Sun Gods in Exile Announce 2017 Reunion Plans

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Portland, Maine, heavy rockers Sun Gods in Exile will return to the stage in 2017. Last I heard from the classic-minded swagger-bearers was in 2013, when they hit the road alongside Small Stone labelmates Backwoods Payback, Supermachine and Lord Fowl for a quick run of the Northeast — four bands, four nights. Four years ago. Cool bill, all the same.

By that time, Sun Gods in Exile had two full-lengths out. They made their debut in 2009 with Black Light, White Lines (review here), followed it with 2012’s Thanks for the Silver (review here), and also took part in Ripple Music‘s Heavy Ripples Vol. 1 (review here) four-way split with Grifter, Stone Axe and Mighty High. The albums it’s probably fair to say were a couple years prescient in terms of how they updated ’70s vibes with modern production and songcraft, but Sun Gods in Exile always seemed to make an impact in terms of attitude as well, and they sounded like the kind of group who approached every show as a competition to kick as much ass on stage as possible.

Looks like they’ll get that opportunity again. The reunion plans are rather straightforward — play regional shows around New England and get to writing new material — but then, Sun Gods in Exile were never much for messing around. A lineup shift is still in the works, but guitarist Anthony D’Agostino sent confirmation this thing is happening, and he’d certainly know.

Here’s the latest:

sun gods in exile

Sun Gods in Exile reforming in 2017

Original Black Light White Lines lineup except new bass player to be announced soon.

After 4 years off due to family and career obligations we decided to start rolling out the rock again.

Sun Gods in Exile will be doing a handful of New England shows this spring and summer playing songs off the two Small Stone records, then plan to start writing new material to be released later in the year.

https://www.facebook.com/Sun-Gods-in-Exile-2017-411701842508372/
https://sungodsinexile1.bandcamp.com/
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/

Sun Gods in Exile, Black Light, White Lines (2009)

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Murcielago Announce Hiatus; Farewell Show this Weekend

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Fare thee well to Portland, Maine, heavy rockers Murcielago, who will wrap seven years together this weekend with a hometown show at Portland House of Music and Events. The dual-guitar four-piece, which happens to feature Ian Ross of Roadsaw on guitar alongside guitarist Matthew Robbins, bassist/vocalist Neil Collins and drummer Brian Chaloux, issued their self-titled debut in 2014 and have been playing local shows in New England for the last half-decade or more. Their disbanding — hiatus? breakup?; one word is as good as the other — comes with the caveat that they might decide to get back together at some point and jam again, and honestly I doubt anyone would hold it against them if they did just that.

After sharing the stage recently with the recently-reactivated Scissorfight, they’ll close out their tenure alongside Eldemur Krimm and Pigboat this Saturday, Aug. 6, at the aforementioned venue. Their announcement and the info for the show follows here, as well as the stream of the self-titled for anyone who’d like to hear what they missed:

murcielago

Murcielago (Last Show!) with Eldemur Krimm and Pigboat

Aug 6 at 9 PM

Portland House of Music and Events
25 Temple St, Portland, Maine 04101

We’ve decided to take a long bow after an excellent 7 year run. Thank You all who have come to our shows, bought our music and merchandise, and told your friends. We are grateful and humbled.

Many thanks to Nick Lamberto for getting us going, huge thanks to Benny Grotto and Mad Oak Studios for excellent work. Many thanks to the bands and promoters we’ve been lucky enough to work with during our time.

Come say goodnight to Murcielago as we send ourselves off with great friends Eldemur Krimm and Pigboat. We THANK YOU dearly for the years of support.

