Desertfest Berlin 2019: Greenleaf, The Shrine, Blackwater Holylight, Worshipper, Mirror Queen, R.I.P., The Great Machine and Lucidvox Added

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

desertfest berlin 2019 banner

Yes. This. Cool update from Desertfest Berlin 2019, with Greenleaf and The Shrine and The Great Machine along for the ride with LucidvoxR.I.P., BlackWater HolyLightMirror Queen and Worshipper, and the pairings of the last four between RidingEasy Records and Tee Pee Records leads me to wonder if maybe Mirror Queen and Worshipper won’t hit the road together for a bit and if R.I.P. and BlackWater HolyLight won’t do likewise. For all I know, that’s already announced, but it’s speculation as far as my brain and limited, I’m-writing-in-the-car internet connection are concerned, but either way, they all bring something different Desertfest Berlin 2019, and pretty much anywhere Greenleaf goes is someplace you want to be. Man, I’d love to see that band again one of these… years.

Full announcement came down the PR wire:

desertfest berlin 2019 poster

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 ADDS THE SHRINE + GREENLEAF + THE GREAT MACHINE + LUCIDVOX + MIRROR QUEEN + WORSHIPPER + R.I.P. + BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT!

Spring is almost around the corner, which also means DESERTFEST BERLIN is coming close and will be again opening its holy grounds for the annual and 8th festival edition in the heart of Berlin, the Arena, this May. While desert rock fans and riff lovers from all over the globe come together at the leading cult underground festival specialising in all aspects of the Stoner Rock, Doom, Heavy Psych and all its great subgenres soon, today DESERTFEST BERLIN announced the next batch of great names and high class acts to their already eclectic line-up!

If Black Flag, Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath would have a baby, it would be definitely named THE SHRINE. Hailing straight out of the local rock scene at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles and delivering a breed of heavy, psychedelic, riff based Rock n’ Roll, THE SHRINE will make their long awaited return to DESERTFEST BERLIN this year, and are gonna light it up!

You eagerly asked for them, so you get them! As a most welcome guest and longtime member of the DESERTFEST family, we are thrilled to have GREENLEAF rocking out the Arena stage this year! The Swedish power rock unit will not only present their brand new album live on stage, but as always showcasing some of their finest riffs, haunting melodies to sing along, a unique groove and energetic stage presence the band is known and loved for. Welcome back at DESERTFEST BERLIN, guys!

Furthermore DESERTFEST is proud to confirm THE GREAT MACHINE will be coming all the way from Israel to Berlin! This trio creates a strong psychedelic, stoner rock experience with a heavy dose of the punk rock attitude, join THE GREAT MACHINE on their wild trip into the freedom of heaviest sounds, live at the ARENA Berlin 2019!

With the hints of folk and kraut-rock, LUCIDVOX from Moscow will join to represent full ladies power at this year’s DESERTFEST BERLIN! Sometimes psychedelic rock can extend beyond clichés of shaggy-haired ruffians; LUCIDVOX, the forerunner in a new and burgeoning Russian DIY rock scene, prove that more than well. While the brains behind this Moscowian four-piece, Alina, Nadezhda, Galla and Anna, have played outside of Russia just once, DESERTFEST BERLIN will be their very first show in Germany to date. Please give these killer ladies a very warm welcome!

Cult fuzz rock label Tee Pee Records (home of bands such as Witch, Sleep, High On Fire among many more ) are presenting us two more exciting and up&coming acts from their excellent artist roster: US-based MIRROR QUEEN and WORSHIPPER are currently rising from the psychedelic hard rock underground, both perfectly proving that the soul of melodic heavy music still burns brightly!

After several years of hammering the US west coast with their blunt scythe of street-doom, R.I.P. are about to embark on an extensive tour this Spring with a stop at DESERTFEST BERLIN! The band’s debut “In the Wind”, out on RidingEasy Records, closes the casket on the trends and exhumes the notion that doom isn’t always about how slow and de-tuned you can play, but about fear, death, leather and playing as heavy as possible.

