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Live Report: Desertfest London Day 1

It was time for the party to begin, after the pre-show madness of the night before, it was time for a full day of riffs and madness in good old Camden Town.

Desertfest 2018 day splits

I only saw two songs from Old Man Lizard due to an interview taking place with one of the bands, but from what I saw is that the band revelled in playing in front of a large crowd. What they played was classic Old Man Lizard material, confident, bold and unique. This is a band who really could be onto something big if they got the right opportunities, and lucky for them Desertfest provided them with one.

Opening the Koko were Greek rockers Planet of Zeus, they’ve come along way since I last saw them four years ago with Lionize and Kyng in Colchester in 2014, appearing more confident and in their element playing to a packed Koko. Planet of Zeus were great fun, playing every riff with ease and enjoying the moment. They played 11 songs in a career spanning set, drawing from 11 albums leaving something for everyone in a set that was a great start to Koko’s proceedings.

Zeke played like a well-oiled machine. They played a song very fast, raised their instruments triumphantly in the air at the end of it and then repeated the same thing over and over again for 45 minutes. They opened with ‘Highway Star’ and played over 20 songs, including a turbo cover of Kiss‘ ‘Shout It Out Loud’. Despite guitarist Blind Mickey commenting “We’ve been on tour for a month and a half and nobody speaks fucking English” at one point during the set, the 20+ bangers Zeke played were a thrash punk delight.

Wino looked like the coolest man in the room as The Obsessed smashed the Koko with a mix of timeless classics and exciting new material. I only caught half of their set due to wanting to catch the rest of the line-up at the Ballroom, but from what I saw, Wino very much still has it and he certainly has some mileage left in him.

After indulging in a cheeky halloumi and falafel wrap, it was time for my most anticipated band of the day, Eyehategod. As soon as Mike IX Williams announced on stage “We’re Eyehategod from New Orleans,” everything seemed right. Despite only having Mr Jimmy Bower on guitar, Eyehategod were an unstoppable juggernaught, playing their sorrow drip riffs and painful stories to a packed Ballroom with hundreds queuing outside to get in. It was one of the best sets of the festival. In the thirty years of playing they could play in their sleep, but they gave it everything and showed they still truly cared for the fans. It’s really good to have them back, just hurry up with he new album.

For what could have been Warning’s last performance, it was certainly a (rightfully depressing) high note to end on. Despite the Ballroom being half full, everyone there was caught in the band’s doomy spell. Playing their seminal masterpiece Watching From A Distance in full, the band captured the mood and spirit and the album and brought it to life. People were crying at the depressing, majestic beauty of the album as Patrick Walker’s beautiful voice soared high in the Ballroom.

“For this festival we tried to get in the spirit by doing as many slow songs as possible,” remarked Napalm Death ringleader Barney Greenway during the band’s headline set at the Electric Room, before adding “I’ll be honest with you, we found it quite difficult”. Ed Miliband’s favourite band were on fine form and I’m glad I picked them over Graveyard. The most unique band on the line-up but one that has influenced the majority of it, Napalm Death were needed to pummel the night away. A rallying cry against the state of the world, Napalm Death are as essential as ever.

More of the bands:
Old Man Lizard
Planet of Zeus
Zeke
The Obsessed
Eyehategod
Warning
Napalm Death
Desertfest London
Old Empire

Jack
About Jack (871 Articles)
I am a recent graduate from the University of Essex in Colchester where by the luck of Odin I met the editor, Dom. I first got into metal when I was 13 and now I am 22 and own an uncountable amount of band T-shirts. I also regularly attend gigs (local and in neighbouring areas) as well as festivals. My musical taste is varied; I like nu metal (my first love), thrash, black, death, doom, folk, sludge (my favourite genre), symphonic and many more of the multiple genres that metal has to offer, I even like some metalcore (I know it's a dirty word within some metal circles but some of it is outstanding). One of my most memorable metal moments was meeting Grand Magus at the Bloodstock signing tent and having the whole tent to myself, spending a few minutes talking to them.