Høstsabbat 2019 Confirms Colour Haze as Second Headliner

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 banner

As a terrible tv show intro once said, “It’s been a long road, getting from there to here.” Awful as that theme was, the saying nonetheless applies to Høstsabbat 2019, which has now announced its complete lineup for the 2019 edition with Colour Haze as the final act added. The German heavy psychedelic stalwarts are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, and have already been on tour to mark the occasion, so one can only imagine the party will continue like it does. They join Ufomammut as headliners for Høstsabbat, and I’ll admit that since I heard they were playing I’ve been itching to post the news. I think it’s pretty well established I’m a dork for Colour Haze at this point, and as they’re recording a new album this month — maybe even RIGHT NOW — it’s all the more reason to get out and see them, not that any more reason than “they’ll be there” is needed when it comes to showing up.

All the more imperative to get yourself to Kulturkirken Jakob this October.

Book it.

Here’s word from the fest:

hostsabbat 2019 colour haze

HØSTSABBAT 2019 – COLOUR HAZE (DE)

All of a sudden we are there. The last, but definitely not the least, addition to Høstsabbat 2019.

We have been wanting to have this band on the bill for years, and we are super proud to finally bring the mighty COLOUR HAZE to Norway for the first time, headlining the Saturday bill.

COLOUR HAZE represents the essence of what Høstsabbat is all about. They are heavy, they are lush, they are groovy, they are retro-oriented, but first of all they are one of the best bands on display in World. Make no mistake, they are no beginners.

COLOUR HAZE is a band that seems to have existed for ever. They have played the biggest festivals a numerous of times; Roadburn, Duna Jam, Desertfest and the list goes on… Their latest opus “In her Garden”, out 2017 on Elektrohasch Records marked their place in the European psych/kraut rock community as an entity that never rests on its prior accomplishments, but keep on pushing boundaries to expand their sound to the enjoyment of all their fans.

They are at times reminiscent of Norwegian legends Motorpsycho, both in their sound and artistic vision. We surely hope and think COLOUR HAZE will blow minds like no one before them, when they enter the Chapel stage Saturday October 5th.

COLOUR HAZE has been added, Høstsabbat 2019 booking is done.

See you in October!

FESTIVAL TICKETS
http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Colour Haze, Live at The Garage, London, May 22, 2018

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Colour Haze to Record New Album in April; Live Vol. 2 Coming Soon; Touring in Spring

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Let’s get right to it: Colour Haze are going to begin recording their next album in April. I was thinking the other day they might have something in the works to follow-up 2017’s In Her Garden (review here), and it’s all the more fitting that they do, as they’re also celebrating their 25th anniversary on a previously announced tour this Spring that includes stops at Desertfest in London and Berlin both. New Colour Haze, all the more as the trio has expanded to a four-piece, is among the most welcome things a given year can bring. To say it’s one to look forward to is like saying you look forward to vacation. Of course you’re looking forward to it. It’s vacation. That’s how it is with new Colour Haze.

They’ll also have a new live album out that was recorded at Duna Jam in 2007 — which puts it square in the Tempel era; win — as well as a reissue of Los Sounds de Krauts that will also be remixed. I’ll be interested to hear how that album changes in the new version. Other digital reissues are currently in progress as well.

And I haven’t heard yet, but one assumes they’ll be at Keep it Low in Munich this October for their annual appearance there — one more reason to want to go to that fest — and they may have more anniversary touring in the works as well. We’ll see. Either way, the more active they are, the better a place the planet is to be.

From the PR wire:

colour haze 2 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

25 years Colour Haze

In August 1994 Tim Höfer, Christian Wiesner and me founded Colour Haze. After uneasy first years Mani and Philipp completed the band in 1998. Last year Jan Faszbender joined us. After more than 450 shows all over the world, 2 live- and 12 studio-albums foremost we wish to say:

THANK YOU! Thanks to all who went to our concerts and bought the records. Thanks to our crew, the promoters, local staffs and all who helped. Thanks to all the bands who shared the stage with us and all the musicians who contributed to our recordings. Thanks to all who wrote and spread the word. Thanks to our families who tolerate and support all this!

Thanks for all the friendship we found and could share!

