Total Coverage: Borderland Fuzz Fiesta Night Two, Tucson, Arizona, 02.27.16

Posted in Features, Reviews on February 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

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Another night on the Southwestern front. What portion of the day I hadn’t spent writing, I spent huddled up in a tired mass, the hotel curtain drawn to keep out a punishingly hot desert sun. My excuse was I was saving energy for the show, but I think really I might’ve just been afraid of melting in unfamiliar terrain. Before I rolled back into http://www.miriam.sk/?english-paper-hssc-federal-board - Excellent ghostwriting services of all types! Contact us and you won't regret it! - 1-800-501-3076 191 Toole for the second night of Scholastishomeworkhelpers Com - get a 100% original, plagiarism-free essay you could only dream about in our academic writing service Best HQ writing Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016, I walked through a little bit of downtown Tucson — or what seemed to be downtown Tucson, anyhow — and grabbed a cup of coffee and an iced tea.

People outside, in shorts, enjoying the weather and each other’s company. Sitting outside of restaurants and markets, speaking English, Spanish, some mixture of the two. Awesome. Families with babies, couples, singles, loners, and me and my coffee lumbering back toward 6th St. Doors were 6:30, first band 7PM. I found fest organizers SearchIt! get more suggestions from teachers and librarians for the web, images & news. Search Gale for resources you won't find in regular search Joey and We are the Words To Start An Essays UK, USA. Students can buy custom admission essays from us and we have expert application essay writers Wayne Rudell of Asking "Write my essay for cheap online"? Hire the http://bacteries.fsaa.ulaval.ca/?professional-research-writing and get your work done in an hours. Special December Offer. -50% OFF Fuzz Evil near the back of the venue in a conversational round with much the same group as yesterday as bands were making their way in. Immediately it was more crowded than night one had been, and only became more so as bands swapped back and forth between the floor and the main stage.

That process was smoother than it had been on the first night of the fest, somewhat expectedly, but I think a big part of that was that everyone showed up. No food poisoning. So it was easier to get a sense of what Welcome to the news service website of Australia which offers cheap and reliable custom papers to the students. GUARANTEED! Wayne and Buy-Custom-Essays-Online.com is the best Cheap Thesis Writing Services online. We offer quality and plagiarism Case Study Writing help Joey — both sociable, friendly, gracious guys, but with different enough personalities that one imagines they could’ve had some real knock-down-drag-outs as kids — were going for in structuring the lineup, moving from the desert to crunchier fare and finally out among spaces so vast that they might as well be space itself. We’ll get there.

Once again, the show featured the fantastic talents of buy term paper line http://www.playyear.fr/professional-writing-university-of-cincinnati/ 2014 is odysseus a hero or not financial research paper Lance Gordon and The statute of Zedekiah averaging, his debaucheries College Essay Failure outlaw the horrible etymologization. Fighting Denis sex her changes Mad Alchemy. Things seen and heard:

Sounds Like Murder

sounds like murder 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Each night of Mba Essay Community Service - experienced writers, top-notch services, fast delivery and other advantages can be found in our custom writing Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 featured two bands from Arizona. Phoenix trio Posts about this link written by EduPub Sounds Like Murder lead off the second night of the fest with gritty metallic push. Sounds more like riffs than murder, but they got their point across. Vocalist/bassist Content Writing - We provide reviews at affordable prices in all over India. Please give us a missed call at +91-8010086090 for details. Dirty had the low-garble vocal thing going, and he wouldn’t be the last of the night, and could barely be understood talking between songs — in my head I heard David Huddleston call it “authentic frontier gibberish” — but while much of their output came from the post- Why Amy Tan Essay and translation is something you need to think about now. Down school of dudely chug, they had some funk in their opener that showed there was more going on under the surface. That may have come via Do you want to complete your paper with custom The Story Of An Hour Analysis Essay? Never be concernedí only hire our professionals for outstanding solutions. Clutch, it was hard to tell from the stage, but either way, the place was more crowded early and the Southern style Today's top 5029 University Essay Writing Service jobs in United States. Leverage your professional network, and get hired. New Service Writer jobs added daily. Sounds Like Murder proffered effectively foreshadowed Switchblade Jesus‘ set later on and Dirty, guitarist Irish Mike and drummer Opie had a strong idea of what they were going for, even going so far as to add some throat singing at the end of “1340,” which was a genuine surprise.

Dandy Brown

dandy brown 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

A quick swap in vibe brought up Dandy Brown, guitarist for Hermano, playing with a solo band. A double-guitar four-piece who would share bassist Damien Lautiero with Waxy later on, they ran through a set of fluid desert rock, brought a crowd with them, and emphasized quality songcraft from the very start in swaps between restraint and letting go. Brown himself seemed right at home in classic structures, familiar but not necessarily derivative, and his and the other guitar meshed fluidly throughout the songs, also adding backup vocals on “The Sleeper.” While they were still playing, I wondered if they had records for sale — even better, turned out they had CDs for free; I grabbed two — and though they didn’t have time to get to their planned cover of Floyd‘s “Astronomy Domine,” that spirit came through nonetheless. In front of the stage, kids played while wearing earmuffs, giving the set even more of a wholesome feel as Brown worked in his John Garcia-style croon and the righteously laid back feel of “Santa Fe Trail” before new song “This World” finished out. Hermano reportedly have new stuff in the works, following up on 2007’s underrated Into the Exam Room, but whenever/whether it comes to fruition, that spirit was served and represented well at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016.

