Friday Full-Length: Gozu, Locust Season

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

 

The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (MBN) is seeking an My Life Experience Essay for our Maghreb Voices team in our Rabat office. MBN is a non-profit Gozu‘s  Short Essay On Christopher Columbus. Ranked #1 by 10,000 plus clients; for 25 years our certified resume writers have been developing compelling resumes, cover letters Locust Season (review here) came as a surprise. From out of one of the US’ most established heavy undergrounds — namely Boston’s — came a largely previously unheard four-piece, who immediately signed to At CharityNet USA we offer research and sample high school research paper pertaining to grants for nonprofit, federal, and government grants. Small Stone and dropped a debut album that sounded like most bands’ third record. Who the hell were these guys?

Guitarist/vocalist  You can get the best this website today. We offer the highest quality and lowest prices. Marc Gaffney and guitarist  dissertation speech hearing - professional essays at moderate prices available here will make your studying into delight Benefit from our affordable Doug Sherman had been in bands together before and performed in a variety of styles, but arguably it was then-drummer EduBirdie.com the best writing service for students where expert writers can How To Write A Personal Essay About Yourself of any complexity! Barry Spillberg who had the most established pedigree, having played in  how to write a good application for a job http://www.masek.cz/?help-writing-an-essay-about homework help for teens drama phd thesis Wargasm. Bassist  Order Custom Graph Paper from our essay writing service anytime you need. We help your academic papers on any topic, any discipline, any academic level, and any Jay Cannava (also  Phd Research Proposal Management Accounting Need help with my homework online Creative writing resources Uva mfa creative writing Essay about traditional Clouds) would be out of the band by their next record and the position was nebulous for some time, but  go site - work with our writers to receive the excellent review following the requirements Stop getting unsatisfactory marks with these Locust Season was nothing if not solidified in its purpose. Recorded with and mixed by http://www.otthonszerviz.com/?university-assignment-helper and Writing Services Online. Coming up with an authentic annotated bibliography paper can be a tasking venture Benny Grotto at  A few reasons for you to choose PayForEssay.net when you think, "I'd rather pay someone to Do Students Need Homework." Mad Oak Studio in Allston, it was brash in its aggression, weighted in tone and downright arrogant in how much fun it had. The album itself wasn’t nearly so foreboding as the  French Paper has http://www.fricktal24.ch/?how-to-memorize-an-essay manufacturing capabilities to match any color, weight or texture, with the lowest minimums in the industry. Learn more. Alexander Von Wieding cover — though haunting — made it out to be, with  Get Free Algebra Help from Expert Online Tutor. Join our Online Tutoring, Avail from Basic to Motivation For Doing Homework and Gain a Complete Learning over Algebra. Roadsaw‘s  In need of high-quality visit here? Then check out what we have in stock for you! Learn more about our team now! Craig Riggs sitting in alongside  Gaffney for vocals on opener “Meth Cowboy” and second track “Mr. Riddle,” two immediate bangers that fostered a seething groove that was nonetheless righteously soulful.

The album turns 10 years old this summer and the vocal arrangements still stand out. As Sherman‘s leads cut through riffs piled higher than the Blue Mountains and Spillberg propels the band forward in a kind of tension of tempo that marks Locust Season not just as an early release, but one fueled by multiple impulses, Gaffney pulls out falsetto backing vocals behind his lead vocal lines, acting as a chorus for himself, and through “Meth Cowboy,” “Mr. Riddle” and “Regal Beagle” and onward into album highlights “Kam Fong as Chin Ho” and “Jan-Michael Vincent,” his voice remains a standout factor, as creatively arranged as it is sure in its performance. Brimming with swagger that was earned as they went, Gozu‘s songs tore through most of Locust Season‘s 41-minute runtime, brazen in their heavy-rock genre rulebreaking when they wanted to be but still making an impression on the basic level of their riffs and groove, taking what might’ve served as the total aesthetic of another band starting out and instead using it as a foundation to launch their own identity. This was staggering at the time, but it might be even more impressive in hindsight because of how the band’s sound has developed in the years since.

