Desertfest returns to Camden for its 9th offering next May 2020, with last year’s festival playing host to the likes of OM, Fu Manchu, Amenra, All Them Witches and Wovenhand. Over the last few years, Desertfest has seen not only a rapid expansion in terms of attendees, but an ever-growing diversity of artists at the forefront of the booking process. Whilst the opening of the festivals figurative mind has been an important path to take, the core has, and will, remain the same; a strong vein of flowing stoner rock grooves to keep the weekend grounded. And so with that, Desertfest are thrilled to welcome back some familiar faces before they reveal some new ones…
Making their first UK appearance in five years, Masters of Reality will return to London for their Desertfest debut as 2020 headliners next May. One of the most influential bands in desert rock history, with the genres very own Godfather at the reins, Masters is the brainchild of legendary producer Chris Goss (Welcome to Sky Valley, Rated R, Blues for The Red Sun, Dust, Songs for The Deaf). Their effortless combination of hard-rock blues with an experimentally progressive tinge makes no apologies for not sticking within the stylised box listeners would assume, yet simultaneously provides the perfect lesson in the musical ethos and story-telling of the Palm Desert scene – all led by the man who laid its foundations.
Masters have lived a unique career since their inception in 1981 – signing to Def Jam Records in 1986, having their first full length produced by Rick Rubin, alternating line-ups that have seen Ginger Baker, Josh Homme, Mark Lanegan and Dave Catching join the brethren – the elusive and unapologetic journey Masters of Reality have taken is to be greatlyadmired. Desertfest are truly honoured to tick another band off the wish-list and give the stage to an act who wholly encompasses our roots and reason.
Some welcome returns come in the form of North Carolina favourites Corrosion of Conformity – their Southern stomp, spearheaded by frontman Pepper Keenan’s unmistakable drawl, slides down as easy as the smoothest whiskey known to man. The last time C.O.C played Desertfest was in 2016 and the party that took place both on and off stage will be hazily etched into our memory forever, you’d be a fool to pass up an opportunity to revel in one of the greatest live acts the heavy metal scene has ever spewed from its raucous underbelly.
Comrades since the inception of Desertfest, the mighty Orange Goblin will join us to celebrate a colossal anniversary, frontman Ben Ward shares the following: “As Orange Goblin celebrates 25 Years as a band we can think of no better place to start the celebrations than at Desertfest London, in our home town. Having played the first ever Desertfest back in 2012 and having watched it grow into the monster it has now become, it is a huge honour for us to be a part of the 2020 line-up. We will be touching on all era’s of the band’s career for a set that defines Orange Goblin and the special rapport that we share with our London fans.”
The desert daze continues with yet another iconic figure making an appearance, Brant Bjork will bask in psychedelic sunshine as his quintessential rhythm penetrates through Camden. Best known as a founding member of Kyuss and Vista Chino Brant Bjork ’s multi-instrumental career has resulted in a unique sound, evolving to what can now only be referred to as ‘living legend’ status. High-octane party starters The Picturebooks will supply a foot-stomping frenzy that truly defies logic for a two-piece, whilst London’s Green Lung effortlessly walk the astral plane of psychedelic occult doom – with their debut album ‘Woodland Rites’ reaching critical acclaim Green Lung have firmly placed themselves on our ones-to-watch-list.
The Brother Keg is morphing into a creature worthy of more than just attention but a serious admiration for song writing, with rumblings of a debut LP entering the orbit imminently. Horror-fanatics Possessor combine thrash, punk and flurry of fuzz into a witch’s brew of unhinged ferocity best witnessed live and loud. To round things off we welcome Black Orchid whose otherworldly soundscapes, lead effortlessly by the ethereal vocals of frontwoman Kay Elizabeth, will take listeners on a journey of groove and reflection.
Desertfest is truly elated to play host to this long-awaited return and allow you to experience Witchcraftin the flesh next May.
The pace picks up with the bludgeoning sludge-punk sounds of PISSED JEANS, whose narrative continues to be as societally insightful as it is tongue-in-cheek. Pissed Jeans brazen take on the male psyche highlights shortcomings regarding gender relations, with a hefty dose of outrageously entertaining self-deprecation. An unforgiving amalgamation of sludge, noise and punk sees Pissed Jeans sit in a realm of their own and are not to be missed live. No strangers to Desertfest we welcome back the unholy trio Conan for a very special performance. Leading man Jon Davis reveals more, “Since we wrote and recorded Monnos in 2012 we have been fortunate to travel the world, playing almost every continent, all due to some awesome people. Thanks to our relationship with the people at Desertfest, who have been particularly supportive of our quest, we have agreed to perform Monnos in its entirety at Desertfest London 2020, playing songs such as ‘Headless Hunter’ and ‘Invincible Throne’ for the first time in many years. Conan thank you for this opportunity and we’ll see you in May!”
Following last year’s unforeseen travel issues, we are thrilled to have Naxatras back on the bill ready and willing to bathe listeners in their psychedelic groove. John Vagenas shares the following, “After last year’s cancellation, which was totally beyond our control, we’re SUPER excited to take a break from the studio, and fly to London for a UK-exclusive show at Desertfest, in May 2020! We can’t wait to make it up to you!” The last time British sludge pioneers Raging AGING Speedhorn played Desertfest they drank all our Jägermeister, broke everything in sight and left us stood there wondering “What the f*ck just happened?” and you’d be completely right in thinking we’re expecting nothing less as we welcome them back to Camden next May.
Celestial tones continue as San Diego’s Sacri Monti make their debut with a spectrum of far-out jams expertly pieced together for an otherworldly trip. Having firmly placed themselves in our “Albums of 2018” with the incredible American Scrap Huntmen will bring their diversely progressive concoction of doom metal, and melancholic Americana storytelling, for its first UK outing at the 9th edition of Desertfest London.
Elsewhere we welcome experimental psych-rock champions Monarch , also from the fertile lands of San Diego, who skilfully weave an Allman Brothers-esque thread into their sonic kaleidoscopic. Arizona’s Spirit Adrift who effortlessly carry the torch for traditional doom with lashings of classic 80’s heavy metal, that somehow feels anything but retro. Belgium offers up an excellent fusion of fuzz with doses of 90’s grunge from Fire Down Below alongside space-psych drifters Grotto who blew us away at this year’s Desertfest Antwerp. Finally, we round things off with a further celebration of home-grown talent – Oxfordshire riff hounds Desert Storm will deliver a shock-wave of groovy stoner-metal and locals Morag Tog will showcase their dynamic take on psychedelic doom as they’ve quickly slotted themselves into our ‘ones to watch’ list.