Front to Back: Vultures of Volume II Day Two in Hagerstown, MD, 09.05.15

Posted in Reviews on September 9th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

vultures of volume ii poster

The hotel breakfast — not so much. I woke up pretty early after Day One of Where to order Research Paper On Animal Rightss? Take a look here, the best research papers writing site will do your assignment from scratch on time. Vultures of Volume II, drawn by the allure of free scrambled eggs or at very least some carbs to start the day, but some lumpy-looking sausage and a weird egg/potato/cheese combo deal scared me off. A cup of coffee and a rigid search of the interwebs later, I found a cafe up the road a little ways.

A quick lunch would turn out to be my only meal of the day, because once it got going, First paragraph of an argumentative essay on a rose describe a great time you. The Associated Press delivers in-depth Citing Sources In A Research Paper coverage on today's Big Vultures of Volume II Day Two simply did not stop. First band, on at 1PM. Last band, off a little before 2AM. It was 13 acts and very nearly 13 hours of front-to-back performances, and by the time the day was a quarter over, the Early Stages The early Dissertation Statistical Services Typing stages of writing a philosophy paper include everything you do before you sit down and write your first draft Delmar Inn in Hagerstown had developed full-on as a festival ecosystem. Just about everyone knew everyone else, and the vibe was thick throughout. Some were dragging after getting down a little too hard the night before, or at least hard enough, but the only thing to do was keep going. This festival, in the fine tradition of gatherings like http://www.drivingforeacure.net/index.php?bbq-catering-business-plans by expert editors: improve your essay format, edit your research paper, make proper citation for term paper and structure dissertation. Emissions from the Monolith, Wondering who will help to A Topic For A Research Paper assignment on time? Use our professional online writing service offers to ensure excellent grades and complete Stoner Hands of Doom, click site - Hire top writers to do your homework for you. confide your dissertation to professional writers employed in the company Days of the Doomed and the Getting excellent Doc Engineer Resume Rfic shall be a priority if you get stuck with your assignments and need help with assignments. Eye of the Stoned Goat, would brook no absence.

Yeah, I was beat, but fuck it. It was rock and roll and I drove a long way to be there. The lineup for Day Two was Pay Someone to Write My Paper we also give importance to the style and topic for your write my paper for me order. Our writers Our Help Write Essay Elder, essay on my ambition in life as a teacher Master Will Pay Someone To Do My Assignments essay writer in australia sample for resume format Dorthia Cottrell of Has Kids Assignment - Secure Research Paper Writing Website - We Provide Top-Quality Paper Assignments At The Lowest Prices Top-Quality Essay .. .Has anyone used essay writing service - Custom Paper Writing and Editing Company - Get Professional Help With Original Essays, Term Papers, Reports and Theses ForMessage Us & Get a Personal Nerdy Tutor to Help You out. Windhand playing a solo set, Free http://www.zacapaonline.com/?show-my-homework-glenburn, Software and Services Wretch, Professional Quotes Amp Proverbs On Custom Essayss for students at all universities. Accredited editor. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, referencing. Weed is Weed, Very affordable http://meitoku.edu.vn/?my-patch-homeworks from professional and passionate bloggers. Carousel, People who Dissertation Deadline Unc - confide your report to qualified scholars employed in the service Instead of having trouble about essay writing find Righteous Bloom, http://ballyshannondrama.com/writing-your-college-essay/ >>>CLICK HERE<<< Com. random-essay-generator-483677302 21 Sep 2014 Citation Machine helps students and professionals Foghound, Witch Hazel, Thousand Vision Mist, Wizard Eye, Wasted Theory, Buzzard Canyon and Heavy Temple, and the latter had the illustrious task of getting things rolling:

Heavy Temple

Heavy Temple (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It had been more than two years since the last time I saw Philadelphia’s Heavy Temple, which was also the first time, and in between, bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk has completely revamped the trio’s lineup — she’s now joined by drummer Siren Tempestas and guitarist Archbishop Barghest — and has moved forward following the release through Ván Records of the band’s self-titled debut EP (review here), which by my estimation was one of last year’s finest short releases. They played four songs, all of them new, and I was glad for the glimpse at what’s to come, finding creative progression evident in how smoothly Heavy Temple seemed to weave in and out of parts, the fluidness with which they utilized classic stoner riffing without necessarily being beholden to it, and the dynamic between Nighthawk and her newcomer cohorts, Barghest an almost shoegazing presence on stage while Tempestas seemed to throw her whole body at the kit while she played. Some presentation nuances to be ironed out between the three of them — that is, I think at this point the band could do away with the stage names, and Nighthawk is the only one in a ritual robe, though that was the case last time as well — but past those crucial decisions to be made between robes and denim shorts, they were sonically more than dead on, rounding out their set with well-timed starts and stops and off-mic screams that were effective in adding drama to a set that showed Heavy Temple as a band well on their way. Looking forward to their next EP, which is reportedly already recorded.

