Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
The tribute show is an essential part of the rock and roll Halloween experience — bands essentially dressing up as other bands, if only in sound — and kudos to the guys from NYC trio The Brought Low for teaming up with Carl Porcaro from Kings Destroy and Sweet Diesel‘s Nat Murray (of course The Brought Low have their own connections to that outfit as well) for hooking up a gig and not just doing a set of Misfits songs like probably hundreds of other acts along the Eastern Seaboard will be doing that weekend. On Oct. 28, performing as The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas, the five-piece will hit The Gutter in Williamsburg to pay due homage to the MC5. Maybe not the kind of thing I’d always post about, but given the personnel involved and the thought of how killer a time this one would actually be to attend, you’ll get no argument out of me.
And I gotta be honest with you, I could use another The Brought Low album. It’s been a surprisingly long six years since their Third Record (review here) came out in 2010 on Small Stone, and as early as 2012, there was discussion of a fourth, but nothing has yet materialized. Would be awfully nice, is all I’m saying.
While I go back and put on their last one again, here’s the highly exclamatory show info for The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas this Friday:
The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas – MC5 Tribute @ Gutter
The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas is The Brought Low and Carl from Kings Destroy on second guitar and Nat Murray from Sweet Diesel on lead vocals doing MC5 covers. We have a show at The Gutter in Brooklyn Friday, October 28th. Here’s the info:
Friday, October 28 The Gutter Bowling and Fine Brews 200 N 14th St, Brooklyn, New York 11249
Brothers and sisters!!!!!!! It’s time to see a sea of hands!!!!!! It’s time to kick up some noise!!!!!! It’s time to get down with it this Halloween weekend and I want to know… Are you ready to testify?!!!!!! Are you ready to testify?!!!!!!
I give you a testimonial….
The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas!!!!!!!!!! A musical tribute to the MC5 with members of Breakdown, The Brought Low, Killing Time, Kings Destroy and Sweet Diesel!!!!!!!
Join us at The Gutter Friday, October 28th to kick out the jams motherfuckers!!!!!!!!!
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Brooklyn’s Kings Destroy will head to Europe this fall. The genre-defiant five-piece will head overseas with Chicago’s The Skull for the first time since the release of their 2015 self-titled third album (review here), which was released by War Crime Recordings, who, in the interest of full disclosure, also pressed up my book. I’ll confess I was invited to go along with Kings Destroy on this tour as I did twice in the US circa 2014, but the basic fact of the matter is those kinds of things are way easier to do when you’re out of work, which, at the moment, I’m not. Unless I get canned between now and then. If that happens, I’m fucking there.
The Obelisk All-Dayer veterans will be keeping good company one way or another, both in touring with The Skull and in bringing aboard none other than the Mayor of Boston Heavy, Darryl Shepard (Kind, The Scimitar, Hackman, Milligram, Blackwolfgoat, so many others) himself — to play bass no less. Shepard had a few words about filling the low-end position this time out, and you’ll find those, Kings Destroy‘s announcement, the dates, and the stream of the self-titled below, because I’m thorough like that when I like a band this much.
Have at you:
Excited to announce that Kings Destroy will be joining The Skull for the majority of their British/European tour in November! Some additional German KD-only dates TBA. See you on the road!
Darryl Shepard on touring with Kings Destroy:
When Kings Destroy ask you to play bass for them on their European tour, you say yes. I’m very honored and excited to be joining these guys on bass for their tour with The Skull in November.
The Skull & Kings Destroy Nov. 2016 European tour: 03.11.2016 GB London @ Koli’s Night Club 04.11.2016 GB Bristol @ Exchange 05.11.2016 GB Milton Keynes @ Crauford Arms 06.11.2016 GB Birmingham @ The Rainbow 07.11.2016 NL Tilburg @ Little Devil 08.11.2016 NL Utrecht @ DBs 09.11.2016 DE Karlsruhe @ Jubez 10.11.2016 AT Vienna Doom Over Vienna Festival @ Viper 12.11.2016 NL Nijverdal @ Cult-Art Shop 13.11.2016 NL Drachten @ Iduna 14.11.2016 DE Wiesbaden @ Schlachthof 15.11.2016 DE Kassel @ Schlachthof 16.11.2016 DE Hamburg @ Hafenklang
I honestly can’t remember the last time I was so tired. Pure physical and mental exhaustion. By the end of the day I could barely stand up, keep my head up, or down one last cup of coffee while watching Mars Red Sky close out the show. It’s been three days. I’m still not sure I have the mental faculties to write this post.
