July 12th - 14, 2012 at Erfurt-Stotternheim (Alperstedter See), GER
The positive impression of my first visit to the Stoned From The Underground in Erfurt/Germany led me to writing down a festival review of sorts. Of sorts, because neither did I prepare for the review by writing down notices during a band's set nor will this feature every band. Sorry, but I just could not watch every band. Sometimes the old body needed a rest and a beer at the camping ground or just a chat with people, I had not seen in quite some time. The Stoned From The Underground fest is held at the lakeside a bit outside of Erfurt. The place is pretty damn well chosen. With the fest and camping ground being on the one side of the lake and having a beautiful view over the hills of Thuringa on the other side the landscape was really beautiful. And you could see the rain coming from miles away so there was enough time to prepare, if you cared at all. And we had a lot of rain that weekend. Rain and mud, but a lot of fun as well.
The festival took of with a band called Bushfire that I had not heard before and I had hoped for more Blues-driven songs than their brand of Heavy Rock actually was. But their compositions were never too slow, relaxed or dope-fueled but had a nice drive forward most of the time. So, them opening the fest was a rather good choice. I heard maybe one song of the following act Cojones, but had to take a rest. Dampfmaschine was next. The 5-piece from OsnabrÃ¼ck (featuring Bastard Club owner Schnalli) needed my full attention. The band that was formally known as Good Witch Of The South was maybe the most punk this weekend. Their straight-in-your-face Rock'N'Roll is heavily influenced by certain Scandinavian bands and it always makes for a good party to listen to the sound the 5 half naked dudes were pumping into the audience. The Flying Eyes was a pretty contrast after that full out Rock show. Baltimore's sons were drawing incredibly many people in front of the stage so that even the organizers were surprised how many people had already arrived on Thursday. The 4-piece were my fellow camp mates' main reason to leave the tents and drinks as well and so I was gathered by partying friends while The Flying Eyes were playing their psychedelic 70s Rock.
Fridays opener King Kronos was nice. Nothing more - nothing less. They play Stoner Rock and my old friend Robbe told me during the gig: "That is not spectacular at all but as long as the riffs are not totally dull, Stoner Rock always works well in the live situation". That was a very fitting statement. We left when Stonehead started playing, so all I can say is that I dug their songs I consciously heard while walking along the festival area. We came back for Kadavar. The band, that supported a couple of recent Pentagram shows, was 70s Proto Doom/Psychedelic Rock like you would expect it. Vintage amps, vintage clothes, vintage haircuts and beards, vintage sound. I was only familiar with the band due to listening to two songs online, but their set was so impressive I had to visit the merch booth after their set. Of to the campground again to secure the vinyl. No Brain Police for me.
But we were back for Red Fang. I have met quite a couple of people within the last half year or so that were totally enthusiastic about that band, and always tried to get me into the band. I traveled with two of them. I must say I was not really impressed. I cannot tell you why, it just did no click with me. Tito & Tarantula on the other hand were pretty cool. I did not listen to them for ages, I guess. A friend of mine used to really like them and we listened to them quite often back in the day when hanging out at her place. Tito is pretty entertaining and it was a shame that many of the songs were not as well received by the audience as 'After Dark'. But Tito invited some fans on stage, so the end of the set was more like a big party than a song performance including some guys from the audience playing guitar.
Time for my most looked forward part on Friday: Saint Vitus was about to headline. They started their set with 'Blessed Night' from their comeback album 'Lilly: F-65'. And what can I say. This rocking slab works well as an opener and fits in with the old songs. The same can be said about 'Let Them Fall and 'The Bleeding Ground'. Apart from the new songs the, set list was rather common. The band played mostly the hits. The crowd hailed songs like 'Look Behind You', 'Saint Vitus' or 'Dying Inside'. I would have liked the setlist to include some tracks like 'The Troll' or maybe 'The Psychopath'. But this is complaining on a high level. 'Born To Late' finished the set and I made my way to the party tent to see Beehoover. The tent was actually pretty damn packed and I was surprised by the amount of people that were still fit enough to enjoy Beehoover's Prog Rock. I was to damn tired and left after maybe half their set.
Saturdays opener Orobourus was ignored by me. A friend later told me that they were damn good and I made a mistake for missing them. Wight was on my agenda though. The Heavy Rock of the trio, that is filled with 70s quotes, psychedelic moments and here and there some Pentagram-like Doom was right up my alley to start the day. These guys even dared to have a bass solo in their set which was not boring at all and left some time for the guitarist to party with the crowd in the front row. That was a very sympathic gig that made me buy their new album. I canceled the plan to watch Arenna for some time off again and sadly did not make it back in time for Sigiriya. Instead I went to see Rotor. What can I say? Really, what can I say? All I still know is they played rather progressive music and had a singer though they were advertised as an instrumental trio. They were okay. Maybe I was just not the right person to listen to them that day. Fatso Jetson played, while I took one last break.
So we headed back to Weedeater and I think I told quite a few people what I thought of them for thinking they might come later or maybe not. And they missed a hell of a show. The trio was on fire. Dixie Dave especially was on the loose, jumping, making jokes and weird faces. That guy is an entertainer from hell. Plus, the band has a real hit with 'God Luck and Good Speed', something that sticks in your mind for days after the show. Ear candy. That was one hell of a show. Baby Woodrose were cool as well with their late 60s kind of Psychedelic Rock and their band hymn is another song that still sticks in my ear.
But I was waiting for Crowbar and damn these guys delivered again. Be it new stuff from 'Severe The Wicked Hand' or old stuff from the 'Broken Glass' era, fast hardcore (a nice contrast to the rest of the music that day) or slow as only Vitus would have been that weekend as well, the NOLA heavyweights just put together a damn good set. Of course 'Planets Collide' was the highlight. The set seemed rather short though. I guess their time slot would have allowed them to play one or two more.
Obviously, I was not the only one that was a bit surprised that Orange Goblin would headline the saturday. Singer Ben Ward seemed too. And he was very happy about it. That guy nearly smiled his head off. The band was on the road with a stand-in bassist but that was never noticeable. The band played their asses of, being it more psychedelic stuff like 'Frequencies From Planet Ten' or straightforward tracks. And while everybody else was "rockin'" that weekend the Goblin from London demanded a Heavy Metal Party and he got it. Ben had all the poses, the fists in the air, the devil's sign, he threw water into the audience. Nothing new, but it just works.
The crowd clapped their hands together if he said so, the raised their fists when he said so, that guy might not be the worlds greatest singer but he knows how to front a band, that is for sure. And so it was no wonder that even the rhythm section of Crowbar felt animated to throw in some backing vocals. In fact Orange Goblin was so damn good that I did not feel the need to see Neume or Pyuss after that. This had to be my perfect end of a good weekend with some good and great performances.