Rounding up today’s announcement with another MUST-SEE tip from the underground, please welcome BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT to the 8th edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN! The Heavy Psych quintett from Portland, who released their critically acclaimed debut just last year on RidingEasy Records, are currently on their way to the top of the biggest hopes in psychedelic rock music, and we are more than psyched DESERTFEST BERLIN will be part of their journey.

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 takes place between May 3th – 5th 2019 at the riverside in the heart of Berlin, the ARENA. The festival will not only provide a new sound-and payment-system on the ground, but also more space PLUS a psychedelic wonderland chillout- and live zone on the ‘Hoppetosse’ boat!

Day- and Weekend passes are selling fast, make sure to grab yours at the following link:
www.desertfest-tickets.de

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

BlackWater HolyLight, “Wave of Conscience” official video

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Desertfest London 2019 Adds 29 Bands to Complete Lineup; Madness Ensues

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

What am I even supposed to say here other than ‘yes please?’ As Desertfest London 2019 rounds out its lineup and once again demonstrates its willful growth year after year, I’ll tell you this: there are a lot of bands listed below, and a lot of good bands. And if you’re reading this and you’re in London or you’re fortunate enough that you’re going to be in London for this festival, I know you’re hip to where it’s at. I get that. But seriously, if you don’t know, there re a few really must-see bands here, and it’s not all Amenra headlining. That’s great, and I’m sure it’ll be super-intense and very cool and all that.

But I’m telling you: don’t sleep on seeing High Priestess, BlackWater HolyLight, Worshipper, Salem’s Bend, Skraeckoedlan and Great Electric Quest. Some of those names are kind of buried near the bottom of this announcement, but really, you’d only be doing yourself a favor if you caught them. Let’s put Zed in that category too, and when they’re done, tell them I said hi. You probably already know all this, but I just wanted to highlight the point, since there’s a lot here and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I get that too.

Kudos to the Desertscene team for focusing on what matters — the music — even amid pulling double-duty in putting together the first-ever Desertfest NYC, the lineup for which is still in progress. This fest looks amazing and I wish I could say I was going. Quite simply, it’s been too long.

Here’s the announcement:

desertfest london 2019 final announcement

Amenra to headline Saturday at DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 + day tickets and 28 more bands announced!

Showcasing the best of what the underground has to offer is at the core of DESERTFEST LONDON and this year’s line-up is the most eclectic, yet satisfying to date by ticking those “wish-list old school desert rock” boxes with Fu Manchu and Witch at The Roundhouse, whilst pushing the boundaries of heavy with the likes of HHY & The Macumbas and Grave Miasma. Year after year it’s about offering up a diverse bill that allows for discovery, whilst celebrating the musical foundations of the festival, and the final Saturday headliner and remaining 28 acts do just that.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
Weekend and day tickets on sale at this location

Desertfest are honoured to reveal that the incomparable AMENRA will celebrate their 20-year anniversary across the London weekend this May, bringing their uniquely atmospheric sound as headliners of Saturday’s mainstage and, for the first time in the UK, an even more intimate side of the band takes place at The Underworld on Sunday with solo performances from CHVE & SYNDROME. We would be proud to have Amenra headline Desertfest on any year, but to have them on the year they celebrate their 20th anniversary makes it all the more special for us and also the band themselves.

Desertfest are also pleased to announce a stage takeover from the mighty Riding Easy Records, the righteous west coast label will not only bring the sun (we hope) but a hefty dose of fuzzed out riffs from their roster. Headlined by rock’n’rollers ELECTRIC CITIZEN who refuse to be pigeonholed with a 70s proto-metal sound that chimes into psychedelic realms. Street-doom killers R.I.P will hit the UK for the first time and vocalist Fuzz is ready to bring it hard and loud. Completing the stage showcase are 80s punk heavy metal hybrids ZIG ZAGS, hazy Swedish doom newcomers ALASTOR and the low and slow psych goth-rock sounds of BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT.

