It was my absolute last night in town, and there’s no place I’d have rather been than Kimo’s Lounge to see Snail. The coincidence of being there while their tour, bound next for San Diego, then Los Angeles, stopped in was too much. I’ve been going back more and more lately to their album, Blood, for repeat listens, and it’s beginning to seem that, as good as I thought the record was when I first heard it last year, that was really just scratching the surface of character in these songs. So what do you do? You go to the show.
My flight was at seven the next morning, and that was definitely in the back of my mind the whole time at Kimo’s, but it’s astounding to me how universal a doom/stoner scene can be. Sure, the venue was above the regular bar area instead of in the basement, but man, the red walls, red floor, black ceiling, layout and overall vibe reminded me so much of The Delancey in NYC it was uncanny. Same type of crowd too, basically. Unreal.
The difference is, of course, New York rarely has shows like this anymore, even on a Tuesday. It was the kind that, four years ago, I would have gone to with a couple buddies, gotten loaded and probably still talk about today. As it was, I stayed mostly sober, owing to the impending travel, and won’t really be able to talk to anyone about the show (present company excluded), since although The Patient Mrs. was there for the opening act, she didn’t stick around long enough to catch the highlight of the evening.
So it goes. Said opening act was Razorhoof, an everyman doom trio from Monterey who, like me, had to be up early the next day. Their stuff wasn’t groundbreaking by any stretch, but it was earnest, and loud, and those two make up for a lot of the other. Both bassist Nic and guitarist Rick handled vocals, which gave the set a little variety, and when it was done, I bought a CD (in a nifty handmade package) from drummer James, who seemed appreciative. Review to come, I’m sure.
I think Snail surprised a lot of people with Blood last year. I’m not going to claim I was into the band when they were originally together in the early ’90s, but I have at this point heard the material from back then, and even in the context of that, the record was an unexpected sonic turn. Likewise, their show had a surprising amount of power behind it. Guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson‘s Laney sounded huge in the room, and even better than guitarist Eric Clausen‘s Peavey was at cutting through that thickness of tone for leads was his voice at harmonizing with Johnson throughout songs like “Underwater,” “Mental Models,” “Blood,” and older cuts like “Deep Sea Fishing” and “Confessions.”
Talking tech has never been my forte and I’m not about to start now, but a special point of interest was bassist Matt Lynch‘s Fender 400 PS amp, which gave off some of the warmest low end I’ve ever heard without sacrificing any real punch. Through the heavier/faster moments of “Committed” and “Sleep,” it was a joy to hear Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson be so much in the pocket. It was also a joy to hear these songs I’ve grown to dig so much in a live setting, which I genuinely didn’t think I’d ever do, and to sing along to them in person the way I’ve been doing in my car — loudly and out of key. Good times for sure.
Flood, also on MeteorCity, headlined, but with The Patient Mrs. waiting in the rental car, I couldn’t really stay. I caught about a song and a half, and their modern, Sunn-amped doom seemed right in line with the newer school — and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing — but it was clear I wasn’t about to dig it more than Snail, and it was even clearer that if I didn’t get some sleep before my flight, I wasn’t going to make it back to Jersey, so I split. I don’t get out to the West Coast often (last time was ’08 and this trip really was a crime of opportunity), but maybe next time. You never really know how these things will come together until you’re there.
Tags: California, MeteorCity, Monterey, Razorhoof, San Francisco, Seattle, Snail, Unsigned bands, Washington