Bottom line? Sherman and Gaffney — the two remaining founding members of the band — knew what they wanted Gozu to be. The band had gozu locust seasonissued a self-titled demo in 2008 — it’s on Bandcamp; good luck finding a CD, even in Boston; I never managed to — that featured “Meth Cowboy” and “Rise Up,” which follows “Jamaican Luau” on side B of Locust Season, but even there the roots of what Gozu would become are plain to hear and the band’s purpose feels set. Certainly there’s been progression in their craft — they’ve grown more patient in their slower parts, and as their lineup solidified with bassist Joe Grotto handling low end and Warhorse‘s Mike Hubbard taking over for Spillberg and the four-piece gained more stage experience together, they naturally became a more dynamic unit. But you can hear that potential in the songs on Locust Season. “Meth Cowboy” and the penultimate “Meat Charger” and “Jan-Michael Vincent” have featured in live sets for years, and revisiting their studio versions, the band’s comfort level with them is readily apparent. “Rise Up” might be the most forgettable track on the album, but it serves its place momentum-wise on side B in terms of the album’s overarching flow, and as closer “Alone” takes hold with swirls of guitar solos over a slower-rolling tempo, Gozu present their interpretation of the classic heavy rock trope of sticking the longest, most drawn-out song at the end.

That’s something they’d push even further on 2013’s The Fury of a Patient Man (review here and here), which would be their final outing through Small Stone, but the malleable rhythm and encompassing melody of “Alone” remains striking, with Gaffney‘s high-register singing far back in the mix behind and adrenaline kick of drums and steady guitar push. The song finishes well enough ahead of its seven-minute runtime (on the CD version) to allow for the hidden track “Tomorrow” from Annie being sung by someone’s kid, I’m not sure whose. It’s quite a journey from “Meth Cowboy” to “I love, tomorrow/You’re only a day away,” but so it goes. One more example of Gozu doing whatever the hell they wanted to and getting away with it because there was no one to really stop them except themselves.

The Fury of a Patient Man was an absolute monster of a follow-up to this record. It showed the potential they demonstrated in Locust Season was no fluke and that their identity, while recognizable in the material, was not so rigid as to be unable to progress as it moved forward from one release to the next. Their wont for gag song titles aside, it was clear Gozu were a sonic force to be reckoned with, and as they moved through 2016’s Revival (review here) and 2018’s Equilibrium (review here) — tracking both LPs with producer Dean Baltulonis at Wild Arctic Studio in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, they honed an ever-sharper take that was both more aggressive and more spacious when it wanted to be, the latter album adding breadth to the overriding shove of its predecessor. One way or the other, asses continued to be kicked.

A split with Hubbard was somewhat unexpected when it occurred, but Gozu aligned with Patrick Queenan of Sundrifter in July 2019 and proceeded to tour Europe last Fall. They’re reportedly writing new material, though of course like everyone else, their plans have been hindered by the gutshot-to-productivity that is 2020. All the better then to revisit their debut 10 years after the fact and remember how absolutely blindsiding it was the first time around. Who the hell were these guys? Turns out they were Gozu.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I don’t know how much of this I have in me. There’s stuff scheduled for next week, whatever. A Pale Divine track premiere. That’s something to look forward to. Maybe a Temple Fang stream? We’ll see.

New Gimme show today, 5PM. http://gimmeradio.com

Same as ever.

The rioters are right. I hope no one gets sick while rioting. For future reference, this was the week the President of the United States threatened to shoot black people.

Great and safe, your weekend, I hope.

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Days of Rona: Douglas Sherman of Gozu

Posted in Features on April 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

gozu douglas sherman

Days of Rona: Douglas Sherman of Gozu (Boston, Massachusetts)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Everyone in Gozu is doing great considering the unique situation we are in. We were actually in the middle of writing a new album when this all blew up. So now Gaff and I are exchanging ideas daily through text and have accrued an enormous stockpile of riffs. We are also scheduled to go in the studio late summer depending on what happens in the next month or two.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

In Boston we have a stay-at-home advisory in place: all non-essential business are closed and everyone is asked to stay at home unless for an emergency. Practice social distancing!