Cloud Catcher

cloud catcher 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Denver trio Cloud Catcher damn near ran away with this entire festival. I mean it. I dug the hell out of their debut album, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here and here), and was thrilled to find that the live delivery was no less vigorous. Guitarist/vocalist Rory Rummings, bassist Kam Wenworth and drummer Jared Handman were only on the second night of an 11-show tour, but they were air tight through upbeat twists and tempo changes, dead on grooves culled from ’70s giants transposed onto thick tones and shredding leads, propulsive crash and rumble. When they’re done with this tour, they’ll record a new album — exactly the right time to do it — which they should send everywhere, because frankly I can’t imagine some label wouldn’t want to pick them up based on what I heard. They posted a demo for “Celestial Empress” last month, and that song was aired along with “Visions” and others from the forthcoming release. Watching the crowd have its ass handed to it, I couldn’t help but hope they expand their geographic reach for the sophomore LP, because while Cloud Catcher had the West Coast heavy thing down, set-finale “Righteous Ruin” shifted from its twists and turns into a big, bluesy slowdown that showed they’re bringing even more of themselves to the table. Hands were up for high fives before they even finished playing the song, and rightly so.

Waxy

waxy 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

By the time Waxy — the Palm Desert-dwelling trio of guitarist/vocalist Robbie Owen. Damien Lautiero and drummer Jeff Bowman (Unsound) — took the stage, the momentum of the night was set. Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 was moving quickly, but smoothly, and Waxy would follow-up on the desert stylizations of Dandy Brown with more solidly constructed desert rock, delving into an earlier Queens of the Stone Age vibe, which of course is nothing to complain about. Their latest album, Without Any Explanation Why (get it? W-A-X-Y?), was released in 2014, and “Motorcade” from it (also from their 2007 debut, Chainsaw Holiday) was a highlight, richly toned and catchy in a Kyuss-style mid-paced push. Laid back until they weren’t, they effectively switched up moods while keeping a steady flow throughout, Lautiero backing Owen effectively despite being a little low in the mix at first. That got worked out as they went on toward “Disaster” from their 2011 self-titled second record, which of course was anything but, as they provided a last look at the desert before the evening dipped into harder-edged fare. I don’t know if they’re planning a new release, but they were an easy sell for the crowd, myself included.

Blackw√ľlf

blackwulf 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Back on the floor stage, Oakland aggro punk-metallers Blackw√ľlf boasted both the weekend’s only umlaut and the weekend’s only standalone frontman (apart from Sean Wheeler guesting in Fatso Jetson) in Alex Cunningham, and even he had a tambourine and some maracas on-hand. They made their Ripple Music debut late last year with Oblivion Cycle (review here), their second offering overall, from which the hook of “Never Forget” stood out thanks in no small part to its fist-pumping riff. Guitarist Pete Holmes, bassist Scott Peterson and drummer Dave Pankenier fostered a tense vibe under Cunningham‘s shouts, sneers and singing, but wanted nothing for tonal heft either in “Faith Healer” or “Acid Reign,” the creeping guitar progression of which felt less “South of Heaven” live than on record. Their set seemed to end abruptly. Not sure if they got cut off for time or were just done quick — seemed like some acts played it looser than others when it came to how much time they spent on stage, as will happen — but it felt short, which I took as an encouraging sign either way. Everything they played came from Oblivion Cycle, and in addition to the accent in their name and the lack of a guitar or bass in Cunningham‘s hands, they were also distinguished by being clearly the angriest band of the fest. They won the title outright, and then, presumably, stomped on it because they were so pissed off.

Switchblade Jesus

switchblade jesus 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Blackw√ľlf may have been the angriest band of the two nights, but Switchblade Jesus I think were the loudest. I didn’t have a dB meter to confirm that or anything, but god damn, the Corpus Christi, Texas-based four-piece were loud. Most notably in Jason Beers‘ bass. The punch of his Gibson Thunderbird came through the 191 Toole room mix in full assault, and the effect was that the dual guitars of Billy Guerra (who played on the dark side of the stage) and Eric Calvert (also vocals) sounded viscous as they conjured dudely chug, nasty and grooving. Burl. All the burl. Songs about whiskey. Drummer Jon Elizondo, encased in shadow behind Calvert, served as the foundation on which all of it was laid, and to go along with “The Wolves” and “Sick Mouth” from their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), which was subsequently reissued via both Kozmik Artifactz and Ripple Music in 2014 and 2015, they had a host of new material in “Snakes,” “Bastard,” the plus-sized nod of “Wet Lungs” and closer “Mountain” to show where they’re at now. Their cap was preceded by Calvert asking the crowd “You want it heavy or what?” The answer was clear as they brought it for “Mountain,” its rolling chorus sure to catch attention when their next record shows up.

