Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan Honors Jason McCash in Tennessee

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Spirit Caravan reunion US tour is over as of last night, but I expect we’ll be seeing videos still coming out from it for a while. One of the best I’ve seen, or at least the most heartening, is this one from Tennessee. Playing The Hideaway in Johnson City just last week, Spirit Caravan bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman took the time to shout out fallen The Gates of Slumber bass player Jason McCash and say a few words about him and the underground doom community as a whole — subjects about which he knows no small amount, to be sure. Though Spirit Caravan won’t have had the chance, Sherman‘s own outfit, Earthride shared gigs and festival bills numerous times with the Indianapolis trad doomers, and The Gates of Slumber were always embraced by Maryland’s passionate scene — a haven of believers if ever there was one.

That remains the case, actually, since Baltimore’s The Sidebar will host a benefit for McCash‘s family on July 12 with Earthride headlining and Pale Divine, Argus and Beelzefuzz on the bill. It’s one of several tributes to McCash set for the coming months with the money going to his widow and children. More info on that here.

Spirit Caravan head to Desertfest next week and continue their reunion in London and Berlin. After that, it’s something of a mystery. Saint Vitus are set to begin their 35th anniversary tour on May 8 (dates here) and that will run through most of the rest of the month, and beyond that, I’d presume either Europe or recording with one band or another. The Obsessed are still ostensibly “active” too, though at this point that’s the reunion that has resulted in the fewest shows, sticking mostly to festivals in the US and abroad.

Whatever comes, I’ll do my best to keep up with it, and in the meantime, enjoy Sherman, Wino and drummer Henry Vasquez as they honor Jason McCash with “Fang,” which comes off their 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun. Have a great Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Fang” Live in Tennessee, April 6, 2014

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Wino & Conny Ochs, “Angels and Demons” Live in the Czech Republic, 2012

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It remains to be seen if we’ll actually get a sophomore album from the collaboration between Scott “Wino” Weinrich and German singer-songwriter Conny Ochs. The Exile on Mainstream labelmates released their debut, Heavy Kingdom (review here), in 2012 and celebrated with a fair amount of touring as a duo in Europe and North America, and they did answer Heavy Kingdom quickly with the Latitudes session, Labour of Love, but a good portion of that was cover material and the mission seemed more about enjoying playing together than actually furthering the writing partnership creatively. Not to take away from that release, since among other things it boasts the only to-date recorded version of Wino & Conny Ochs doing Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young‘s “Find the Cost of Freedom,” and that’s worth the price of admission alone. Still, a second record has proved elusive.

Among the trove of video from those tours, however, there are glimpses of material other than that which was included on Heavy Kingdom or Labour of Love, and whether it was a cut written subsequently, or something pulled from either’s solo catalog, there’s plenty of it taped out there — Wino & Conny Ochs probably makes a relatively easy set to capture, as they’re not likely to blow out the volume on whatever recorder might be used — and it’s from that vast and disorganized archive that “Angels and Demons” comes. Snagged in HD on that European tour in the Czech Republic (I believe) on May 3, 2012, the track originally appeared on Ochs‘ 2012 long-player, Raw Love Songs, and sure enough, he takes the lead on it. Wino adds a bit of ambience to the start, but the track really comes alive later when the two of them lock into a part that, considering it was written before they started collaborating, only emphasizes how fitting a pair they make.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Wino & Conny Ochs, “Angels and Demons” Live in the Czech Republic, 2012

Tags: , ,

Wino Wednesday: The Hidden Hand, “The Last Tree” from Divine Propaganda

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Hidden Hand happened at a pretty interesting juncture for American heavy, just when underground riff-worship was really starting to get a foothold in a wider public consciousness beyond what it had been in the days before the widespread instant-gratification of the internet became a way to access just about anyone’s music anytime. Their second album, the stellar Mother Teacher Destroyer, certainly got some attention when it was issued by Southern Lord in 2004 — helped perhaps by the publicity of Dave Grohl‘s Probot project, released that same year, and Wino‘s visible involvement in that on guitar and vocals — but the preceding full-length debut, 2003′s Divine Propaganda, had no such high-profile lead-in. Not to shoehorn it into too convenient a narrative, but it was simply Wino‘s new band after Spirit Caravan broke up.