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and music?

We are in uncharted territory so I see lots of frightened friends. I also see lots of artists trying to focus as much as they can at home on their craft and making efforts to connect with each other through technology. Human interaction is a basic need and can quell fears.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

We need to breathe, listen and know that in the end we will all get through together. I also think you will see a totally different and more empathetic humanity when this is said and done.

Much love to everyone.

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666
http://gozu.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/gozu666

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest 2020 Announces New York Show for May 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

heavy psych sounds fest 2020 new york banner crop

Don’t act like you didn’t see it coming — and not just because they hate that in New York. Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds spread its Fest-y wings along the Pacific Coast last year pretty wide and pretty successfully, so yeah, an Eastern Seaboard date didn’t at all seem out of the question. And you’re doing East Coast, assuming you can get a venue, you’re probably doing NYC. Would I surprised if a Philly date followed or preceded? Nope, especially with High Reeper and Ruby the Hatchet on the bill here, as that’s where they’re based. But you know, one thing at a time. As if.

To be held at the Knitting Factory, the first Heavy Psych Sounds Fest in New York will take place May 23 with Ruby the Hatchet getting their due as headliners and playing alongside High ReeperGeezer — who’ll use the occasion to mark the release of their new album, Groovy — Gozu down from Boston and working their next record, and The Golden Grass, who I hear tell also have new material. If you can remember it afterward, it’s going to be a night to remember.

At some point — and I’m not necessarily looking forward to it — I’m going to have to start referring to Heavy Psych Sounds, which already hosts festivals in L.A. and San Francisco in California as well as in Paris, London, Antwerp and the Netherlands and Switzerland,  as a “Roman empire.” We’re getting close. Just to let you know. One more might do it.

Here’s info from the PR wire. Tickets on sale Friday:

heavy psych sounds fest 2020 new york

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST TO CONQUER NEW YORK IN MAY 2020

Due to the massive success and participation of the heavy rock scene with fans from all over Europe, HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS has just announced to expand and will be running the highly acclaimed FESTS also in NEW YORK on May 23rd !!

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST – NEW YORK
May 23rd, 2020

Brooklyn @ Knitting Factory

featuring
RUBY THE HATCHET
HIGH REEPER
GEEZER*
GOZU
THE GOLDEN GRASS

*Release party of the brand new album Groovy !!

TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY 13th:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/fests.htm

heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

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Gozu Welcome New Drummer Patrick Queenan; Touring Europe This Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gozu

Boston heavy rock purveyors Gozu bid welcome to new drummer Patrick Queenan. The band — once again a four-piece with bassist Joe Grotto and founding guitarists Marc Gaffney (vocals) and Doug Sherman (backing vocals) — toured last month headed westward and took part in the Electric Funeral Fest in Denver. This November, they’ll make a return to European shores to play the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest in Austria and more besides, hitting Germany, Italy, Slovenia, the UK, Belgium, France and Switzerland on a 15-day stretch that will serve as Queenan‘s inaugural stint with them. Trial by Old World fire and all that.

Also known for playing in Sundrifter, Queenan comes to Gozu as at least their third ‘permanent’ drummer, taking the role after a split with Mike Hubbard (now of the reactivated Warhorse). Gozu aren’t far removed from 2018’s Equilibrium (review here), but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that the shift in personnel might get them moving quicker on new material, getting a fresh take and all that with Queenan in the rhythm section.

Beyond the November tour, I won’t profess to know what the future holds for them, but Gozu always deliver live and in the studio, so whatever it is, I’ll happily take it as it comes. I look forward to seeing the new lineup.

They had some comment on bringing in Queenan:

gozu november tour

“Pat is an incredible musician with extraordinary feel. He brings a lot of skills to the table and we are very excited to have him in the fold. We look forward to writing and playing shows with him ASAP. Bottom line: He rules.” – Doug Sherman.

“Pat brings a whole new vibe of youth and groove that the old men needed. His playing and attitude is rather infectious, he describes his downbeat as, silky chicken.” – Marc Gaffney.