Neil Collins- bass, vocals
Ian Ross- guitar (right channel)
Matthew Robbins- guitar (left channel)
Brian Chaloux- drums

https://www.facebook.com/events/170782973337804/
https://www.facebook.com/murcielagorock/
https://murcielagorock.bandcamp.com/

Murcielago, Murcielago (2014)

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Buried Treasure: Ogre, Dawn of the Proto-Man and Seven Hells Reissues

Posted in Buried Treasure on April 27th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

ogre dawn of the proto-man and seven hells cds

One hesitates uniformly to toss out words like “definitive,” but it’s hard to imagine a descriptor more accurate for Minotauro Records‘ recent reissues of the first two albums — 2003’s Dawn of the Proto-Man and 2006’s Seven Hells — by Portland, Maine, traditional doomers Ogre. The Sabbathian trio called it quits for the second time last year, but far from bitter, these thick-stock LP-style gatefold digipaks carry an air of celebration for what was always an underrated band, and prove to be archive-worthy versions of what were arguably Ogre‘s two most landmark contributions to doom.

Both are limited to 500 copies. Dawn of the Proto-Man, the debut, includes an obi-strip, a CD sleeve liner, vertical gatefold art by drummer Will Broadbent and a two-sided foldout poster that includes a larger version of the gatefold art with characters from Ogre‘s lyrics all the way up to their 2014 swan song, The Last Neanderthal (review here), the album itself, of course, plus three bonus tracks, separate liner notes written by guitarist Ross Markonish, a sticker, credits and more art on the CD sleeve. All of which can be housed in the digipak that itself fits in a protective plastic sleeve.

Packaged similarly, Seven Hells is even more expansive. A six-panel gatefold houses the CD of the album as well as a DVD with two live shows, from 2007 and 2006, filmed at Geno’s in their hometown of Portland, plus a two-sided poster with photos from throughout the band’s tenure, including the 2008 tour that took them to Japan alongside Blood Farmers and Church of Misery, as well as pics from the studio, equipment shots, and so on. It also has an obi strip proclaiming its limited edition, liner notes from Markonish and art and info on the CD sleeve expanded from the Gustave Doré cover, as well as — like on the debut — the advice to “Listen to this album as loud as humanly possible!” which is about as sagely as wisdom gets when it comes to experiencing an Ogre record, whichever one it might happen to be.

They are, in short, gorgeous, and it’s rare to see a band in doom get their due in such a fitting manner. Bassist/vocalist Ed CunninghamMarkonish and Broadbent were as much ahead of their time in their Sabbath worship as they were behind it, and each of these discs seems to be heralding these records for the special documents that they are.

To wit:

Dawn of the Proto-Man (2003)

ogre dawn of the proto-man

What’s most striking about Ogre‘s first album 12 years on isn’t how well it holds up — it does, make no mistake — but how raw it is. Ogre‘s brand of doom on Dawn of the Proto-Man is about as barebones as you can get. Guitar, bass and drums are topped off with Cunningham‘s vocals, which veer into madman shouts of various sorts on “The Jaded Beast” and “Black Death,” but for the most part retain an Ozzy-style cadence. And maybe context has something to do with this, but listening to it now, Ogre don’t sound tentative through the first record at all. They’re completely willing to stand on this sans-frills foundation. Opener “Ogre” is a clarion of classic riffery, and the swing of “Colossus” and the faster, bass-led boogie of “78” showcase all the breadth Ogre would need, each track offering something distinct from the one before it, but serving an overarching album flow. The tones aren’t overly thick, but the groove they enact is, and between doom and classic heavy rock, Ogre carved their place in stone with a sense of poise that one rarely finds credited to bands who sing about monsters, invaders from the East, etc. Its epics, “The Jaded Beast” and “Black Death” branch out smoothly with Broadbent‘s steady roll and Markonish‘s righteous leads, and already one can hear the power trio dynamic at the heart of what Ogre would accomplish together. What was a 50-minute record here stretches to 79 with the three bonus tracks, which were recorded in 2000, and have a demo feel and rougher recording, but still show that Ogre knew where they wanted to take their sound even in their earliest going.

