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Desertfest 2017

London 28-30 April 2017

Friday

Vodun at Desertfest 2017

GP: It’s the one date on my calendar that I look forward to each year. Three days of having my ears pummelled by some of the heaviest bands around and a chance to see some artists perform in the UK for the first time, this is Desertfest. Across five venues in three days, Desertfest takes over Camden Town with heavy guitars and an audience with more long hair and beards than you would see in an average Viking film.

Every year the event seems to get larger and attract more and more people; this year the large cavernous space of The Roundhouse is one of the venues. Each time, the organization that goes into hosting the event gets better, even though it gets bigger. It

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Mayhem / Dragged Into Sunlight (live at the Electric Ballroom)

London 29 March 2017

Mayhem live March 2017In the early ’90s, the Norwegian metal scene was a scary place to be. Church burnings, murders, violent assaults and a total refusal to take metal’s Hammer movie schtick as anything other than deadly serious mean that anything written about the era is as much true crime as it is musical history.

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Boris / The Broken Oak Duet (live at The Electric Ballroom)

London 13 December 2016

Boris live Decemebr 2016 Boris are back! One of Japan’s finest rock bands are back in town to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their crossover hit album Pink, by… well, by playing it, obviously!

But first we get The Broken Oak Duet, who I don’t want to sound too mean about, because they kick out quite a noise between the two of them. They’re tight, focused and rock hard; their real problem is that they’re maybe a little TOO tight and focused — it’s all a bit precision-engineered.

They’ve got the technique and the discipline, but what they’re really lacking is some craziness and chaos. They’ve got all the riffs and big sound you could ask for, and would make a kick-ass

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Desertfest London 2016

London 29 April – 1 May 2016

Oranssi Pazuzu live at Desertfest 2016 (Picture: Richie Ruchpaul)Desertfest is the place where the stoned immaculate of Britain (and several other countries) meet in one of London’s coolest areas, watch some of the heaviest (and out there) bands over a three day period in five different venues.

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George Clinton & Funkadelic (live at The Electric Ballroom)

London 7 August 2015

It’s a balmy Friday night in old London Town, and the Mothership has just landed on Camden’s Electric Ballroom, bringing its message of light, love and lavatory humour in the form of George Clinton and Funkadelic. And godDAMN if he still isn’t the best pilot it could ever wish for.

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Laibach (live at the Electric Ballroom)

Laibach Electric Ballroom 2015London 2 April 2015

A spectre is haunting Camden, and that spectre is the spectre of Spectre, Laibach‘s most recent and sublimely poppy album.

On the face of it, you’d think Laibach’s “foregrounding the totalitarianism inherent in pop music” schtick would have worn thin really fast, like a one-joke Damien Hirst piece that blows your head off at first and then gives you no real reason to go back to it. But after 35 years – and let’s not forget that’s three and a half decades which have seen the fall of the Berlin Wall, the beginning of The War Against Terror and, closest to home for the band, the break-up of Yugoslavia – the novelty has yet to wear off.

This is, of course, for several

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Sleaford Mods / Steve Ignorant’s Slice Of Life (live at The Electric Ballroom)

London 30 January 2015

The day didn’t start well. A blocked drain, forgetting the keys to work and having to go back and fetch them and then a slip on rainy plastic, a mid-air semi-cartwheel (“semi-cartwheeled headfirst in the rain,” as Edward Ka-Spel would say) into the side of a skip and a resultant injury resembling nothing so much as the remnants of a failed scalping all combined to make it the sort of day when there’s nothing really for it but to go and see Sleaford Mods. Fortunately, the day ended with me going to see Sleaford Mods, so it all turned out nice in the end.

It’s an early show, presumably so the Electric Ballroom can be cleared out in time for whatever passes for a club night in bloody Camden these days, which means that when I’d normally be settling down with a gin and tonic and

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Desertfest London 2014

The Black Heart, The Underworld, The Electric Ballroom London 26-27 April 2014

Desertfest is an event that takes place over three venues in three days. It is a sprawling monster that is there to bludgeon the ears of its attendees as much as possible with every conceivable manner of riff to be explored. This was my first experience of the festival, and I have to say it was a wonderfully well-organised event. The strangest thing about it is because it happens over a weekend the festival goers have to compete with the tourists and casual shoppers of Camden Town which adds to an odd combination. But once the stalls have closed down for the day the points between the venues become the tribal ground of desertfesters.

Desertfest 1Desertfest London 2014 […]