If that wasn’t enough Desertfest also adds thunderous space-rock psychedelic masters MONKEY3 to upcoming proceedings, the unforgiving primitive metal sounds of THE SECRET and LA party starters THE SHRINE, who haven’t graced DF with their amped up stoner-skate vibes for well over 5 years.

We also welcome back our long-time partners Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide for another takeover of The Underworld on Saturday. Topping the bill, the riff muscle of Savannah, Georgia is brought back to The Underworld by the mighty bruisers BLACK TUSK. Dropping in straight underneath we’re living the doom dream of olde with Chicago legends in THE SKULL. Glasgow gives us two offerings this year in the form of explosive riff n roll filth-party heads ACID CANNIBALS, and to lower the tone whilst severely twisting some melons we also welcome their fellow city dwellers HEADLESS KROSS. As ever we chose to open up with a cataclysmic attack, hence why we’ve invited Brighton’s bleak hardcore oblivionists KALLOUSED to set the day into fittingly venomous motion. Bring your ear plugs, it’s gonna be a floor shaker!

And finally, Desertfest round off with the brilliant SKRAECKOEDLAN, BLANKET, SALEMS BEND, SURYA, HIGH PRIESTESS, ZED, KUROKUMA, GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST, PSYCHLONA, VIDEO NASTIES, ONE FOR SORROW, WORSHIPPER, MOUNTAIN CALLER & 1968 all added to the monumental 2019 line-up.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
All tickets on sale at this location

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

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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Desert Generator 2017 Lineup Announced: Earthless, Brant Bjork, Black Rainbows, Orchid & The Shrine to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I don’t know how else to say it other than to say that the lineup for Desert Generator 2017 is fucking sick. The Pioneertown, CA-based fest made its debut last year with none other than Brant Bjork at the organizational helm, and the return installment builds on the first one unquestionably, importing Italian heavy psych forerunners Black Rainbows to play the fest proper at Pappy & Harriet’s and partnering with esteemed Euro booker Sound of Liberation on a pre-party the night before out in the desert with Yawning Man, Fu Manchu and Brant Bjork doing a set with Sean Wheeler. Like I said, it’s fucking sick.

Really, the only two words you’d need to sell the thing are “Earthless headline,” but the that’s just the start of what’s going on here. Orchid and The Shrine will be an absolute party, and the vibe Desert Generator 2017 is shooting for is so apparent I can feel it even from being situated on the other side of the continent. I wish to hell I could be there for this one, because it looks like it’s going to be something special.

Check it out:

desert generator 2017

DESERT GENERATOR 2017

A heavy, psychedelic, rock & roll happening.
Rolling Heavy Magazine; Allnight, Allnight; and Brant Bjork present:

DESERT GENERATOR and THE ROLLING HEAVY VAN SHOW
Saturday, April 8th, 2017
Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Saloon, The Pioneertown Corrals

Custom vans, killer bands, hanging and camping out all weekend with new and old buddies, cheersing and generally getting rad in the Southern California desert. Concert Tickets are on sale. If you were there in 2016, you know you gotta be there. If you missed it, well, you know you can’t make that mistake again. We are so stoked about this band lineup!

EARTHLESS
BRANT BJORK
ORCHID
THE SHRINE
BLACK RAINBOWS

— Yeah, buddy, that’s right. Let that soak in for a minute, then read on…

!!! SOMETHING EXTRA RAD AND NEW FOR 2017 !!!
>>> \\\\ * STONED & DUSTED * //// <<<

Presented by Sound of Liberation
Friday April 7th, 2017

A concert that can happen only with these desert rock legends and only in this desert. We’re throwing a generator party in the middle of nowhere and you’re invited. The location sits on nearly 700 acres of undisturbed desert. No telephone poles, no roads, no people, nothing but rocks and rockers, stones and stoners.

