Maryland Doom Fest 1: Nagato Added; Final Schedule Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

nagato (Photo by Rachel Ellen Morton)

It turns out Pull had to them-out (get it?) of the first-ever Maryland Doom Fest, but they’ve been replaced by reunited riffers Nagato, who got back together last year after a cessation of activity in 2012. Thick on vibe, they’ll add progressive atmospherics and gorgeous tone to the lineup of the fest, which takes place from June 26-28 at Cafe 611 in Frederick, Maryland. I’ve only been fortunate enough to see the four-piece once, at Stoner Hands of Doom XI in 2011 (review here), for which they also played on a Sunday, but that set left enough an impression that four years later I keep hoping I’ll hear some news about them putting out a record sooner or later.

They might get there. I know the members of Nagato are involved in a few other projects as well, so maybe their playing Maryland Doom Fest is enough for the moment. They’ve joined a killer lineup, for which the final schedule has just been announced.

And just so we have it all in one place, alphabetically, here’s the full lineup as of now (there are still a couple months to go, things can change) for the inaugural Maryland Doom Fest: Apostle of Solitude, Balam, Banned from H.E.L.L., Foehammer, Foghound, Into the Void, Iron Man, Lord, Mangog, Mind’s Eye, Nagato, Outside Truth, Primer Grey, Project Armageddon, Season of Arrows, Serpent Witch, Sixty Watt Shaman, Slaves B.C., Spirit Caravan, The Skull, Unorthodox, Valkyrie, Weed is Weed.

Poster by Audrey Mantel and running order follow, along with Nagato‘s return show last August:

md doom fest flyer

The Maryland Doom Fest 1

June 26 – 28, 2015
Cafe 611, Frederick, MD

A weekend of doom metal in its purest form.

FRIDAY
The Skull 1225-130
Sixty Watt Shaman 1115-1210
Unorthodox 1005-11
Weed Is Weed 855-950
Into The Void 755-840
Banned From H.E.L.L. 655-740
Primer Grey 6-640

SATURDAY
Spirit Caravan 1215-130
Apostle of Solitude 1105-1200
Outside Truth 1010-1050
Valkyrie 910-955
Project Armageddon 815-855
Foghound 720-8
Balam 630-705
Slaves B.C. 540-615
Season of Arrows 445-525

SUNDAY
Iron Man 1045-1215
Foehammmer 945-1030
Lord 845-930
Mind’s Eye 745-830
Nagato 650-730
Serpent Witch 655-735
Mangog 6-640

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-maryland-doom-fest-tickets-15022390374
https://www.facebook.com/events/562627560540323
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-maryland-DOOM-Fest/815331421863100

Nagato, Live at Guido’s Speakeasy, Frederick, MD, Aug. 23, 2014

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan Live at Emissions from the Monolith II, May 2001

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

The last Emissions from the Monolith festival took place in 2007 in Austin, Texas, but the fest will always be associated with Youngstown, Ohio. A beaten, post-industrial burg off Route 80 on the other side of the Pennsylvania state line, there wasn’t much to see in Youngstown, and that was part of the point. Nestled deep in a street that, on any given day, someone might rob the deli down the block, the Nyabinghi itself was a mirror of dropped-out culture. Not the glorified kind, but the kind that actually didn’t give a fuck. From 2000 through 2006, Emissions from the Monolith was held at the Nyabinghi and its lineups looked an awful lot like the shape of heavy to come.

I only went to one. The last in Ohio, in 2006. A little band called Baroness opened one of the days and to date it’s the only US appearance Colour Haze have ever made. There was some blowup with SunnO))) that resulted in thrown monitors. To tell you the truth, there’s a lot of it I don’t remember. Apparently Orange Goblin and Scissorfight‘s tour took them out that way. Awesome. I remember seeing that in New York, but if I caught it at Emissions, it’s news to me. It was that kind of a thing. A blackout weekend every Memorial Day. There was very little fashionable about heavy rock and doom at the time, and barbecue sandwiches sold on the back patio. It’s hard to write about without glorifying it, but maybe it should be glorified. Probably not if we’re judging by standards of public safety. I remember handing one of my band’s demos to Greg Barratt, who owned the place and booked Emissions. He was polite enough.