Listening back now, over a decade later and in light of the two albums The Hidden Hand released after it, Divine Propaganda is a standout if somewhat uneven release. Issued by MeteorCity, it was the first studio output from Wino, bassist/vocalist Bruce Falkinburg and drummer Dave Hennessy, and it introduced a lot of the Illuminati/conspiracy/socio-political framework in which a good portion of the band’s lyrics would work for the duration of their tenure, but thanks in no small part to the Weinrich/Falkinburg collaboration in the songwriting, it also pushed into territory that was neither The Obsessed-style doom nor the freewheeling heavy rock of Spirit Caravan. There was something else going on, and that’s evident on Divine Propaganda, even if the trio were still figuring out what they wanted their sound to be and what shape that collaboration would take.

In all honesty, “The Last Tree” — track seven of the record’s total 10 — probably could’ve been a Spirit Caravan song with its rolling groove of a chorus riff, but as the verse shows, The Hidden Hand were already becoming something distinct, and the fuzz that Falkinburg puts on his bass in the track is not to be missed. It’s something of a forgotten gem from the largely underappreciated band, whose timing and whose songwriting continue to intrigue.

Happy Wino Wednesday:

The Hidden Hand, “The Last Tree” from Divine Propaganda (2003)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Dreamwheel” Live in Baltimore, March 7, 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. The Spirit Caravan reunion tour is almost two weeks deep into its month-plus run and video has started to surface of the trio of bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich and drummer Henry Vasquez – who came into the lineup late as a replacement for original member Gary Isom. I expect this won’t be the last time new Spirit Caravan footage is featured on Wino Wednesday, but if you have to start somewhere, the beginning seems like as good a place as any, and that takes us to the Metro Gallery in Baltimore on March 7.

Excitement is high at the start of “Dreamwheel” as Wino introduces the three-piece and succinctly puts it, “The past is the past. Right now. Right here. Spirit Caravan.” And while it’s also true that those who saw the band during their original tenure and with their founding lineup will continue to have something over those who didn’t, it’s a fair enough perspective for Spirit Caravan to project, since much of their vibe has always been rooted in at least an outward positivity. It’s also factually accurate. This is what Spirit Caravan are now. To his credit, Vasquez adapts as fluidly to Isom‘s parts as he did to those of Armando Acosta when he replaced him in Saint Vitus back in 2009. Word has been dropped of a new Spirit Caravan full-length, and presumably that would include Vasquez as well.

This clip of “Dreamwheel” — taken from the 1999 EP of the same name — is the first I’ve seen from the tour, but like I said, I imagine there’s plenty more to come as the next several weeks of shows play out. I’ll keep my eye out as ever, and in the meantime, I hope you enjoy “Dreamwheel” from the Metro Gallery and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Dreamwheel” Live at Metro Gallery, Baltimore, March 7, 2014

Tags: , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Born too Late” Live at Roadburn 2009; 35th Anniversary Tour Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Kind of hard to believe it’s been five years already since Saint Vitus got going again. But it has. It was April 2009 that the Wino-fronted lineup of the ultra-seminal doom four-piece arrived on stage at the Roadburn festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and began the reunion that would lead to numerous North American and European tours since and the band’s first album in 17 years, 2012′s Lillie: F-65 (review here) on Season of Mist, for which a follow-up is reportedly in the works. They were celebrating 30 years at the time since Dave Chandler, Mark Adams and Armando Acosta founded the band as Tyrant in 1979 (then-vocalist Scott Reagers was obviously absent). In May, they’ve announced, they’ll embark on a West Coast run to celebrate their 35th anniversary playing 1986′s landmark Born too Late album in full.

Granted, at the average Vitus show — and yes, I do realize how fortunate I am to be able to speak of seeing them on “average” terms — you’re sure to hear the Born too Late title-track, usually in the encore, plus the speedier “Clear Windowpane,” and alcohol-induced “Dying Inside,” but side B tracks like “H.A.A.G.,” “The Lost Feeling” and “The War Starter” are rarer finds, so the chance to hear the whole thing front to back is something special to mark a worthy occasion. Vitus will be joined by emergent Portland, Oregon, rockers Sons of Huns, whom I was fortunate enough to catch recently at Hawthorne Theatre in their hometown (review here), for the tour which starts May 8 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and runs until it hits Dallas on May 25.