Mario Lalli is bringing the gas-powered electricity and his band Yawning Man are bringing the loudest amps they can find. Brant Bjork is swooping up the Low Desert Punks in his badass Dodge Challenger and special guest Sean Wheeler is riding in on the hood. Fu Manchu finally found the party they were in search of this whole time! And you can find it too if you have a ticket. Meet the bands, break bread, and see them rock out in this super secret desert location.

FU MANCHU
BRANT BJORK w/ SPECIAL GUEST SEAN WHEELER
YAWNING MAN

* Hang with the bands before the show
* Enjoy Hot Tacos & Cold Drinks
* VERY LIMITED number of tickets
* Super rad desert location
* Loud as fuck

https://allnightallnight.ticketleap.com/desert-generator-2017/
http://www.desertgenerator.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RollingHeavyMagazine/

Brant Bjork w/ Sean Wheeler, “Dave’s War” Live in Athens, Greece

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The Decemburger Lineup Announced: The Shrine, The Well & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 4th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The name just rolls off the tongue. Similar perhaps to the way in which sliders might roll on the tongue in quick enough succession to earn you $500 worth of band merch at The Decemburger at Hi-Dive in Denver, Colorado, on Dec. 3.

That’s the rather considerable prize for the first person to eat 10 sliders — sounds easy, right? — at an eating contest that’s set to take place later in the day at this new fest from Dust Presents, who also put on the Electric Funeral Festival this past June. They’ll bring together a raucous assemblage of acts — from skate rock forerunners The Shrine on down through Austin, Texas, riff ambassadors The Well and Duel to home-grown heavy classic prog upstarts Cloud Catcher, among many others — in order to complement this gluttony with a corresponding potentially-lethal dose of fuzz. It looks like it’s gonna be a party.

If you’re interested in trying your luck with the slider contest — and I mean, come on, it’s not like it’s full-sized burgers — there are only 10 spots available. I’ve never done any competitive eating, and I wouldn’t disrespect anyone who has because I’ve seen those videos and that Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest looks hard as hell, but in addition to a killer show, this seems like an awesome way to get both a bunch of new t-shirts (provided they’ll still be the right size when you’re done) and a great story to tell about how you obtained them.

Tickets available now. Full lineup and show info follows, courtesy of the Thee Facebooks event page linked below:

the-decemburger-poster

DUST Presents: The Decemburger 2016

“Grass-Fed Rock n Roll”

Saturday, December 3 at 3 PM
Hi-Dive Denver
7 S Broadway, Denver, Colorado 80209

The Shrine
The Well
In the Company of Serpents
Zig Zags
DUEL
Malahierba
Cloud Catcher
The Munsens
LOVE GANG

SLIDER EATING CONTEST
**Want to share the stage with your favorite bands? There are 10 tickets available for the slider-eating contest (fest entry included), which will be held on stage before one of the last sets. First contestant to eat ten sliders will win a merch package worth $500!

Eating-Contest Tickets: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1336003
General admission tickets: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1335949

https://www.facebook.com/events/270296666694996/
https://www.facebook.com/dustpresents/
https://www.instagram.com/dustpresents/

The Shrine, “Coming Down Quick” official video

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The Shrine Confirmed for South American Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Cali heavy skate rockers The Shrine will head to South America later this month for a round of dates in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. It will be the band’s second trip abroad of the year in support of their latest album and Century Media debut, Rare Breed, behind a European run this Spring that found them taking part in Freak Valley as well as making other festival appearances and so on. They’ll be doing fests in South America as well, including the Abraxas Skate Jam, put on by Abraxas Events, which is also promoting the tour, on Aug. 3 in Rio de Janeiro.

No question dudes get their work in. Show poster, dates and links follow, courtesy of Abraxas:

the-shrine-south-america

THE WOLF GOES TO SOUTH AMERICA!

The Shrine will play 9 gigs in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, including the 22nd annual edition of Goiania Noise Fest, the oldest and one of the most important rock festivals in Brazil, performing in the main stage a few slots earlier than heavy metal legends Sepultura.

