Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65 in Full

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 22nd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Is it too soon? It doesn’t feel too soon. It’s been over a year and a half since Saint Vitus released their comeback long-player Lillie: F-65 (review here) through Season of Mist, adding studio work to the live reunion that began on stage at Roadburn 2009. The four-piece — guitarist Dave Chandler, vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist Mark Adams and drummer Henry Vasquez — recorded the album with Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed while on a West Coast tour, and though to have put it to tape and mixed over the course of just a few days seems awfully quick, it was actually the longest the band, who began as Tyrant in 1979 and for whom Lillie: F-65 would serve as their eighth album and first in 17 years, had ever spent in the studio.

I said at the time and I still feel like what the album did best was capture the spirit of Vitus‘ classic Wino-fronted material. It was simple, but in being simple, that much easier to screw up. Chandler‘s guitar tone sounds dead-on to what he delivers live on “Let Them Fall” and “The Bleeding Ground,” and there’s no studio trickery or excess to it. At 34 minutes, Vitus are as aesthetically lean and efficient as they always were, and while it would’ve been a surprise on multiple levels had they emerged from the studio with some overblown, multi-layered prog opera, that they didn’t only served to reaffirm how much they, as a long-running act, still had to offer in terms of progression and staying true to what works within their sound. Lillie: F-65 has little room for screwing around — even the Wino-penned guitar interlude “Vertigo” is brief, and I’ll argue all day that “Withdrawal” is as necessary a finish as an album can have, even though it’s basically just feedback — and spends its time instead handing down visceral judgments, plodding riffs and the sense of unease that made Vitus distinguished from their peers during their initial run and continues to stand them out today.

It would be easy to go on, to talk about Chandler‘s lyrics and Wino‘s vocals, Adams‘ basslines in “The Bleeding Ground,” or Vasquez stepping in to fill the role of original drummer Armando Acosta, or my hopes for a new album if not in 2014 then early next year, but at this point, Lillie: F-65 has been around long enough to speak for itself. Probably better to do that than ramble.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65 (2012)

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Saint Vitus Announce East Coast Tour Dates for October

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2013 by JJ Koczan

The fact that Saint Vitus are heading out in October to tour the East Coast with a couple dates in the Midwest as well is excellent enough. Frankly, I’m just glad these dudes got enough of a response from 2012’s triumphant return album, Lillie: F-65 (review here), that they still want to be a band at all, let alone one that hits the road multiple times a year, either in support of that record or otherwise. Mark it down again, Saint Vitus touring is fucking awesome.

That said, we already know they started writing new material back at the beginning of last month, and we know from past experience that when guitarist Dave Chandler works, he doesn’t waste any time putting things together. You can see where this is going. My question is whether or not Saint Vitus could possibly be road-testing new material for a possible 2014 follow-up to Lillie: F-65. I know that seems like a pretty quick turnaround, but records like Born too Late, Mournful Cries, V and the recently-reissued C.O.D. all had two years from one to the next, so they’d be right on pace.

I’ll be keeping my doomed fingers crossed for a new song or two in the set while I mark the calendar and start nerding out at the chance to see Vitus again. Here are the dates:

SAINT VITUS October 2013 U.S. headlining tour dates

Oct. 4 San Antonio TX @ Korova
Oct. 5 Norman OK @ The Opolis
Oct. 6 St Louis MO @ Firebird
Oct. 7 Minneapolis MN @ 7th St Entry
Oct. 8 Chicago IL @ Reggies
Oct. 9 Grand Rapids @ Pyramid Scheme
Oct. 10 Detroit MI @ Magic Stick
Oct. 11 Cleveland OH @ Grog Shop
Oct. 12 Pittsburgh PA @ Rex Theater
Oct. 13 Baltimore MD @ Metro Gallery
Oct. 14 Upstate NY @ Bogie’s
Oct. 15 Boston MA @ Middle East
Oct. 17 West Chester PA @ The Note
Oct. 18 Brooklyn NY @ Europa
Oct. 19 TBA
Oct. 20 Springfield VA @ Empire
Oct. 21 Richmond VA @ Strange Matter
Oct. 22 Asheville NC @ The Orange Peel
Oct. 23 Nashville TN @ Exit / In
Oct. 24 Atlanta GA @ The EARL
Oct. 25 New Orleans LA @ One Eyed Jacks

Saint Vitus, “The Waste of Time” Live at Sweden Rock 2012

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “The Bleeding Ground” Live in Paris, March 2013

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 20th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Quite possibly my favorite part about doing Wino Wednesday each week — apart from all the money and ladies I get from it — is that it’s never too long before something new comes along. To wit, Saint Vitus are currently on a European run alongside Mos Generator — let’s not forget it was Mos guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed who produced Vitus‘ 2012 triumph, Lillie: F-65 — and video has started to surface from the shows. This is invariably a good thing, however blown out that video might sometimes sound.

Before starting off “The Bleeding Ground” from Lillie: F-65 (review here) — this version recorded March 9 in Paris at La Maroquinerie — guitarist Dave Chandler gets on mic (as he often does between songs) to inform the crowd that, “This is a true story, about a bitch named Katrina.” As we discussed when I interviewed him last year for the record, Chandler has been living in New Orleans since a couple months before Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, and while the mere mention of the name at this point serves as a reminder to American ears, I’m not sure it would have the same effect on a Parisian audience.

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter, because once Vitus start into “The Bleeding Ground,” the song absolutely crushes. Vitus have a new official-bootleg-type live album out vinyl-only called Marbles in the Moshpit that I should probably pick up, of a show recorded in 1984 with the original lineup. As you can see in the clip below, even 29 years later, the band still kills it with the new material. Awesome to think of them at this point as having made the transition past the “reunion band” thing and just putting in the work of a touring act. Any way you take it, they’re one of the best doom bands in the world.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Saint Vitus, “The Bleeding Ground” Live in Paris, March 9, 2013

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Visual Evidence: Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me I was Quoted on the Saint Vitus Lillie: F-65 Jewel Case?

Posted in Visual Evidence on October 2nd, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Not to toot my own horn, but holy shit:

I don’t even know who to thank for this. Saint Vitus? Season of Mist? Tony Reed? Cthulhu? Everyone? Whoever it is, after a full night of self-abusive drinking (ongoing!) and despairing about my life situation and the wide array of terrible choices I’ve made in career, career and, well, career, to see something like this totally out of the blue doesn’t exactly make up for the tens of thousands of dollars I’ve lost by never getting a real job, but at least the name of this site is on the same jewel case as a Saint Fucking Vitus logo. I don’t know what size cookie I get for that, but I’m banking on it having both chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Special thanks to Pope John the Enforcer of The Ripple Effect and Ripple Music for pointing this one out.

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