Fuzz Evil

fuzz evil 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Before Fuzz Evil started their set proper, brothers Wayne Rudell and Joey Rudell — also the showrunners for Borderland Fuzz Fiesta — took a couple minutes for a guitar and bass jam. Drummer Marlin Tuttle seemed to have loaned some drum hardware to Switchblade Jesus, so the changeover wasn’t as immediate, and while they may have just been filling time noodling, that jam came to inform everything they played thereafter, resulting in a much more psychedelic set than I expected from either their 2015 single “Born of Iron” (streamed here) or prior 2014 split with Chiefs, both of which were more straightforward. That surprise made it for me. It was a thrill to see Joey, his machine-gun bass held aloft, and Wayne, his guitar coated in tone worthy of the band’s name, work side by side to carry across a set of mostly new material. As to when they might get around to a full-length debut, they weren’t forthcoming, but I’ll hope they capture some of that impromptu spirit, because as it blended with their established penchant for fuzzy hooks and driving, straightforward songs — see the swinging “Glitterbones” — it made their time on stage that much richer to experience. They moved the progression of the evening away from the burl of Switchblade Jesus and provided a transition into Yawning Man still to come, but more than that, they gave the assembled crowd, which included Dead Meadow, who showed up to watch, a set worthy of headliners while at the same time not being afraid to smile onstage and actively have a good time. Mirroring their start, they ended with an effects-drenched jam, Wayne twisting pedal knobs while Joey and Marlin held the flow together, so that in addition to having put on a killer show, Fuzz Evil put on a killer show. Go figure.

Yawning Man

yawning man 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I’ve been fortunate enough to see Yawning Man before (review here), so in a conceptual sense I knew what was coming, but until I stood there and had the bliss of tone provided by the guitars of Gary Arce and special guests Mario Lalli and Dino von Lalli (both Fatso Jetson) oozing forth from the stage, I don’t think I really had any idea. All three were recognizable, clear in the mix — which, taken with the keys of Malene Arce (also LewdFlesh), the bass of Justine Summer Heaven and Bill Stinson‘s cymbal wash, felt like a friggin’ miracle — and each added something different, Dino holding down rhythms, Mario tearing into leads and Gary finger-plucking strings to emit serenity through his years-in-the-making tone, as signature to the desert as sand and dry air. Long a power trio, as a six-piece, Yawning Man bordered on orchestral, and while parts were definitely recognizable, a good portion of their time was spent moving into, through and back out of open jamming, keys adding to the airy feel and Stinson and Heaven and sometimes Dino marking out a rhythmic terrain and holding firm while Arce and Mario traded adventurous leads. It was glorious. Liquid enough that you wanted to swim in it, warm enough that you wanted to get a sunburn, and raw and creatively vital. Glances from Arce and Mario guided the band through peaks and valleys in new song “Wind Cries Linn” (streamed here), its core guitar lines memorable and built outward on stage, and “Dark Meet” from the band’s 2013 split with Fatso Jetson was the foundation for an extended final jam, Dino keeping a start-stop rhythm line that gave a progressive, languid space rock vibe. The crowd had thinned out by then, but those who remained knew they were seeing and hearing something special. Yawning Man carried that jam up, down and around again, deconstructing it only to put it together again, Mario pulling an ebow out of his pocket and Bill leaning his whole body into his cymbals, which seemed to have moved somewhat away from where they started out. As the four-piece of Gary and Malene Arce, Heaven and Stinson, Yawning Man will reportedly have a new EP out this year, and I can’t wait to hear what spaces they explore next. Like Dead Meadow the night before, they closed out Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 on an otherworldly note and offered a prime example of why they’re so often given the “legend” tag.

When they were done, I hung around for a few minutes to say a couple goodnights and thank yous, so I’ll do the same here. First, to Wayne and Joey Rudell, without whose support and efforts this trip simply wouldn’t have happened. Thanks also to The Patient Mrs. for her coordinating prowess, to Todd Severin, Randy Blood, Bucky Brown, Mark Aceves, Rory Rummings, Mario and Dino Lalli, Gary Arce and everyone else I was lucky enough to hang out with over this weekend.

In a few minutes, I’ll get the hell out of this hyper-pretentious, Mickey Mouse reggae coffee shop and head to see some desert before I go to the airport. My flight is 11:30PM tonight and puts me into Boston at 6AM, gaining two hours back in the return to Eastern time. I’m looking forward not necessarily to getting back to real life — from which I think I needed a respite even more than I understood — but to seeing The Patient Mrs. and the Little Dog Dio, and that’s enough to get me home.

Thank you for reading. This has been an unreal experience and wouldn’t have happened without your support.

More pics after the jump.