And we have a lot of plans for 2019:
– we keep on working through our back-catalogue and will add more remastered Hi-resolution downloads to our webshop.
– After all the old digital data could be restored Los Sounds De Krauts finally will be remixed and reissued on DLP, 2CD and download.
– Live Vol. 2 will be released soon – recordings from Duna Jam 2007 – parts of the legendary Tempel-concert and a wonderful session on the beach….
– For April we already booked the studio for the basic-track recordings of our upcoming album….

And we want to play live a lot – a first tour is already booked – after the shows with Jan were received so very well last year you can look forward to see us as a fourpiece again in May ; )

02.05. Nürnberg, Hirsch ( + Monkey 3)
03.05. Berlin, Desertfest
04.05. NL-Nijmegen, Sonic Whip
05.05. UK – London, Desertfest
06.05. F – Paris, Petit Bain ( + The Devil and the almighty Blues)
07.05. Aachen, Musikbunker ( + Monkey 3)
08.05. Hannover, Musikzentrum ( + Monkey 3)
09.05. Leipzig, Werk 2
10.05. Stuttgart, Universum ( +The Devil and the almighty Blues)
11.05. Passau, Zauberberg

www.soundofliberation.com/colour-haze
http://colourhaze.de/
www.elektrohasch.de

Colour Haze, In Her Garden (2017)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 10

Posted in Radio on February 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

Yeah, this episode was cool except for the goober hosting it. I recorded the voice breaks pretty early in the day on Friday, and I don’t know if I wasn’t awake or what, but I just couldn’t get it together. I think I did the middle break in two takes and that was about as good as it got. I’d still like to go back and get another shot at the opening one. And by the time I actually got to the end of the show, I was so damned afraid of screwing it up again that I basically sprinted for the stop button to finish recording. They can’t all be gold, I guess.

The good news is the playlist itself was awesome. As I tried repeatedly and failed to explain during the show itself, this episode wound up being a pretty vast international swath of acts, and that was something that just happened out of the blue. I didn’t even realize it until afterward. Sweden, Greece, the US, Italy, Norway, Australia, Germany. It’s a broad mix of stuff from a variety of places, and I like that. it’s a lot of new music and I like that too. Really, it’s just the sound of my own voice I could do without. Ha.

I’ll get ’em next time, or something.

Playlist follows. Thanks for reading and/or listening.

The Obelisk Show – 02.17.19

Warp Out of My Life Warp*
Automaton Talos Awakens TALOS*
The Munsens Dirge (For Those to Come) Unhanded*
BREAK
Vokonis Grasping Time Grasping Time*
Terras Paralelas Bom Presságio Entre Dois Mundos*
The Pilgrim Peace of Mind Walking into the Forest*
SÂVER I, Vanish They Came with Sunlight*
REZN Quantum Being Calm Black Water*
BREAK
Colour Haze Love Colour Haze
Aver Disorder Orbis Majora*
Troll Legend Master, Book I: Proverbs of Hell Legend Master*
BREAK
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard The Spaceships of Ezekiel Yn Ol I Anwnn*
Monovine Throw Me a Bone D.Y.E.*
Demon Head The Night is Yours Hellfire Ocean Void*
Old Mexico Past the Western Wall Old Mexico*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Tuesday at 9AM. Next show is March 3. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Colour Haze Announce 25th Anniversary Tour; Playing Desertfest in London and Berlin

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

colour haze

Congratulations to Colour Haze on 25 years of making the world a better place, and yes I mean that. I get asked every now and again who’s my favorite band, and no matter mood or any other factor that might come into play, Colour Haze always seem to be in the conversation. The forebears of European tonal warmth and heavy psychedelia didn’t start out as the progressive monolith they’ve become over time, but through their formative years and their heavy rocking era and into the brilliance that’s followed, the band has never stopped moving forward and have remained unflinchingly committed to challenging themselves as players and songwriters.

That’d be worthy of celebration in and of itself, but the fact of the matter is their work is still unparalleled. Up to and including the 2017 outing, In Her Garden (review here), and the expansion to a four-piece four the subsequent touring that included keyboardist Jan Faszbender alongside the core trio of guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald, they’ve succeeded not only in growing their sound and becoming an influential act in and out of Germany, but in maintaining a level of excellence that stands among the most reliable to be found anywhere. Few phrases can elicit the joy to match that of “new Colour Haze.”

I hope to hear that one soon, speaking of.

They’ll be at Desertfest Berlin and London as part of the 25th anniversary tour, and they’ve got dates with The Devil and the Almighty Blues and Monkey3 as well, so all the better.