Seven Hells (2006)

ogre seven hells

Launching with “Dogmen (of Planet Earth),” which is one of Ogre‘s most signature tracks, their 2006 sophomore outing, Seven Hells expands on the debut’s straight-ahead doomly drive by proffering more classic fuzz in Markonish‘s tone and by and large longer, jammier tracks. They’re not out of “Dogmen” before an extended ripper of a solo has made an impression following the initial swing of the verses, Cunningham‘s vocals still by and large dry and forward in the mix, but even more assured. More than Dawn of the Proto-Man, Seven Hells carries the feel of a guitar album, but I won’t take away from the low-end heft or punctuating snare of “The Gas” either, though after the jams in “Dogmen” and the 10-minute “Soldier of Misfortune,” which follows, there’s plenty that would seem ground — though, to Ogre‘s credit, even “Soldier of Misfortune” gets reigned in for a final verse before continuing on its howling, classically-metallized over-the-top way. The notable Pentagram cover “Review Your Choices” is the only cut on Seven Hells under six minutes long, so wherever Ogre might be headed at any given moment, they give themselves plenty of time to get there, but the growth in chemistry and the personality they bring to the established tenets of classic doom throughout Seven Hells, even on that cover or in a choice rocker like “Woman on Fire,” which boasts Broadbent‘s best drum performance as well as a fluid tempo shift into a second-half slowdown, would make the album a standout even if the songs weren’t so memorable. They still had plenty of their Sabbathian core intact at this point — as they would for their whole career — but were clearly looking to make their own stamp as well, as shown in the strange stoner vibes late in “Sperm Whale” or the noise wash that takes hold as closer “Flesh Feast” draws down. The DVD, which present the two sets in reverse chronological order, has a host of selections from the two albums, as well as a killer take on Saint Vitus‘ “Mystic Lady” to close out the 2007 one. Maybe not for casual fans, but again, as a document of where they were at the time, of unquestionable value.

Minotauro released The Last Neanderthal in a similar style package, and whether or not that will actually prove to be Ogre‘s final offering, only time can show. With just their third album, 2008’s Plague of the Planet (review here), left unissued by the label, it seems likely it will show up sooner or later, though whether CunninghamMarkonish and Broadbent will make a return at that time, well, you get the idea. Whatever the future does or doesn’t bring, there’s little about Dawn of the Proto-Man or Seven Hells that these reissues leave unsaid, and for the obvious passion that went into producing them as well as for the songs themselves, they’re deeply admirable outings that deserve every bell and whistle they’ve been given.

Ogre, Dawn of the Proto-Man (2003)

Ogre, Seven Hells (2006)

Ogre on Thee Facebooks

Ogre on Bandcamp

Minotauro Records

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Ogre Reissue Dawn of the Proto-Man and Seven Hells

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

ogre

Minotauro Records, which also released Ogre‘s The Last Neanderthal (review here) in 2014, has overseen CD reissues for the Maine trio’s first two albums, 2003’s Dawn of the Proto-Man and 2006’s Seven Hells. Both come packaged in the style of the latest album, and Seven Hells has a bonus DVD included with two shows from Geno’s in their stomping ground of Portland, ME. Dawn of the Proto-Man includes a comic by drummer Will Broadbent and bonus tracks.

The perennially underrated Northern doomers originally put out their debut independently, while Seven Hells arrived through Japan’s Leaf Hound Records, and needless to say both have been out of print for some time. Minotauro has it like this:

ogre dawn of the proto-man seven hells

Ogre Update! Now available! The Last Neanderthal, Seven Hells, and Dawn of the Proto-Man!

CD Now Available at minotaurorecords.com!

All three CDs are packaged in deluxe Japanese-style mini LP packaging with tons of additional liner notes, pictures and expanded artwork, and custom OBI card.

“Dawn of the Proton-Man” has never-before-heard bonus tracks, and “Seven Hells” comes with a bonus DVD! Very limited. Get them while you can!