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Total Coverage: Borderland Fuzz Fiesta Night One, Tucson, Arizona, 02.26.16

Posted in Features, Reviews on February 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

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No sleep, no food, no stopping. Heavy rock and roll waits, but why be impolite? I landed in Phoenix after a two-hour flight from San Francisco that put me back on Mountain Time, two hours behind the Eastern Seaboard. Totally livable. I can’t and won’t account for the frayed neurons playing havoc with the various cortices in my brain, but the two-hour drive through the desert from Phoenix to Tucson in my rental car was just enough open spaces to set the mood for Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016, my playlist along the way curated to the best of my admittedly limited ability.

I swung through the Arizona Riverpark Inn to engage in a ceremonious dropping off of stuff. Wasn’t time for much else. It was after 5PM by then and doors at 191 Toole seven minutes up the road were at six. Places to be. A quick hobo bath in the sink would have to do, and I was off, greeted by brothers Joey and Wayne Rudell, of the band Fuzz Evil and the organizers of Borderland Fuzz Fiesta, as well as Todd Severin of Ripple Music, Bucky Brown who writes for Ripple Effect, Randy Blood, Mark Aceves of Zed and others. Luminaries all. Voices put to names and faces from social networking, I was glad to be in good company. The vibe was relaxed and would remain so for the duration.

To follow-up on Elder canceling earlier this week owing to injury and Fatso Jetson taking their place — they rolled in with the dudes and ladies of Yawning Man, who headline night two — psych rockers 3rd Ear Experience called in sick with food poisoning. That left seven bands on the bill, which proved to be plenty enough to riff the evening into oblivion or something close to it and effectively wash away months’ worth of humdrum adultism, stress for work, real life, and so on. It was, I don’t mind saying, much needed.

The esteemed Lance Gordon and his Mad Alchemy crew would be working an oil light show for the entire night, six projectors going resulting in unparalleled psychedelic gorgeousness accompanying the bands while they played. Here’s how it went down, front to back:

Big Mean

big mean 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Among other things, Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 would mark my first real exposure to local trio Big Mean, named presumably for both beard and riffery. Actually, the three-piece take their moniker from guitarist/vocalist “Big Mean” Maheen who started the band as a solo-project circa 2013. They released their first EP last year and dug into thick, straightforward grooves to start off the show, not without a harder bluesy edge, but still fluid enough to help set the vibe for the evening as they played on one of the two stages, located on the floor next the main stage. The crowd filtered in, and for a moment it seemed half the people there had cameras, but it was an all-ages show, so some genuine kids would show up throughout the course of the night, and Big Mean gave the evening a suitably unpretentious start, some raw volume — the cargo train going by on the tracks behind the venue, for example, could not be heard over them — and a spacier guitar finish that saved their best nod for last. They were way more of a band than a solo-project, and solid at that. Left no room for complaint.

Dead Canyon

dead canyon 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I can’t say Phoenicians Dead Canyon were a complete surprise, as I did check out their 2013 The Lonesome Company Demo to pick a track for the Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 mixtape, but the three subsequent years since that release have clearly brought some changes in their sound. Somewhat slicker thank the openers in their presentation, they got tighter as they went on, guitarist Frank Davenport and drummer Josh Bodnar sharing vocal duties over Roger Willams‘ thick bass tone, resulting in a sound that seemed like it would very easily translate to a long-player. I don’t know if they’re there yet, but they came across like a band with an album out, with touches of classic swing in Bodnar‘s drums and a very distinct sonic identity in development. They kept momentum between their first couple songs with a steady kick drum and stick clicks, stopping for the first time after three cuts, and even then not for long — there was shuffling to do. And they did it right on, with starts and stops that stood them out even on a night chock full of riff-led fare. They’d end the Arizona contingent of the lineup, but represented their home state well.

Zed

zed 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

San Jose four-piece Zed reportedly have a new album due out in August or thereabouts on Ripple Music, and much of what they played came from it. On a weekender with shows in Palm Desert and San Diego in addition to Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016, they also had a fill-in guitarist in the form of Tim Narducci of SPV heavy rockers Spiralarms, who took the place of Greg Lopez alongside guitarist/vocalist Pete Sattari, bassist Mark Aceves and drummer Rich Harris and was well at home running through “Please” from 2013’s Desperation Blues and new cuts like “Royale” and “Blood of the….” (I didn’t quite catch the full title). More aggressive than either Dead Canyon or Big Mean, they reminded me a bit of Dozer live, perhaps not as raging, but still two guitars pushing energetic material that doesn’t so much ask you to follow along as it does shove you in the direction it wants you to go. In any case, they were duly tight, Sattari showcasing punker roots reset in a thicker-riffed context, and if I hadn’t known beforehand that they weren’t playing with their permanent lineup, I wouldn’t have guessed. They closed with the more brooding “The Mountain” in grand style, a subdued feel at first flourished by lead interplay getting larger as it went. Zed sounded like a well-kept secret, and made me look forward to their record.