I hereby dub the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer a success.
The day started with The Patient Mrs.’ car breaking down on I-95 in Connecticut on the way south to Brooklyn and continued through flash floods, the first two bands running late (both got there on time, but my nerves were already frayed from being late myself), my camera breaking – again – during Funeral Horse, Death Alley blowing a tire on their way up from Philly, and so on, but there were tacos, the day ultimately ran on time, and everybody killed.
Absolutely killed. I mean it. Front to back. What a show.
From Heavy Temple bringing it for an early 2:30 start through Mars Red Sky dipping back to their first record for a rendition of “Strong Reflection” that nearly brought a tear to my eye, and everything in between. King Buffalo? Funeral Horse? Fucking EYE? Kings Destroy? Snail? Death Alley’s absolute ownership of the room? There wasn’t a dud in the bunch.
Most importantly, it seemed like everybody there had a good time. The tacos went. We wound up with about 170 people in the door, not counting bands and guests, and with the professionalism of the Saint Vitus Bar staff, the show ran smoothly the whole time, changeovers were easy, and my sincere hope is that everyone who came felt welcome, because they absolutely were.
On that note, I’ll say that I’m not going to review the show. Just doesn’t feel right. But I did want to say thank you to a few people who helped make the day so incredibly special.
First to The Patient Mrs., who not only handled money at the end of the night, but sold posters and patches, kept me sane as we stood on the side of the highway and waited for the tow truck, reminded me to eat, and got me that aforementioned last cup of coffee to get me through the last part of the show. She was there (almost) the whole day and it was deeply meaningful to me to have her around.
Thanks to Walter Roadburn, who left the comforts of home to come and co-DJ the afterparty, sat in traffic with The Patient Mrs. and I on the trip from Boston to Connecticut, Connecticut to Brooklyn, and back again. The time we got to spend talking about music, about what he does with his festival, and his insights on the show are memories that I imagine I will continue to treasure for as long as I can remember anything at all. Highlight of the weekend, without question. And thanks to Esther, who convinced him to come.
Thanks to David Castillo, George Souleidis, Sound Guy Jeff and the staff at the Saint Vitus Bar, which leaves absolutely nothing to question as to why it has the reputation it has. The generosity they showed in welcoming the All-Dayer into their rightly-hallowed space, the accommodation of the weird schedule, and just the sheer slog of the hours put in – all handled with professionalism beyond enviable. Other venues should aspire to run such a ship. It was staggering to see it from the end of someone organizing a show. Thank you so much.
Thank you to Steve Murphy for the endless, thoroughly unjustified belief in my being able to pull this whole thing off, for the tacos and for the support across the board. Thank you for your friendship, your kindness, and for your threat to print up bootleg Obelisk t-shirts to give away at random. I hope that works out.
Thanks to the bands. Mars Red Sky coming from France to play, Death Alley from the Netherlands, Snail from the West Coast, Kings Destroy giving New York due representation with a special set – “Planet XXY?” who knew? – EYE from Ohio, Funeral Horse from Houston, King Buffalo from Rochester and Heavy Temple from Philly. And to Walter and Adam Otracina for helming the afterparty. Whether they were coming from near or far, it really felt like everybody put something extra into the show and I was continually humbled and blown away by what I saw and heard all day and into the night. People loaning each other gear, making adjustments on the fly, starting and ending on time, everything came together better than I could’ve hoped, and it was just wonderful to see. I am deeply grateful.
Thanks to Jaime Traba for recording the audio of the sets. More on that hopefully soon. Thanks to Frank Huang for capturing video. Steve Truglio, Randy Blood, Harry Booth and others for getting photos. Like I said, my camera died, so knowing that there were plenty of others around was a great comfort.