Wino was a regular fixture at the fest, between Spirit Caravan in 2000 and 2001 and The Hidden Hand in 2003 and 2004. The year this week’s Wino Wednesday clip comes from is 2001. Spirit CaravanWino, bassist Dave Sherman, drummer Gary Isom — were joined on the bill by Warhorse, Bongzilla, Halfway to Gone, Weedeater, Witch Mountain, Disengage, Pale Divine, Tummler, Sherman‘s own Earthride and many others. I imagine it was a hell of a weekend. At the start of their set, Wino thanks Barratt for putting the thing on and says something about police activity the night before. That sounds about right.

Not sure who filmed it, but the audio is by Michael “Lucifer Burns” Lindenauer. Enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, Live at Emissions from the Monolith II, May 2001

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan Live in Baltimore, July 22, 2000

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Spirit Caravan‘s reunion last year earned them no shortage of love on both their US and European tours, and while that will no doubt continue in 2015 as the band comes together to headline gigs like the inaugural Maryland Doom Fest this June (info here) along with The Skull. The prospect of new material looms pretty large when it comes to Spirit Caravan. Their most recent outing, such as it is, is the 2003 MeteorCity compilation The Last Embrace, which culled together the bulk of their discography from their early singles as Shine on through to their final recorded tracks. That was, however, 12 years ago, and we’re even further removed from Spirit Caravan‘s classic 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun. What would become a landmark in Maryland-style heavy will be 16 this year — old enough to drive in some states — and while Wino certainly showed with Saint Vitus‘ 2012 reunion album, Lillie: F-65, that such outings can produce righteous results, particularly with Vitus/Spirit Caravan drummer Henry Vasquez propelling them, it remains to be seen whether Spirit Caravan will even get to the point of writing new material.

And it was three years before Vitus got to that point as well, so even if they do, there’s no guarantee such a thing would happen in 2015 or even 2016. That’s not to say it can’t — Wino‘s certainly a prolific enough cat, and one imagines bassist Dave Sherman would be on board despite his commitments with Weed is Weed and Earthride – but I’d rather err on the side of caution and call it unlikely than expect it and not have it show up. Fortunately, there’s enough documentation of both Spirit Caravan‘s reunion tours and their original run to get by in the meantime. We turn to the latter for this week’s Wino Wednesday, and find the original Spirit Caravan trio — Wino on guitar/vocals, Sherman on bass and Gary Isom on drums — live on stage at The 8×10 in Baltimore, Maryland. We don’t get the full set, or at least it looks that way since they’re tuning at the end of the video as opposed to breaking down the backline, but it’s certainly enough time for them to get their point across in cuts like “Black Flower,” “Dreamwheel” and “Retroman.”

Enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, Live at The 8×10, Baltimore, Maryland, July 22, 2000

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Sea Legs” Live in Athens, 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Been doing a lot of 2014 wrap-up stuff this week, so it seemed only fair to include a Wino Wednesday post that included the biggest Wino news of 2014, i.e., the reunion with Spirit Caravan this past spring and summer. Wino, together with bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman (also Earthride and Weed is Weed) and drummer Henry Vasquez (also Saint Vitus and Blood of the Sun), the latter brought in for original member Gary Isom (also in Weed is Weed) after an apparent falling out during the rehearsal stage, hit the road in the US and Europe both for significant tours. The States was more than a month if I recall, and Europe included festival stops at Desertfest and more. The timing didn’t work for me to catch a show, but there’s always next year.