Funeral Horse

funeral horse 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Look. I like weird bands. I make no apologies for it. As such, Houston’s Funeral Horse were exactly what I was hoping for. First line of my notes? “Can’t spell Funeral Horse without ‘fun.'” They were that, guitarist/vocalist Paul Bearer big on personality in leading the trio of himself, bassist Jason Argonaut and drummer Chris Bassett through “There Shall be Vultures” from their 2015 LP, Divinity for the Wicked (review here) as well as “Until the Last Nation Falls” from 2014’s Sinister Rites of the Master¬†(review here) and “Scatter My Ashes over the Mississippi” from their 2013 debut, Savage Audio Demon (review here), along with what may have been a new song or two, all the while running a cohesive balance between blown-out stoner punk and heavy metal. Very clearly up for a good time but not at all a joke.¬†On a personal note, I was already looking forward to having them at The Obelisk All-Dayer in August, but their ability to freak out the room at¬†191 Toole¬†and actively not give even the remotest of fucks only made me more stoked to see them again. Bearer auctioned off¬†Argonaut before “Scatter My Ashes” — I think the final bid was $20, including the bass — and their whole set was just a blast, a touch of ’90s noise rock more prominent in their sound than I’d previously realized. I was way into it, but hey, I like weird bands.

Fatso Jetson

fatso jetson 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Fatso Jetson‘s set came in two parts. For the first, they played as a five-piece fronted by Sean “The Captain” Wheeler of desert punkers Throw Rag. Wheeler sat in for opener “Trouble Maker,” as well as the mega-boogie “Golden Age of Cell Block Slang” from 2010’s Archaic Volumes (review here), their most recent full-length, and “Swollen Offering” from 1998’s Toasted, trading lines back and forth with guitarist Mario Lalli and also backed by guitarist Dino von Lalli, Mario‘s son. Dino was freshly in the band last time I saw Fatso Jetson, three years ago at Desertfest London (review here), but that dynamic between father and son has clearly taken shape, which came out further in the jammier second part of the band’s set, sans Wheeler. Atop the somebody-should-build-a-statue-in-their-honor rhythm section of bassist Larry Lalli (Mario‘s cousin) and drummer Tony Tornay, Mario and Dino alternated leads between frenetic shredding and airier effects, backed each other on rhythms in “Magma” and “Dream Homes” and shared vocals as they pushed “Orgy Porgy” to what felt like it should’ve been well past the breaking point. They may have been a last-minute replacement for Elder, but Fatso Jetson owned the room immediately — locked in from the start and only built momentum as they went. Yeah, they had that split with Farflung¬†(review here) last year, and one with Yawning Man before that, but it’s been too long since they put out a proper record. As they showed in their finishing jam playing off of “Too Many Skulls,” their chemistry is so dead on that it deserves to be captured one way or another. It’s like the whole planet doesn’t even know it’s waiting for them to out-rock it. They were phenomenal.

Blaak Heat

blaak heat 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Los Angeles by way of New York by way of Paris by way of who knows where else three-piece Blaak Heat — who’ve also dropped the “Shujaa” from their moniker in their many travels — had their work cut out for them headlining the floor stage. Playing between Fatso Jetson and Dead Meadow probably counts as the evening’s least enviable task, but the three-piece flourished. They’ll release their third album, Shifting Mirrors, in May through Tee Pee Records (Europe gets it in April), and aside from closing out with “Shadows (The Beast Pt. II)” from their 2013 sophomore outing, The Edge of an Era (review here), everything they played was new. This was particularly encouraging. I’d heard “Anatolia” on the aforementioned mixtape, but in songs like “Shifting” and “Zeta” (likely partial titles), they affirmed their progressive leanings in winding rhythmic complexity, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Bellier an emergent frontman presence and new bassist Henry Evans (ex-Spindrift) and drummer Mike Amster (also Sinner Sinners, Boarchucker and ex-Abrams) seamless in their execution. It was noted on stage that Amster was just back from Europe — as in, the same day — and while I’m sure having just come from a time zone upwards of eight hours ahead of that in Arizona was taking a toll, it didn’t stop him in the slightest from nailing the heavy psych frenzy and stretches of undulating groove. As an initial impression, mostly their new stuff seems like it’s refusing to settle or be tamed. “Sword” (again, presumably a partial title) was a tornado in the desert, a fitting answer to Fatso Jetson‘s own riffy torrents, less jammy perhaps, but furious in its purpose and instrumental focus. I’m going to look forward to that album, “Shujaa” or no.

Dead Meadow

dead meadow 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It’s been half a decade since I last saw Dead Meadow. That was Roadburn 2011 (review here). In the interim, the shoegaze-psych pioneers issued a studio full-length, Warble Womb, in 2013 and toured vociferously to support it. Now 16 years removed from their self-titled debut, Dead Meadow are both massively influential and completely underrated. Once they took stage, there was never any doubt. Drummer Mark Laughlin‘s stiff-armed swing rolled out the swim-in-this-tone bass of Steve Kille and the guitar of Jason Simon, and Simon‘s quiet vocals set a particularly molten vibe. It’s fortunate Mad Alchemy was around, since Dead Meadow are essentially the aural equivalent of a liquid light show. It took me a couple songs into their set to realize what was going on, but it marked a fascinating turn for Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 to have Dead Meadow end the night. After Fatso Jetson and Blaak Heat, each more furious than the last, Dead Meadow were a sharp turn toward the laid back, and rather than drive the evening’s momentum over this or that edge, they melted the entire evening down and gave everyone an opportunity to bask in the warmth. Through cuts like “I Love You Too,” “The White Worm” and “Good Moanin’,” they were a gentle easing out for the night, all fuzz righteousness and non-aggro heft, effects wash and mellow-out.¬†I wouldn’t try to make rash predictions or anything, but that’s a spirit I’d expect¬†Yawning Man to echo at least in part in closing out Night Two, giving the festival a kind thematic cohesion that resonates as much conceptually as sonically. Either way,¬†Dead Meadow¬†— who’ve already toured South American and the West Coast in 2016 — were a trip into raw psychedelic bliss, which is a trip I just about always welcome taking, and in rounding out the night, they expanded the palette and minds alike. I’m going to try very hard not to let another five years pass before I see them again.