To celebrate the celebration, it seemed fitting to dip back to where this reunion started, to that reunion gig on the Main Stage at Roadburn 2009. If I’m not mistaken, they played a warmup show in New Orleans prior to leaving for Europe, but still, this was their official return, and they haven’t looked back since. The clip below of “Born too Late” is a little blown out and cuts off at the end — high definition-quality video recording was not as ubiquitous half a decade ago as it seems to be now, though I still can’t seem to manage it — but it should be enough to give some idea of how triumphant a return that of Saint Vitus was, and just how powerful they were when they took that stage.

Video and tour dates follow. Happy Wino Wednesday:

Saint Vitus, “Born too Late” Live at Roadburn 2009

SAINT VITUS: Legendary Doom Metal Icons Announce Thirty-Fifth Anniversary Tour

Legendary doom metal icons, SAINT VITUS, are pleased to announce a very special run of live rituals to celebrate their astounding thirty-fifth anniversary! Sponsored by Scion AV, the tour will commence on May 8th in Albuquerque and wind its way through fifteen cities, coming to a close on May 25th in Dallas. The band will be performing the planet-rumbling Born Too Late album — the first SAINT VITUS outing to feature the imperious voice of Scott “Wino” Weinrich — in its entirety alongside other renowned VITUS hymns. The band will be joined by Portland stoner rock power trio Sons Of Huns, supporting their recently released Banishment Ritual full-length on EasyRider Records. Comments the band of their coveted spot on the tour, “We can’t be any more stoked to support one of the finest purveyors of doom and crush many cities in our wake!” Tickets go on sale Friday, March 14th.

Starting April 1st, Scion AV will be giving away two pairs of tickets to every club show via Twitter. See www.scionav.com for details.

SAINT VITUS w/ Sons Of Huns
5/08/2014 Launch Pad – Albuquerque, NM
5/09/2014 Club Red – Phoenix, AZ
5/10/2014 Cheyenne Saloon – Las Vegas, NV
5/11/2014 The Observatory (Psycho De Mayo Fest) – Santa Ana, CA
5/13/2014 The Echo – Los Angeles, CA
5/14/2014 SLO Brew – San Luis Obispo, CA
5/15/2014 Strummer’s – Fresno, CA
5/16/2014 Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA
5/17/2014 Branx – Portland, OR
5/18/2014 Highline – Seattle, WA
5/20/2014 In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
5/21/2014 Marquis Theatre – Denver, CO
5/23/2014 Red 7 (Outside) – Austin, TX
5/24/2014 Fitzgerald’s Downstairs – Houston, TX
5/25/2014 Three Links – Dallas, TX

SAINT VITUS:
Dave Chandler – guitar
Scott Weinrich – vocals
Mark Adams – bass
Henry Vasquez – drums

https://www.facebook.com/saintvitusofficial
https://www.facebook.com/SonsofHunspdx
https://www.facebook.com/scionavmetal

Tags: , , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed, “Blind Lightning” Live at Roadburn 2012

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

As the Spirit Caravan reunion gets underway with US touring starting this week (and a bit of drama bringing drummer Henry Vasquez in to replace Gary Isom), I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at the beginnings of Wino‘s previous reunion with The Obsessed. The three-piece was Wino‘s first band, formed as Warhorse in 1976, and seems to be a place to which the guitarist/vocalist has returned periodically throughout his career, having ended their original run around the time he joined Saint Vitus and then picked back up when he left after 1990′s V, only to put The Obsessed back to bed prior to starting Spirit Caravan. I don’t think it’s inappropriate to think of The Obsessed as a kind of thread running through Wino‘s progression, and even though the latest reunion hasn’t produced any studio material as of now, the fact that he got the band together again after performing acoustically for a few years, doing the Saint Vitus reunion and collaborating with Conny Ochs speaks to a kind of getting in touch with his sonic roots.

