Text Luke Bolton // Photos Gemma Shaw
Desertfest. The fifth since its inception is a growing delight for lovers of stoner, doom, sludge, psych, rock and all their strange cousins. In the heart of weirdo central: Camden, London. It’s busy, filthy and there’s no desert in sight, but it does have the venues, bars and alternative crowd that welcomes all to drink, party and rock.
Gurt have the honour of opening Desertfest. In the murky depths of the Underworld, their intro music of a children’s orchestra making a royal mess of a space oddity brings laughs and smiles to the packed crowd. Gurt offer up slabs of heavy sludge that get the crowd rocking in unison. New material from their split with Trippy Wicked are aired, with a special appearance of Trippy Wicked themselves playing “Revolting Child,” a culmination of both bands taking on T Rex’s “Children of the Revolution.” London’s own set the bar high for the weekend.
Egypt. The groovy stoner rock three-piece from the USA get a chance on the main stage, and seriously this band deserves much, much more attention. It’s a set full of twists and turns, snaking around bluesy riffs played with emotion and superb execution, “The Valley of the Kings” being a highlight to the set.
The Poisoned Glass are a two-piece made up of former Burning Witch members. We missed them at Roadburn, so we are happy we managed to catch them on a smaller, more intimate stage at Desertfest. They play nasty orchestral doom with Dahlquist on bass, and Edgy 59 on keyboard playing organ, drones and synth, along with vocals.
Crowbar are the band of the day! They open up with the song ‘Conquering.’ They are all about the Riffs. No one does it quite like them. They do a Led Zeppelin cover of ‘No Quarter.’ Crowbar celebrate the 25th anniversary of the album Broken Glass.
Corrosion of Conformity pack out the Electric Ballroom. They play all the classics, including ‘Broken man’ and ‘7 days.’ I don’t get to catch all of their set, as I run off to the Black Heart to catch the end of Jk Flesh. Justin Broderick is dressed in a glowing white outfit playing some unusual sounds which can be described only as heavy, bass-driven electronica.
THE POISONED GLASS
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY