Words & Photos by Gemma Shaw
Desertfest 2014 – Camden, London
DAY 1 – Friday, April 25th
Wino’s Spirit Caravan are reunited after 12 years for this special one off show! They are the headliners for Friday night at Desertfest 2014 at the busy Electric Ballroom. The sound is okay, which is a reoccurring theme for the ballroom. Working through their back catalogue, they are the perfect description of “that” Wino sound. Great riffs, great grooves, great vocals. Drummer Henry Vasquez has a problem with his snare 3/4 of the way through their set, which leaves the crowd restless. However, after 5-10 minutes, normality is restored, and Spirit Caravan remind us what we’ve been missing.
Wizard Fight, from Hastings, UK, play dirty, sludgy doom to a packed out crowd in The Black Heart. The room reaches melting point as Wizard fight work through new material from their album ‘Nocturnal verses’.
After missing Anciients at Roadburn, I managed to catch the Canadians’ set at Desertfest, and they didn’t disappoint, playing some great songs off their album ‘Heart of oak’. Not to dissimilar to Mastodon in sound, it’s a genuine riffathon.
Weedeater’s front man, Dixie, has an onstage presence that is a welcome one. He is always a great showman. Now with their new drummer, Travis Owen, sticks are being thrown and twirled without missing a beat, and it’s not just a feast for the ears, but also the eyes. Weedeater play some classics such as ‘Wizard Fight’ and ‘Weed Monkey,’ their new track ‘Hot Doughnuts’, and a cover of ‘Gimmie Back My Bullets’ with a special guest Wino! It was amazing!
Kvelertak from Norway come on stage with such energy, their singer with a owl hat/mask on. They play some of my favourites, including ‘Blodtørst’, ‘Kvelertak’ and ‘Mjød’ -their most popular song, which gets the whole crowd moving and wanting more! And a rarity is seen at Desertfest: crowd surfing. Singer Erlend Hjelvik is also seen crowd walking!
Dragged Into Sunlight are quite possibly my band of the weekend. They play in a smoky darkness with their backs to the crowd and strobe lights flashing. They play extreme metal with bits of death, doom and full-blown misanthropy. People unaware of Dragged Into Sunlight’s full blown face-melting live show are treated to a highlight show.