Because that’s what The Obsessed seems most to be: Roots doom. The songs are stripped-down and simple in their structure, Sabbathian in their stride with some flourish of Motörhead to coincide, and offer little by way of fluctuation or deviation from their downtrodden mood. Listening to an album like 1994′s The Church Within isn’t always easy. It’s a slog to get through the 13 tracks of that record sometimes, because as much as tracks like “Streetside,” “Blind Lightning,” “Neatz Brigade” and “Field of Hours” are career high points for the band, most of the back half is a misery show, plain and simple, and after a while that kind of downer gets hard to take. Watching The Obsessed live at Roadburn 2012 was a different experience, however, and it was plain to see how much more the character of the tracks came out on stage than on record. Joined by bassist Guy Pinhas (who’d soon be replaced by Reid Raley) and drummer Greg Rogers, Wino was definitely in his element throughout the set, and it’s easy to see from the clip of “Blind Lightning” below just how at home he is in these riffs.

Enjoy and have a happy Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, “Blind Lightning” Live at Roadburn 2012

Tags: , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Wino, Full Set Live in Prague, April 20, 2009

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The story of the short-lived Wino trio fronted by guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich and featuring Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and bassist Jon Blank, who passed away after the band’s return from their European tour, effectively ending the project, is pretty well known and I don’t think it really needs to be rehashed at this point. Blank‘s death is something of a stigma that rests over that band’s otherwise glorious 2009 debut, Punctuated Equilibrium, and of course the subsequent Live at Roadburn 2009 live record released in 2010 in his memory. Listening to that album or watching a video like this one, filmed in Prague on April 20 of that year, it becomes all the more apparent how much of a loss Blank was and how much potential the Wino trio had for moving on creatively after their first album. With Wino and Gaster driving the jams and Blank adding solid, dynamic rhythms, there was a chemistry beginning to solidify.

And I guess it’s precisely because the spectre of Blank‘s passing would always be looming that, to  date, the Wino trio hasn’t done anything else. With Saint Vitus, The Obsessed and Spirit Caravan having reunited, I wouldn’t necessarily write off Weinrich and Gaster getting together again at some future point, but it hardly seems likely anytime in the near future. Still, their live sets were like a mixtape from Weinrich‘s catalog, and hearing Gaster play cuts by The Obsessed and Spirit Caravan in addition to the Punctuated Equilibrium tracks brought that material into the Wino fold with a different and refreshed feel, not quite like anything else Weinrich had done before.

So, with the usual caveat to celebrate what was and what could’ve been, here’s the full half-hour set recorded by the Wino trio on their Spring 2009 European tour. Enjoy and have a happy Wino Wednesday:

Wino, Live in Prague, April 20, 2014

Tags: , , ,

Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed, “Fear’s Machine” from 1992 Demo

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

There’s a fair amount of The Obsessed demo material floating around the limitless disorganization of the internet, but this version of “Fear’s Machine,” said to be taken from a 1992 rehearsal, is something I hadn’t yet encountered. “Fear’s Machine” was never on a The Obsessed studio album, though it was included on the 2004 reissue of 1999′s Southern Lord CD/2LP compilation, Incarnate, along with “Field of Hours,” “Climate of Despair” and “Decimation,” but it wouldn’t make a proper appearance on a studio album until Spirit Caravan recorded it for 1999′s Jug Fulla Sun debut. Seven years isn’t the longest a song has ever waited to come out, but it’s a considerable stretch anyway, and the demo proves to be much different than the finished product.

Part of that has to be due to the lineup. It’s certainly Scott “Wino” Weinrich on guitar and vocals and Greg Rogers on drums, who was with The Obsessed from the reunion in 1991 until they again disbanded in ’95, but I’m not sure who’s on bass. If this track is indeed from 1992, then it could either be Guy Pinhas or Scott Reeder. Granted, Reeder went on to join Kyuss that year shortly after the seminal desert rockers released Blues for the Red Sun, but he played in 1991′s Lunar Womb and I guess what’s not clear is if “Fear’s Machine” was recorded before or after he left and Pinhas joined [the Incarnate liner notes might be able to clear this up, but my CD is in a box from last year's move]. The info for the video cites it as the “new lineup at the time.” Well, The Obsessed had only been kicking around again for a year or so. Wasn’t it a new lineup either way?