Thanks to Skillit for the amazing poster and logo design, and to Dave from Made in Brooklyn for printing the patches. Thanks to my family, Suze Wright, Andy Wright and Rob Jones, for coming and helping sell merch. Thanks to Slevin and Ralph. Thanks to Liz and Dave from Earsplit and Becky Laverty for the plugs. Thanks to Postman Dan for buying tickets even though he couldn’t make it. Thanks to Randy and Laura Blood, Juan Lopez, Jen Hendrix-Johnson, Kenny Sehgal, Phil Moon, Adam Sawford, Nico Liengme and Laurel Jane May, Earl Walker Lundy, Seibert Lowe, Paul John Shaft, Lisa Hass, Melanie Streko, Ron, Jill Lavilette, Brian Schmidt, Ross Colombo, Alex Jakstas, Natasha Padilla, Tad Proshansky, Zack Kurland, Greg Aramini, and many, many others who came out, everyone who had a kind word about the site, the band selection, my book, everything. I’m quite sure I’ll add to this list as I regain even my usual limited use of my mental faculties, but this is for starters and please know that whether you were there in-person or if you shared a link or saw a post about it and liked it or bought tickets in advance or just read the site generally. Thank you. Thank you all so much. Thank you.
I’m going to take a couple weeks and really think about whether this is something I want to do again, but if I do, I know it won’t be an annual thing. Whatever happens moving forward, I want you to know how unbelievable this night was for me and I hope for everyone who attended as well. One more time, thank you.
I don’t have photos of my own, Steve Truglio was kind enough to send me shots of each band who played, and you’ll find them after the jump.
I wasn’t there to see it, of course, but I happen to know that this particular show has become something of a legend within Kings Destroy. It was the Getaway Rockfestival in Sweden, part of their 2012 European tour. They’d wind up hanging out with Weedeater — and by hanging out I mean stealing a forklift — and playing on what you can see in the video below is a massive stage to a likewise massive audience. Looks like it was an absolute blast.
Since even before Kings Destroy released their first album through this site’s short-lived record label wing, the New York outfit have been among my favorite bands to write about. They’ve consistently defied expectation — mine for sure, and I think their own as well — and have over the last five years become a highly individualized blend of noise rock, heavier sludge impulses and anti-genre fuckall.
On stage they’re confrontational in a way that was once a staple of their hometown. I’ve been fortunate enough to tour with them twice, and on the East Coast and the West, they’ve left audiences dumbfounded and won over in like proportion. Their third and latest record, Kings Destroy (review here), came out last year on War Crime Recordings and is a triumph of how far into their own they’ve come, full of memorable songs that have made for some genuinely ridiculous live shows. People have been kicked. By other people. On stage. Frequently.
There was basically no way I was going to put on The Obelisk All-Dayer — which is Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn (get tickets) — and not have them involved. I’m glad they said yes. They’ll be the lone New York band on the bill, which they’re sharing with Mars Red Sky, Death Alley, Snail, Eye, Funeral Horse, King Buffalo and Heavy Temple. It’s going to be incredible.
With visions of forklifts in your head, enjoy “Old Yeller” below:
Gaze upon its countenance and realize just how fucking awesome this show is going to be.
Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn marks the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer, a one-of-a-kind celebration of things heavy, noisy, psychedelic, progressive, and weird. In addition to being the first New York appearances for French heavy psych mavens Mars Red Sky, Amsterdam-based motor-rockers Death Alley, West Coast riff-rollers Snail and bizarro Texas punks Funeral Horse, The Obelisk All-Dayer will feature food on-hand, full and recorded sets, limited-edition posters and other merch, and an afterparty with DJ Adzo (aka Adam Kriney of Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass) and Walter Roadburn (the man behind the internationally renowned Roadburn festival).
Today the official poster, which will be available at the Vitus Bar in a limited and one-time run of 50, has been revealed. Art is by Los Angeles-based designer Sean “Skillit” McEleny, who has worked with numerous acts across both coasts as well as the header for this site and perfectly captures the strange awe and wonder that the show is certain to elicit front-to-back.
