Live Reviews

EUROBLAST FESTIVAL REVIEW: Part 2 – Rodney

And here we go with the second part of our Euroblast experience! It was my third time at the Festival in a row, and there’s no need to tell you that once the dates were released I already blocked those days! I had the pleasure to meet a lot of old friends, but also new ones, which made Euroblast an awesome experience, besides all the great music of course!

Arriving in Cologne, we made it to the pre-party, which was more of a warming get-together. Compared to last year, I really missed some bands that could have gotten the people in the mood for the next days; seeing Fall Of Minerva in Cologne’s Underground at the pre-party made it to my highlights of 2016 edition, for example. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the idea of picking up the wristbands early and having some time and drinks with the people around. Also I got to meet Pete for the very first time, as we in It Djents are spread around the world, and I only know a few in person already.

Day One:

The Essigfabrik was already filled when we arrived for Andy James‘ set. Although the music didn’t anything for me, it was fun to watch him perform. As you might expect, he knows how to play his instrument! Same goes for guitar virtuoso Angel Vivaldi, whose Universal Language record I did enjoy quite a bit. But the first band to really grab my attention were Lo!; their heavy grooves came together with a very crazy performance by their singer, which made the overall experience really mindblowing.

In between, the Australians in Voyager made their way on stage. While I liked their newest record Ghost Mile, I instantly got satisfied seeing them open with “Ascencion”. Danny Estrin had a good vocal performance, and the sound was very well for the band’s tight set. Other songs turned the Essigfabrik into a bouncy, groovy pit that also got down to some dancy passages. By interpolating a known dance-genre track into their music they split the masses. Many of them really dug it, but a lot of people were also leaving the hall to go and catch Isaac Vacuum. A decision that must have payed off, as Pete reported.

Bands like Uneven Structure and The Algorithm are known faces on Euroblast, whether they are performing or not. Having released their second full-length La Partition earlier this year, it was kinda obvious that they might play Euroblast. And indeed they did, unsurprisingly focusing mostly on their newest record. Mathieu Romarin is definitely able to smash all those songs on vocals, and it’s a pure joy to watch Arnaud Verrier play his drums. The overall dynamics in Uneven Structure got way better, and the performance is way more intense after having built this new line-up! Unfortunately, fans of Februus might have missed something from their set, but in order to promote La Partition, this was a very memorable experience!

Ex-Uneven Structure drummer Jean Ferry now plays with Rémi Gallego, and they work together so perfectly as a duo! Picking up a guitar and bass on stage was the best decision Rémi could have made, by the way. There is no other band that gets Euroblast into a disco-esque mood like The Algorithm do. A show to have fun, and the people surely did!

It’s with great joy, but also with sadness that we got their last Euroblast appereance this year: Dutch outfit Textures have always been a very strong part of the djent and prog community. Last headlining in 2014, the band was now back for what was their last time. Playing songs from their whole discography, they truly convinced each and everyone. While “Illuminate The Trail” or “Timeless” have been mesmerizing, their older material (like “Reaching Home”) intrigued the masses as well. Closing with “Laments Of An Icarus”, Textures once again proved how sad it is that this talented bunch of musicians will call it a day… but let’s see what the future brings for them!

Day Two:

Due to an appointment, I only made it in time for Bear‘s performance on day two of Euroblast. The Belgic band just released their new record /// this year (you can read my review here), and whilst they didn’t convince me too much on the record, they did on stage! It might sound strange, but those songs are made to be performed. With Dillinger-ish parts, but also a very straightforward groove, this was just an amazing set to see. Energetic and catchy, but also dissonant and tricky at times; yes, this was fun!

Highly acclaimed and finally in Germany: Frontierer. The band garnered a huge fan base with the release of their record Orange Mathematics, delivering Tony Danza-style tunes in a fresh, new heavy outfit.It was kinda satisfying to feel tracks like “Bunsen” live for the first time, which hopefully won’t be the last! Speaking of heavy: we also got Car Bomb in the line-up. This was probably the show I was looking forward for most, but unfortunately their singer was pretty sick, which made his guturrals sound very soft, but we got nothing but respect for being so on point, even though he didn’t look all that comfortable with singing. On the musical side, it was overwhelming how tight and on point the band played their very, very unique style of music.

Similar to Textures (in so far as them having the same drummer, and also breaking up) we had Exivious, who played some instrumental tunes, and have been one of the softer and perhaps the jazziest performances at this year’s festival. Anyway, they’ve been well-liked, and so were who the community voted to be the festival’s best band. Yes, I am speaking of Twelve Foot Ninja.

Have you been busy? They have! Busy satisfying listeners! I still don’t know how they manage to amaze people so easily. It might be their stage presence, performance, music, or simply all of those combined. The Australians came a long way to perform at Euroblast, the first time as a headliner. A decision that totally payed off! With songs like “Coming For You”, “Invincible” or “One Hand Killing”, they provided an entertaining show. How could you end a day off better?

Day Three:

And there we go with the last day already! Time flies, especially when you’re having a good time, and while it felt like we arrived just a minute ago, we had to realize that it’s almost over. Oh well. Starting the day with some of the most well-known people in the place, we got to see Ghost Iris play. According to the band it was one of their most intense shows ever, and so they managed to get the people moving quite early. They were followed by Ashe O’Hara’s Voices From The Fuselage, and we were proven once again that he is the man that made Altered State so fantastic. It was pure emotion to watch (and hear) him sing, while the band did the rest. Still the focus was on him, and for good reason!

Kadinja‘s last time at Euroblast was on the small side-stage, two years ago. Now they got to play their songs on the big one, the place they deserve to be if you ask me. Catchy and groovy, the French band managed to leave the crowd in a very positive mood. Euroblast is a good place for surprises, it’s always been, but who could’ve known that the highlight of Sunday might come up earlier than Devin Townsend? The Hirsch Effekt are no strangers to German prog fans, and so they aren’t for Euroblasters. Their new record Eskapist having been out for a while now, the band created 40 minutes of non-stop mindblowing. This was by far the most interesting, intimate and convincing experience of this year’s Euroblast! They finished with the prog-pop song “Inukshuk”, and surely gave more than only one person goosebumps throughout their set. Their mix of heavy and technical mathore music à la The Dillinger Escape Plan, BTBAM-esque parts and their very own personal style translated extremely well into the live setting. Overwhelming? More than that! Probably one of the very best German acts we have to offer.

While we’ve been doing a lot of interviews that are going to be posted over the next days, we unfortunately missed a lot. So I only got some minutes of sleepmakeswaves to enjoy, and even if they stood in stark contrast to the bands before, they still fit into this evening. Showing a softer and instrumental post rock side, one might get to think there should be more of this in the line-up.

And there it was: the very last act. And who would fit this role better than Devin Townsend Project? It was the fifth time I got to watch him play this year, so it was a little unspectacular. I already knew the setlist, and he didn’t vary it much at all. Either way, it is always a great joy and and a lot of fun to see him entertaining the crowd.

And that was it; at least for me. After last year’s Euroblast afterparty almost took my breath, I decided to go early this time!

See you in 2018!

What more to say? I had a good time at Euroblast, an intimate and familiar place that I want to come back over and over again! Although the prices for food are quite high (they were reduced on the last night, which saved me), and the variety for vegans is a little low, it made for an overall pleasuring experience. Let’s see what 2018 will have for us! Any guesses/suggestions? Which bands do you wanna see at Euroblast? Let us know in the comments!

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