Festival Review: Reverence Valada

The Horrors by Valentina Ernö (x)
REVERENCE VALADA Day 1

Just like last year, the general visuals of the venue colorfully slapped you in the face. There was a vast room for camping (though still with too little lighting), the various food stands were as handy as ever, and the lovely adjacent village of Valada made for some occasional fraternization over a beer or two.
Similarly to the first edition, there were two smaller stages (Praia and Rio) additional to the main stage (Reverence), but this year saw a change in schedule. There were fewer bands in total, which allowed both for the audience to be able to walk between stages and missing very little and for the bands to have longer slots. This made the concerts seem less tense and time-constricted without losing their delightful punctuality.

Cutting to the first day, the only complaint would be that the sound was too loud for such a small stage. There was a respectable representation of Portuguese bands: Beautify Junkyards delivered curiously stimulating and mesmerizing covers and Galgo blew everyone away with their tight execution. JEFF the Brotherhood provided for an amazing apotheosis, spreading their classic rock/Sabbath vibe throughout an enthusiastic audience.

Galgo by Natacha Monteiro (o)
Galgo by Natacha Monteiro (o)
Beautify Junkyards by Jorge Pereira (y)
Beautify Junkyards by Jorge Pereira (y)
Jeff The Brotherhood by Valentina Ernö (x)
Jeff The Brotherhood by Valentina Ernö (x)
REVERENCE VALADA Day 2

When the second day started, the sun was already burning everything in its path. Maybe that didn’t go too well with some of the bands in the blazing afternoon, since the excessive bass (maybe due to sound issues) would often come out as suffocating. After a
few small concerts, the head turner for the crowd appeared to be Stoned Jesus, along with their clean stoner rock solos, as well as post-punk gothy Grave Pleasures. On another angle, The Warlocks gave the people some rest, gently delivering them into trance through psych-rock.

The Reverence stage was then opened by the already cult Portuguese Process of Guilt, whose enthusiastic audience – now bathed in a cool breeze – was a good omen for the rest of the evening. The Industrial-driven Bizarra Locomotiva brought an unsubtle touch of perversity, and they played their part well by letting worship and shock happen properly. On the other hand, regardless of how well their music suits the festival, Alcest
didn’t seem to fit in such a huge open environment, and the exhaustingly voice-smothering loud drums certainly didn’t help. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion had a surprisingly clean sound, as well as some delightful bluesy rock’n’roll pep talks in between songs, with a front man so prone to shenanigans as expected. However, everything was toned down as Sleep entered the stage. Even if an hour and half might have been too long for these veteran stoner-doomers, the audience certainly didn’t think so and joined them in slowing down time and space.
At the same time as these concerts, in the Praia stage, the more than heavy Ufomammut matched the expectation of a sludgy pachydermatous show, complemented with mesmerizing background projections. The ‘70s-inspired DeWolff should also be mentioned for their neatly packed southern psych party offered by undeniably great performers and musicians.

Grave Pleasures
Grave Pleasures
Process of Guilt by João Ribeiro (u)
Process of Guilt by João Ribeiro (u)
Alcest by Jorge Pereira (y)
Alcest by Jorge Pereira (y)
Sleep by  Valentina Ernö (x)
Sleep by Valentina Ernö (x)
Ufomammut by Valentina Ernö (x)
Ufomammut by Valentina Ernö (x)
REVERENCE VALADA Day 3

On the third day, we were again regaled with a lot of powerful acts from Portuguese bands. Still in the afternoon, Fast Eddie Nelson were able to pull everyone who was sitting down into their southern bluesy riot, all in the course of a minute, and kept the party going throughout their gig. Both The Act-Ups (PT) and The Jack Shits provided for really engaging, playful garage rock shows (including The Jack Shit’s front man’s cheeky going-away tomfoolery). Samsara Blues Experiment got together an impressive amount of people even before the concert began and gave them the riff-powered blast they deserved, as well as a sharp execution of their big bluesy bass-charged music. On a completely different spot of the spectrum, Miranda Lee Richards bewitched her
audience into a placid state with her sweet country voice and desert echoes.

The returning 10 000 Russos got to play on the main stage this time, and proved to be more than up to the task, spreading a well presented doom vibe before being followed by Joel Gion & Guests. The former The Brian Jonestown Massacre member didn’t quite have the most responsive of audiences, but maybe the less than clean sound could have something to do with it. Sean Riley & The Slowriders made for one of the lightest acts of those three days, and its Americana kind of flavor went surprisingly well with the festival’s aura. The prog mammoths Amon Düül II could have gotten a better sound quality out of Renate Knaup’s witch-like voice, which could become piercing at times; however, I’m sure their demonic drummers and magnificent closing made up for it. Lastly, The Horrors offered what could be considered your go-to psych rock concert: a taste of garage, a handful of distortion and an almost theatrical way of carrying themselves along with a constantly dancing audience, even if the sound came out a little fuzzy.

As for the smaller stages, one could mention the acid distorted Electric Moon, who seemed to get an impressive reaction, and Magic Castles, who built the perfect opportunity for a lighter dreamier moment.

Reverence is too big to fit in any report, and if you didn’t visit it yet, you should check for yourself the friendly folk, the colorful sky, the dusty sweaty ground and the cosmic grins to go all around. If you have visited, then I’m sure I’ll see you next year!

Miranda Lee Richards by Jorge Pereira (y)
Miranda Lee Richards by Jorge Pereira (y)
Amon Düül II by Jorge Pereira  (y)
Amon Düül II by Jorge Pereira (y)
The Horrors by Valentina Ernö (x)
The Horrors by Valentina Ernö (x)

Words: Andreia Figueiredo // Pictures: Valentina Ernö (x) + Jorge Pereira (y) + Natacha Monteiro (o) + João Ribeiro (u)

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