Abraxas will also promote the first edition of its new concept festival called Abraxas Skate Jam, in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, with The Shrine and some local acts playing loud rock and roll while skateboarders show their skills! The jams will take place at Cavepool (São Paulo) and Praça do Ó (Rio de Janeiro) skateparks. Best trick contests will grant the winners some special Volcom prizes, as well as kegs of the finest local craft beers Sheep Killer and Hocus Pocus and a lot of band and Abraxas merch!

JULY:
28 – Belo Horizonte, Brasil @ A Autêntica (Festival Rock do Deserto)
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/festival-rock-do-deserto-iii—the-shrine–lively-water–green-morton–saturndust–governator-i__72727

29 – Florianópolis, Brasil @ Célula Showcase
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/the-shrine–florianopolis-sc–290716__69408

30 – São Paulo, Brasil @ Inferno Club
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/the-shrine-eua—30-de-julho-no-inferno-club__70682

31 – São Paulo, Brasil @ Abraxas Skate Jam
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/1-abraxas-skate-jam-em-sao-paulo—3107-com-the-shrine-na-cavepool__77129

AUGUST:
3 – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil @ Abraxas Skate Jam
– Free admission –

4 – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil @ Teatro Odisséia
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/the-shrine-eua—4-de-agosto-no-teatro-odisseia__70680

5 – Goiânia, Brasil @ Goiânia Noise Festival
Tickets: https://meubilhete.com/22goianianoisefestival

7 – Buenos Aires, Argentina @ Noiseground Festival
Tickets: http://www.ticketek.com.ar/noiseground-festival/el-teatro

8 – Montevideo, Uruguay @ Bluzz Live

https://www.facebook.com/theshrinefuzz/
http://www.theshrineband.com/
http://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=844

The Shrine, “Savage Skulls and Nomads” live at Fortarock 2016

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Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats Announce US Tour with Danava and The Shrine

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

uncle acid and the deadbeats

UK garage doom forerunners Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats will use Psycho Las Vegas as the launch point for a coast-to-coast US tour joined by Danava and The Shrine. The band, who were also announced as headliners for North West Hesh Fest, which caps the run on Sept. 23 at Dante’s in Portland, Oregon, seem to be hitting some places beyond the major markets this time around — granted they’re still in Brooklyn, Dallas, L.A., Chicago, etc., but they’ll be at The Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina, and The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, too, which finds them digging deeper into the US circuit than they have in the past. Of course, they’ll likely draw just about anywhere, so all the better as they continue to support last year’s fourth outing, The Night Creeper (review here), on Rise Above Records.

Just off the PR wire:

uncle acid tour poster-700

UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS Announce Details of North American Tour

The UK’s greatest cult band, UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS, have announced details of a run of North American dates beginning at the end of August and running through September.

The dates are as follows:

UNCLE ACID With Danava and The Shrine:
8/27: Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Fest*
8/28: Los Angeles, CA @ Fuck Yeah Fest*
8/29: Phoenix, AZ @ Club Crescent
8/31: Dallas, TX @ Trees
9/2: Birmingham, AL @ The Saturn
9/3: Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
9/4: Tampa, FL @ State Theater
9/6: Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
9/7: Richmond, VA @ Broadberry
9/8: Washington, DC @ The Howard Theater
9/9: Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony
9/10: Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
9/12: Detroit, MI @ The Majestic
9/13: Chicago, IL @ Metro
9/15: Denver, CO @ Gothic Theater
9/16: Colorado Springs, CO @ Rawkus
9/17: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
9/19: Boise, ID @ Neurolux
9/20: Missoula, MT @ The Wilmna
9/22: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
9/23: Portland, OR @ Dante’s*

*Festival Appearance

They released their breakthrough album Blood Lust in 2011, a homage to British Hammer and folk horror films of the 1970s, a candle-lit head-trip of withered hands, ritual knives and gallows ropes. Mind Control (2013), their third album, looked further afield, to the post-Charles Manson US for inspiration: Jim Jones dosing the Kool-Aid. Blue Cheer, Blue Oyster Cult and B-movie biker movies. War, Watergate, serial killers and suicidal TV evangelists.

