Subculture is a thing that interests me, especially the music in that scene. If it’s unconventional, experimental, fresh, new and original I probably like it, no matter what style of music it is. Preferably a new genre of course. In Tilburg there is the ZXZW festival, one of the Dutch festivals that are about new music and is held throughout the entire city. Last year I witnessed only the last day of the weekend in a shirt of The Locust. This year there were three Metalragers present to see tomorrow’s music. Here we go!
Blutch - 013 Batcave
I started my day with the Belgian band Blutch, the same band with which I started the Dour festival this year. Oh, sweet déjŕ vu. This band always manages to impress me with their slow but very heavy metal that does tend to lean towards stoner. A great band to loosen up for this festival, smoke the first joint of the day and soak my throat with a beer. (DemonDust)
Crippled Black Phoenix - 013 Kleine Zaal
In the room next door, the ensemble Crippled Black Phoenix was getting ready to do their show. This band is formed around guitarist Justin Greaves, who has banged the drums in acts as Iron Monkey, Hard To Swallow and Electric Wizard. Read my interview with him to find out more about his work. At the time of my interview, this was still just a solo project in the works. By now it has evolved into a full band with members of Mogwai and Pantheist among others, so there were a lot of people crammed on stage. The music they played has something vintage, yet something modern. Something peaceful, yet something chaotic. Something sweet, yet something dark. It was full of compromises between all these things, but it had a recognizable face to it. Hear it to believe it I say, because there is no real way of describing this. (DemonDust)
A shitload of breakcore - V39/013
We started our heavy dancing night in the V39 where the young Dutch breakcore DJ Thye was spinning in already exotic temperatures. Some more breakcore was brought by another Dutch DJ, Ex Zero, but you could see that most people weren't taking the heat very well, so dancing wasn’t a good option anymore and we went for some refreshment. When we entered the small hall of the 013 we were charmed by the female DJ Syntheme, who took care that our brains didn’t splat out of our skulls; her easy listenable techno and acid gave the gray mass some more space. I don’t remember what I liked more, her music or her cute hops she made dancing… Well, she’s signed by Planet-Mu Records with which many high quality DJs are, so I guess both were of quite high standards. After that, I pretty much lost track of what happened: vague flashes of the Japanese USK & Maru playing some spacing gameboy tunes (which actually is an entire genre these days, called Chiptune) and harsh electronic beats of different jungle, breakcore and hardcore DJ's still dwell in my mind.
Luckily somewhere between 2 and 2.30 am, my mental awareness came back. Probably because I was so stoked about the long awaited climax of the night for us metalheads, who also dig harsh electronic chaotic fucked up beats; It was time for fucking Drumcorps! This is the well-known breakcore DJ Aaron Spectre, under this Drumcorps pseudonym he mixes breakcore and metal in a subliminal way. Now, there are some more DJs who do that like Bong-ra for instance, but the great thing is that this guy also occasionally grabs his guitar to play along. Although this had a rather thin sound it for sure raised my 'lets-fucking-destroy-this-place' mood. But also his active stage appearance with his long dreads and familiar metal riffs like from Soulfly, for example, contributed to this. He appeared to have a taste for mathcore, which chaotic rhythms easily fit in with the chaotic breakcore, so the mix felt pretty natural. When he played the song with the hilarious title ‘Pig Destroyer Destroyer’ my weekend was made. This guy gave me the best drug there is; adrenaline.
After Drumcorps, Passenger of Shit was just too much to handle. Damn, this guy knows how to reach the limits of extreme music. Speedcore with breaks, between 300 and 1000 beats per minute, really is an explosive cocktail. People who like the most extreme electronic music have got to check this one out. We went for some more digestible digital hardcore with Rioteer vs. Automon to end this insane night relatively easy. (Sledgehammer Messiah)
Charlie*Adler - 013 Batcave
The band to start my Sunday at ZXZW was a familiar one to me; Charlie*Adler. I know the guys in the band and I’ve seen them play many times already. This was a nice show with some funny details to it. Again, replacement drummer Roel van Helden (who manages quite well, in my opinion) played with them. There were some minor flaws in the show here and there, but everything was compromised by samples of farts and burps. Their chaotic music burst out of the speaker quite nicely on such an early time of the day (well, it was 15.30 but the night before was pretty late…), so I was awake for the rest of the day. Thanks guys! :p (DemonDust)
Curse Ov Dialect - Podium
As we wanted to walk towards something freaky called Fuck The Writer, we walked past the hip-hop group Curse Ov Dialect, whose sound I liked when I checked them out on myspace. It’s a group of four people with different ethnic backgrounds, which they express in a theatrical way. They were supposed to be the first act on this stage on a square in Tilburg, but I guess that didn’t work out. The show was pretty funny and contained some skilled rapping from a bunch of weirdo’s. Hip-hop fans should definitely check this out. (DemonDust)