Buzzard Canyon

Buzzard Canyon (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There was little one might reasonably ask of a hard rock act that Buzzard Canyon didn’t offer, whether it was the soul behind the dual vocals of Amber Leigh and guitarist Aaron Lewis, or the straight-ahead but still weighted grooves of bassist Randall Dumas and drummer Matt Raftery. Actually, there was one thing one probably could’ve asked of them: the second guitar they left behind in Connecticut when they departed for Maryland early in the morning on Saturday in time to make their slot at Vultures of Volume II. Pretty much everything else they had covered. There was just about no way I was going to go into their set thinking of them as something other than Lewis‘ band — I’ve just known that dude for simply too long, been a part of projects with him, done shows with his other band, When the Deadbolt Breaks, etc. — but it was not only great to see him play after what’s been too long, but likewise great to see him explore the more upbeat, rocking side. Buzzard Canyon‘s debut, which they decided on stage was eight tracks, maybe nine, probably 11 by the time it’s done, is apparently in the works, and though they were down a guitar, they did well as a four-piece, playing both songs from the two-songer CDR they brought with them to give away, “Wyoming” and “Not My Cross,” the former of which seemed a long-enough time to wait to break out the cowbell and the latter of which closed their set in reinforcement of the active feel of the material, not at all afraid to have a good time or encourage the crowd to do the same.

Wasted Theory

Wasted Theory (Photo by JJ Koczan)

You know, I do dig Wasted Theory. The Delaware four-piece have come a long, long way since the first time I saw them, and they’ve done a couple tours and weekenders since they put out their 2014 full-length, Death and Taxes (review here), and that has only furthered their cause in both the tightness of their execution and their confidence on stage. Sometimes though, I feel like I’m just not quite dudely enough for it. Here’s these guys, and they’re killing it, singing songs about running ‘shine through the southland and this and that, and I’m standing there watching them feeling like I should probably call up my primary care physician and see if I can get some testosterone supplements or something so as to properly appreciate what’s going down on stage. As has been the case the last couple times I’ve seen them — and I’ll see them again before the month is out, if all goes according to plan — “Hellfire Ritual” and “Black Widow Liquor Run” were highlights, guitarist Larry Jackson, Jr. having his “whiskey-soaked” in full effect while on either side, bassist Jonathan Charles and guitarist Dave McMahon followed a hairpin course of riffs propelled by Brendan Burns‘ drums. They would not be the day’s last kick in the ass, but they were a vehement one all the same, even for one so apparently hormonally imbalanced as I. In all seriousness, Wasted Theory are scary tight for being still-recently off their first record, and by all appearances they’re only continuing to nail down what they do. Not trying to tell anyone their business, but Ripple Music, keep an eye out.

Wizard Eye

Wizard Eye (Photo by JJ Koczan)

We’re just about a month out from the release date of Wizard Eye‘s much-awaited self-titled second album on Black Monk Records, and the Philadelphia three-piece — Erik on guitar/vocals/theremin, Dave on bass/vocals, Mike on drums — seemed very much to be in good spirits ahead of the release. It was, as it was the last time I saw them, an absolute pleasure to watch them play. What they do isn’t overly complex or painstakingly crafted for nuance, but it’s impeccably well done and deceptively individualized. Most of what they played was culled from the impending Wizard Eye, which finds their semi-crusted rolling grooves firmly intact on songs like “Flying/Falling,” “Thunderbird” and “Eye of the Deep,” but there was one inclusion on the setlist I didn’t recognize — “Revenant” — which isn’t from the tracklisting I’ve seen for the new record, or from their 2010 debut, Orbital Rites, so I’m not sure if maybe it’s new or was left off the new album or what. Doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that after five years between outings they might have more material than just what’s showing up on the new LP. Either way, I’ll take their fuzz-overdosed nod any time I can. They were locked in tight at Vultures of Volume II, and remain a much better band than people seem to know, which is something that the new album will hopefully work to correct. Erik went to the theremin just once, earlier in the set — was it “Gravebreath” or “Flying/Falling?” — but even so, they were a blast to see again and offered stone-baked groove in plenty for their afternoon set.

