London’s premier stoner/doom extravaganza Desertfest is returning this weekend for another 72 hours of riffs, booze and more riffs. Taking over different venues up and down Camden High Street, there’s a lot going on from the weird and wonderful world of dirty rock ‘n’ roll. Here are ten of the bands we think you should definitely check out between pints.
Psych. Stoner. Afro. Just some of the words used to describe London’s painted trio, but none of them really do the music justice. As much at home onstage at Desertfest as they would be at Glastonbury, their tribal bounce is met with sludgy riffs and an almost punk swagger to create something truly unique.
Not your typical Desertfest fare because it doesn’t come with bulldozer heavy guitars, but the music does send your brain down different tangents with its trippy synths and sci-fi electronics. Fresh off a UK tour supporting Ghost, the Pittsburgh duo provide a buoyant yet chilling soundtrack, like if Drive was scored by S U R V I V E.
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
Colloquially known as Pigsx7, the Geordie riff-slingers have been making waves in the underground over the past 12-months thanks to their dirty rock ‘n’ roll and fuzzed-up stoner metal aesthetic in the vein of Hark and Melvins. If you want to bang your head off, this is the band to do it.
Get ready to drink! The ultimate party band are headlining the Saturday night of Desertfest for what is surely going to be a glorious booze-fuelled mess. If you don’t already know Turbonegro, just imagine what would happen if six lairy Norwegian dudes decided to raid your fancy dress cupboard then drink your whiskey cabinet. It’s great.
Do you like riffs? Do you like weed? Well Desertfest have you covered. So much so that Bongzilla are playing both Saturday and Sunday, bringing their neverending nodding riffs and devotion to all things green. If their set at Roadburn last weekend is anything to go by, you’re going to need a sit down afterwards.
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Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard
Not only do they have one of the greatest names for a doom band ever, but Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard are one of the best bands to come from of the valleys of Wales in years. Slow and heavy like a JCB made of fuzzy chug, there’s an air of psychedelia about this band that threatens to warp your mind.
Sleep are headlining the Roundhouse. If that sentence doesn’t send shivers down your spine then we suggest getting your nervous system replaced. Matt Pike’s pioneering stoner metal band will round off this year’s festival in sledgehammer heavy style, with groove for days and more greenery than you’ll find round Alan Titchmarsh’s house. Pass it left.
Wolves In The Throne Room
The innovators of the post-black metal movement that still throws up some of the most interesting and emotional music in our world, Wolves In The Throne Room’s savage vocals and gnarled atmospherics are a tad more intense than the rest of the Desertfest line-up, but sometimes you just need an aural punch in the face.
Yorkshire rock ‘n’ roll hounds have been a mainstay of UK festivals for years and with good reason – it’s just fist-pumping, beer-swilling fun. They’re hitting up the main stage in the afternoon on Saturday, so there’s no better excuse to get hammered and air guitar until your fingers fall off.
Wear Your Wounds
With just a small handful of live shows under their belts, Jacob Bannon’s side-project made huge waves with the release of their debut album WYW and its oozing emotion and vulnerability. Deep, heavy, and powerful, see the Converge man in a completely different guise as he brings the Camden to its knees.
Desertfest takes place in Camden, London on April 28-30. Get your tickets now.