Hexnut - Paradox
So due to Curse Of Dialect we missed Fuck The Writer, which meant we turned to Hexnut: an extremely fucked-up experimental fusion-jazzband. Unfortunately, we just missed their Meshuggah covers when we walked in, but the rest of the show was a display of utter extremities - even for fusion-jazz terms. Songs of ten seconds, with a sequel to them and even a remix. Very weird stuff, but very impressing, nonetheless. And funny too. Check it out if you feel like being musically traumatized. (DemonDust)
The New Dominion - Villa Fiesta
This thrash metal outfit called The New Dominion won the last Dutch Metal Battle, so I was curious to what they were about. They had already started when I entered the venue and from what I saw they made a pretty good impression. The brutal parts were quite awesome and the band played pretty tight. It was just too bad that their performance was very static and the clean vocals were just bad. For the rest, I’d say we’ve got a good addition to the Dutch metal scene. (DemonDust)
Then it was time to witness a legend perform. Mister Blowfly has written songs for the likes of KC & The Sunshine Band and Gwen McCrae and he claims to have written the first rap song in 1965. But what he likes to do is cover other people's songs in a funky version and alter the lyrics a bit so that they become slightly offending towards women and very ‘sexual’. Think of songs like ‘I’m A Hole Man’, ‘Should I Fuck That Big Fat Ho Now’ and ‘Shittin’ On The Dock Of A Bay’. And he does all of this dressed in a Superhero outfit. And remember, this man is a senior citizen. So I hereby declare him to be one of my new heroes. Check out his website and myspace and laugh your ass off. Legendary, just absolutely legendary this guy. (DemonDust)
Hacride - Villa Fiesta
I was pretty curious about the French Hacride, who are contracted to Listenable, which has many great artists like Textures and Gojira. Just like these bands, some riffs and rhythms are obviously inspired by Meshuggah, but Hacride plays them more in a deathmetal style. I read some positive criticism about their latest record, called Amoeba, but live they couldn’t really convince me. This was a combination of the sound, which wasn’t good enough, the singer, who missed a real good thick grunt and has a pretty pointless clean voice and the lack of a second guitar player, which could’ve made things more interesting. I really think that with this kind of complicated music, a second guitar player is essential. Anyway, they will get a second chance soon when they tour Europe with Divine Heresy! (Sledgehammer Messiah)
John Wiese - Hall Of Fame
We took our time to take a long walk towards the Hall Of Fame to see John Wiese, a name that I know due to his collaborations with the mighty Sunn 0))). As we walked in, I knew we were in for something quite sick: industrial noise in its ‘purest’ form. From left to right, bleeps, peeps, fuzzes, distortion, basically hell on earth to creatures like dogs, I guess. John likes to play around with the balance of these noises, placing sounds in different places all the time. I thought it was cool, the average Joe will need drugs to understand it. (DemonDust)
Psychic TV - Hall Of Fame
Before we saw John Wiese, I got really scared of some real ugly fake boobies that I saw from a way too close distance. Later I discovered that it was the singer of Psychic TV - so I watched that show from a safe distance - but they got me anyway by displaying live plastic surgery on a screen behind the band; probably of Genesis P-Orridge herself, or should I say himself?. They really live up to the band’s name: after 21 years the psychedelic, punk, industrial and noise band still knows how to shock. The show must have been great for the people who actually were into this scene back in the days, but for me the only thing I could relate to was that Genesis P-Orridge was a founding member of Throbbing Gristle, the band before Psychic TV and basically the godfather of industrial music. The largest part of the audience was here to experience the nostalgia of their musical contemporaries, but I was here to see a piece of history, which was the best element of the show. (Sledgehammer Messiah)
Knut - Extase
The description for Knut immediately appealed to me; a Swiss band that operates in the post-metalcore scene. Which means heavy shit in my book. So I checked it out and discovered that more people felt this way, since the venue was packed as hell. I couldn’t see much of what happened on stage, but I heard some of the greatest heavy (stoner) fucking music of this festival. Heavy soundscapes, heavy brutal riffs and vocals, just basically a bulldozer coming from the PA. A really impressive show and I didn’t even ‘see’ it. Gotta check out some material of this band soon! (DemonDust)
The Locust - 013 Kleine Zaal
Last year I visited the ZXZW festival in a shirt of The Locust, who headlined this year. Oh yeah, I’m way ahead of your subculture trends man, haha. I already saw these guys earlier on their tour, so I knew what to expect: structured, violent chaos from hell. Brutal noise coming from drums, guitars, bass, electronics and three vocal attacks that have nothing to do with melody whatsoever. I love it. Mathcore is an understatement for their music, even. They're dressed in grasshopper outfits they sweat themselves to pound the listener’s ears and brains to a pulp and they do so with success, because a standing ovation is what they got after every song. Of course, those were accompanied by some keen remarks made by drunk men, like ‘have you guys ever heard of 4/4 bars?'