Awrite, troops? Damnation time again! Yay!
There’s lots going on, so we’ll split it up a bit. I’m here to run you through the Eyesore Stage and the newly-sponsored Tone Mgmt Stage line-ups, whilst my pal Stephen will see you safely through the two big rooms. OK?
Off we go.
As ever with Damnation, there are bands I’ve seen before, bands I’ve wanted to see for ages and bands I’ve never heard of. Bands from all over the world. Something for everybody1.
I’m personally delighted to see the ridiculously talented math-rockers Body Hound getting things going in the Eyesore room. Saw them at the StrangeForms fest earlier this year, and they were simply the best fun ever. Hopefully there will be a big early crowd in to share the joy2.
There’s not a lot of post-rock this year, but the two bands we have are pure class. There’s classic euphoric guitar-driven loveliness (for fans of EITS and Caspian) from Sweden’s p.g. lost, and the mysterious Nordic Giants3 closing the day in Eyesore with their cinematic audio-visual experience. Expect feathers and trumpets.
In between those two, we have the retro stylings of Italy’s occult stoners Psychedelic Witchcraft. I admit to being entirely unfamiliar with these fellows, but I reckon the name tells us all we need to know. And that’s totally fine with me.
Last time I saw Big Business was in a tiny and exceptionally sweaty room in Edinburgh and they were, frankly, fucking awesome. I expect more of the same no-nonsense, in-yer-face rawk from the US duo this time, just in a bigger room.
Filling in the gap between Big Business and Nordic Giants, we have the touring partnership of Agent Fresco from Iceland, and Leprous from Norway, a matching pair of proggy, melodic Scandi-rock outfits.
Meanwhile, while all of the above fun’n’games are going on, there’s a whole different bunch o’ stuff happening downstairs in the Tone Mgmt Room. Starting with the magnificent Wren. Sludgy experimental post-metal kinda stuff, Wren are brilliant. I really, really want to see Wren. You should go see Wren too, but stay out of my way or I might hit you4.
A lot of the bands here are out on tour with each other, not least Leng T’che, US Death/grinders who are out and about with Agoraphobic Nosebleed, headliners of the Terrorizer Stage. And if Death is your thing, stick around for Beyond Creation – progressive death from Canada; The Great Discord – Prog death-pop(!) from Sweden; and Psycroptic – tech death from Australia. Which is very far away. All the death you need, right here!
In amongst all that death, we have Mutation, featuring the WIldhearts’ frontman Ginger, and whose current album Mutation lll – Dark Black’is rather alarmingly described by Blabbermouth as “a ridiculously extreme, obnoxious and hostile piece of work”. Should be fun.
Finally, from death to the grave. Grave Pleasures, that is5. Allegedly Finland’s favourite post-punks6, and described as “batshit lunatics”, they’ll take us up to midnight and see us all thrown out onto the streets of Leeds, where we shall probably find Ewen from Atragon unconscious under a hedge somewhere.
And there we go. That’s half of Damnation 2017 in 600 words. You should check back in a few weeks to read the review and see if everybody got out alive, and to find out exactly how magnificent Wren were.
Incidentally, if you didn’t know, Damnation is totally sold out this year. If you’re ticket hunting, please, please avoid the touts. Please don’t buy anything from www.reallygenuinetickets_honest_guv.com. Get them, if you can, from people you know and trust, or from reputable re-sale sites with secure payment facilities and refund procedures that actually work. Don’t get robbed. Don’t feed the touts. Touts are scum.
- Except for my wife, who has cloth ears and hates all of that new-fangled modern rubbish.
- Also hopefully, they’ll have the curtains at the back closed this year so we can enjoy the lighting…
- Not actually Nordic, and not especially large. Artistic licence, I guess…
- Wren are amazing. Did I mention that?
- Hah! See what I did there? Death, Grave… Never mind.
- Not being overly familiar with Finland’s post-punk scene, I can’t legitimately argue with that. They’re probably all lovely people, though.