From Sound of Liberation via the social medias:

colour haze tour poster

***Colour Haze – 25th ANNIVERSARY TOUR***

Friends! No big explanations needed:

The legends gonna celebrate 25th years of Colour Haze in 2019 and invite YOU to celebrate with them! Tour dates below.

DATES:
02.05.19 Nürnberg | Hirsch *
03.05.19 Berlin | Desertfest
04.05.19 Nijmegen | Sonic Whip
05.05.19 London | Desertfest
06.05.19 Paris | Petit Bain **
07.05.19 Aachen | Musikbunker *
08.05.19 Hannover | Musikzentrum *
09.05.19 Leipzig | Werk2
10.05.19 Stuttgart | Universum **
11.05.19 Passau | Zauberberg

* with monkey3
** with The Devil And The Almighty Blues

www.soundofliberation.com/colour-haze
http://colourhaze.de/
www.elektrohasch.de

Colour Haze, In Her Garden (2017)

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Desertfest Berlin 2019 First Announcement: Witch, Earthless, All Them Witches, Colour Haze, 24/7 Diva Heaven and Hällas Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2019 banner

Not to be outdone by its London counterpart, Desertfest Berlin 2019 makes its own first lineup announcement, and once again it finds the two fests working under the same banner sharing a goodly portion of their bill. A big four names are showcased in All Them Witches, Witch, Earthless and Colour Haze, and as ever, each Desertfest brings a bit of its own personality to the proceedings, in the case of Berlin 2019 thus far with Hällas from Sweden bringing their traditionalist heavy rock and 24/7 Diva Heaven delving into ’90s-era riot grrrl noise. Between those and the bigger acts shared with London, it will once again be interesting to see how the two festivals develop their coinciding rosters. I can’t imagine trying to coordinate one fest schedule, let alone two, and oh hey because why not, Desertfest Berlin 2019 has a boat involved. And I defy you to find someone who doesn’t enjoy riffs on a boat. That’s a distinguishing factor right there.

Kickass poster art and the PR wire announcement follow, of course with more to come:

desertfest berlin 2019 poster

DESERTFEST BERLIN ANNOUNCES FIRST BANDS FOR 2019!

Legendary WITCH, ALL THEM WITCHES, COLOUR HAZE, EARTHLESS, HÄLLAS & 24/7 DIVA HEAVEN added to the first round of acts!

Desert rockers, it’s finally time to unveil the first bands for 2019, and WHAT a first start of acts this is! DESERTFEST BERLIN is more than proud to welcome the one & only, legendary J Mascis who will crash the ARENA BERLIN with his band mates in stoner metal icons WITCH!

Formed in 2005 by Dinosaur Jr. guitarist Mascis, in WITCH the distinctive pioneer of rock music goes back to his roots and takes over the drums. The band’s eponymous self-titled debut has been released in 2006, followed by the highly accclaimed ‘Paralyzed’ album back in 2008. We could not be prouder to welcome this unique cult band to our 2019-edition!

Rumors have been going on for a while, and yes they became true: ALL THEM WITCHES will be playing DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019! This rare gig the legendary rockers from Nashville will play in Berlin, will truly belong to one of THE live highlights in the history of DESERTFEST BERLIN and yours, too. With their heavy blues and psychedelic desert rock, ALL THEM WITCHES will literally put the ARENA on FIRE, don’t miss one of their only shows in Europe live at DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019!

But we got way more sweet acts to be unveiled today and in this first band announcement every stoner rocker’s heart will beat faster for: Please welcome psychedelic rockers EARTHLESS to the 8th edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN! With their extensive jams, the Californian multi-instrumentalists will turn the ARENA into a psychedelic wonderland, join them for a long ride on their unique classic rock and jazzy Krautrock trips!

Another exciting band we like to unveil today: COLOUR HAZE will celebrate their 25th band anniversary live at DESERTFEST BERLIN! They belong to the oldest psychedelic institution and became the flagship of the German heavy stoner scene, the more we are stoked to welcome them to our next year’s line-up. With an additional keyboarder live at DESERTFEST BERLIN, COLOUR HAZE will take us on a magic sound landscape drown in the haze and true rock spirit. Let’s celebrate 25 years of the legendary COLOUR HAZE together with the band, live at DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019!