Thousand Vision Mist

Thousand Vision Mist (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Given that they take their moniker from the name of Life Beyond‘s 2002 debut/swansong full-length, and given that they share guitarist/vocalist Danny Kenyon with that defunct MD trio, I guess I just assumed that when they got started, Thousand Vision Mist would essentially be an incarnation of the same kind of straight-ahead, post-The Obsessed/Revelation Maryland-style doom. That was not the case. Together with be-chapeaued bassist/vocalist Tony Comulada and drummer Chris SebastianKenyon led the charge through a set of fiery but progressive metal. Doom was definitely a part of it, and listening to the studio versions on their 2015 debut demo of cuts like “Garden of Ghosts,” “Drifter” and “Tears of the Moon” — which was particularly proggy coming from the Delmar stage — that holds up, but by no means was it the sum-total of what they had to offer. Instead, they pulled off quick turns and shifts while also having a heavy sensibility, and the technical intricacies came across fluidly as the crowd clearly loved on a hometown act. As a power trio, the dynamic looked to be more the guitar and bass, then the drums, rather than the standard guitar/rhythm section divide, but I’d by no means consider the matter settled considering they just have the five-song demo out, and for what it’s worth, they played a new song “Skybound and Beyond,” which they said had been written on Thursday, just two days prior, and though it seemed like it was about to come flying apart at any moment, it never actually did, and Thousand Vision Mist‘s impressive control over their sound can only continue to suit them as they move forward.

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It might have been enough for York, Pennsylvania, four-piece Witch Hazel to earn sympathy points for the recent loss of their hometown venue, The Depot, and it might have been enough that they broke out the weekend’s first tambourine to go along with their post-Pentagram ’70s-ish shuffle, but they also featured some especially passionate cowbell/headbang action in the last song (when else?) from frontman Nate Tyson, and dedicated a song to Iron Man, so if there were bases to cover, they were duly covered. Some of it was a little over-the-top — as intended — with the eyeliner, elaborate pants, and so on, but hard to fault Witch Hazel for keeping an eye toward presentation. Their new album, Nocturnity, is available now, and is a 28-minute concept piece that seems to be about a family with a bloodline that cures vampires, but though I don’t think “Moon People Unite” comes from that record, the crowd started to make its way back in to get a glimpse at what Witch Hazel — Tyson, guitarist Andy Craven, high-cymbal drummer Nick Zinn and bassist Seibert Lowe, who was playing his first show with the band — had to offer with their shuffling style and weirdo neo-classic edge. They closed with “Secret Door” from their 2013 debut, Forsaken Remedies, which only furthered their boogie cred.

Foghound

Foghound (Photo by JJ Koczan)

No sooner did Baltimore’s Foghound walk on the stage than they owned it. Seriously. Before they even started playing, the entire room was theirs. Last time I saw the band was Eye of the Stoned Goat IV in Worcester, MA (review here), and they killed then, but this was a different league entirely. No doubt part of that stems from relatively-new bassist Rev. Jim Forrester, who, like Foghound drummer Chuck Dukehart III, is a Sixty Watt Shaman expat. Forrester was kinetic on stage — and off it, as he hopped down on the regular throughout — and seemed to pull the rest of the band along with him, Dukehart sharing vocal duties with guitarists Bob Sipes and Dee Settar all the while, the three of them switching back and forth here, coming together there, racing through material from their upcoming second album. They were a shot of life just when I was feeling like I needed it most, and while the locals, who obviously have more occasion to see them than I do, weren’t necessarily surprised by what they delivered, I was utterly blown away. Their new stuff was faster, meaner and tighter than 2013’s Quick, Dirty and High (review here), and I liked that CD plenty. The tempo of the songs, the stomp and the energy they brought made them the band of the day up to that point, and cuts like “Serpentine” and “Rockin’ and Rollin'” were absolutely propulsive alongside the other “Dragon’s Tooth” and “Resurrect the Throwaways,” which remains almost insidiously catchy. That song was a bit of a slowdown comparatively, but the momentum held up anyway to the end of the set, and if Foghound brought even half of that level of vitality to the studio, their second record’s going to be a stunner.

