Monday, June 9, 2014

...Time to freak out again!!!

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2014
FESTIVAL CHECK

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3 DAYS OF LOVE PEACE AND STONERS
FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2014

Romanticly hidden behind mining areas and idyllic landscapes, there is a place, where once a year freaks come together around the country and celebrate a festival. This festival has only existed for three years, and is a solid institution for fans of well-kept Heavy Psychedelic Stoner and Blues Music. In this article I report on my impressions from the FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2014.


The Festival Area
Just like as last year the festival took place on the company site of the AWO in Netphen. Where normally the employees work for these social institutions, is now space for everything you need on a Rock festival. Several food stands, for normal, vegetarian and vegan food, a big garage as merchandise shop, with posters,shirts and all the band stuff. Also Go Down Records, Kozmik Artefacts and the Doom-Dealer are on this area and sell their finest selection of Vinyls and CD's.
There was even a swing for the young at heart people!! And a Cocktail Bar... GREAT!  There where enough clean toilets for all until the end of the festival, and as I know from special source the ladies rooms were luxurious too!
The approximately 2000 people found comfortably place and the terrain had a nice family atmosphere. 
The visitors where  a really colourful mixed crowd of small kids up to older people, but all came for the music and the scene, so it was an amazing mood. The Festival has the right size and i hope that the idea of Jens and his crew will keep it in this size to keep up the quality of the festival.

The Crew
From the paramedic crew to the security helpers, all employees of the Freak Valley Festival did an outstanding job. The guards were friendly and helpful, and so it is not surprising that the whole Festival is very peaceful expired. The whole organisation of the backstage area (parking, hospitality...) was very professional and so the artists were able to enjoy that.
It shows if the head-organisator is  a  smooth man then it transmits out mood to the whole team. And this brings good vibes to all people on the Festival. What is important as well. Here other festivals can still learn a lot.
Also the stage and sound crew made their best job, which brings me to the next point: The sound.

The Sound
Needless to say, that the Sound is one of the most important things about a  Rock Festival. So on FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2014 the sound was awesome! As I stood in the front row, the sound was good, but not too loud to differentiate. But also in the back, in the chill out area, the sound was crystal clear and still had pressure and big balls of  ROCK!!! 
Some little blemishes are to hear on the base drum on some bands but nothing can be perfect. At all a very high quality open air sound which the rock freaks offered to the people and the artists.

The Bands
The line up on FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2014 was just right for this size and even better than some other big Festivals with 5 stages. There was something for every taste, and so the motto of the organizers: “No Fillers, Just Killers” was fulfilled to the best. From the Local Heroes “BUSHFIRE” (GER), to the  festival highlight “MOTORPSYCHO” (NOR) there were bands of 11 different country’s. Especially PAPIR, IVY GARDEN OF THE DESERT, ELDER, MOTHERSHIP and SOLSTAFIR was a blast and impressed with a powerful show. The good knows KADAVAR, BLUES PILLS and RADIO MOSKAU already do their best on stage and let groove the freak brains all day long.


The Campsite and Shuttle Bus
Imagine you were just six hours on the festival grounds and now you finally want to go back to your tent. Unfortunately there are 2 Kilometers of mountain march to absolve. In the whole Shuttle Bus thing there were some improvements since last year. This year there were also some cabs for disposal. Nevertheless, there remains the long march then for the people who do not want to afford.
The campsite is normally used for grazing horses or cows. So if your unlucky, you could tap in a cow pat at night :) But otherwise, the place was big enough an clean. Also the toilets were kept well.