OGRE Seven Hells CD + DVD

Re-release with bonus DVD and expanded liner notes, containing two live shows from Portland’s (Maine) legendary Geno’s Rock Club. Mini LP gatefold Japanese style papersleeve packaging with custom OBI, poster. CD Track List: Dogmen (of Planet Earth), Soldier of Misfortune, The Gas, Woman on Fire, Review Your Choices, Sperm Whale, Flesh Feast

DVD: Live at Geno’s 2007 show: Dogmen (of Planet Earth), God of Iron, The River, Flesh Feast, Age of Ice, Mystic Lady

2006 show: Dogmen (of Planet Earth), Woman On Fire, The Gas, 78, Sperm Whale, Flesh Feast, Age of Ice

OGRE Dawn of the Proto-Man CD

Re-release with bonus tracks and expanded liner notes. Expanded artwork and original, never-before-seen Ogre comic strip by Ogre drummer Will Broadbent. Mini LP gatefold Japanese style papersleeve packaging with custom OBI, poster. Track List: Ogre, Colossus, 78, The Jaded Beast (out of the east, Invasion), Skeletonized, Suicide Ride, Black Death (i.de vermis mysteriis, ii.rats, lice, and history), The Jaded Beast (Bonus Track), Colonizer (Plague of the Planets)(Bonus Track), Black Death (Bonus Track)

https://www.facebook.com/Rockogre/
http://www.minotaurorecords.com/

Ogre, “Colossus”

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audiObelisk Transmission 042

Posted in Podcasts on November 26th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Tomorrow here in the US it is Thanksgiving, which has some questionable origins but in practice is actually one of our less-abominable holidays, with a focus on togetherness, good food, and enjoying the company of loved ones. Today, the day before, is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year while people get to wherever they’re going. Even if you don’t manage to find it until after the holiday is over, it seemed only fitting to make a new podcast so that anyone who might want to take it along for the ride would be able to do so.

My head has started to get into year-end wrap-up mode, so don’t be surprised if one or two or three of these bands show up in subsequent “Best Of” coverage. Maybe even four, looking at the list. It’s been a crazy good year, and as it starts to wind its way down and we make our way into the next one, I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to these podcasts and hopefully discovered something you wouldn’t have heard otherwise. That’s really the whole idea.

If you’re traveling by road, rail, or air, I wish you a pleasant journey, and even if you’re staying put, the same applies.

First Hour:
Stubb, “Heavy Blue Sky” from Cry of the Ocean
Murcielago, “Way too Far” from Murcielago
Dune, “Of Blade and Carapace” from Aurora Majesty
The Skull, “Send Judas Down” from For Those Which are Asleep
Elephant Tree, “Attack of the Altaica” from Theia
Renate/Cordate, “Laudanum” from Growth
Mothership, “Serpents Throne” from Mothership II
Space Guerrilla, “Event Horizon” from Boundless
Monster Magnet, “End of Time (B-3)” from Milking the Stars
Memnon Sa, “Megalith” from Citadel

Second Hour:
Soldat Hans, “Meine Liebste; Sie Zerbricht Sich” from Dress Rehearsal
Atavismo, “Meeh” from Desintegración
Øresund Space Collective, “Remnants of the Barbonaeum” from Music for Pogonologists

Total running time: 1:53:26

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 042

 

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Murcielago, Murcielago: Like Bricks

Posted in Reviews on November 25th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

