed metal head would like to find himself since the entire process of psychedelic influences on your mind and the grooves to move the rest of your body is explained by them. You find yourself trapped in their music, which is a good thing because you are already very drunk and want someone to take you under their wings. Rotor did just that. Ending the first day at The Underworld were stoner metal veterans from United States of America – Karma to Burn. The venue was full, it was raining alcohol and horns were raised in response to this band’s grip over the intricacies of the genre. Headliners for Friday, they charmed each and everyone in the crowd and gave them their money’s worth by doing what they do best. Enjoyed them till the last minute.

A gallery to showcase the first day of The DesertFest at The Underworld. Click on each to enlarge


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