Righteous Bloom

Righteous Bloom (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Whatever unfortunate drama brought about the change in the first place, I have to think particularly after seeing them play at Vultures of Volume II that the changeover from Beelzefuzz to Righteous Bloom will be a positive in the longterm for the band. Not even because Bert Hall — speaking of chapeaus; his deserves its own Facebook page just so I can like it, unlike it, then like it again — is such a monster player, though rest assured he is, as he’s proved over the years in Revelation and Against Nature, but just for how much easier it is to take them seriously with the new name. I never saw Beelzefuzz as a four-piece after they added Pale Divine frontman Greg Diener as a lead guitarist, but he serves in that capacity well in Righteous BloomHall is indeed a master of groove, and Darin McCloskey‘s fluid drumming is every bit as effective in the new band as it was in the old, adding classic style to underscore the eerie progressivism in frontman Dana Ortt‘s effects-heavy guitar work and live-multitracked vocals. Some of what they played came from Beelzefuzz‘s 2013 self-titled debut (review here) — “All the Feeling Returns,” “Lotus,” “Hypnotize” and “Reborn” garnering knowing appreciation from the crowd, myself included — but newer songs like “Within Trance” (posted here) and “Nazz Riff” went over with no trouble, as well as older demo cuts “Peace Mind,” which opened, “The Soulless” and “Hard Luck Melody,” Ortt‘s wide-eyed delivery throughout playing off a quiet “hey man” hippie routine between the songs that was Akerfeldtine in its entertainment value. Fact of the matter is that he could easily become the kind of dude who, years from now, people will talk about the first time they saw him play and try to compare notes for who got in lowest on the ground floor. I can’t make any such claim, but watching Righteous Bloom for the first time post-Beelzefuzz sure felt like a landmark anyway. Hall fit in perfectly, Diener‘s soloing was tasteful, McCloskey‘s timing and swing are as close to a sure thing as life has to offer and Ortt was the madman front and center. There was nothing — and I mean nothing — not to dig. Their album can’t get here fast enough.

Carousel

Carousel (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If you’re having a good time, Carousel want to be the reason why. The Pittsburgh natives’ sophomore LP, 2113, was still pretty fresh in my head after its recent stream and review, so I was glad to have the chance to catch the four-piece live and experience the songs first-hand. They played the first three of them in a row — “Trouble,” “Photograph” and the unrepentantly hooky “Buried Alive in Your Arms” — and guitarist/vocalist Dave Wheeler took the time to note between the second and third that the band is very well known for their expert sequencing. That was something I mentioned in my review, but I wouldn’t flatter myself to think they had any idea who I was other than drummer Jake Leger, who also plays in reactivated ’70s rockers Bang, who toured with Kings Destroy last year for a run on which I tagged along. I’m sure it was a happy coincidence. Still, Wheeler was right, 2113 was a well put together album, and I’m not really sure what might be wrong with that. Either way, their boozy classic-heavy good times carried over remarkably well live — turns out they know how to structure a set as well, dipping back to the title-track from their 2013 debut, Jeweler’s Daughter (review here), after “Buried Alive in Your Arms” — and their cardiovascular-style delivery felt like an all-around win. Wheeler took the time to introduce the band, starting with bassist Jim Wheeler before getting to Leger and guitarist/backing vocalist Matt Goldsborough, who he noted handles guitar as well in Pentagram from time to time and in Trouble offshoot The Skull, and ending with himself: “And I’m Dave,” the band playing behind him all the while in classic showman fashion. They slowed down the set and brought the energy level back up effectively with the 2113 title-track, and their catchy songcraft, ’70s vibes and, yes, sequencing, found much welcome.

Weed is Weed

Weed is Weed (Photo by JJ Koczan)

You could give me a pad and paper and two full weeks to brainstorm ideas, but I’m not sure I could come up with anything more stoner rock than Dave Sherman fronting Weed is Weed while singing through a mic on a custom stand made to look like a bong. It even had incense burning near the bottom so there was smoke coming out. That, my friends, is charm, and Weed is Weed have plenty of it to go around between Sherm clearly having a blast with the entire thing and the riffery provided by three — three! — guitarists: Gary Isom (ex-Spirit Caravan), Russ Strahan (ex-Pentagram) and Rob Portillo. With Darren Waters holding down yet more low end on bass throughout such family-friendly hits as “Cleptus Butanus” — a song about stealing lighters that featured a line about having enough in your pocket to build a butane rocket — and “The Bong Remains the Same,” Weed is Weed also introduced their new drummer, Tyler Lee, age 18. Gotta start ’em young. Worth noting that “The Bong Remains the Same” will also be the title of the six-piece’s next EP, and it must have been a hard call between that and “Reign in Bud,” which closed out, Lee teasing a Slayer drum thud reference at the beginning before they took off on another stoner-for-stoner onslaught, their groove as undeniable as their central theme was dank. Does anyone say dank anymore? I don’t even know. In any case, Weed is Weed‘s particular brand of fun was infectious, and even as a non-smoker, their puns were second to none. Not a stem in the nugget.