murcielago murcielago

Listening to Murcielago‘s self-titled, self-released debut, it’s not a huge surprise that some of it comes across sounding akin to Boston heavy rock headliners Roadsaw. There are commonalities superficial and otherwise. First of all, their lineup boasts guitarist Ian Ross, who also plays in Roadsaw. The album was recorded by Benny Grotto, who has also helmed outings for Roadsaw, at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts, which is owned by Roadsaw vocalist Craig RiggsRiggs also makes a guest appearance on the boogie-fied penultimate cut, “Zora,” backing up bassist Neil Collins, who works in a somewhat likeminded style vocally at points throughout as well. And aside from the consistency of Ross‘ guitar tone and being demographically similar — at least the three-quarters of the band that’s not Ross; that part is demographically the same — the two acts share a core approach based around giving modern heavy interpretation to classic methods. As I understand it, Ross joined Murcielago after they had already been together for some time with Collins, guitarist/backing vocalist Matthew Robbins, who also sings lead on “Fairlane Swain” and took the photo on the cover, and drummer Brian Chaloux, so I don’t know where they were in terms of writing this material when he came aboard, but his tone, even in combination with Robbins‘, is recognizable. Murcielago distinguish themselves through what they do with their riff-led heavy grooves, and in the subtly brooding personality that emerges on cuts like opener “Bulldozers,” which leads off the 10-song/43-minute offering nestling quickly into a steady rolling groove that proves to be a specialty of Murcielago as the album progresses. Ultimately, if they prove anything across Murcielago‘s span, it’s that they know what they want sound-wise and they know how to make it a reality, which is more than a lot of “first albums” can offer.

If you’re a fan of unpretentious American heavy, Small Stone-style rock, there’s going to be little here with which to find argument. “Bulldozers” and “Money,” both right around six minutes, show off the fullness of sound Murcielago can harness when they so choose and the swing that they can bring to a rhythm, Collins giving away some punk roots in the chorus of the latter, which hits hard after a start-stop verse. Unsurprisingly for a two-guitar four-piece, there’s a good bit of soloing to be had, and Ross and Robbins trade off readily — the former in the right channel, the latter in the left — adding salt to “Money,” which but for “Fairlane Swain” is the longest track here at 6:01. “Cheebahawk,” which follows, is shorter and faster both, but not so far removed in spirit, its straightforward push, crisp cymbal sound and Collins‘ vocal command guiding from a riff-heavy beginning into a quick, semi-twanging midsection that presages some of what’s to come on “Smoke Season” before returning to the thick-toned riffs and a one-into-the-next solo from Robbins and Ross, leading to the last verse and chorus. When it arrives, “Smoke Season” is the first of three shorter pieces. It and the later “Like Bricks,” which provides a split between highlights “Way too Far” and “Fairlane Swain,” are interludes, and the backwards-cymbal-forwards-guitar “The Last Line” is the album’s outro after “Zora.” They get progressively longer until the last one, but the difference is “Smoke Season” is acoustic — Collins and Robbins working together on guitar — and it’s probably the most classic rock stretch of Murcielago, which is fitting since it kicks off a strong middle-third and comes before the fuzzed out “Don’t Do Nothin’,” Collins channeling his inner Riggs with just the right riff to do so over. One of the record’s most resonant hooks, “Don’t Do Nothing” gives way to the no-frills stomp-and-run of “Way too Far,” and the two make for an excellent pair, showing off some of Murcielago at their best.

murcielago

That said, Murcielago is also a record that becomes a richer listen as it goes on. If one looks at the tracklist as divisible into three sections, “Bulldozers,” “Money” and “Cheebahawk” make for a solid lead-in, “Smoke Season,” “Don’t Do Nothin’,” and the mega-catchy “Way too Far” push further into quality songwriting and begin to expand the instrumental scope, and with “Like Bricks” as an intro, “Fairlane Swain,” “Zora” and “The Last Line” show that they’re not afraid to shake up their own approach, whether it’s with Chaloux‘s backwards cymbals on the outro, bringing in Riggs on “Zora” — which seems to be about a two-year sailing trip undertaken by Collins from 2004 to 2006 — or Robbins taking lead vocal charge on “Fairlane Swain.” At 7:44, the latter strikes a balance between instrumental progression and a foundational hook revolving around the lines, “Heavy metal parking lot/Just a dimebag of shit pot…” describing scenes taken from what seems to be personal reference — a photo of a 1966 Ford Fairlane provided by and presumably featuring one Steve Swain flipping off the camera is included in one of the inside panels of the six-panel digipak — atop a riff that’s just about universal before delivering the title line with underclassman’s reverence to a classic image of cool. Or is it contempt? Either way, the album’s instrumental payoff follows, built from the ground up and boasting highlight guitar work from both Robbins and Ross, and “Zora” gives a Dozer-worthy last kick in the ass before the quiet psych-bluesy “The Last Line” caps off a record that doesn’t seem to want to end. Fair enough, but by the time it gets there, Murcielago‘s Murcielago can’t be accused of leaving something unsaid. Rather, the foursome’s debut delivers a complete-album feel and a vibe that develops as it unfolds and helps greatly to individualize the band. Whatever, and whoever, they may share, Murcielago leave their first long-player behind them having given the listener a sense of who they are musically and what they want to accomplish here and going forward stylistically. They’re not green as musicians and they don’t sound like it, but the self-titled neither lacks pulse nor wants anything for songwriting.