To that end, Spirit Caravan will headline next year’s inaugural Maryland Doom Fest along with The Skull and Apostle of Solitude. The three-day festival was announced last week and boasts the aforementioned as well as a slew from the Maryland doom scene and area surrounding including Iron Man, Valkyrie, Lord, Unorthodox and many others. That’s set for the end of June, the 26-28, just as the humidity is really settling over the Eastern Seaboard, so should be an excellent time. I’m hoping to be able to make the trip south for it, got it penciled into the calendar, so the chance to make up for missing Spirit Caravan in 2014 is something I’m relishing.

But, in the spirit of wrapping up this year — next Wednesday is New Year’s Eve, so this isn’t technically the last Wino Wednesday of 2014, but it’s close enough, so go with me on it — here’s Spirit Caravan performing “Sea Legs” from the classic 1999 album, Jug Fulla Sun earlier this year in Athens, Greece. The clip was filmed in July, and you can see all three members of the band, Wino, Sherman and Vasquez, on stage and kicking ass.

Enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, “Sea Legs” Live in Athens, Greece, July 4, 2014

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The Skull, Spirit Caravan, Apostle of Solitude and More Confirmed for Maryland Doom Fest 2015

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

There isn’t much more to the Maryland Doom Fest 2015 at this point than a list of bands, dates and a place, but that’s really all you need. In true Maryland doom style, no bullshit, no one-at-a-time teasers, just “here’s this awesome thing” and you can either show up or suck. The inaugural edition of the Frederick-based fest will take place at Cafe 611 and bring together a killer assemblage of acts, headlined by The Skull and Spirit Caravan and also boasting Apostle of Solitude and War Injun-offshoot Outside Truth.

To that point, while Maryland itself is well represented — Spirit CaravanOutside TruthIron ManWeed is WeedFoghoundMind’s EyePull, Daydreams with Nightmares, etc. — the festival’s reach is immediately wider, not only pulling in Lord and Valkyrie (the latter of whom should have a new album out by then, on Relapse) from nearby Virginia, but reaching up the Eastern Seaboard to nab Rhode Island’s Balam and into the Midwest for The Skull and Apostle of Solitude, who together supplied some of 2014’s best doom in their latest albums.  What’s consistent throughout the lineup is the spirit of doom. There’s some variety around sludge, stoner, heavy rock and so on, but it’s a riffer’s delight front to back and it looks like it’ll be one worth traveling to see.

I’m not sure if more bands are being added, but presumably there will be a change here and there one way or another — June 26-28 is a long time away — and if I hear anything, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, here’s the poster and lineup for the first Maryland Doom Fest:

maryland doom fest 2015

The Skull
Spirit Caravan
Apostle of Solitude
Outside Truth
Unorthodox
Iron Man
Valkyrie
Weed is Weed
Balam
Project Armageddon
Foghound
Pull
Mind’s Eye
Slaves BC
Foehammer
Season of Arrows
Lord
Daydreams with Nightmares

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-maryland-DOOM-Fest/815331421863100
http://cafe611.com/

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Inside Looking Out” Live in Las Vegas, 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

True, I said I’d hold off putting up more clips from the Spirit Caravan reunion tour. Or at least I think I said it. Or at least I think I thought it. Either way, it was a stupid idea. There’s an awful lot of footage out there of Wino, Sherman and Henry Vasquez kicking ass across the land, and I’d be a fool to not embrace it because I live under the delusion that anybody’s keeping count of how often one or another of Wino‘s bands appears here. Hell, I’m damn near three years into doing Wino Wednesday. Redundancy stopped mattering a long time ago.

With that in mind, here’s something a little different. Ha. “Inside Looking Out” was originally released as a single by The Animals in 1966. A couple years later, in 1969, Grand Funk Railroad took it on and switched the lyrics so it was talking about reefer, and that apparently did the trick in terms of making the song awesome. It’s been covered by many over the years and has a classic boogie riff with some start-stops, and anytime Wino and Sherm want to share vocals, that’s cool by me. At about the halfway point in the video, right before the solo, the dude filming decides to throw the horns right at the bottom of the shot. I kind of thought the song itself was making the point of its own asskickery, but I have a hard time arguing with the sentiment.

