Desertfest London 2022 – Friday Review & Photos
Fresh from a triumphant weekend as Roadburn house band, French mega psych purveyors Slift kicked off The Electric Ballroom on Friday. Despite joining the queue a quarter hour before they were due to start, we only got inside the venue for the third track. The Electric Ballroom and Desertfest need to sort this out, it happens every year, with doors being opened too late for The Electric Ballroom’s way over the top and unnecessary security protocols.
Anyway, Slift played an acid-drenched set, with Altitude Lake, It’s Coming, and the title track from Ummon being clear favourites with the crowd. Looking like the obvious heirs to Earthless (who we’ll see tomorrow) as the planet’s most fun psych band, the Toulouse power trio continue to impress.
After Slift we opted for a change of pace and atmosphere, with the doomed crush of Coltsblood in the Underworld. Starting to an empty room and with bass overwhelming guitar, both in the crowd and on stage it was a tricky start for them, but by the close of the set, their glacial groove was back on form.
After a bite to eat, we popped in to catch some of Switchblade in the Underworld. Immediate and persuasive trad alerts went off immediately and that was that. Not for me I’m afraid.
Next, a couple of Desertfest veterans – Lowrider and 1000Mods playing The Electric Ballroom. Lowrider draw on two of the genre’s classics, Ode To Io and more recently, the wonderful Refractions. Always a charming band and one that seems to be there for the fun of it, Lowrider bring a great time, guaranteed. A big bass sound, two guitars dialled into the classic stoner tone, and augmented by keys from a buddy in Elephant Tree, Lowrider are the epitome of the good time Scandinavian groove rock scene. A rousing rendition of Pipe Rider closes, a slow burning epic that puts a smile on all the faces present. Hard to beat, but very much locked into both the strengths and limitations of the genre.
1000Mods are another party band. An impressive range of bass sounds from frontman Dani G dovetailing with his guitarists either side of him. Starting with a rowdy version of Road To Burn, closing with a rapturously received Super Van Vacation and thrilling The Electric Ballroom with a riotous Vidage, this is a band increasingly at home on a big stage playing to a packed room. Much improved from their most recent London headline show.
To finish the night, we took our first trip to Powerhaus to see Friday closers GNOD. Playing the same songs as their Next Stage (formerly the Green Room) Roadburn set last weekend, they got an even more welcome reception than they had in Tilburg. What has been billed last week as the heaviest of the heavy lived up to that this week as a colossal (and augmented) rhythm section pounded out the beats, over which riff after riff rolled. Less antisocial and smashing through the songs, this was GNOD on top form, closing out the Powerhaus stage and our Friday at Desertfest London.
Scribed by: Ian M
Photos by: Simon Kallas