DAY ONE

After 8 car-hours and highway traffic in extremely bad driving visibility my body is screaming for cold beer and fun. Which also did not last long. After greeting the festival crew and reload my cam the festival starts at 4 afternoon with THE COLTS with nice hard rock and driven music.
With a mix of AC/DC,Motorhead and Deep Purple this young musicians activated the first foot movement of the people and warmed up the ears for the following three days.
THE LONE CROWS are also a new band for me and this guys from Minneapolis really surprised me with their great performance with a well played mix between Blues Rock, Grunge and Heavy Rock. I also got a Promo CD of their dudeful manager backstage, so it will be a review coming out to their full length "Dark Clouds". The CD was a faithful companion at the drive back to Salzburg.
After this amazing show THE HEAVY EYES rocked the crowd with their guitar orientated playful stoner/heavy rock  with psych rock  influences. A beneficial feeling arised when the first pure fuzztones reached my ear. At this point the Festival has started the engine.
Another Beer and a short talk with Ander'sof the BLOODY HAMMERS about their tour and the new album "Under Satans Sun"  lead me forward to see his band rocking the Freak Valley Stage. Most did not know the band but despite the bad weather the mood was nice and the people like what they heared.
"The Town That Dreaded Sundown" impressed with big refrains and a classy atmosphere. I'm happy to expose an Interview with them in the next weeks on the blogsite.
Now to the beautiful encounter with PAPIR.
This band from Copenhagen brings the perfect increase in every song. The music is transforming permanently and shows you the whole bright spectrum of the band. From Space Rock, Ambient, Post-Rock up to classic heavy rock riffs and big stoner rock mills. Especially the drummer totally freaked out and brings the phils always to the right point.
The visuals on the back of the stage made the rest of the great  performance perfect. For me this band was definitelythe band of the day and so i was encouraged for another beer.
It was even colder and the people made party on the way to tent.
But the hardboiled rock freaks were ready for RADIO MOSCOW. This american garage band comes with 70ies oriented rock music. The great guitar work of  Parker Griggs fitted perfectly to the songs and made at least a good rock'n roll attitude for this first day of a great festival (yes I already knew that before).

DAY TWO

After this extreme cold night in the car and a hole in my air mattress I was tired and out of energy.
Volker of  rockblogbluesspot.com was my hero of the day because he enabled me the entering to the stuff showers.What a blessing for me. Fresh and full of new intention i startet to get through the small stage on the left of the festival.
The powerful and with full force playing band MOTOR MAMMOTH (also from the same label FAT&HOLY RECORDS like WIGHT) was the perfect heat up for waking up at 11:30 am.
The driving songs brought the people to shake in the front rows and all the others looked intently through this happening. 
Now it was time to see the second part of the Wake&bake stage for this day, WIGHT got some bad news cause thier drummer 
was prevented for any reason, I think something with his ears.
So with this handicap the band including myself had some groogy moments, but this means nothing and is absolute expressionless because the jam with the alternate drummer Tony Reed known from bands like MOS GENERATOR,STONE AXE,TREEPEOPLE and a second guitarist (friend of WIGHT) there was no reason for hiding. 
The jam was very simpatic and i think the most of the people haven't attracted attention that something is missing. The spontan jam was very trippy and made a lot of fun, you also have seen it in the artists faces. 
The next exclusive show at Freak VALLEY was the" SUN PREACHERS" from France which opened the main stage on this day and provided a decent warm show. A very interesting mix of sabbatic riffs and fast hard rock parts. The voice fitted well to the whole being of the band and the sound was good (like always).
Thumb up! After a Curry Wurst and  a cold beer i was ready for the next band.
But band fits not on this point, rather chapel or army because "IVY GARDEN OF THE DESERT" was definitely the surprise of the day. This italian dudes played a real cool set full of amazing prog/stoner/psych rock compositions. Sometimes they remembered me on "TOOL" and this is truly a compliment for a band. 
Also this band will have a review on this site in the next time, don't miss this!
The next band proofed raw power, a rad and dirty voice and spread out a mood of southern driven stoner rock.
Do you know which band i mean?
Of course the "MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN" from the state Kansas.
With their down tuned  heavy rock and the backing vocals they won every heart of the rock freaks in the front of the stage. Song's like "The Swill, Foxhole or Spacefaze" ruled the whole Freak Valley visitors.
But this temper was not all because after this spectacle "STUBB"(UK) entered the platform.
An Excellent played psych rock with an characteristic voice and an exciting guitar work of Jack Dickinson and the rhythm section of Peter Holland and Tom Feyfe who hitted the drums.
 It was a party for my ears and this started again the party enginee of the crowd and the sun became more warmer and full of energy. 
With "MOTHER OF GOD" from Sweden the party went on with the next exclusive show. Doomful stoner rock and a touch of good old rock created an enormous wall of sound.
 