To close this first round of already stunning bands, we have added Swedish hardrockers HÄLLAS to our 2019-bill! Describing themselves as Adventure Rock, we cannot wait to join them on a live adventure noone of us will forget. Last but not least, ladies and gentlemen let’s start a Riot: With a delicate and true LO-FI sound, inspired by bands such as L7, Bikini Kill, The Melvins, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr. or Sonic Youth, the ladies in 24/7 DIVA HEAVEN will bring their pure blend of Hard Rock, Grunge and Punk Rock which is all bounded by the legendary Riot Grrrl sound to our stage in 2019, be prepared!

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 will take place between May 3th – 5th 2019 at the ARENA BERLIN.

In 2018, Desertheads from over 40 different countries came to witness the premiere at the Arena in the heart of Berlin, rocked out and celebrated the almighty riffs of the Stoner, Doom & Psychedelic Rock. In the last weeks the DESERTFEST BERLIN crew put their heads together to discuss and improve the 2019 edition. As the festival organizers just recently commented:

“We listened to the critics, cause we love you and we worked on all topics: Besides a totally new banging soundconcept and much simplified paying methods (token anyone?), we will come along with more space for you to hang and chill. And that is just the beginning of a whole candyjar of more sweet and trippy extras! So now that we took the Desertfest to the water and we saw how much you enjoyed our boatride… remember that white ship, the “Hoppetosse” docking on the outside area ? For DF 2019 we inked a deal with the owner and are now able to use the “Hoppetosse” as an additional chillzone as well as a rock and party stage. We will have bands playing there during the day, but also we will also host the aftershow parties on board. Hope you like this great news. More news are to come in the next days , so stay tuned!”

A new sound-and payment-system on the ground, more space AND a chillout- and live zone on a boat, with this already stunning line-up DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 will mark the best edition you have ever been to!

Start your trip to the heart of the capitol of the almighty riffs, we cannot wait to see you all at the ARENA BERLIN 2019!

www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
www.instagram.com/desertfest_berlin

Desertfest Berlin 2019 first announcement teaser

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Desertfest London 2019 First Announcement: Earthless, All Them Witches, Colour Haze, Kadavar, Witch, We Hunt Buffalo & DVNE Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2019 banner

What’s more exciting than a killer first festival announcement? Not much. So many possibilities, and with its first lineup additions, Desertfest London 2019 throws the door wide open with some massive names. Earthless, All Them Witches, Colour Haze and Kadavar? Hell, I’d take any of them as a headliner, and you can pretty much throw Witch in there too. That’s five acts right out of the gate, any of whom could sell out a show on their own in London, plus the just-reviewed We Hunt Buffalo and Edinburgh’s DVNE, whom I had the pleasure of seeing at Psycho Las Vegas for their US live debut, rounding out an initial seven that’s absolutely massive.

The key part of the announcement below, though? It’s where it says “we’re aiming for our biggest bill to date.” Desertfest London has only grown huger each year, more forward-thinking and broader in its reach. The Desertscene crew have their work cut out for them in topping 2018, but if this is a taste of the scale to come, they might just get there.

From the PR wire:

desertfest london 2019 poster

DESERTFEST LONDON 2019

Friday, May 3, 2019 – Sunday, May 5, 2019

It begins! Desertfest is returning to Camden for our eighth edition over the Bank Holiday weekend of 3rd to 5th May, and as ever we’re bringing you the finest stoner, doom, sludge and psych bands from around the world. Over the next few months, we’ll be revealing our lineup of dozens of the heaviest bands around, so without further ado, here’s the first seven names for Desertfest 2019.

Over the last half-decade, Nashville’s All Them Witches have made themselves indispensable with a sound that has never stopped evolving, with their roots in heavy blues and psychedelia flourishing over time into an approach that is undeniably their own. The Tennessee four-piece arrive at Desertfest with a reputation that precedes them for jammy explorations and a kind of heavy that, while regularly imitated, has yet to be reproduced by anyone else.

Joining them on the bill are Kadavar, who make their long awaited Desertfest return with their fur-coated, barreling riot of a set at the Jazz Cafe in 2013 as fresh in our minds as ever. There are very few who perform the retro-rockin’, ’70s proto-metal revival with the power, prestige and passion of our favourite Berlin trio. The boogie train that is Kadavar won’t be making any emergency stops as it ploughs through Camden this May.