Following the revelation earlier this month of the complete lineup, the set runtimes are now also available:
Mars Red Sky* 10:10-11:40
Death Alley* 8:50-9:50
Kings Destroy 6:30-7:10
Funeral Horse* 4:30-5:10
King Buffalo 3:30-4:10
Heavy Temple 2:30-3:10
(Afterparty with DJ Adzo & Walter Roadburn* 12-2AM)
* Debut appearance in NYC
Set times are firm. The Obelisk All-Dayer is proud to be giving these bands enough time to flesh out their performances, as opposed to rushing one into the next in a festival. The intent is that the day will be a laid-back party more than a festival, from the start of Heavy Temple‘s cult-worthy riffing through the psych-blues bliss of King Buffalo, the possibly-cape-inclusive doings of Funeral Horse, EYE‘s lush progressive rock, locals Kings Destroy‘s aggro noise push and the one-two-three punch of Snail, Death Alley and Mars Red Sky, none of whom has ever played New York before.
The first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer is set for Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY. So far the announced lineup includes Mars Red Sky for their first East Coast appearance, Snail for their first East Coast appearance, Ohio’s EYE supporting their new album, Funeral Horse for their first East Coast appearance and King Buffalo, who’ll be playing the last night of their release tour.
I’m proud and thrilled today to add Kings Destroy and Heavy Temple to the bill.
I can’t say enough about what each of these bands brings to the show, and I couldn’t be more stoked to have them involved. One thing I’ve been trying to do all along is build a genuine flow to the day that I think will make sense as one set leads to the next. It’ll make sense once the full running order is posted, but for the time being, let me just say that both these bands hold a special place in the lineup.
Here’s more on each:
There isn’t a band today I feel closer to than Brooklyn’s Kings Destroy. If you read this site at all, you probably already know that. I’ve been a nerd for these cats since their first 7″ and I’m fortunate today to consider them as friends and the bottom line is there’s just no way in hell I’d put on this show and not have them involved. They were out on tour earlier this year with Black Cobra, Lo-Pan and Bongzilla supporting their 2015 self-titled third album, for which they’ve already started writing the follow-up. They have a new 15-minute song that last I heard was about half done and they don’t know it yet, but I’m calling them out to play it at this show. The gauntlet is thrown down, gentlemen.
Oh my god, the new Heavy Temple is so good. Don’t get me wrong, I knew before I heard it that I wanted them on this bill — I’ve known it since Vultures of Volume last year, but the Philly trio have a new EP in the can and it’s absolutely stellar. They’ll open the show hopefully playing tracks from it and I expect by the time August comes around, there will be some official announcement as to the release, but even if you don’t know it yet, you’re in for a treat as they kick things off at The Obelisk All-Dayer. I shouldn’t have to tell you to get there early — looking like a 2:30PM start — but I will anyway, just to reinforce the importance of the issue. Get there early.
The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food truck on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. One more band to be announced in June, along with DJs and the running order.
Posted in Reviews on April 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
The bill pushed the envelope of ridiculous. As part of their ongoing reunion, Wisconsin sludgers Bongzilla have been on tour since late February with nomadic thrashers Black Cobra and only-slightly-less-nomadic heavy rockers Lo-Pan. They met up with New York’s Kings Destroy — freshly back from their Australian run with Radio Moscow — at SXSW last month, and have continued along the Eastern Seaboard since. Friday night was a sold-out show at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, and Saturday was ONCE Ballroom in Somerville, Massachusetts, for a show that was put on by Grayskull Booking and presented in part by this site.
It was my first time at ONCE Ballroom, but I’d like to extend personal gratitude to whoever decided to leave the lights on while the bands played. The P.A. was formidable, and it was a night that would push its limits, and the layout like the kind of place you might rent for a wedding reception. That’s not a dig on it — actually the room was quite nice — it’s just the first thing that came to my oh-so-domestic mind. There was a dance floor in front of the stage and carpeted floor space all around, bar to the side and another bar upstairs in kind of a lounge with a pool table Addams Family pinball machine and so on. To the best of my knowledge, they haven’t been doing shows there long, which explains how the carpet wasn’t completely disgusting or otherwise gone, but for the most part, the evening ran smoothly.