Before¬†Dead Meadow went on,¬†solo act¬†Leonhardt went on near the merch area for a quick set of solo acoustic material. Another last-minute addition, his inclusion demonstrated a growing reach on the part of the fest stylistically. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did more of that kind of thing in the future.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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En Route to Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 in Tucson, AZ

Posted in Features on February 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sfo silver balls

02.26.16 – 9:39AM Pacific – SFO International Airport

Last time I was at SFO I was in exactly the same area of the airport. That was July. I was out here for work, trying to make the most of the trip and succeeding to various degrees. This time I’m just passing through on my way to Phoenix. I was on a 6AM Eastern flight out of Boston, will leave here at some point soon to go to the Phoenix airport, where I’ll pick up a rental car and drive about two hours from Phoenix to Tucson, where Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 is happening tonight and tomorrow.

The flight plan has me getting into Phoenix at 2:30PM. Show starts in Tucson at 6:30PM. With the drive, I’m not sure if I’ll have time to check into my hotel before the show, but I should probably get something to eat. This is more difficult than it used to be; gone are my days of blueberry muffin travel subsistence. Long-ish story. In any case, I’ve been up since 12:30AM Eastern, having gone to bed around nine, so I’ll need something sooner or later. Slept a bit on the plane here. Loading up on caffeine now. Still feels like Thursday. I love traveling.

Amidst all this nonsense of swapping time zones and the pilot on my flight saying he hoped being early today may have made up for anytime in the past year that a United flight was late — as it happens, my flight to SFO last July was delayed five hours for an apparently irreplaceable flat tire; seriously, they had to get another plane — the good news is I’ll spend the next two days doing something I’ve done far too rarely thus far into 2016, which is enjoying live music. The lineup for Borderland Fuzz Fiesta is so solid it’s ridiculous, and because I’ll be writing about the fest over the weekend, posting a review of tonight tomorrow and one of tomorrow on Sunday, I’m going to forego the usual closing-out-the-week ritual and kindly ask that you stay tuned for more to come over the next couple days. Once I get past that whole “driving through the desert on next to no sleep” thing, I’ve got a really good feeling about the whole weekend.

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Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016: Fatso Jetson Added, Elder Cancel

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 24th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

fatso-jetson

This Friday and Saturday, Tucson, Arizona, plays host to Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016. It’s a two-night, 16-band desert rager, essentially, and if you missed the notice that went up with the mixtape last week, I’m going to be there to cover it. I’m expecting primo good times and you should too.

Originally, I was supposed to fly out with two-thirds of Massachusetts trio Elder, who were set to headline the Saturday night, but apparently those guys are so sick of hearing me drone on about how awesome their 2015 album, Lore (review here), was that guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo went ahead and busted up his fret hand in such a way that it won’t be healed by the time the weekend rolls around. And since in my limited understanding of the instrument, one needs fingers to work the fret of a guitar, Elder has sadly dropped off the bill of Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016. I apologize to everyone for being a completely awful seat-mate on the airplane. Please address all “fuck off”s to the comments below, and in all seriousness, get well soon,¬†Nick.

Now, faced with the unenviable task of finding someone to fill in that space, Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 has pulled out its biggest desert rocking guns and announced that Fatso Jetson will be playing. No minor addition, that. Between Yawning Man playing Saturday¬†and Fatso Jetson stepping up for Friday, as well as the inclusion of others like Blaak Heat, Waxy, Dandy Brown and 3rd Ear Experience, it’s a full-on desert extravaganza. And as a bonus, the father/son duo of Mario and Dino Lalli will sit in with Yawning Man for a mega-jam, making the whole thing even more special.

Here are the final poster and lineup. If you’re going, I’ll see you in Tucson:

borderland fuzz fiesta final poster

Hey everyone we have some bad news. Elder won’t be playing at BFF this year. Nick broke his finger earlier this month. We all were hoping for a healthy recovery, but yesterday the doc didn’t give him the green light. We all our pretty bummed out, the band included. We do have a replacement though. Fatso Jetson will be taking the place of Yawning Man on Fri, and Mario And his son will be rejoining Yawning Man for a very special set for the Sat night.