Murcielago, “Way too Far”

Murcielago on Thee Facebooks

Murcielago on Bandcamp

Murcielago at Bull Moose Records

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Ogre Announce Weekender Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 20th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

While it looks like Ogre won’t be appearing at next weekend’s Vultures of Volume fest in Delaware as was originally slated, the illusive Maine-based doom rocking trio will still be out and about in the Northeast. Shows for a weekender they’re calling the “Trilogy of Terror” are booked in Philly, Connecticut and New Hampshire, and they’re playing with some excellent local support, including Heavy Temple and Cactus Hag. No doubt the good times will abound as they say goodbye to summer and continue to support their 2014 release, The Last Neanderthal (review here), their first album since getting back together after initially calling it quits half a decade ago.

That album is a worthy cause to support, and the notice the band sent down the PR wire is right when it urges you to catch them if you can. Ogre don’t really tour at this point, and who knows how long it’ll be before they next set foot back into civilization from their home in the northern wilds.

Or, as they put it:

ogre kung fu necktie

Portland, Maine doomsters OGRE are closing out the summer with three out-of-town gigs over the Labor Day weekend. The “Trilogy of Terror”, as the band has dubbed the trip, begins on Thursday, August 28th with the band’s first ever show in Philadelphia, performing at Kung Fu Necktie with local support from Heavy Temple and Skeleton Hands. Then, they will head up the coast for a Friday, August 29th show in New Haven, CT at Three Sheets with VRSA and Mind Over Master. The road-trip ends on Saturday, August 30th at Sonny’s in Dover, NH. Opening that show will be Cactus Hag and Black Norse.

OGRE is not sure when they’ll be hitting the road again, so try to catch them at these gigs if you can. For more info about the shows and to see drummer Will Broadbent’s killer gig flyers, check out the band’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rockogre

OGRE’s most recent CD, The Last Neanderthal, was released by Italy’s Minotauro Records in March 2014 and is still available at numerous on-line retailers and through the Minotauro website (www.minotaurorecords.com).

https://www.facebook.com/rockogre
http://www.minotaurorecords.com

Ogre, “Nine Princes in Amber” Lego video

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Live Review: We’re all Gonna Die, Murcielago and Blackwolfgoat in Portland, ME, 08.09.14

Posted in Reviews on August 11th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I kept a steady pace rolling up the Maine Turnpike (aka I-95 but they charge you for it; I’d bitch, but NJ does the same thing), not looking to get pulled over both because it would involve talking to cops and because my car’s not registered, but with the sunset on my left, the rising supermoon on my right and big, old growth pines on both sides of the road, it would’ve been hard to complain had anyone been around to listen. Last time I was in Portland, it was also for a show at Geno’s Rock ClubOgre‘s CD release, back in March (review here) — and though I had a hard time picking out familiar landmarks without a foot of snow on the ground, I eventually found my way to the same spot for the third of We’re all Gonna Die‘s three Summer 2014 reunion shows, with locals Murcielago rounding out the bill and support from MA’s Tigerman Woah and Maple Forum alum Blackwolfgoat.