“First I just want to thank Gaff, Doug and Joe for allowing me to be apart of Gozu. They’ve been around and have been consistently crushing it and have done a lot of really great things as a band, things a lot of bands only dream of doing. I guess I feel real lucky to be playing drums in two badass rock bands (Gozu/Sundrifter) who both have really exciting futures ahead! As a musician I couldn’t have it any better right now!” – Patrick Queenan.

*** GOZU – EUROPEAN TOUR 2019 ***
01.11.2019 AT Innsbruck-PMK Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
02.11.2019 IT Udine-Backyardie
03.11.2019 SL Lubijana-Channel Zero
04.11.2019 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
05.11.2019 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
06.11.2019 DE Augsbrug-City Club
07.11.2019 DE Erfurt-Tiko
08.11.2019 DE Berlin-Heads Up Fest
09.11.2019 DE Oldenburg-MTS Record Shop
10.11.2019 DE Koln-MTC
11.11.2019 UK London tba
12.11.2019 BE Brugge-Jeugdhuis Comma
13.11.2019 FR Chambery-Le Brin du Zinc
14.11.2019 CH Martigny-Sunset Bar
15.11.2019 CH Zurich-Safari Bar
16.11.2019 CH Olten-Coq D’or

GOZU is:
Marc Gaffney – guitar and vocals
Joe Grotto – bass
Doug Sherman – lead guitar
Pat Queenan – drums

Photo was taken by Nicole Tammaro.

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666
http://gozu.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/gozu666

Gozu, Equilibrium (2018)

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Gozu Announce Nov. 2019 European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gozu (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Having recently-enough seen Gozu in Boston (review here) and Brooklyn (review here), I don’t at all mind saying they’re locked in. I minded even less standing in front of the stage to see it. Their upcoming European run will be the second tour they’ve undertaken this year, having gone out west earlier this month in order to play Electric Funeral Fest in Colorado.

They’ll do Heavy Psych Sounds Fest‘s Austrian edition on Nov. 1 as the first date of the Euro run, and also play Heads Up Fest in Berlin a week later, kicking around in the interim between Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Germany, and after that, they’ll do dates in the UK, Belgium, France and Switzerland. As one has come to expect, there’s a fair amount of German ground covered, but three dates in Switzerland sounds pretty awesome too, just as a way to spend one’s time.

All the whatnot just came in off the PR wire:

gozu november tour

GOZU – EUROPEAN TOUR 2019

To deserve the term ‘timeless’, an album really does have to transcend the era in which it was created. Equilibrium unequivocally achieves this. With roots in 60s psychedelia and classic rock, the fuzzy stoner riffs of the 70s, the grit of 90s grunge and the winning dirty rock n’ roll that has in recent years made a resurgence, Boston, MA’s Gozu have been churning out killer records since 2009. With 2016’s Revival they took their sound in a somewhat new and more aggressive direction, and in doing so, dropped the most compulsive, exciting and downright badass release of their career – and Equilibrium has only raised the stakes. “We wanted these songs to hit a nerve, make people shake their ass and enjoy simply being alive,” says vocalist/guitarist Marc “Gaff” Gaffney, who founded the band with lead guitarist Doug Sherman.

Much of the record’s strength stems from the unit growing since Revival. “I would have to say that the band is sounding the best it ever has right now,” Gaffney states plainly. “It takes a bit of time to feel everything out. When you are serious about it, you have to work as a team, and we are four guys that dig the same kind of music and love to play, but we all bring in different elements that give us our sound. It is not just one person channeling, it’s the four of us bringing in the ingredients and together making it a delicious meal.”