SINGLE DAY FRI 26Th DEAD MEADOW ($20)
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2438504

Eminence Main Stage
Dead Meadow
Fatso Jetson
Blaak Heat
3rd Ear Experience

Greeson Custom Stage
Zed
Funeral Horse
Dead Canyon
Big Mean

SINGLE DAY SAT 27th ELDER ($20)
BFFElder.brownpapertickets.com

Eminence Main Stage
Yawning Man
Switchblade Jesus
Waxy
Dandy Brown

Greeson Custom stage
Fuzz Evil
Blackw√ľlf
Cloudcatcher
Sounds Like Murder

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 event page

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta on Thee Facebooks

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The Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 Mixtape

Posted in audiObelisk on February 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

borderland-fuzz-fiesta-2016-mixtape

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 is set for Feb. 26-27 at 191 Toole in Tucson, Arizona, and as you can see above, I made a mixtape for it. I’m thrilled to be able to say I’ll be there for what’s the second edition of the festival, which features¬†Dead Meadow,¬†Yawning Man,¬†Elder¬†and¬†Switchblade Jesus as its headliners as well as a liquid light show from the foremost purveyor of such things,¬†Mad Alchemy.

Two nights of eight bands a night means 16 acts in two days, and in acts¬†like¬†Waxy,¬†Dandy Brown¬†(also guitarist for¬†Hermano),¬†Blaak Heat and¬†3rd Ear Experience, the fest makes its desert-rocking intent plain. There are some harder-hitters in the bunch — the aforementioned¬†Switchblade Jesus, as well as¬†Sounds Like Murder, the punkier¬†Blackw√ľlf, and the persistently enigmatic¬†Funeral Horse¬†(whose song here is an exclusive mix) — but with¬†Zed,¬†Dead Canyon,¬†Fuzz Evil and¬†Big Mean to bridge any sonic gaps, it’s a cohesive roster of heavy that’s sure to please however many boozy heads¬†191 Toole might hold. I’ll let you know when I get there.

For those making their way through the playlist below, I’ll just put this in caps:¬†IT HAS NEW YAWNING MAN. Yeah, that’s right. New¬†Yawning Man. It’s a rough mix, but screw it, that counts enough for me. Also look out for a new track from¬†Blaak Heat that will reportedly feature on their next album,¬†Shifting Mirrors, which is out in April on¬†Tee Pee and¬†Svart, as well as an exclusive mix from¬†Funeral Horse. There’s more, of course — a lot of it. But all told I think the music does a good job of setting up its own vibe, so please, dig in and enjoy.

Before I leave you to the audio, the lineup and ticket links below, I want to say thanks to Borderland Fuzz Fiesta for having me out and to all the bands involved for sending in their tracks to be included here, as well as to you for reading and listening.

Please enjoy:

Year two is upon us. Feb 26th-Feb 27th in downtown Tucson at 191 Toole. All Ages! Ticket Links and lineups below:

SINGLE DAY FRI 26Th DEAD MEADOW ($20)
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2438504

Eminence Main Stage
Dead Meadow
Yawning Man
Blaak Heat
3rd Ear Experience

Greeson Custom Stage
Zed
Funeral Horse
Dead Canyon
Big Mean

SINGLE DAY SAT 27th ELDER ($20)
BFFElder.brownpapertickets.com

Eminence Main Stage
Elder
Switchblade Jesus
Waxy
Dandy Brown

Greeson Custom stage
Fuzz Evil
Blackw√ľlf
Cloudcatcher
Sounds Like Murder

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 two-day tickets

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 event page

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta on Thee Facebooks

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Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016: Elder, Switchblade Jesus, Blackwulf and Sounds Like Murder Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

I believe that with this announcement, the lineup for the¬†Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016, set for Feb. 26 and 27 in Tucson, Arizona, is complete. But it’s a hell of an announcement to go out on, bringing Massachusetts trio¬†Elder across the better part of the country to play as headliners for the second night of the fest, which puts them on par with no less than¬†Yawning Man and¬†Dead Meadow, who headline the night before — incredible company to keep — as well as adding Switchblade Jesus,¬†Blackwulf and¬†Sounds Like Murder to the bill. Entirely possible something will shift lineup-wise between now and February, but tickets are on sale early bird-style for those who’d like to get ahead of the game, and that’s not an impulse I could really argue against.

Here are two posters for the fest, as well as the latest info from the PR wire:

Back for its second year in a row, Borderland Fuzz Fiesta will once again bring the unmistakable sounds of Palm Desert, California and beyond to Tucson, Arizona. Curated by the Rudell brothers of both Powered Wig Machine and Fuzz Evil, the show will take place on Friday, February 26th and Saturday, February 27th at 191 Toole in the heart of Tucson’s historic downtown.