Vermont spell-casters Witch will be enrapturing Desertfest with their stoner rock incantations in 2019. Combining psychedelic rock, Sabbath-ian doom, and Black Flag sludge-punk, stoner aficionados who were around for the noughties boom will fondly remember Witch for releasing some of the hookiest albums of the decade. After a stint lurking in the shadows, Witch are hitting up Desertfest to make magic once again.

Even after seven mammoth editions of Desertfest, there are bands we’ve been chomping at the bit to get over to Camden to grace our stages; finally, we’ve grabbed us the hardest jamming band in the universe, Earthless, are touching down to shred our corner of London to the ground. The epitome of psyched-out Hendrixian-krautrock from day one, San Diego’s ultimate power trio will melt your entire body this May.

Colour Haze make their return to the Desertfest stage in 2019 after six long years. The German trio, in whose image modern heavy psychedelia is in large part cast, have affirmed their position as unflinching masters of the form in their absence, finding a new niche between heavy riffs and expansive arrangements. The Colour Haze that return to Desertfest are, somehow, even better than the one we saw in 2013.

Vancouver trio We Hunt Buffalo‘s brand of prog-minded fuzz rock has been stampeding out of amps and trampling audiences since 2010. Professing a love of all things stoner and psych and citing influences from all genres of rock, all underpinned with driving fuzz lines, We Hunt Buffalo will be just the ticket to a sore neck at Desertfest.

Last but not least in our first batch of bands are Edinburgh’s DVNE who play their own unique brand of night sky-gazing melodic sludge. Early-period Mastodon fans should take note, as the progressive changes and all-conquering vocals conjure up scenes of destruction, desolation and absolution in their epic soundscapes of post-metal ebb and flow.

So there you have it, our first seven bands. With dozens more names to come, including all three headliners, we’re aiming for our biggest bill to date. Weekend tickets are on sale now at the link below, so be sure to book your place at the heaviest lineup in town; Desertfest 2019!

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

All Them Witches, ATW (2018)

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Friday Full-Length: Colour Haze, All

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Colour Haze, All (2008)


Ten years of All. A decade since this album came out, and that stretch has done nothing to dull its luster. Colour Haze didn’t invent the idea of warmth in a recording, but they might well have perfected it over their years. All swept in and was my album of the year pick in 2008, and its warmth is no small part of why, but it’s also the point at which Colour Haze — already past the 10-year mark themselves by then and on their ninth LP and fourth through Elektrohasch Schallplatten — began to show just how expansive their intentions really were. And how progressive.

It was a new level of maturity in their songwriting and a new level of patience even beyond that which they brought to 2006’s Tempel or their 2004 self-titled (discussed here), both also pivotal offerings both for the band and for European heavy psychedelia in general. Those records seemed to establish the pattern, and All, with its 65-minute 2LP run and its 10 one-word tracks that all streamed together to deliver the message, “silent moon turns lights; if stars all fall one remains,” came through as a new realization of many of the ideas Tempel and Colour Haze put forth, let alone 2003’s 2CD Los Sounds de Krauts, 2001’s Ewige Blumenkraft (reissue review here) or any of their earlier, more desert rock-influenced work preceding.

By the time they got to All, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek — also, if it needs to be said, the head of Elektrohasch — bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald, had already defined what their core sound was going to be, but in the mellow strums and backwards drums of “Turns,” and in the funk of “Moon” preceding, in the incorporation of organ on “Lights” and the hyper-immersive flow of its title-track, All demonstrated that as groundbreaking as Colour Haze had been up to that point, their exploration was really just getting started.

I don’t want to say All blew everything Colour Haze had previously done out of the water, because that’s not really true. Those other records stand up to any scrutiny one might want to give them and then some, each marking a point in the ongoing forward motion of the band’s continued growth. You cannot have one without the others before it, and that’s true of their work to-date. When they got around to All, however, there was a clear shift in terms of the scope at work. Tempel was and remains defined by its chemistry between KoglekRasthofer and Merwald — the same can be said to a degree of everything the band does — but had an inward-looking feel, where true to its title, All was more expansive and outward-directed.

Given a lot of the sonic exploration underway in songs like opener “Silent,” the sitar/acoustic-based “Stars,” and the tense, churning shuffle of “If” before it, it’s fair to say Colour Haze‘s reach had never been so much a factor in their arrangements, which had always beencolour haze all creative, and an overarching sense of poise held firm throughout, no matter where an individual song seemed to meander. It would be four more years before they put out a song called “Grace,” but All had plenty to go around.

