All too quickly, Saturday and the final day of this Portuguese paradise, aka Reverence Festival Valada, is upon us.

Today was the day I’d earn my DJ spurs in the public arena, agonising over the playlists was about to enter the realm of consciousness, the sense of sheer exhilaration was overwhelming.

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Definitive pic of yours truly by Sarah

I was on from 1 – 2 pm, again from 2.40 – 3.10 then finally from 3.50 – 4.30, and I loved every minute of it! You can read about the journey in arriving at this anointed  hour, in my previous post, ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life‘. And you can soak up the atmosphere, by listening to the tracks I played, in the Primal Radio podcasts  titled, ‘Something Old… Something New… Everything Borrowed… Something Blue’, by following these links to Part I and Part II

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It felt somewhat surreal, to be the one choosing the tracks, and to hear some of them at volume, was a pure unadulterated rush. To those in the modest gathering, who connected with and dug the vibe, I wholeheartedly salute you. Sharing that bond of pleasure in the moment, helped anchor the sinewy tether of my elation to terra firma.

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First up, following me on the Indiegente Stage, were Lisbon band Moloch who reassuringly wear their holy trinity of, “Desert rock Beckett, Psychedelic Lemmy, Punk Burroughs”, proudly emblazoned on their collective sleeves…

Second band of the day are La Chanson Noire, purveyors of Portuguese “Bleak Pop” – the embodiment of, in their own words, “Art: At its best and at its worst”…

Lisbon Darkwave legends, Phantom Vision, thence summoned forth the Goth legions. Their adoring fans, injecting the late afternoon sunshine with a theatrically stygian tableaux. Unleashing their maelstrom of, “infinite dimension, where sight is poetry and movements are eternal trips of indescribable emotions, untiring eddies of feelings”…

Logistics now seized the reins of the day. We had to get back to the hotel and pack – our 7:25 am train on Sunday, back to Lisbon and the flight home to Ireland, would leave little enough room for bleary eyed manoeuvre in the morning, Sadly this forced tactic, cut a large swathe through the bands I’d hoped to see that evening…

Steak were the first casualty of our hiatus, their, “Stoner / Desert / Fuzz Rock” credentials, resonating around the Rio Stage…

The Veldt, and the promise of their “Indie, Soul, Folk, Drone, Trance, Ambient” crossover vibe, were another band whose reputation, I had been keen to witness first hand…

Another band missed, was firm favourites and oft witnessed, The Cult Of Dom Keller, currently riding high on the success of their latest album, ‘Goodbye To The Light’…

Packed, napped, showered, fed and watered, or wined to be precise, and we are back firing on all cylinders, just in time for Nik Turner’s New Space Ritual. I’d bumped into Nik the night before, near the press tent, and I’d seized the opportunity to have a brief chat, and shake the great man’s hand. A bona fide living legend…

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The living legends were coming thick and fast now, The Damned, belying their 40th anniversary status, careered around the stage with aplomb, the same restless kids from yesteryear, full of energy and as fresh as a ‘New Rose’…

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The Sisters of Mercy had earlier posted in the press tent, that the photograph pit would be closed during their performance. In an attempt to evade this bah-humbug development, I booked an early berth, front and centre at the barrier.

5 minutes into the set, acquiescence saw the other photographers duly file into the pit – extricating myself to join them proved no mean feat! Not that being 10 feet closer to the stage, made the slightest dent in the billowing clouds of dry ice – I love the smell of solid carbon dioxide in the evening! (sic). What your eyes could only hint at, your ears more than made up for, with the familiar strains of that unmistakeable, Eldritch sturm und drang. As with The Damned, the intervening decades simply melted into oblivion, the consummate talent and musicianship, reigniting the burning embers of my youth. As The Sisters of Mercy webpage attests, “We are a rock’n’roll band. And a pop band. And an industrial groove machine. We are intellectual love gods”…

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I’d have loved to stick around for Radar Men From The Moon, a band I’ve literally lost track of how many times I’ve seen play live, but their 1:50 – 2:40 am time slot didn’t sit well with our 6 am alarm call…

This year saw a slimmed down version of Reverence Festival Valada. Gone was the big stage and with it the dreaded overlaps. I for one applaud this decision. This leaner, meaner incarnation pulled off the impossible, somehow managing to improve on the perfection of last year, making this year feel even more intimate, even more, the music calendar’s best kept secret. Hat’s off, (quite literally in the case of Clemens Mitscher!), to everyone involved in making this a truly special and memorable event.

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The journey home, was rendered complete with one final piece in the ritual jigsaw. As with every homeward-bound flight, since the album launch party in April 2015, I indulge in the rapture of Sonic Jesus’ ‘Neither Virtue Nor Anger’. In particular, the track ‘My Lunacy’, seemingly giving wings to my shamanic sojourns…

(all images © ian robertson / chromaticism)

Written by Chromaticism