Wretch

Wretch (Photo by JJ Koczan)

In much the same way that Righteous Bloom is a continuation of Beelzefuzz, so too does Wretch feel born directly from the demise of The Gates of Slumber. The Indianapolis three-piece had traveled the farthest to get to Hagerstown — headliners Elder would be no slouch in that department either — and they were heavy enough that the head sitting on top of guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon‘s full-stack of cabinets was at several points very close to vibrating off and falling to the floor. It didn’t, thankfully, and Simon, drummer J. Clyde Paradis — who, like Simon, is a The Gates of Slumber alum — and bassist Bryce Clark held down some of the weekend’s most thoroughly doomed vibes, morose plod and downer tones emanating at max volume. “R.I.P.” was a highlight, which feels strange to even say, and a couple of songs from the final The Gates of Slumber album, 2011’s The Wretch (review here), were aired, among them “Bastards Born” and “The Wretch” itself. They finished out with “The Jury,” which originally appeared on 2004’s …The Awakening debut from the defunct outfit, their set having been cut short on account of the usual running late, but ending on a faster note somehow suited them. From what I’ve seen, Wretch have a few studio tracks floating around, but I’ve yet to hear of anything recorded being due for public consumption. Seems like a no brainer that they’re one to watch given their pedigree and Simon‘s established post-Vitus doom supremacy, but it’ll be even more interesting to see how they manage to stand themselves out from The Gates of Slumber and how much of what that band was will ultimately carry forward into the new one.

Dorthia Cottrell

Dorthia Cottrell (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Only one problem with putting Windhand vocalist Dorthia Cottrell on so late in the day for a solo acoustic set — everyone’s sloshed. Much to the room’s credit, people actually did really well policing themselves to keep conversation to a minimum as Cottrell ran through a set of dark neofolk accompanied only by the Delmar‘s fog machine and laser lights, the response to which was mixed but which I thought worked well. Anyone can play a sad twanger like “Maybe it’s True” from Cottrell‘s 2015 self-titled solo debut in the dark, but to do it with a lightshow going? That’s impressive. Those committed to being loud either moved to the back bar or went outside, but everyone who stayed was treated to Cottrell‘s quiet, alternately traditional and minimalist atmospherics, her breathy delivery calling to mind any number of blues singers who earned the first name Mama” while keeping consistent in its downtrodden feel to work with her main outfit. Influences were worn on her sleeve in covering Townes Van Zandt‘s “Rake,” a song both Wino and Scott Kelly have taken on previously, and the traditional “Wayfaring Stranger” — the mere mention of which immediately sends my mind reeling back to David Eugene Edwards and 16 Horsepower‘s version on 2000’s Secret South full-length, though everyone from Burl Ives to Neil Young has given it a shot — was slowed-down and given due melancholy to comport with the rest of the set. A marked change in sound from the rest of the day, but more consistent in overall mood with Wretch than one might initially think, Cottrell offered a moment of clarity as Vultures of Volume II made ready to round out its journey on a sea of riffs.

Elder

Elder (Photo by JJ Koczan)