The latter opened, going on around 9:30, with Darryl Shepard (Milligram, The Scimitar, etc.) starting out his Blackwolfgoat set with some new material from the forthcoming Small Stone release, Drone Maintenance. It’s his third LP under the Blackwolfgoat moniker — The Obelisk’s in-house label released the first CD pressing of the second one, Dronolith — and the most accomplished, Shepard beginning to veer toward a songwriting impulse to match the project’s progressive drone soundscaping. I was pleased to hear Dronolith opener “Building Buildings” in the mix, distinct for its layers of rhythm and melody, and it made an interesting lead-in for “Cyclopean Utopia,” the only Blackwolfgoat song to-date with vocals, for which Shepard got on mic and let loose a succession of ambient screams.

His time cut somewhat short when the strap on his guitar broke, but I guess part of the fun of having an outfit like Blackwolfgoat is that when something like that happens, you can roll with it. Still screaming over his loops and feedback, Shepard strummed the guitar a few times with his shoe before kneeling down to twiddle knobs on his pedal board. That wash of feedback continued even as he began to pack up his gear, but eventually the amp got shut off. “Cyclopean Utopia” was about half-done, but that strap was all-the-way done, and that seemed to win out. It was about as disparate a lead-in for Tigerman Woah as one could ask, the Lynn, Massachusetts, four-piece offering standup bass, banjo ukulele and rockabilly-ish revelry of a much more riotous and beery sort.

I live on the South Shore of Massachusetts, under Boston. On the other side of the city is the North Shore. I haven’t been up there much in the year that I’ve lived in the state, so I can’t necessarily speak to the geography of the place, but what I’ve seen has been way more Upper-Middle-Class-mall and way less a setting befitting the Appalachian mountain punk that Tigerman Woah proffered, but I’ll give it to those dudes for both selling it well and every now and again going on a tear of gang vocals and guitar solos that were likewise duly infectious. Plus who knows what lurks in those old foothills. They weren’t really my thing — and they were definitely the odd band out on the bill — but Tigerman Woah kept me glued to my spot on the floor at Geno’s with their twanging party vibe, gravely vocals and enviable beards.

After two prior shows, in Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire, it wasn’t such a surprise to find We’re all Gonna Die pushing through their set with workmanlike fluidity, but what stuck out to me most from watching them for the first time in I don’t know how many years was how dead-on they came across. Sometimes when a group plays for the first time in a while — I think in the Boston trio’s case, it’s been five years — they’re both rusty and overexcited. Material gets rushed. For guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey, bassist Jesse Sherman and drummer Scott Healey, it was more like seeing a band who’d been doing shows all year. They were plainly glad to be there, but they played like pros. The slow parts stayed slow, the fast parts were crisp in their pummel, and Healey‘s voice — a powerful instrument, forcefully wielded — was on point throughout and one could only stand in awe as solo after solo was thoroughly nailed. Something in me doubts this will be their last show.

Rounding out the night, Murcielago would keep that theme going, as the highlight of their set was a sudden turn that had guitarists Matt Robbins and Ian Ross (see also: Roadsaw) duking it out “Dueling Banjos”-style as they went back and forth, solo for solo. It was my first time seeing the band and they’ve only released a couple recorded tracks as downloads, so the bulk of their material was new to me, but came across steady in riff-heavy form, bassist/vocalist Neil Collins handling most of the singing with Robbins backing while drummer Brian Chaloux held it down smooth behind. Even during the aforementioned solo tradeoffs — which got a laugh as well at one point when Robbins flipped Ross off following a particularly impressive showing — Collins and Chaloux kept a central groove going as a bed, and Murcielago not only returned to that song’s chorus, but finished their set with another cut after.

That was about one in the morning, and I had two and a half hours of road time ahead, so I made my way out of Geno’s on the quick and back down the still unfamiliar Congress St. to my car, the Maine Turnpike lit blue by the near-full moon and save for a few swerving cars, empty with the well-worn evening.

A couple more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

Read more »

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