Review and Photo Gallery: Waynestock 2019

On Friday 1st November, Desertscene and Old Empire, the organisers of many of the best festivals and shows around, were responsible for Waynestock, held in Tufnell Park, London at the neighbouring venues of The Dome and The Boston Music Rooms. With a killer line-up it seemed set to be a hugely popular event but unfortunately due to a surprisingly poor turn out, the reality didn’t quite live up to expectations. 

Human Leather kick off proceedings, a humble duo making an almighty racket with gloriously gruesome faces to match the thick and filthy basslines and complex drum beats, a pleasure to watch.

Made Of Teeth sit somewhere in the hardcore-sludge camp but also have a relatively straight up ‘metal’ sound.

Next up are Ghold, who are an experimental mashup of otherworldly and psychedelic doomy noise, making use of plenty of synths punctuated by soaring raw vocals. Really quite difficult to categorise, full of both ethereal ambience and chaotic noise, they fall somewhere between the spacey-ness of Ufomammut and the crushing sounds of Conan with post metal/shoegaze elements peppered throughout, there’s even comparisons to be made between them and tonight’s headliners Big Business.

In The Dome, Bismuth are devastatingly crushing. Tuned low and played ultra-slow, it’s a time for sorrowful reflection with a set that’s both poignant and incredibly moving despite being utterly filthy. The band ascend to spiritual planes with ethereal vocals and pedal effects, but with a bass tone so ominous it makes you anxiously await the inevitable plummet down to the depths. When it happens it’s soul crushing and cathartic as fuck in every way, from the anguished howls to the slow and formidable pace of the drums.

Quintet Boss Keloid are in The Boston Music Rooms and accumulate a decent crowd of fans. There’s been a lot of hype for these guys and it’s a pleasure seeing them play their keyboard and synth-heavy, proggy take on doom. Alternating between chunky stoner riffs and progressive seventies grooves, they prove themselves to be wizards at melding various genres into an upbeat, eclectic, and dynamic performance.

Belfast’s Slomatics are gloriously doomy, with super down-tuned riffs accompanied by unforgivably heavy drumming. It’s the vocals soaring above the gloom that really stand out, though, giving the band an epic edge. Haunting and powerful, the band find a sweet spot somewhere between Windhand and Candlemass. They cast an eerie, hypnotic spell, fluctuating between devastatingly crushing and almost funeral doom-esque fuzzy chord progressions, with a creepy groove and ceremonial atmospheric synths.

Dvne are another band difficult to categorise, in the same vein of Inter Arma (before the release of the brain-obliterating Sulphur English). Indeed, being of a similar ilk and also frequent tour buddies, it seems a shame to see them crammed on to the small stage in Boston Music Rooms where the lighting does not match their usual incredible display. It could be the poor turn out or the strange school disco-like feel of the venue but sadly, they aren’t quite up to par compared to previous local performances, such as at Desertfest and in support of Eyehategod.

Inter Arma are an incredibly underrated band, their latest album Sulphur English being a serious contender for Album Of The Year – a far heavier, darker and more intense listen than their previous offerings. Tonight, they keep to annihilating heaviness and intensity. Mike Paparo has an incredibly menacing and energetic presence, emitting fearsome growls while the rest of the band plays their part with equally frantic enthusiasm. The crowd goes nuts and there is plenty of screaming along and air punching.

Unsurprisingly, enjoying the largest turnout of the day is the huge sounding duo Big Business, consisting of drummer Coady Willis and bassist/vocalist Jared Warren (both of Melvins fame). The duo are on top form filling The Dome with thick chunky basslines and magnificent, complex and dynamic drumming. Playing a hybrid of stoner doom and metal, Warren’s powerful reverberating and sometimes looping layered vocals soar above Willis’ pounding sporadic but perfectly controlled drum beats with octopus-like power, and it’s a delight to see his complicated kit set up right at the front of the stage. He plays the massive set-up with an insane amount of skill, vigour, speed and stamina, with the set up of brass bells (aside from making great photos) adding a nice touch, cutting through the filthy bass with sharp quirky chimes. A particular highlight is a slow and epic rendition of ‘Lonely Lyle’, which gets an impressive singalong from an enthusiastic crowd. ‘Horses’, with relentless crashing cymbals, creepy bells and echoing vocals is also particularly memorable. The crowd are also on good form, their enthusiasm making up for a poor turnout, something which, although disappointing, in the end only adds to the intimacy of the event. Coming to a conclusion almost too soon the drunk and happy crowd are ushered outside or across to The Boston Music Rooms where the party continues with plenty of inebriated attempts at moshing and dancing into the wee hours with the fantastic Black Sabbath tribute band Electric Funeral.


Words & images: Abi Coulson (Darktones Photography)

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