Here’s how it went down:
I don’t know how many shows the Ohio four-piece have done with Black Cobra over the years, and in fact I doubt it’s a figure even they could quote at this point, but to understate it, I’d say they’re well past the range of “several.” It had been nearly a full 12 months since last time I saw them, which was at Roadburn 2015 (review here). To be blunt, they were missed. I was particularly interested to see a year later how guitarist Adrian Zambrano had continued to fit in the band after joining late in 2014 the lineup with vocalist Jeff Martin, bassist Scott Thompson and drummer Jesse Bartz, who was positioned, as ever, at the front of the stage. Most of what they played was new, and in terms of where they’re at in progressing from the high-impact delivery of their 2014 fourth album, Colossus (review here), they seemed not at all to have taken a step back, but to have integrated Zambrano‘s energy into their own. And the guitarist had plenty to integrate, stepping up to lead songs with riffs or space out just a bit in two quieter cuts. They reportedly have some new recordings in the can, which I’m dying to hear, and the last song of their set, “Pathfinder,” might be the best thing I’ve ever heard them play. I’d never heard the song before but was taken in completely by its flow, by Martin‘s out-of-this-world vocals, by Bartz‘s signature crashes, the swing in Thompson‘s bass and the dynamic volume switches in Zambrano‘s guitar. They’ve been on the road for a month, so I figured they’d be tight, but Lo-Pan served voluminous reminder of their place among the US’ finest heavy rock acts. Keeping my fingers crossed it’s not another year until I see them again.
Another case of been-too-long. Kings Destroy are very nearly a year out from the release of their self-titled third full-length (review here), and the last time I caught them was at the release show (review here) for it, which, yeah, is too damn long for my preferences. They played a six-song set, and the change in vibe from Lo-Pan was immediate. Each of the bands on this tour offers something different from the others, but I hadn’t really considered how smoothly the acts — especially the first three, but Bongzilla as well — would flow between them, Lo-Pan starting off with a charged-fuzz boot to the ass, Kings Destroy turning that more aggressive, Black Cobra hitting with unmatched intensity, and finally, Bongzilla finishing out with a mass of tone. For being disparate in their sound, Kings Destroy followed Lo-Pan well. They had a fill-in bassist in Mike Moebius (also producer for Pilgrim, Kings Destroy, The Munsens and others) holding down Aaron Bumpus‘ usual spot next to drummer Rob Sefcik and guitarist Chris Skowronski, and while Skowronski didn’t run across the stage to kick fellow guitarist Carl Porcaro, so I can’t call it the most raucous Kings Destroy set I’ve ever seen, they showed themselves plainly to be ready to move forward from the last record. This tour hasn’t been quite back to back with the aforementioned Australian stint, but close enough to it that when it’s over I wouldn’t be surprised if they hunkered down for a while and set to finishing material for their fourth LP. Whatever their plans, it was great to bang my head again to “Mr. O” and “Smokey Robinson,” to groove on the catchy creeper vibes of “The Mountie” and to hear vocalist Steve Murphy‘s changed cadence in the hook of “Blood of Recompense,” which finished out. I’m hardly impartial on the subject, but I’ve really missed these guys.
What can you do when Black Cobra take the stage other than bow to their utter supremacy? I don’t know. The San Fran (now) twosome of guitarist/vocalist Jason Landrian and drummer Rafa Martinez hit the 15-year mark in 2016, a decade since their first album, Bestial, was released, and their assault has only gotten more and more vicious. Their newly-issued Season of Mist debut, Imperium Simulacra (review here), made its primary impression — or at least a complementary one to their omnipresent fury — in an expansion of their capacity for atmosphere, in Landrian‘s willingness to drone out in contrast to the thrashing riffery that has become the band’s signature, and I was pleased to find them bring that sensibility to the stage as well. I’m not going to take away from the joy of watching Martinez blast the hell out of an all-out cut like “Obsolete,” slamming his floor tom in place of a double-kick, or the unmitigated tension of “Challenger Deep,” but to hear them hit the brakes even momentarily to ride out a rolling groove or to have Landrian create an excruciating soundscape of drone before the next wave of the attack was launched made the experience of watching them that much richer. They are a live band and always have been, and anyone who has heard their records but not seen them only has half the story, but the fact that the growth that was so clearly signaled on the record showed up so plainly on stage as well is emblematic of their all-around progression. I won’t say it’s a question of maturity, since I’d argue Black Cobra hit that stride with 2011’s Invernal, but perhaps of how they’re putting that maturity to use, deepening their approach. It’s a thrill to watch Black Cobra break the rules they’ve set for themselves, and one hopes that the explorations of Imperium Simulacra are a sign of things to come.
