The adrenaline should have firmly kicked in after Friday’s Desertfest line-up. And the fires should continue to be stoked and the horns should once again be raised as over at The Electric Ballroom will see Matt Pike return to the festival after Sleep’s majestic performance at the Roundhouse last year. This time he appears as headliners with his sludgy, speed metal ferocity which is High On fire. Saturday will see also the first of two performances from stoner, sludge, crude oil thick-riffers, Weedeater. They are also the Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide stage-headliners over at the Underworld on Sunday where they are due to deliver a set compromising of earlier material.
Staying with the Ballroom, the bill is backed up with some serious heaviness as Japanese doomsters Church of Misery bring their bulldozing, pounding metal to proceedings. And London’s very own extreme metal merchants Akercocke, highly praised in the established Metal publications, provide plenty of progressiveness along with their fast attacks of aggressiveness. Kicking off the venue’s all-day heavyosity are long-time sludge sluggers Sourvein.
If you want a toning down of the metal but instead prefer the distorted fussed-up rock turned all the way up to eleven then over at The Underworld there are a few acts to saviour. Occult, dark-psych rockers Dead Witches, featuring former Electric Wizard’s Mark Greening, will showcase new vocalist Soozi Chameleone and maybe even a new song or two as a new album is expected to surface sometime this year. Another band this writer is especially looking forward to seeing live are Psych warriors, Black Rainbows, who have the firepower to blast you into the stratosphere with some fine up-tempo fuzzy, space rock. Also appearing are Leeds noise wrecking-crew Cattle, and The Obsessed/Saint Vitus frontman Scott Weinrich plays an acoustic set under his Wino moniker. Puppy open-up the stage’s proceedings with their Ghost inspired riffy, melodic rock.
Over at the The Black Heart pub there is a more straightforward approach to get those horns raised. As headliners, Portugal’s Miss Lava, dig into some Alice in Chain’s inspiration for their take on grungy, stoner rock. And it would not be a Desertfest preview without at some stage mentioning legends Black Sabbath, as Californians The Watchers – featuring Orchid’s Carter Kennedy on drums – will take us on a cruise down their ‘Sabbath Highway’. Cut from similar cloth but with added touches of classic stoner riffage are London’s Mountains who will be making their Desertfest debut. And for something so very new they don’t even yet have anything recorded (or up online) to listen too, there’s the latest project from Bill Steer (Carcass, Gentleman’s Pistols) and Alasdair C. Mitchell (Trembling Bells) but described by the band themselves as “scorching rock ‘n’ roll”, “red hot guitar”, “canorous bass”, and “a blazing backbeat”. Also playing are Hull’s angry, bruising metallers Mastiff, and Tom Cameron.
Nightshift Promotions are at The Devonshire Arms with a range of diverse acts to offer something a bit different from the other bigger stages. A massive sea change from the other headliners is DarkHer: Jayn H Wissenberg’s ethereal, haunting vocals are set interestingly with atmospheric Gothic, Folk-textured soundscapes provided by her husband Martin H Wissenberg and drummer Rich Miah. Keeping with the spirit of moody atmosphere, but in a louder manner, are Colchester’s post-rock explorers’ Telepathy. Also in attendance will be Belguim’s experimental noiseniks Crowd of Chairs, The Moth, and bringing their huge crushing slabs of darkened Doom and lacerated throated growls are stage-openers Monolithian.
So, head to the Desertfest website for more info about day and weekend ticket prices and availability.