Perhaps nowhere more so than on the extended pairing of “All” and “Fall.” I’ll gladly admit to being more familiar with the CD version — though once I did get to hold the limited edition cloth-cover double vinyl in my hands and I immediately felt unworthy — and while on the LP that’s the split between sides C and D, on the, ahem, CD, it’s a linear shift from one into the next, and it’s the point at which the fluidity that so much permeates the album as a whole finds its high water mark.

The arrival of the keys behind the driving apex toward the end of “Fall” is an obvious culmination point for the entire outing, but even before that, in the patience and gorgeous unfolding of “All” itself and the manner in which it takes on what’s essentially Colour Haze‘s signature riff and with Rasthofer‘s bass as a foundation builds upon it in a new and glorious way. The solo in the second half. The quiet noodling that follows with Merwald‘s cymbal-mute stops keeping the tension going. The build back up to full volume again, and indeed, the keys that emerge late; it’s nothing if not aptly titled “All.” It’s the kind of work that reaffirms hope for the species, even 10 years after the fact.

Repetitions of “We’ve got to get together/We’ve got to be all one” and a well-timed return of sitar make “One” more than an afterthought following “Fall,” and the quiet stand-mostly-alone guitar of “Remains” that caps the album is a statement unto itself. That they would finish not in grand crescendo, but instead peacefully making their way out — it’s another subtle but key decision that makes All the masterpiece it still is.

Colour Haze would, of course, continue the thread. As alluded to, in 2012, after copious delays on the technical side they released She Said (review here), which dived even deeper into expanded arrangements, with horns and strings pulled in alongside the core trio on cuts like “Transformation” and the aforementioned “Grace.” Late-2014’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) followed and drew back to a more rooted and jammier vibe, but still had its progressive aspects readily on display, and after the 2016 live record, Live Vol. 1 – Europa Tournee 2015 (review here), 2017 brought In Her Garden (review here), which again was one of the year’s best albums and renewed their commitment to the tenets of classic progressive rock while retaining the organic melodic and rhythmic sensibilities that seem at this point to be indispensable to their sound.

I had the opportunity to see them in London back in May of this year for the first time in half a decade, and they were nothing short of incredible. An absolute treasure of a band. They’ll make an annual sojourn to Keep it Low in their native Munich next month and play Sankt Hell in Berlin to round out the year, and I would not be at all surprised if 2019 brought a new release from them of one sort or another. Whatever that might be, it’d only be welcome.

I sincerely hope you enjoy All, and thanks for reading.

My early mornings doing Obelisk stuff have kind of become overnight shifts. I got up sometime around 1:30AM to start this post, and it’s coming on 4AM now. Most of this week I’ve been up between 2 and 2:30. I slept until my alarm went off at 3:30AM the other day and felt like I was behind all day because I didn’t get enough done before the baby woke up. And the truth is I was. One attempts to find a balance.

Attempts.

Hey, looks like I might be going back to Norway. I tend to never consider these things settled until I’m through security and getting on the flight — though even that wasn’t far enough when that volcano went off on my way to Roadburn in 2010 — but things are in motion to get me back to Høstsabbat in a couple weeks and it has The Patient Mrs.’ seal of approval. Electric Moon, Asteroid, Toner Low, Elephant Tree, on and on, playing in a church in Oslo? Yeah, you can go right ahead and sign me up for that one. Keeping my fingers crossed all the confirmation comes through okay. Naturally, if it happens, I’ll be covering. More info on the fest is here. It’s sold out.

Also looks like I’m getting a show on Gimme Radio. I turned in a sample playlist and they dug it so, it’s kind of a thing I’m trying out. I did college radio at WSOU, and kind of have missed being on-air ever since, so this could be a cool way to do that. Plus there are good people involved and that’s always key. More to come. I need to send them pictures of myself. Sadly, I’m awful-looking, so this is a source of some anxiety. Like, life-long.

In the meantime, The Little Dog Dio continues a steady decline. We’ve been hand-feeding her chicken breast and Polly-O string cheese for I guess two weeks now, and she just ate a bunch and drank some water and went out to pee, so clearly the steroids we’ve been giving her are doing their job, but she’s less comfortable between doses of pain meds than she’s been. Last night she was hunched up standing with her head down, clearly uncomfortable, and it had been a while since we saw that. Just now she got up out of her bed in the kitchen and came to lay down by my feet, which she ordinarily wouldn’t do — a shar pei wants to be nearby, but likes its space — so yeah. I’ve loved this dog for a long time. Another vet appointment next week to follow-up and see where we’re at. I’ll just give scritches and belly rubs until then. How about a billion dollars to whoever cures cancer first? I’d donate to that Kickstarter.