I didn't know why but it wasn't  hard to miss that this band comes from Sweden because most of the bands from this northern land are formative  for the sound in this scene. But that was not enough because "MOTHERSHIP"(USA) had also something to do with us.
Fast played powerful hard rock and a temperementful stage performance let seemed this fresh band like a professional every day playing band.   
 I see a big future for this group of people with the real rock attitude, i hope to have the guys in the future on the line up of a show of me.
Now the party mood was on the top and "BLOOD CEREMONY" was perfect for another round. Their spooky and dark occult concept didn't work really good in the sun but this means nothing for the music and their sound. Since a time i tied to see them live and now i have got the chance and i have to say that it was totally worth it. 
Very likable people this Canadian occult band. I met them at the festival area and talked about the festival and their favorite bands of the festival. "WO FAT"(USA) continued what the bands before started.
 With a huge wall of sound this psychedelic combo threw riff after riff straight through into our faces and we couldn't get enough of this!!After 4 full length albums their are back again with the mighty new one "The Conjuring" and with a mix of this discography the set list was formed. Just awesome!! 
Now to my personal headliner of the day "SOLSTAFIR". I never seen this band live before and on the records it was not enough to convince me but from the first second on stage they proved me the converse of their work.
They started their engines at 21pm, the weather was fine and the people happy about a relaxed and mind expanding festival!! 
With an energetic and better magical show they enchanted all of the visitors and brought them to be astonished. Decently one of the best performances of this year for me so far. 
After this mind blowing atmospheric ear party the good old known "TRUCKFIGHTERS" entered the stage. 
With a little delayed start because of any technical problems the Swedish heavy gods vehicle began to roll and simultaneously the rock freak heads include beards and hairs began to bang.
 I think I've seen this band more than ten times and like always they did a very solid show and brought  kind of a ballermann 6 feeling in the front row. Dango the flying guitar hero was always in movement like a crazy Capricorn what  gives the whole show the required  dynamic. 
The throats were wet and the smoke in front of the stage revealed the next band. "BLUES PILLS" formed the grande finale on this exciting second day at FREAK VALLEY 2014.
Grooving riffs to excellent solos and licks from Dorian Sorriux brought the inevitable color in the band. The harmony between bass and the drums were also exhilarating and let Elin enough space for her powerful and matchless voice. 
The 70ie feeling was guaranteed everyone looked pretty and it was a hard developed amazing closing of this day for the BLUES PILLS. After some beers with the bands and the people on the festival area i quited for this day. Dead Tired and broke, I went to sleep in my car to make fresh space for the new music which awaited me the next day.

DAY THREE

After reloading my camera and about 2 liters of coffee i started the day with a smile but also with eye rings because the night was inhuman cold and it was hard to find sleep. But who cares?
Because MAGNETIC MOUNTAIN (EX-BLACK LIZARD) do their best to wake up our associated outputs and this they did very convincingly. Good played Stoner/Grunge/Southern Metal with a big output on stage.

"BUSHFIRE" got ready for their show as personal house band of the Freak Valley Festival.

 The desperateness Bill and his fellowship of Fuzz persuaded with a premise and back-breaking performance.
I have planned to do another interview with "BUSHFIRE" in the future, check out the first one here.

