For the first time in my career, I am forced to write a sad report on the events that transpired this Friday, on the first day of Sound Violence in Barcelos. We will get to that in a minute.
Before everything went in the shitter, the party at Xispes started slow and groovy with “Bruma”, an experimental jazz group that had some crazy projections behind them tripping balls. They played some relaxed tunes to the small enthusiastic crowd that was there to start the night and it was good.
After their show we were informed that because some local orchestra was playing on the other side of the river, Sound Violence had to stand down for an hour or so. For almost two hours we stood around killing time listening the village idiots cheer wildly on the other side.
When the staff got fed up with this, the next band went on stage. “Maga” played some sweet instrumental stoner that we needed very much after an hour of dead silence and dumb cheering (seriously, they were cheering every two seconds and we couldn’t hear what they were cheering for). Dazed in introspection, the music made everybody feel good, the festival was back on its tracks and the crowd was growing.
Next played “Amaterazu” a delicious trio of Japanese psychedelic stoner with black robes and mysterious wooden masks. Their show was a journey in and out of the soul with several curious instruments making surprise appearances as well as a good balance between slow, quiet riffs and heavy, groovy blasts of sound violence.
When they were playing the last song, the sound was mysteriously cut off. Then the answer materialized itself in the form of Government Sanctioned Party Poopers, or as other people might know them, the pigs, the fuzz, the po-po, the heat, the donut patrol or narcs. Anyway, the Government Sanctioned Party Poopers informed the staff in a very polite manner that they give less than half a fuck if they had a license or not for the festival, if they wished them not to play, they wouldn’t and that’s that. The festival ended two bands short after a forced delay of almost two hours.
It didn’t matter that there was a shitty folk party across the river making noise for the entire town to listen, or that there was another party with a computer playing music by itself next door with only a dog in the audience (he seemed happy though), they fined the staff of Sound Violence and closed the festival. Italian thrashers “Collapse” and Australian desert rockers “Filthy Lucre” came a shitload of miles to play in your town and you sent them home, great job, be proud of yourselves Pigs.
I sincerely hope these two bands will return and not see this occurrence as the norm in this country.
There was hope yet for Sound Violence on the second day of the festival. Starting in the afternoon instead of at night, “Burney Relief” opened the festival with their instrumental stoner goodness and made everyone forget about the previous day. They even played a new song that was kind of weird but completely enjoyable.
Next up was another native band, sludge quintet “Chaos Ritual” turned the mood darker with their nice crusty mix of sludge metal to the crowds delight. I spent half the show thinking the vocalist had a t shirt with a smiley face coloured in with French fries, turns out it was bullets. Good show indeed.
Then came finally a band from another country, since the other two were forbidden to play. “BATTRA//” came all the way from Germany to show everyone that all you need to make some appetizing noise is a drum kit and a bass. It helped that the drummer was amazing and the vocalist knew his business. They played for what seemed like a very little time, but it was fucking intense and fucking good.
Afterwards there was a break for dinner and we walked around Barcelos some more. We came back arrived in time to see “West Grave”, the last native band of the night, their instrumental stoner helped everyone digest better.
Sadly, the anti-pig back up plan was to move all the equipment inside a small storage room bellow Xispes that I had never seen, so the massive open stage available outside was off limits.
To get things moving faster, “Without Face” played their Do it Yourself Hardcore Punk to a crammed but exited audience. There was even a mosh pit of almost three people. A new song was played, the crowd cheered and it was a fun DIY time.
Next the schedules were inverted as “Arnø X Duebel” took to the stage to show everyone how power violence is done. Massive stage presence and energy, intense frenetic music and vocals, I imagine how this would have turned out in the outside stage. It was still great, just crammed.
French band “Gus Vendetta” played their post hardcore next to an exited crowd, lots of screaming from the vocalist and lots of cheering from the audience. A balanced sound between violence and soothing melody.
To finish the festival came “Atomic Vulture” from Belgium and they showered us with their sweet psychedelic stoner space rock. It was a lot of fun, groovy beats, cosmic rhythms, slow and fast riffing alike. For the first time in my career I saw a band not play one more song, not two more but three! That’s right, they played three more songs at the tireless request of the audience and it was great.
Damn good ending to Sound Violence, no one even remembered that there were some pigs over on the first day. The second cleared the smell of bacon from the premises and brought back the smell of party. We will smell some more next year.
Text by J.P. Alves
Photo by Ana Fonseca