www.acidcoven.com
www.facebook.com/uncleacid

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Live in Athens, May 20, 2016

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Freak Valley 2016: The Shrine Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2016 header 2

It’s been, what, hours since the last announcement from Freak Valley 2016? So yeah, we were due. The German fest seems to get increasingly badass by the band, and after delivering Danish newcomers The Sonic Dawn earlier this week, it has now confirmed that SoCal-ier-than-thou skate rockers The Shrine will take part in the weekend’s doings as well. The fest, if you can’t see it in the header above, takes place May 26-28. Anybody want to quit their job with me and fly out? Sounds like a good time, right? Baby Woodrose is gonna be there…

The art for The Shrine‘s poster is by David Paul Seymour — this isn’t the last time today I’ll be posting about his work — and the band heads over to Europe supporting their recently-issued third album, Rare Breed, which also marks their debut on Century MediaFreak Valley 2016 announced their addition as follows:

freak valley 2016 the shrine

***THE SHRINE confirmed to play FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2016***

We tried to get California’s purveyors of Psychedelic Violence THE SHRINE over to FREAK VALLEY since years – Finally it will happen!!

Share this post (public) and win a free 3day pass!!

Despite forming in 2008, The Shrine feel like a band from a wilder, more reckless era. With a sound that harks back to the early days of punk and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the Venice, California band has a sound that evokes the past without relying on nostalgia. Made up of guitarist and vocalist Josh Landau, bassist Court Murphy, and drummer Jeff Murray, the trio merges driving energy with bluesy riffs to create a sound that feels like an unholy union between Black Flag and Black Sabbath.

The fantastic poster was created by a true legend: David Paul Seymour.

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 26th-27th-28th May 2016
www.freakvalley.de www.rockfreaks.de

FVF 2016 is SOLD OUT!!

Freak Valley Festival: No Fillers – Just Killers

Line-up 2016:
GRAVEYARD [SW] – Vintage Rock
DEAD MEADOW [US] – Psychedelic Stonerrock
SPIDERGAWD [NO] – Post-Boogie
WHITE HILLS [US] – Fuzzed Out Motorik Psychedelic
THE SHRINE [US] – Psychedelic Violence Rock and Roll
BABY WOODROSE [DK]- Psychedelic Garagerock
LONELY KAMEL [NO]- Heavy Blues, Hardrock & Stoner
ROTOR [D] – Instrumental StonerRock/Psychedelic
MONOLORD [SW] – Doom/Sludge
MANTAR [D] – Death Metal Doom Punk
TOUNDRA [SP] – Postrock
FARFLUNG [US] – Spacerock for 21st Century Heads
BLACK RAINBOWS [IT] – Heavy Psych
THE GOLDEN GRASS [US]- Heavy/Funk//Psych/Freakbeat
SPIDERS [SW] – Hard/Glam Rock
LÉ BETRE [SW] – Bluesy Hardrock
THE SONIC DAWN [DK] – Psychedelic Rock

…more tba very soon

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://twitter.com/FreakValley
https://shop.ticketscript.com/channel/web2/start-order/rid/LYSQRABJ/language/en

The Shrine, “Death to Invaders” official video

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Live Review: Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity and The Shrine in New Hampshire, 10.09.15

Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

clutch 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was only about an hour and a half to the Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, from my office, which felt like something of a miracle. Maryland heavy rock kingpins Clutch last played the venue about two years ago, but between it being the beginning of what will no doubt be a comprehensive touring cycle in support of their newly-released 11th album, Psychic Warfare (review here), and their partnering with the reunited four-piece incarnation of Corrosion of Conformity with SoCal heavy skaters The Shrine opening, it was an easy sell as far as I was concerned. Clearly I wasn’t the only one. I walked into the venue a little before The Shrine went on, and the place was already fairly packed. A large room, the prevailing mood was celebratory and ready to blow off steam. The Shrine (Photo by JJ Koczan)I think people were just looking for a good time.