I don’t even want to get up and get another cup of coffee for fear of disturbing her.

That’s been hard. The worst part is there are moments where she’s eating and I forget and I feel like she’s maybe getting better and I look at the GIANT FUCKING TUMOR in her shoulder and just feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. She’s not going to get better. We’re buying time. Buying time and drawing it out. I told The Patient Mrs. a few days ago that I always imagined she wouldn’t so much die as evolve beyond her corporeal form and become a being of pure light like in that episode of The Next Generation. I was kidding, of course, but let that be indicative of my overall ability to emotionally handle what’s coming. Eating made her hurt. It happened last night too and it happened just now. Ugh.

Okay.

The Patient Mrs.’ semester has also started, so the week’s been kind of a mess on that end too. Summers “off” is nice — or would be; she has to work all the time anyway, between research, reading, writing and meetings for sundry university service projects, so while she’s not teaching, “summers off” is mostly a myth — but having your schedule upended every couple months, especially now with The Pecan running the show as he is, I’m trying to figure out when’s naptime not the least so I can sleep too. We’ll get there. We’re not there yet.

If you’re in North Carolina or anywhere in Hurricane Florence’s path, good luck and stay safe. My grandmother who passed away last year was named Florence. If she were alive and lucid, I’d like to think she’d see it as a fitting tribute. If anyone sees people after the storm selling “I survived Florence” t-shirts, I want one in every size available. Black shirts preferred. I’ll PayPal you the cash.

I’m streaming a track from the new Sherpa album — so good — and I’m going to try to review the new All Them Witches next week, and I’ve got stuff slated into the middle of the week already, news and such, but yeah, I’m going to finish working it all out over the weekend, so I’ll just leave it there for now.

Like always, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please have fun, hug your loved ones and take care of yourself in the best way you can.

And like always, please check out the Forum and Radio stream. It is appreciated.

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Live Review: Colour Haze, Trevor’s Head and The Brothers Keg in London, 05.22.18

Posted in Reviews on May 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

colour haze (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Colour Haze are my that band. You know that band. There’s some resonance there that goes deeper than the average listening experience. I have a couple that bands – YOB, Neurosis, etc. – but in my 15 years of following the Munich trio’s work – which makes me Johnny Comelately when set against the fact that their first album, Chopping Machine (discussed here), came out 23 years ago – I’ve only seen them three times prior. One was Roadburn 2009 (discussed here), another Desertfest London 2013 (review here), and to go way back, Emissions from the Monolith in 2006, which to-date remains the only show they’ve ever played on US soil. I’ve said so before, but that was a moment that genuinely changed my life.

So it was my last night in London before flying back to the US Eastern Seaboard and facing the reality check of bills, stacks of mail – my mail log was on my stolen laptop; whoops – laundry, grocery shopping, and so on, so you’re god damned right I was going to see Colour Haze as they happened to be in town on a tour that brought them to midsize club The Garage for what would be the first non-fest set of theirs I’d ever seen. On my way to the show, I was thinking of what it might bring, for what the room would be like, what the gig would be like, how many people would be there, all that stuff mixed into an anxiety and excitement that lasted pretty much until I walked in the door and saw The Brothers Keg on stage opening the three-band bill.

With Tom Fyfe on drums — also of StubbThe Brothers Keg made their debut with a demo (discussed here) late last year and played material from that and then some, proffering a blend of heavy, desert rock, shouty sludge and psychedelia that someday, probably years from now, some clever critic is going to dub the “London sound.”

It speaks to Kyuss and Iron Monkey alike, but definitely came of age with some grunge influence, and isn’t unaware of the UK’s massive psychedelic legacy either. At least The Brothers Keg weren’t. They had some bearings to straighten out in terms of overall direction, but as with the demo, their potential was writ large in their live set and they made an excellent opener for the night, tying in some elements that each of the next two acts would share.

