For Berlin’s enthusiasts of heavy sounds and greasy riffage, 3rd of May means only one thing, it’s DESERTFEST 2019!
During this weekend Arena Berlin is home to this three day festival which includes famous names in psychedelic/stoner/doom/space/heavy-blues-rock genre soup there is. For the complete lineup scroll down to the festival lineup and schedule.
For all who were strolling down Puschkinallee and took a look at Eichenstraße could see huge row of people standing in line. Even though the wristband exchange was open at 11hrs and the doors were open since 14hrs did not help since this is a working day. Due to this, many will miss the festival’s regular run opening act.
At 16hrs the great thunder rolled out of the Arena. Norwegian’s Devil and the Almighty Blues played their first notes. As we finally arrived at the gig they played their famous “Here be ghosts, here be dragons” line from their “The Ghosts Of Charlie Barracuda” off their self-titled debut album. With the few swings of the mic stand and a couple of headbangs, the band played the final notes in front of the half empty arena.
Next in line were Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator. The trio blasted their version of a punk and metal hybrid while Nick screamed his punky screeching vocals. Even though guitarist Mike Pygmie has substantial technical issues with his instrument they did not fail to provide an energetic blast which started to rock heads in the audience. They also included their cover of Kyuss’ Green Machine, Nicks former band.
The stagehands exchanged the drum sets and they rolled out one which included the album artwork Monkey3’s latest release. It was time for Swiss’ instrumental psychedelic rockers to come on stage. One might think this band is a trio, but four heads emerged from the dark to pick up their instruments. They provided headbanging riffs with a small atmospheric break in between. They showed you don’t need elaborate lyrics or top notch vocals to convey a story.
Next in line were San Diego’s Earthless. The trio came on stage and earned a huge cheer with the first notes of “Uluru Rock” from their 2013’s album “From the Ages”. As they rolled through their instrumental tracks everybody got on the sonic psychedelic ride. As guitarist Isaiah Mitchell approached the mic it was clear the sound engineers were still riding the riff train. As a true performer he continued on with a smile on his face. Few lines later they finally gave his vocals some volume.
As Eathless ended their set, it was time for a duo of witches to hit the stage. First off was USA’s Witch.
Even though they are a young band compared to other bands, they are comprised of veterans form the bands like Dinousaru Jr and Feathers. Unlike Earthless and Monkey3 who seemed to have come here just to rock their tunes, Witch seemed to know what the audience wants and how to light up the atmosphere.
Second which to come up on stage were USA’s All them witches. They were not the hardest or the loudest band that night but they gathered most crowd up until that point. Their bluesy tunes got half of the audience dancing and the rest continued to nod their heads.
After the Witches came the Bavarian veterans Colour Haze. They played a fantastic set as a final and closing act of Desertfest’s first day. Nothing less could be expected from a band that is around for a quarter of a century.
For Saturday’s and Sunday’s lineup check out the running order below. If you missed the first day, don’t worry, there are still a lot of tickets waiting at the festival’s ticket office.
Author & Photo: Nikola Medarević