And in kicking off the evening with a classic-rocking-but-somehow-still-punker boot to the ass, The Shrine seemed only too ready to get that good time moving. I had wondered how their very-Californian sound would translate to a chilly autumn night in New Hampshire — even one right across the street from a beach — but the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Josh Landau, bassist Courtland Murphy and drummer Jeff Murray have busted their collective ass on the road the last couple years, and if they were out of their element, you never would’ve known it watching them on stage. Last I saw them was in early-2013 with Graveyard (review here) in Philly, and it was plain to see at the Casino Ballroom how much they’ve come into their own since. Their second album, Bless Off, was released by Tee Pee last year (I didn’t review it, but should have), following up their aptly-titled 2012 debut, Primitive Blast (review here), and their new one, Rare Breed, is out at the end of this month in Europe and in Jan. here in the States as their first in Century Media.

Their set felt quick, but it was enough to give a sense of the new album in songs like “The Vulture,” “Savage Skulls and Nomads,” which Landau told the crowd was about 1970s street gangs in New York, “Coming Down Quick” and “Death to Invaders” (don’t quote me on that last one, but I think that was it), running from the initial uproariousness of their first record to the thicker grooves of the second. This was the fifth night of the tour, which will run through Oct. 23 with the same three bands, and The Shrine were duly locked in, Murray keeping some bounce in the drums while also adding gallop to some of the The Shrine (Photo by JJ Koczan)more Motörheady riffing from the guitar while Murphy added backing vocals and a steady foundation in the low end. They finished with “Nothing Forever,” the longest cut from Bless Off, which emphasized some of the complexity in their approach — not t0 mention the tightness of their execution — that I think gets lost sometimes in how they present the band. Not that they should be stoic prog rockers, what they’re doing clearly works, but they’re tough to ignore after you watch them play. I’ll hope to get the chance to hear Rare Breed.

I was trying to think of the last time I saw the Pepper Keenan-fronted incarnation of Corrosion of Conformity, and I think it was in 2005. They would have been out supporting that year’s In the Arms of God, which got a mixed reception on its arrival but in my estimation remains underrated, and I believe it was Irving Plaza in New York. Weedeater and Alabama Thunderpussy may or may not have also played. Either way, it’s been a while. With the lineup of Keenan plus bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist/vocalist Woodroe Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin — who’ve been playing as the “Animosity-era” trio the last several years and released an EP and two also-underrated albums in 2014’s IX (review here) and 2012’s declarative Corrosion of Conformity (review here) through Candlelight — C.O.C. Corrosion of Conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan)have been playing shows throughout Europe and the UK since earlier this year, but to my knowledge this marks their first US run, at least on the East Coast, and it will preface a headlining tour set to start next month. A practice run? Maybe, but they hardly seemed rusty.

Set-wise, they dipped as far back as “Vote with a Bullet” from 1991’s Blind — which was Keenan‘s introduction to the band as vocalist/guitarist — and as far forward as the uptempo “Paranoid Opioid” from In the Arms of God, but the focus was on their two ’90s landmarks, Deliverance (1994) and Wiseblood (1996), and as someone who’s been rooting for the trio lineup the last several years sort of as underdogs working against the expectations of that portion of their audience dug deep into the heavy Southern Sabbathisms of those records, I had forgotten just how special that material actually is — songs like “Long Whip/Big America,” “Heaven’s Not Overflowing,” with which they opened, “Wiseblood” and “Seven Angels.” Hearing Dean and Mullin and Weatherman all switching off in backing vocal roles, or better, leading a sing-along all at once, was exhilarating, and Keenan, who’s spent the last several years in Down‘s descent into post-Kirk Windstein caricature machismo, is a frontman of undeniable charisma.Corrosion of Conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan) There were some sound issues — a chirp of feedback when everyone got on mic during “Albatross,” etc. — but there was very little that would’ve been able to hold C.O.C. back, and even in the slower “13 Angels,” which was the sole representation from 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, their last album as this four-piece (Stanton Moore of Nola jammers Galactic played drums on In the Arms of God), they were dead on in serving a refresher of just what a substantial portion of their fanbase has been clamoring for pretty much since they stopped playing circa 2006.

