Amplifest 2014: the preview
The happening of the Autumn, the weekend of the year. Amplifest is back for its fourth edition with the most ambitious and varied lineup ever. Where else can you find Swans, Marissa Nadler, Ben Frost, Peter Brötzmann, Woven Hand, Pharmakon, Allhousseini Anivolla or Cult of Luna fit in the lineup of a small, indoor 2-day festival?
In downtown Porto, European Best Destination 2014, lies the recently renewed and majestic venue Hard Club, in a centenary building where once operated one of the busiest markets of the city. Now it houses two concert rooms where most of the magic happens, plus a restaurant and the most pleasant mainfloor I’ve chilled in a music venue that will also hold a concert, talks, exhibitions, listening parties and a record fair. And don’t forget the film programme, which includes a really interesting screening of Raffaele Mosca’s March of the Gods: Botswana Metalheads, a film about, well, you know, Botswana’s exquisite metal scene.
But let’s not forget about what drives people to music festivals in the first place: s̶o̶c̶i̶a̶l̶ ̶n̶e̶t̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶* the concerts, of course. Here are our picks for this years’ edition of Amplifest. Be sure to check all the info, the complete lineup, buy your tickets in advance, etc at the festival’s website. Oh, we forgot. Not a festival, an experience.
It’s been a while since the last concert we put on, but we’ll be returning next October 2nd with singer-songwriter (of course) Kevin Morby, who’s bound to release his sophomore album, Still Life, next October 14th on Woodsist Records. A former member of Woods and half of The Babies, Morby released one of my favorite albums of 2013, Harlem River, a beautiful New York-inspired record that even includes a song with one of my favorite songwriters right now (yes, I’m talking about Cate Le Bon again). He is playing Portugal for the first time on this tour and our usual spot Mercado Negro, in Aveiro, is his only stop. Check the event for more info.
Last but not least, there’s one of the most surprising lineups of the year at the end of the outdoors festival season. The first Reverence Festival at the small village of Valada, Cartaxo takes place between tonight (a welcome party with Mars Red Sky, our friends SOUQ et al.) and Saturday, with headlining acts from Electric Wizard (Friday), the legendary Hawkwind and The Black Angels (pictured; Saturday). But the beauty of this festival (apart from the location) also resides in the small names that play at 4pm or 4am: expect to be blown away by Portuguese acts Sunflare, Black Bombaim, Mão Morta, Azimov and 10000 Russos; chill out and appreciate nature along folky acts as Wooden Wand or Woods and dwell into the psychedelic world of Sleepy Sun, Cave, Moon Duo or Bardo Pond. And don’t forget Genesis P-Orridge’s freak show that’s Psychic TV.
The schedule (plus a map of the festival grounds) they provided is good enough so we didn’t do our own this time. See you there!
Three days, a boat, water. This is a big part of what we already knew about this year’s edition of Festival Sinsal, a small festival which takes place every summer in the even smaller archipelago of San Simón, a couple of islets in the middle of the Ría de Vigo only accessible by boat. The lineup (which is practically the same on the two days of the festival) is unknown to the visitors until the first boat arrives in the island. The fact that Saturday’s tickets sold out some days before the festival hints at the trust that festivalgoers have on the organizers of the festival, the kind people at Sinsal, an organization that has put out dozens of concerts in Galicia (northwestern Spain) during the past eleven years.
This year, we were more than pleased to see our favorites Chelsea Wolfe and Jacco Gardner (I’m at a loss of words but I still want to congratulate him so hard for his choice of ditching the not-so-exciting pastoral psychedelia of his debut album for a more folk-rock sound in the new songs he presented at the festival) to discover the awesome Korean post-rock group Jambinai,the Mexican party-hard duo Frikstailers and the two superb teenage (probably close to 10 than to 20) DJs who were spinning some tunes as we all left the island at sundown. But most of all, we were completely blown away by the beauty and the history behind the two islands, along with the familiar nature of the festival. Sure, the island itself wouldn’t be able to accomodate the fans of the bands who play the main stage of FIB or Primavera Sound or insert-the-name-of-one-of-the-high-profile-Spanish-summer-festivals, but the experience of attending Sinsal Son EG is one of a kind and we’ll definitely be there again in the future.
On the 15th and 16th of August, while half the country was enjoying the Holiday, the little village of Moledo do Minho saw hundreds of Portuguese stoner rock fans (as well as a bunch of Galicians) invade its beach, restaurants and camping site. SonicBlast Moledo brought with it a sizeable crowd who saw gigs by Jibóia, Black Bombaim, Church of Misery, Mr. Miyagi, Blues Pills and Atomic Bitchwax, among others. This is Bolachas’ photo report of the second day of the festival. You can check the full photo gallery on our Facebook page.
All pics by RSV / minimoia