I’ve been wracking my brains for the last couple weeks trying to remember if I’d seen Bongzilla before and I’ve finally decided that the answer is no, because if I had caught them at some point during their initial run, which ended after their 2005 album, Amerijuanican, on Relapse, I’d remember it. The ultra-weedian four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Muleboy, guitarist Spanky, bassist Cooter Brown and drummer Magma stacked their amps high — everything was high — and were loud enough in their early going that, I think in their third song, the power cut out. Not like they blew an amp, like they blew a fuse. It was an unexpected break in the set, during which the band encouraged everyone to go out and smoke weed — because weed — but seemed somehow fitting for the band’s legacy of over-the-top, crusty-as-hell sludge that the room simply couldn’t take it. I learned later they’d plugged a bunch of their amps into a single surge protector, and I guess that’d do it if that’s how it happened, but they got everything back up and running sooner or later and the crowd was right back into the set as they had been all along, the reefer-obsessed anti-hits rolling out in a slow-motion barrage of consuming tonal density. On a couple levels, one knew what to expect going into the show — Bongzilla have never been in danger of being subtle — but those expectations were delivered on thoroughly, and with the response they’ve gotten all along on this tour, and the one before it, and the one before that, I had to wonder how long it might be before they embark on a new record to follow-up on the series of reissues that Relapse and Hydro-Phonic have done over the past years. Wouldn’t want to make any hasty predictions or anything, but I bet whenever they do come out with a fifth record, it’ll have a song or two about weed on it. No complaints. In life, you gotta follow where your passion takes you.
More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading, and once again, thanks to Grayskull Booking for having me as a presenter on this show. Check out their Thee Facebooks for more dates coming up.
Holy crap that’s a stacked bill. Show is this Saturday, April 2, at the all-caps ONCE Ballroom in Somerville, Massachusetts, and it’s a stop on the second full-US reunion run from Wisconsin sludge megastoners Bongzilla. They hit Massachusetts for the second time since getting back together, having rolled through nearby Allston with Spirit Caravan, Dirty Streets and local destroyers Rozamov supporting last fall. The lineup this time — Bongzilla, Black Cobra, Kings Destroy and Lo-Pan — brings together four acts who each deliver a different take on heaviness, and four acts whose reputation for killing it should at this point precede them.
This tour began more than a month ago, on Feb. 28, with a hometown Madison, WI, show for Bongzilla, and has continued forth since. They covered the West Coast with Against the Grain before a stop at Heavy Metal Parking Lot 3 at SXSW found that band and New York’s Kings Destroy swapping out, and head east with the promise of locked-in furies and massive tones to come, Black Cobra raging in support of their new album, Imperium Simulacra (review here), as both Lo-Pan and Kings Destroy herald new material from yet-unannounced next albums. Simply put, it’s the kind of gig you’d much rather be at than not be at.
Deep thanks to Grayskull Booking for having me involved and giving me the chance to talk about it, as well as, you know, for putting it on. And just so we’re all on the up and up, the tour is sponsored by Cvlt Nation and I’m not trying to bite a piece off anyone’s contractual anything. Show info follows:
The Obelisk Presents: BONGZILLA
April 2nd, 2016 ONCE Ballroom 156 Highland Ave Somerville, MA
18+ Doors at 7:30pm, show starts at 8:30pm $18 adv – $22 dos