 The wake&bake stage was full of motivated visitors who enjoyed this happening. What a good start for the last day of the energeticall festival. 
"BONE MAN" were also a fresh powerful band from Germany who opened the main stage this day . The music contained a lot of groove and fuzzy Sounds.
 
With a mix of psychedelic and with the  good old 60s,70s attitude constructed songs they got a good feedback! Thumb up and hopefully they will decorate a line up on one of my shows in Salzburg. 
Now to "ZODIAC"(D) which i already reviewed  2012. My result of the review: "A really great newcomer band with a big future, smooth psych tunes meets Alice in wonderland in a great atmosphere and a ass full of energy" was the statement at the time too. 
Now they are signed at Napalm Records and played a lot of shows in Europe so i was right. Also this show was full of energy and made a lot of fun. The grandiose insert of "ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE"(DK) in the afternoon sun took me with them in a world of peace, fondle units and a lot of colors. 
The unique feeling what they created was very special and the whole festival looked intently or simply lied down in the grass and look through the clouds. 
Scott Heller and his Troop of space rock soldiers demonstrated again a high quality jam.
Now again on stage Tony Reed with "MOS GENERATOR".On the last day he also acted with WIGHT on stage.
Today he does the work on vocals and the guitar. 
The hard rock orientated music caused a good mood and party on the  battlefield. 
"Lonely One Kenobi" my favorite song of the last record came fat and with a lot of groove.
It was really nice to finally see these musicians live after knowing their music for  a long time.
"ADMIRAL SIR CLOUDESLEY SHOVELL" a hard rock inspired band from the UK count their roots to bands like Status Quo, Budgie, Ram and all this bands.
 
The exclusive show and the appear of the exotics were well received by the audience. The Berlin-based band "SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT" stared their thunder new with only three members. 
The pressure of the sound remained available on stage. Now on bass instead of Richard Behrens(now the sound technician of "KADAVAR") the second guitar player Hans Bob who did his job very well. 
I hope that this band don't lose their spirit for the music and find a new fourth wheel for their vehicle.
 We will wish the best for them and also check out the side project of Hans, it's named "RODEO DRIVE" and kicks ass, review will follow soon on this blog.
Now to a very special moments of the line up of the Saturday.
"ELDER" from Boston/USA really knew how they  had to play their doomful and heavy riffwar on stage. The guitar fixed band forms every melody pearl after another. Surrounded by colorful, psychedelic solos of the young Nick DiSalvo the whole band came like a tsunami. 
This amazing show was my best experience at the festival and made me happy to have met the people behind the music. After this brainfuck the stage get a new look for the first headliner show of the multinational band "MOTORPSYCHO" from Norway. 
The band tried for about 20 years by various structures of jazz,punk, pop and any kind of rock and won with this bright spectrum many fans over the time. 2 hours of finest heavy rock and always forming psychedelic trips with a interesting and rousing stage performance of the group.
 
The mood was just right for the last band of this three day spectacle. "KADAVAR" entered the stage and inflamed the last energy reserves of the people.
After their planned tour they will focus the main thing again to the rehearsal room to form new songs for a upcoming album.  On this day, I'm looking forward already. At midnight the show started and with all their good known song's the party came to a  glamorous pinnacle of the FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2014. All the nice time was over now and all the people look forward to an upcoming festival next year.

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So all in all, FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2014 was a beautiful and family friendly Rock Festival, with peaceful and crazy people. Let's hope, that FREAK VALLEY 2015 will be as nice as this year, and never will be one of those expensive and overloaded mass accruals.
So at this Point its time that the Stonerhead let groove your brains tonight Crew say thank you JENS HEIDE for this spectacle and for sure also to all helpers, promoters, bands, sound engineers, light dudes, festival visitors for this amazing three days and hopefully the rocking freak mood will burning for a long time!!!

Text: Stonerhead & Bam Bam

10 from 10 Stonerfestivalpoints