This tour wasn’t Wino‘s first experience with “Inside Looking Out” either. The Obsessed released it in 1996 as the A-side of their Altamont Nation 7″ on Bongload Records with “The Peckerwood Stomp” accompanying, and it was also included in their 1999 compilation, Incarnate, on Southern Lord, which made it somewhat more readily available. As you can see in the clip below, experience counts.

Enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, “Inside Looking Out” Live in Las Vegas, March 18, 2014

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Brother Blue Steel” Live in North Carolina, 1999

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

We’ve had a lot of Spirit Caravan around these parts lately for Wino Wednesday. Reasonably so, what with the reunion and the wealth of videos posted from their tours of the US and Europe. I thought maybe this week we’d run with it but change it up a bit and go back to the three-piece’s original run. Spirit Caravan as a working band rather than the returning conquerors, playing to small rooms and caving in the chest cavities of those fortunate enough to be in the know.

In March 1999, when the below version of “Brother Blue Steel” was recorded, Spirit Caravan hadn’t yet released their debut album, Jug Fulla Sun. That record, which came out through Joe Lally of Fugazi‘s Tolotta Records, was still two months off. They’d been kicking around for a couple years both as Shine and Spirit Caravan and had put the track “Darkness and Longing” on a split with Sixty Watt Shaman, but their full-length debut wouldn’t arrive until May. It makes more sense, then, that Spirit Caravan would take on a song like “Brother Blue Steel,” which Wino originally wrote and recorded with The Obsessed.

It was the opener from The Obsessed‘s 1991 return outing, Lunar Womb, and it seems fair to expect that if someone’s in the crowd at a Spirit Caravan show before the band has an LP out, they’ve probably heard The Obsessed, so yeah, a take on “Brother Blue Steel” is understandable. While there’s always some stylistic bleedthrough between Wino‘s bands because of his tone and songwriting process, I still think you can see in the below some of the differences in character between the two groups, bassist Dave Sherman and then-drummer Gary Isom hitting into a bounce that foreshadowed a big part of Spirit Caravan‘s sonic personality as Wino chugs out the verse riff. For being the same song, it’s definitely a different take.

Hope you enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Brother Blue Steel” Live at The Caboose, Garner, NC, March 27, 1999

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” Live at Hellfest 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

As an American, it’s hard for me to imagine the scale of an event like Hellfest, which takes place every June in Clisson, France, but certainly easy enough to admire it. The Valley stage seems to be here Hellfest hosts its Heavy, and from the likes of Black Pyramid to Neurosis to Unida, it’s a stage that’s been graced by some of the best bands the underground has to offer. This year, as part of their European reunion tour, Spirit CaravanWino on guitar/vocals, Dave Sherman on bass/vocals, Henry Vasquez on drums — made a stop at Hellfest as well, which seems only fitting. Wino had played there with The Obsessed a couple years back, and after appearances this spring at Desertfest and of course across the US, it’s a natural stop.

Perhaps it’s because I didn’t get to see them on their North American tour with Pilgrim that I’m so hung up on footage from the Spirit Caravan reunion gigs this year, or maybe it’s just that there’s so much video out there that I have a lot to choose from. Either way, the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. The clip below of “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” finds the three-piece locked into one of their most satisfying rolling grooves, Vasquez killing it on drums as he will while Sherman tilts his head back for the ride and Wino stands poised at the microphone like he’s about to fight it. Very, very cool video.

The song was featured earlier this year around the time the US dates were announced and comes from Spirit Caravan‘s swansong 2003 compilation, The Last Embrace. It’s one of the last tracks they’d record before splitting up, and echoes some of the themes Wino would later explore in The Hidden Hand, but as they showcase here, is still definitively a Spirit Caravan nod.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” Live at Hellfest 2014

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