“Dead Roots Stirring” made for an especially righteous opener. I hadn’t seen Massachusetts trio Elder since the release show for their 2015 third album, Lore (review here), which continues to rightly garner praise from all corners of the globe and has positioned the three-piece as headliners for the first time both on tour and at fests like this one. They are quite possibly the East Coast’s most pivotal up and coming act at this point — the great heavy hope of an entire seaboard’s next-gen scene — and with Lore, they’ve moved into a progressive style that’s entirely their own without giving up the sonic impact of their earlier work. And where the turns of “Compendium” were somewhat choppy back in March, two full tours (US and EU) later, they’re no less fluid than was “Dead Roots Stirring” at the start or “Release” from their 2012 Spires Burn/Release EP (streamed here), guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo having apparently long since mastered the complex notations of his own design while bassist Jack Donovan and drummer Matt Couto held together the tight turns of that song and “Spirit at Aphelion,” also from the new album. Between songs, DiSalvo apologized to anyone who might’ve run into the band the night before, and that got a laugh from the crowd who had very clearly stuck around to see them specifically. They’ve grown not just tighter on the more recent songs, but in terms of their stage presence as well, and particularly with Donovan and Couto, they were so locked in that they didn’t even really have to look at each other to know where they were and where they were going. That kind of chemistry only really develops with touring acts, which of course Elder have become, and and they continue to move forward with Lore and beyond, it will continue to serve them well. They are distinct sonic personalities, between Couto‘s swing, Donovan‘s smooth, warm-toned basslines and DiSalvo‘s penchant for exploring progressive psychedelic passages, but the way they’ve come to work together is truly something special, and they showed that in top form at Vultures of Volume II, building and releasing tension throughout “Spirit at Aphelion” and closing out their set and the fest as a whole with “Gemini” from Dead Roots Stirring (review here), which seemed tailor made to be suited to the task. They’re still growing. They’re not done. But still, don’t be surprised a couple years from now when new bands are coming out and noodling like you hear on Lore, because people have picked up in a serious way to what Elder are doing. They’ll get no argument from me.

In the back of my mind I’d had the thought of starting to drive home directly after the fest ended, getting in my car and pushing through all night on the highways of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, maybe beyond. Didn’t happen. Instead, I not only went back to the hotel to crash out, but overslept and wound up making my return home even later than I’d intended. After 13 bands, the extra two hours of sleep might well have enabled my survival.

Before I wrap this up, I have to note the hard work of Kathy Reeves in putting Vultures of Volume together. No way a two-dayer like this is easy to make happen, but she pulled it off and made it look that way anyhow. Job well done, and thanks for having me down for the reminder of just how unique and welcoming the Maryland heavy scene is.

Thanks also to Darin McCloskey, Matt Dayton, Mike Smith, Fanny Shamer, Ron McGinnis, Jaki Cunha, Dustin Davis, Chris Wolfe, Don Welch, Lisa Hass, Melanie Streko, Jon Pacella, Jim Forrester, Håkan Nyman, Kesha Atwood Nyman, Elyse Mitchell, Ron, Andrew Thornhill, Nick DiSalvo, Jack Donovan, Matt Couto (though, man, those are some fierce looks in those shots), and everyone else whose names I’ll hope to add over the next however long.

Most of all, thanks again to you for reading. More pics after the jump.

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Front to Back: Vultures of Volume II Day One in Hagerstown, MD, 09.04.15

Posted in Reviews on September 8th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

vultures of volume ii poster

Some farms, empty strip mall storefronts, a Confederate flag here and there, and you’ve pretty much got the story of Hagerstown, Maryland. Close to Frederick, which is where many of the bands featured at Vultures of Volume II either make their home or at least play on the regular, the Delmar Inn was a little bit further out of the way, a little less cops-are-likely-to-come-here, down a long stretch of road running along a hillside. Vibe was right on immediately.

Biker bar, and bigger inside than it looked from the parking lot. Near the front, a big bar with plenty of seating, tvs, and the like, and on the other side of a half-wall, a couple pool tables. Another room to the side had more pool tables and places to sit, and in the back where the show itself was held was the two-tier stage, full P.A., lighting rig and the whole nine. A pro shop. The walls were lined with banners of acts who’d been there before, the drop ceiling low but not ridiculously so, more tables in back for those who’d need a break, which by the end of the two-day/20-band Vultures of Volume II, was definitely me.

It was a long weekend of rock and roll, but I knew it would be going into it. It had been way, way too long since I’d last been able to pay a visit to the Maryland doom scene and its familiar and friendly faces. Used to be every year, year and a half or so, but living in Massachusetts adds another three-plus hours onto that trip — while we’re on the subject of the Bay State, I’ll say that the Delmar had its shit together more than every single venue in Boston of comparable size that I’ve been to — so it’s been a while. Felt good to be back.