Whichever player it is — I have my suspicions — the bass sounds right on, and Wino‘s solo late into the track kicks into this psychedelic multi-layer swirl that’s not to be missed. Of course, Spirit Caravan‘s version was killer as well, but the demo is naturally rawer and thus also a little bit darker sounding.

Enjoy and have a happy Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, “Fear’s Machine” (1992 Demo)

Tags: , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Brainwashed”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

After checking out the track “The Last Embrace” from Spirit Caravan‘s 2003 swansong compilation of the same name last week — doing so in honor of the trio’s upcoming reunions at Desertfest London, at Desertfest Berlin and at Hellfest 2014 in France — it seemed to make sense to keep running with the theme. So after “The Last Embrace,” consider “Brainwashed” the second in a series we’ll wrap next Wednesday of the three songs from that MeteorCity release that pulled together much of Spirit Caravan‘s recorded output, save for the Dreamwheel EP, issued through the same label in 1999, prior to the arrival of the second full-length, Elusive Truth, on Joe Lally of Fugazi‘s Tolotta Records.

In both its instrumental arrangement and lyrical theme, “Brainwashed” is a much different track than “The Last Embrace,” which it follows immediately as the second song on the compilation. Centered around a nod-ready heavy stomp of a riff — the kind that bassist Dave Sherman and drummer Gary Isom handled so well throughout Spirit Caravan‘s tenure — it finds guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich diving headfirst into more grounded political themes than the epic framework of the prior cut. By 2003, Wino was no stranger to social commentary, having covered that ground in The Obsessed on songs like “To Protect and Serve” and “Streetside” from 1994′s The Church Within, but the lyrics of “Brainwashed” seem to engage directly with ideas of conspiracy, the Illuminati, surreptitious elements at work:

I’ll take your evil wind and give it right back to ya
Hungry buzzards are waiting on the grey fence of ignorance
It’s a classic case, they obfuscate, a brainwashed populace
Screaming crows and sirens, a normal world is crying
Bright bird of redemption, winged truth, with eyes of fire
One more fool, divide and rule, a brainwashed populace
You dance around the question, because the answers, you must hide
You crept into the dimension, now be lost through all time
It’s a classic case, they obfuscate, a brainwashed populace

There’s a better audio quality version of the track on YouTube paired with images from John Carpenter’s 1988 film, They Live, and that doesn’t feel like an inappropriate complement (I’d have used that one instead of this, but the clip gets into “9/11 was an inside job” stuff, and I wouldn’t want to come off as arguing one way or another), since lines like “One more fool, divide and rule, a brainwashed populace” cover similar ideology. Of course, in 2003, Wino would dive further into these themes with The Hidden Hand‘s debut, Divine Propaganda (also MeteorCity), so it’s interesting as well to think of “Brainwashed” as a precursor to that.

Enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Brainwashed”

Spirit Caravan on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “The Last Embrace”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

With reunion slots booked at Desertfest in London and Berlin this April as well as Hellfest in France this June — nothing Stateside yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed — it seemed fitting to take a look at some of the very last Spirit Caravan recordings. The tracks “The Last Embrace” and “Brainwashed” were included as the first and second cuts on disc one and “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” track one of disc two of the 2003 MeteorCity compilation, The Last Embrace, which as the band’s to-date swansong culled to one place the bulk of their studio output. With material from everything the trio put out during what’s now become their initial run save for 1999′s Dreamwheel EP — their two full-lengths, 1999′s Jug Fulla Sun and 2001′s Elusive Truth, with some alternate versions, and songs from their early demos and split 7″ with Sixty Watt Shaman and the 2002 So Mortal Be single — it’s about as complete as one could ask of a 2CD release. As to why Dreamwheel was left out, I guess between runtime considerations and the fact that it was still in print on MeteorCity, they figured there was no need. Fair enough.