Keenan thanked Clutch from the stage for bringing them out and letting them, “Get their shit back together,” but the bigger news was when he announced that C.O.Cwere in the process of signing to Nuclear Blast and that they’d have a new album out with this lineup in 2016. I had no official word, but I’d assume John Custer, who’s helmed all their records since Blind, will produce. Once he said it, which was I believe before “Vote with a Bullet” preceded “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds” at the end of the set, my mind immediately flashed to the possibilities for what it might sound like, the balance of songwriting, who does vocals where — does the hardcore punk track still get relegated to the end of the tracklist? — and so on. Two months out from the New Year, a landmark for 2016 may have just been revealed.

Finding that out alone would’ve made my night. Even without a show. I mean, if I read that on Facebook or some shit,Clutch (Photo by JJ Koczan) I’d have been like, “Well, my evening can end now, I feel like I’ve hit a satisfactory quota of awesome.” But there was still a gig going on, and Clutch were headlining! Similar to what they did after releasing Earth Rocker (review here) in 2013, and really going back further than that as well, the set was highly focused on the new album. Their stated method of one band member between vocalist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster picking an evening’s setlist always leaves me guessing who’s responsible for what show, but in any case, between “X-Ray Visions” opening, “Firebirds,” “A Quick Death in Texas,” “Sucker for the Witch,” “Your Love is Incarceration,” “Our Lady of Electric Light,” “Noble Savage,” “Behold the Colossus” and “Son of Virginia,” the only song from Psychic Warfare unrepresented was the penultimate “Decapitation Blues.” Otherwise, they played the whole record, which coming from them is just what the crowd both expected and wanted.

“Son of Virginia,” which closed the regular set before a three-song encore, got a particularly vehement response, but “The Face” from Earth Rocker had me pulling my earplugs out to sing along, and “Elephant Riders” from 1998’s The Elephant Riders and “Dragonfly” from that same album felt like something special tossed in for longer-term fans, particularly the latter, which is a rarer inclusion. Their presence and delivery something of a given, Clutch seemed in likewise good spirits to the crowd, Fallon picking up the guitar more than he did when they were out for Earth Rocker to join Sult even on a faster cut like “Your Love is Incarceration.” They’re still tightening up some of the new material — other songs have been around for more than a year already and included in sets — but one assumes that by the time they get around to the inevitable live album sometime in 2016 or 2017, it will be no less second nature (or first, I guess) than “Cypress Grove” from 2004’s Blast Tyrant, Clutch (Photo by JJ Koczan)which has become a perennial favorite and was clearly known to the packed Casino Ballroom, readily aware of that black plastic bag in the back of a jacked-up Ford.

Who could argue with an encore launched by “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…” from Earth Rocker? From its “Party’s over you all got to go” chorus to the bigger nod of its ending, the song feels hand-constructed to appear near the finish of a set, and joined by the more raucous “The Mob Goes Wild” from Blast Tyrant, for which Bryan “Uzi” Hinkley from Never Got Caught and formerly of Tree joined in on guitar, Clutch seemed geared to cap the night in high-octane fashion, but they cut back and let the more spacious “Electric Worry,” the highlight of 2007’s From Beale St. to Oblivion and an unmistakable precursor to a song like “Son of Virginia,” finish, with the uptempo kick of “One Eye Dollar” tacked on, which is nothing new but still feels like a bonus each time. One felt as though the entire venue, which was built and originally opened in 1899, was caught in the around-the-horn swirling rhythm.

By the time I managed to make my way out, the sidewalk was already flooded with weirdos, working-types and the other such and sundry who’d attended, the off-season windchill not drawing much of a shoreline crowd. I had about another 90 minutes to get home still ahead of me, so didn’t hang around long, but got to see a couple old friends and that’s always restorative, even if brief. Same could be said of the show as a whole, I suppose.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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