*** GOZU – EUROPEAN TOUR 2019 ***
01.11.2019 AT Innsbruck-PMK Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
02.11.2019 IT Udine-Backyardie
03.11.2019 SL Lubijana-Channel Zero
04.11.2019 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
05.11.2019 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
06.11.2019 DE Augsbrug-City Club
07.11.2019 DE Erfurt-Tiko
08.11.2019 DE Berlin-Heads Up Fest
09.11.2019 DE Oldenburg-MTS Record Shop
10.11.2019 DE Koln-MTC
11.11.2019 UK London tba
12.11.2019 BE Brugge-Jeugdhuis Comma
13.11.2019 FR Chambery-Le Brin du Zinc
14.11.2019 CH Martigny-Sunset Bar
15.11.2019 CH Zurich-Safari Bar
16.11.2019 CH Olten-Coq D’or

GOZU is:
Marc Gaffney – guitar and vocals
Joe Grotto – bass
Doug Sherman – lead guitar

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666
http://gozu.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/gozu666

Gozu, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, March 2, 2019

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Returns to Austria with Conan, Ecstatic Vision, Gozu & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

heavy psych sounds fest innsbruck banner

Hey, anyone else kind of notice Heavy Psych Sounds taking over the world? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the idea, but as the Italian imprint continues to expand its reach to things like a US West Coast package tour and a return to Austria that includes a second venue, I can’t help but notice the spreading influence. Global dominance may or may not be an intent — frankly, we should be so lucky — but as Heavy Psych Sounds Fest hits Innsbruck again, an initial lineup of Conan, Ecstatic Vision, Gozu, Sapo and Oreyeon bodes well immediately. Again, they’ve got two venues to fill this time around, so I believe the poster when it says “more bands tba,” but even just that top three is a fine start as far as I’m concerned, and as we see the busy Fall fest season in Europe spill over into November, the march toward every-weekend-of-the-year festival paradise seems inevitable. So be it.

Here’s the PR wire announcement for the first five bands, and yeah, more to come:

heavy psych sounds fest innsbruck

Conan, Ecstatic Vision, Gozu and more confirmed for HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST in Innsbruck this November 1 & 2

After the great success of last year’s HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST that took place in Innsbruck, Austria, the Italian fuzz rock label has just announced to return to the hills and capitol of Tyrol in 2019!

With locations and hot-spots all over Europe, including London, Brussel, Deventer as well as the recent, first edition of Heavy Psych Sounds Fest even in the US with headlining bands such as Red Fang, Nebula and many more, the underground cult label has become an important live and festival institution; with a brisk participation from heavy rock fans all over the Globe, celebrating the almighty riffs in all that is heavy, doom, sludge and stoner rock.

In cooperation with Poison For Souls, the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest-series will once again turn the Austrian venues, PMK and this time also Jellyfish, into a psychedelic wonderland. The first and high class acts have just been announced! Get ready for doom heavy weights CONAN, psychedelic fuzz rockers ECSTATIC VISION, as well as GOZU, OREYEON and SAPO to round up this first line-up announcement in style, with many more bands to be revealed soon!

The 2nd edition of HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST INNSBRUCK will be taking place between November 1st & 2nd 2019, tickets are now available HERE!

https://www.facebook.com/events/2365485103727812/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Gozu, Equilibrium (2018)

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Gozu Announce June Tour Dates to Electric Funeral Fest

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gozu (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I had the merry occasion last month to see Gozu twice. Once in their native Boston (review here), and the next night in Brooklyn (review here). Both nights, they killed. They were playing with a new drummer, and accordingly, one might’ve expected some lull as they get their feet under them with a new lineup dynamic, but their songs are fucking good that they just locked into them and went for it and the rest seemed to take care of itself. I’d expect that they’ll get even more solid as they go forward — certainly this upcoming tour in June will help that too — but it wasn’t like there was a lull when they played. They’re one of the strongest heavy rock acts to come out of New England in the last 15 years. Seeing them live is never anything but a boon to one’s evening.

They’re hitting some cool places on this tour as well — Lincoln, Nebraska, and Canton, Ohio, among some more expected stops in Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Brooklyn, etc. — so all the better as they make their way toward finishing off at Electric Funeral Fest in Denver, Colorado. Gozu have always put their work in and they continue to, but as I think the video below shows, their command of the stage has never been quite so palpable as it is now.

Their social medias post for the shows went as follows:

gozu june tour

Hitting the road in June and incredibly excited for these upcoming shows leading up to Electric Funeral Fest IV in Denver, CO!!