For the leadoff, “The Last Embrace” hardly hints at the tonal warmth and groovy vibes to come throughout. Spirit Caravan were always plenty heavy, but “The Last Embrace” centers more around an emotional resonance than a fuzzy one. Over acoustic guitar and a straightforward rhythm from bassist Dave Sherman and drummer Gary Isom, Wino delivers a subdued, melancholy vocal with image-based, almost impressionist lyrics contemplating time and mortality, maybe the end of the band. It’s a dark mood to start with, if a great song, but as Spirit Caravan were done by that time — Sherman had released Earthride‘s self-titled EP in 2000 and followed in 2002 with the Taming of the Demons full-length, and The Hidden Hand‘s Divine Propaganda surfaced the same year as The Last Embrace – there wasn’t going to be a more fitting title for their final release.

Whether or not The Last Embrace will remain that, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Enjoy “The Last Embrace” and have a fantastic Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “The Last Embrace”

Spirit Caravan on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

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

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

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)

Tags: , , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Premonition 13 Jamming in Delaware, Nov. 2011

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Less than two months after playing this show at Mojo Main in Newark, Delaware, on Nov. 5, 2011, Premonition 13 played their last gig. I saw them close out this tour about two week after the Delaware gig, in Brooklyn with Kings Destroy and The Gates of Slumber (review here), and they were killer, but the next thing I knew, they had canceled dates on their subsequent European run, and that was the end of it. I don’t know what happened in the band, but it didn’t seem to have ended well, and Premonition 13 have been quickly forgotten in the timeline of Scott “Wino” Weinrich‘s projects, between reunions the last couple years with Saint Vitus, The Obsessed and now Spirit Caravan. Their debut (and, it would seem, final) album, 13 (review here), had a few killer  tracks, but has kind of been swallowed up by everything else Wino has had going on, between those bands and solo acoustic work, which was already also underway by the time Premonition 13 started playing out.

But though it was probably the shortest-lived of groups in which Wino has taken part, Premonition 13 had one thing to distinguish it even more than a second guitarist in Jim Karow — it had the jam. Even before they added the “13” to the end of their name, when they first started playing out, they were basically a heavy jam band. Songs emerged from those jams and that’s what you got on the album, but jamming was at the heart of their sound, and when I saw them in Brooklyn, they ended the set with a jam just to hold firm to that spirit. Thinking about it now, I can’t help but wonder if 13 might have been received differently if they had presented more longer-form material — even if they kept song structures and added jams in for a few songs — but it’s moot because the band is apparently done. So it goes. As much fun as they were to watch on stage, I doubt anyone’s going to argue against another chance to see The Obsessed or Spirit Caravan instead.

Still, this jam, filmed by John Verica in Delaware on Nov. 5, 2011, showcases what split Premonition 13 from all of Wino‘s other bands to date, and emphasizes the dynamic between Wino and Karow that worked so well on stage. Please enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Premonition 13, Live Jam in Newark, Delaware, Nov. 5, 2011

Tags: , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, Mournful Cries in Full

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Granted, when it was released in 1988, Mournful Cries had a damn near impossible task in following 1986′s Born too Late, but no matter how you want to look at it, the two are very different records. The eye-catching bright pink of the earlier album cover is replaced by a grand dragon unfolding its wings, guitarist Dave Chandler shows a budding interest in getting on the mic, and instead of the inward-looking judgments of “I was born too late/And I’ll never be like you,” songs like “Dragon Time” and “Shooting Gallery” turned their eye outward, storytelling rather than describing. Maybe that’s simplifying it — certainly there were tracks on Born too Late that examined the world around them and told stories (“The War Starter,” to an extent) — but Mournful Cries wound up with a vibe much changed from its predecessor for coming only two years later.

It was the second of three full-lengths (the Thirsty and Miserable EP arrived directly after Born too Late, in 1987) in Scott “Wino” Weinrich‘s first tenure as the band’s vocalist, and with Born too Late on one side and 1990′s V on the other, Mournful Cries is very much the middle child. Vitus was moving away from the simplicity at root in their approach, and the songs were less grounded musically and lyrically as a result. “Dragon Time” is a good example of this — what did Vitus know about a medieval thematic? — but even if it or “The Troll” were intended as metaphors, the simple fact that metaphor was used at all was a step forward, though again, “The War Starter” touched on some of that idea without going quite as far. V would combine both approaches successfully, resulting in landmark Vitus cuts like “I Bleed Black” and “Angry Man,” but Mournful Cries brought elements at work in the band’s sound to the fore that never were there before and never were there again in quite the same way.