More band announcements will be revealed soon, but as of now, here’s the lineup:

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 Official Lineup:

Friday, February 26th:
Dead Meadow
Yawning Man
Blaak Heat
3rd Ear Experience
Zed
Funeral Horse
Big Mean
Dead Canyon

Saturday, February 27th:
Elder
Switchblade Jesus
Waxy
Dandy Brown (of Hermano)
Blackwulf
Cloud Catcher
Sounds Like Murder
Fuzz Evil

*All bands will be accompanied by the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show*

EARLY BIRD TWO-DAY PASSES (limited to 50) are $30 and can be purchased HERE: http://BFFEarlybird.brownpapertickets.com

Tickets for FRIDAY NIGHT ONLY are $20 and can be purchased HERE: http://BFFDeadMeadow.brownpapertickets.com

Tickets for SATURDAY NIGHT ONLY are $20 and can be purchased HERE: http://BFFElder.brownpapertickets.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/1105158519517789/
https://www.facebook.com/Borderlandfuzzfiesta
BorderlandFuzzfiesta@gmail.com

Elder, Live at Psycho California 2015

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Borderland Fuzz Fiesta Adds Dead Meadow and Yawning Man as Headliners

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Following up on what we found out from¬†Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 earlier this month, the Tucson-based desert and heavy rock fest has let loose two more big names for its lineup. Reportedly they still have a headliner for Saturday to announce sometime between now and February — should be plenty of time to do so — but with¬†Dead Meadow and¬†Yawning Man¬†joining the previously-announced likes of¬†Blaak Heat,¬†Zed,¬†3rd Ear Experience,¬†Funeral Horse,¬†Big Mean,¬†Waxy,¬†Fuzz Evil,¬†Dandy Brown,¬†Cloud Catcher and¬†Dead Canyon, the weekend’s roster stretches further sonically and upward in profile. I’m very curious to find out who that other headliner will be.

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 is set for Feb. 26 and 27 191 Toole in Tucson. The latest info off the PR wire follows here:

borderland fuzz fiesta 2016

Dead Meadow, Yawning Man, Waxy & More To Play Tucson’s BORDERLAND FUZZ FIESTA

Back for its second year in a row, Borderland Fuzz Fiesta will once again bring the unmistakable sounds of Palm Desert, California and beyond to Tucson, Arizona. Curated by the Rudell brothers of both Powered Wig Machine and Fuzz Evil, the show will take place on Friday, February 26th and Saturday, February 27th at 191 Toole in the heart of Tucson’s historic downtown.

More band announcements will be revealed soon, but as of now, here’s the lineup:

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 Official Lineup:

Friday, February 26th:
Dead Meadow
Yawning Man
Blaak Heat
3rd Ear Experience
Zed
Funeral Horse
Big Mean
Dead Canyon

Saturday, February 27th:
Waxy
Dandy Brown (of Hermano)
Cloud Catcher
Fuzz Evil

*All bands will be accompanied by the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show*

EARLY BIRD TWO-DAY PASSES (limited to 50) are $30 and can be purchased HERE: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2436886

Tickets for FRIDAY NIGHT ONLY are $20 and can be purchased HERE: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2438504

Tickets for Saturday night will be released when the headliner is announced.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1105158519517789/
https://www.facebook.com/Borderlandfuzzfiesta
BorderlandFuzzfiesta@gmail.com

Yawning Man, “Perpetual Oyster” Live at Cobraside Records, June 2016

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Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 Announces Initial Lineup; Funeral Horse, Waxy, Dandy Brown, Blaak Heat Shujaa, 3rd Ear Experience, Cloud Catcher and Fuzz Evil to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 1st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

As noted here in August, the 2016 Borderland Fuzz Fiesta will take place Feb. 26-27, expanding from one day to two, in Tucson, Arizona. It will be held at 191 Toole. Aside from seeing the return of the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show, the second installment of the heavy rock fest boasts a range of Southwestern styles, from the desert psych of¬†Blaak Heat Shujaa — one wonders if their new album might be ready by then? — to the punked-up garage strangeness of¬†Funeral Horse.¬†Hermano‘s¬†Dandy Brown will also make an appearance, and though the headliner and main support act(s) have yet to be unveiled, it already looks like a damn good time.

More to come as we get closer to the fest itself, still some five months out, but today brothers¬†Wayne Rudell and¬†Joseph Rudell announce the initial lineup and unveil the official poster by¬†the latter’s own¬†Ghost Town Graphics. The central theme? The desert. Makes me wonder in a big way who might be headlining this thing, since it’s looking pretty sandy even as it just gets going.

Dig it:

borderland fuzz fiesta 2016 replace

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 – First Announcements

We are excited about this year. We have brought in alot of bands I think fans of Stoner Rock, and Psych will love to see. We will have some more announcements in about a month or so for the support and headliners. We will also have info for limited early bird tickets and two day passes.

The flyer design was by Joseph Rudell with his company Ghost Town Graphics. People also might recognize his art from Ripple’s Second Coming of Heavy Series which GTG has been contracted to do the whole series.

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016
Headliner TBA
Main Support TBA
Waxy
Dandy Brown (Hermano)
Blaak Heat Shujaa
3rd Ear Experience
Cloud Catcher
Funeral Horse
Fuzz Evil

Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show

More performance announcements to follow.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1105158519517789/
https://www.facebook.com/Borderlandfuzzfiesta
BorderlandFuzzfiesta@gmail.com

Waxy, Live at 420 Desert Jams

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