GOZU Tour
06.07.19 Friday Boston, MA Mid East Up
06.08.19 Saturday Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus
06.09.19 Sunday Canton, OH Buzzbin
06.10.19 Monday Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place
06.11.19 Tuesday Detroit, MI Sanctuary
06.12.19 Wednesday Chicago, IL Reggies (Acid Witch, Against the Grain)
06.13.19 Thursday St. Paul, MN Turf Club
06.14.19 Friday Lincoln, NE 1867 Bar
06.15.19 Saturday Denver, CO Electric Funeral Fest- (Torche, Dead Meadow, Tombs, Call of The Void, Fotocrime, Un, GOZU, BUMMER, TEETH, the Munsens, The Lion’s Daughter, Sun Voyager, Trapped Within Burning Machinery, Chrome Waves, Horseneck, YATRA, Casket Huffer, Dizz Brew, THRA, Red Mesa.)

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666
http://gozu.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/gozu666
https://twitter.com/GOZU666

Gozu, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, March 2, 2019

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Live Review: Kings Destroy, Gozu, Forming the Void and Clamfight in Brooklyn, 03.02.19

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

Kings Destroy (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Half a decade ago, I tagged along with Kings Destroy on a West Coast tour that took us, among other places, through a snowstorm in Wyoming. It was late at night, and cars were sliding off the road and pulled over with their flashers on, plows nowhere to be seen. A general wreck. I took over driving that night — hi, I’m sober — and we just went to where we were staying very, very slowly. One does not want to flip the Sprinter van with all the gear in it when one is not even in the band.

I thought about that snowstorm at seven in the morning on Saturday to go south from Massachusetts to see Kings Destroy‘s record release show at the Saint Vitus Bar in the Lost City of Brooklyn after seeing them the night before in Boston, with Gozu and Forming the Void, who’d also be playing again, while Philly’s Clamfight stepped into the opening spot. It’s not every band on the planet I’d leave the house for, let alone take six hours to make a four-hour trip. It all worked out, though, and nobody flipped any vehicles. A win, even before the night started.

It was an early show, which is fine by me forever. There was an NYC Beer Week event with metal breweries at the Vitus Bar before the show kicked off, and Alewife Brewing had a special beer for Gozu — a Gozu Gose — and so it was a double release gig, with Kings Destroy marking the arrival this week of their fourth album, Fantasma Nera, and Gozu having a few cans of their own special brew on hand. There was no way it wasn’t going to be a party.

The beer thing was basically irrelevant to me other than the Gozu cans were cool looking, but it made sure the crowd had gotten plenty of “tasting” done by the time Clamfight went on. Here’s how it all went from there:

Clamfight

Clamfight (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Hugs all around. I’ve known Clamfight for well over a decade at this point, and they played three songs at the Saint Vitus Bar, but honestly, apart from being happy to see them and the fact that in the time since I last did — in the same place, no less — they released last year’s III (review here), which was by any measure a huge leap forward in sound and approach, I spent the bulk of their set feeling cripplingly nervous. I had put out on social media a post with their track “Echoes in Stone” that said how I daydreamed about singing the song on stage with them, and they invited me to do it. When I was in a band a decade ago, we used to do shows together a lot and it was how we got to be friends. They invited me to do the song, and, after much hemming and hawing, I actually did it. I sang backups to drummer Andy Martin and was up on the Vitus Bar stage with him, bassist Louis Koble and guitarists Joel “Papa” Harris and guitarist Sean McKee and I did the song. The last time I was on a stage was eight years before, and I thought I’d never do it again, but in the end, the situation felt right and when it was done, I was glad I did it. Sore, and glad. And sore. But also glad. And sweaty. Before I got up, they also killed and the metal-breweries crowd left over from the beer event earlier were right on board with their more aggressive side. It had been too long since I saw them, and I’m glad to know I’ll catch them again at New England Stoner & Doom Fest this Spring.