I don’t think Mournful Cries gets the kind of acclaim as Born too Late or V, and part of that is down to the lack of an outsider-epic like “Born too Late” or “Angry Man” — “The Troll” is probably as close as the LP gets, and Vitus still play the song live — but it’s got its place in the Saint Vitus canon and for both how it relates to the rest of the discography and what it has to offer on its own level, it’s easily worth another listen.

Please enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Saint Vitus, Mournful Cries (1988)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Wino Performs The Obsessed’s “Streamlined” Acoustic, May 2009

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

This tour was the first for Scott “Wino” Weinrich after the death of Jon Blank, bassist for the Wino trio that put out the Punctuated Equilibrium album earlier in 2009. By the time they got to Atlantic City, which was in July, there was a fill-in bassist alongside Wino and Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster, who pulled double duty, but in the first going, it was Wino solo opening for Clutch, and this version of “Streamlined” comes from that run of shows. It was filmed May 16, 2009, in Bloomington, Indiana, less than a month after Blank‘s death following the Wino trio’s return from a successful European tour that included a stop at Roadburn that would later be released as a live CD in Blank‘s honor.

“Streamlined,” which appeared on The Obsessed‘s 1994 to-date swansong full-length, The Church Within, is plenty tense anyway, but in this acoustic arrangement its motoring riff gets even more stripped down. The bare essentials of “Streamlined” only come in at 1:12, and it’s about as naked a structure as I’ve heard from Wino, who wouldn’t release his Adrift solo acoustic debut for more than another year and was still new to playing on stage by himself. Of course, he pulls the song off — even in that new context, “Streamlined” was still 15 years old — and what’s most striking of all about the runthrough of the track is that it’s still got fuzz on the acoustic guitar.

Some tones just can’t be stopped, I guess. Obviously this was a difficult period for Weinrich, and the resulting document of it in this video isn’t quite like anything else I’ve seen from him before or after, kind of capturing the transitional moment as Wino started to come into his own as a solo performer.

A fascinating way to spend a minute of your time. Enjoy and have a great first Wino Wednesday of 2014:

Wino, “Streamlined” Live in Bloomington, IN, May 16, 2009

Tags: , ,

Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, Live at the 8×10 Club, Baltimore, MD

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m not sure when exactly this Spirit Caravan show was. Right before they play “Elusive Truth,” Wino announces it as the title-track of their new record, which will be out this fall. Elusive Truth was released in May 2001, which makes me think maybe this was earlier in 2000 and then the album was pushed back, but I don’t actually know that. The show took place at the 8×10 Club in Baltimore, and having just made my way through the whole thing, it’s a balcony-shot scorcher of a gig. The video loses its sync after about 35 minutes, but even then it makes a killer listen, and anyway it’s not that bad when it’s off.

Here’s the setlist:

Spirit Caravan, Live at 8×10 Club, Baltimore, MD
Spirit Caravan
Black Flower
Healing Tongue
Dreamwheel
Darkness and Longing
Retroman
Elusive Truth
Futility’s Reasons
Lost Sun Dance

Good show. You get to see Sherm step up for lead vocals on “Retroman” and though Spirit Caravan‘s persona was usually brighter, less bleak than, say, The Obsessed, a few cuts here sort of skirt that line. Still though, with Wino, Sherman and Gary Isom, you can’t go wrong. It’s worth noting that I am in no way over my excitement at the prospect of getting to see these guys play a show with their impending 2014 reunion.  Rumor has it some US dates are impending in addition to their previously-announced Desertfest appearances, but nothing’s official yet. Wherever they wind up playing on the East Coast and whenever it is, I can’t imagine I won’t make the drive. Hell, I’ve already got the car packed.

While I wait for that and the invariable new live videos to this series it will bring, there’s plenty to post in the meantime. Today is Xmas, so in addition to a great Wino Wednesday, I hope you have a spectacular holiday. Enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, Live at 8×10 Club, Baltimore, MD

Tags: , , ,