Trevor’s Head also had some of that “London sound” to them, but it was more of an undercurrent to an overarching layer of prog-metal weirdness. Fronted by guitarist Roger Atkins they played material from their new album on APF Records, Soma Holiday (review here) and a few older songs from 2016’s Tricolossus. Obviously familiar to the crowd, who sang along as the band rolled through, Trevor’s Head‘s three-vocalist approach allowed them to bring the same variety to their live performance as they brought to the record, and three mics on stage meant that at any given point, any one of Atkins, bassist Aaron Strachan and drummer Matt Ainsworth might be breaking the balls of the others. Elephant Tree had a bit of that going too the other night, albeit with one fewer mic. Call it another London thing. Dudes being dudes and whatnot.

They’re an interesting band, though. All three have significant stage presence in the making, and they play with three discernible personalities, with Atkins the frontman despite being in a level line at the front of the stage with the others, Strachan lost in the world of his five-string, and Ainsworth amiably busting chops between songs while seated behind his kit. Again, they knew people in the crowd, but I think even as others started to show up ahead of Colour HazeTrevor’s Head represented the coterie of Desertscene — who booked this gig and also runs Desertfest London — with sonic purpose and a bit of the tongue-in-cheek persona that helps define who these groups are.

I was fortunate enough to talk to Colour Haze guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek for a bit before they went on, and he mentioned this was their 12th show in as many nights. The night before, they were in France. They’d already been to London once, as well as Porto, Madrid and up to Scotland, etc. That’s not an insignificant run for a band of 20 year olds, let alone a group of veterans who’ve influenced a generation of heavy psychedelic rockers and whose first album, Chopping Machine (discussed here), came out in 1995. And though this was my first time seeing them outside festival confines, I was not at all surprised to find they made a two-hour set seem far too short. They were amazing. I’m speaking literally. I stood there and was amazed.

Bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald might be the tightest rhythm section I’ve ever seen. It sounds like hyperbole, but I’m being honest. Their smooth shifts in meter, groove and progression were a joy to watch from the start of set-opener “She Said” through pre-encore set-closer “Transformation” — both taken from 2012’s She Said (review here) — and they played with such class both between themselves and in kind with Koglek and keyboardist/synthesist Jan Faszbender that as they made their way through the title-cut of 2006’s Tempel (discussed here), there was funk in their sound, as well as jazz and still enough rock to tie it all together. Merwald drove the linear builds forward as his kit faced sideways on the stage to put him head-on with Faszbender, and in classic fashion, as Rasthofer provided the foundation, it left Koglek‘s guitar free to wander. And it did. Gloriously.

And the tones. My god. The crowd — increasingly drunk, increasingly dancing — cheered from the first note Koglek played, and rightfully so. His and Rastofer‘s tones both are a guiding principle for Colour Haze, and standing in The Garage as the sound bounced off the back of the room and came around again at max volume, it was like swimming in warm water. Running “Skydancer” and “Skydance” from last year’s righteous In Her Garden (review here) together into one ahead of “Überall” from 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here), they built momentum and brought immersion to a level that I doubt I’d have been able to resist if I’d tried. “Aquamaria” had been an early representation, and along with the encore finale “Love,” it was remarkable what Faszbender — on tour for the first time with the band — brought to the arrangements of material new and old.

colour haze 2 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

In addition to bringing another melodic presence, the keys and synth fleshed out transitions between the songs and worked as much with Koglek as with Rasthofer. “House of Rushammon,” which first appeared on their lost 1998 second album, Seven (discussed here) and later showed up on their 2004 landmark self-titled (discussed here), led off the encore with “Love” behind it, and before they kicked into the latter, Koglek noted from the stage that in these times of increasing nationalism and everything going on in politics, it was something of which the world needed more. From that start, they executed a final swirling build that consumed the crowd to the point that people were jumping up and down in excitement, and one could only pull out one’s earplugs and give in. I won’t say I jumped, but it was one of several points in the set where I just closed my eyes and let go. At one point I turned to The Patient Mrs. — who had had a prior obligation earlier but showed up for the headliner like the proverbial boss she is — and told her I hadn’t felt so good in a year. It was true.

This trip, with its lows and highs, couldn’t have had a better finish. I have packing to do so I’ll keep this short, but between getting robbed and the subsequent support I received, the killer shows I saw, the little bit of record shopping I got to do yesterday (maybe more on that later), seeing good friends and embracing the magic that is British fish pie, I feel like seeing Colour Haze was exactly the kind of summary for how special this time has been. I’m lucky to have experienced it, and incredibly grateful for having the opportunity to do so.

Thank you for reading.

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