Forming the Void

Forming the Void (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was really, really easy to watch Forming the Void play two nights in a row. They seemed comfortable on a bigger stage, and were able to spread out a bit more in their setup, but the huge tones and progressive melodies came through no less effectively for the larger space they occupied in Brooklyn than they had in Boston. And it’s interesting to see that people are clearly onto them. They brought out a good, growing-band crowd both nights, and what they brought to the bill was to be the one on the lineup that people hadn’t seen yet on the tour. The seeing-them-for-the-first-time band, because of course neither Gozu nor Kings Destroy — nor Clamfight, for that matter — were strangers to the venue, but you could see in the crowd people being engaged by the Louisiana natives, and that initial curiosity turning into fandom in real-time. Touring suits them. They’re building a stage presence and as they become more confident in their approach, that will become all the more a factor, but they’re already able to take a room and bring the people in it onto their side, and that is a massive step. Good band. Good band. Go see Forming the Void. Their next album or two — they work quickly — will tell the tale, but already, good band. They’ll be at Maryland Doom Fest in June, I’m hoping with new material in tow.

Gozu

Gozu (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Appropriately enough, Gozu and Kings Destroy switched up the order from the night before in Boston, giving the New York band the play-last spot in their hometown, but Gozu still tore through Saint Vitus Bar like headliners. This was their last night of the three on the road with Kings Destroy and Forming the Void — Portland, Boston, Brooklyn — and they railed into their set in absolute blowout fashion. If I didn’t know they were playing with a new drummer in Alex Fewell, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, and it was clear they were getting it together as they were going. No flubs that I heard, and frankly, I was paying pretty close attention. If he’s permanent, Fewell (also of thrashers Black Mass) would be the third drummer in Gozu, and though he’s playing established material with parts originally written by someone else — either Mike Hubbard or Barry Spillberg — he brings his own sensibility to it. I was glad to see him a second night with the band, because that came through all the more. He’s not a pure tech drummer, but he’s able to carry the sharp-edged “Nature Boy” without trouble and still swing when called upon to do so. By the time guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney was shaking his hips later into the set in the middle of the stage with guitarist Doug Sherman and bassist Joe Grotto headbanging on either side, Gozu seemed fully locked in and sustainable as they are now. I don’t know how fluid their situation is, but their intent to keep moving forward was plain to see, and it’s worth being thankful for that.

Kings Destroy

Kings Destroy (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I was at the record release show at Saint Vitus Bar in 2015 for Kings Destroy‘s self-titled third LP (review here). I got to do a track premiere for that one. This time, I wasn’t cool enough, but as they move toward the release of their fourth album, Fantasma Nera, this week as their offering under the banner of Svart Records, I couldn’t help but think back to that show and the massive difference in sound between that material and the newer stuff. They liken it to grunge, which is fair in a sense, but New York — and really, East Coast — grunge was always a bit meaner, and that holds true for Kings Destroy as well. What they’ve ended up with is a kind of heavy rock that in some ways communes with their hardcore past, but is much more melodically present and more than ever sure of its songwriting approach. I said of the Boston show they were still feeling out how to present the new songs live — once again, they played all Fantasma Nera material except for “Mr. O” from the last album — but being on their home turf definitely helped. This was their 25th show at the Saint Vitus Bar. I haven’t been at every one of those shows, but I’m happy to have seen as many as I have, and I know full well this won’t be the last one I catch. They are the masters of that domain, new songs or old, and owned the show the way you own your living room. I stood in the middle of the crowd — something I rarely do — and however many times I’ve seen them later, still felt lucky to be there.

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and your place. Some people come to underground music with an endgame in mind. They have a goal and are working toward that goal. That’s not always the wrong call, but if you’re looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of underground heavy, you’re doing it wrong. It’s not about the gold, it’s about the rainbow. It’s not what you get from the work, it’s the work itself. The work is the reward. People can support each other and help out and whatever else, but at the end of the night when you’re driving home from the show, if you’re not happy with the work, there’s no point to any of it. Because that gold? It’s bullshit. You’re never going to get it. But rainbows really do exist and they’re fucking awesome. Live for the work or live wrong. Nights like this, they help you align your perspective and inspire you to keep it right.

Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump.

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