Friday night’s lineup featured Bailjack, Faith in Jane, Kelly Carmichael, Pale Divine, King Giant, Solace and Spirit Caravan. Show got started at 7PM, and I was there early because I knew I didn’t want to miss a second of it:

Bailjack

bailjack 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

One thing you can always rely on at a fest like Vultures of Volume is that Maryland’s own particular brand of heavy — and for argument’s sake, I’ll note that Maryland’s heavy runs pretty much anywhere from Virginia to Pennsylvania, depending on what band we’re talking about — will be well represented. Following an intro from Wisconsin’s Mike Smith (he of the Days of the Doomed festival series), who was acting as the weekend’s M.C., dual-guitar four-piece took the stage to lead off the first night in deceptively intricate fashion. With three vocalists between guitarists Jason Barker and Blake Owens and bassist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis (also Pale Divine, Admiral Browning and about as bullshit-free an individual as you could hope to meet), and a distinctive split in style between the two guitars, Bailjack effectively divided their attention between freakout-led psych jamming and more classically progressive impulses, drummer Andy Myers holding the various changes together with Fezz‘s bass, which is about as much a staple of the MD scene at this point as riffs. No small feat to keep everything flowing, but they did it as arrangements tipped one way or another or they took off in this or that direction, only warming up more as they went, but though they ran a little late, Bailjack were a fitting leadoff for the night and a sure sign that we were underway.

Faith in Jane

Faith in Jane (Photo by JJ Koczan)

They came very highly recommended, and weren’t five minutes into their set before it was very apparent why. Faith in Jane tap into that classic heavy rock boogie and pull off fleet rhythmic turns essentially without sounding like they’re breaking a sweat to do it. An edge of blues here, a neo-stoner groove there, it’s easy to imagine them getting another release or two under their belt (they have a slew of digital and CD pressings from the last couple years) and catching the eye of a label like Tee Pee or Riding Easy, and they’re young enough that they still have time to develop the potential they showed. The locals obviously know it. Looking around at all the home-made Faith in Jane shirts, I was reminded of the vigilant manner in which Beelzefuzz was supported during their early days (the two acts have little sound-wise in common, but that also was a recommendation worth taking). Until Spirit Caravan played, Faith in Jane had the biggest and most responsive crowd of the night, and it was well earned in their swinging groove, tight execution of a stay-loose sound and nuances like guitarist/vocalist Dan Mize switching between finger-picking and strumming his guitar or bassist Brendan Winston tossing off a quick fill in classic rock fashion. Rounded out by drummer Alex Llewellyn, the MD natives aren’t without room to grow, but already they were a highlight of the weekend and definitely a band it will be well worth keeping an eye on going forward. Their closer, “Stormbringer,” was a beast.

Kelly Carmichael

Kelly Carmichael (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Only thing missing was a sample of John Cleese saying “And now for something completely different.” Kelly Carmichael is the former guitarist of Internal Void and also did a stint in Pentagram, but as traditional as doom gets, that’s really no match for his solo act, which dips back decades further to ’20s and ’30s-style acoustic roots blues. He covered both Robert Johnson and Leadbelly, doing “Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped the Devil)” from the former and a prison worksong from the latter. It was a left-turn stylistically after Faith in Jane, but not at all a hard sell to the crowd that doom draws a line backward in time to the blues. People came and went, but Carmichael held a solid audience for the original “Salty Dog” from his 2009 Queen Fareena album, and had toes tapping all the while. An almost academic approach, but clearly driven by heartfelt passion for the style.

Pale Divine

pale divine 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Hard to picture a setting in which Pale Divine could be more in their element than a fest like Vultures of Volume II. The stalwart Pennsylvania trio mark their 20th year in 2015, with original members Greg Diener (guitar/vocals) and Darin McCloskey (drums) joined for the last three by the aforementioned Ron “Fezz” McGinnis, who also adds backing vocals. Their 2013 demo “Curse the Shadows” (streamed here) was aired, as were “Black Coven” from 2012’s Painted Windows Black (review here) and the finale “Cemetery Earth,” from the prior 2007 outing of the same name. They’ve always been a solid band, but haven’t ever really gotten their due outside of the local area and the odd German doom fest, but with Diener‘s steady presence as a frontman and unflappable lead work, McCloskey‘s straightforward style and Fezz‘s rumble, they had nothing to prove to what’s essentially their home crowd, and that suited them. Two decades is a long time to do anything, and one hopes that with their impending fifth album, Pale Divine might be able to reap a bit of reward from the downtrodden, trad-doom they’ve been planting all these years. Fingers crossed for a 2016 release.

King Giant

King Giant (Photo by JJ Koczan)

First two words in my notes on Virginia five-piece King Giant? “So pro.” And they are. King Giant‘s slot at Vultures of Volume II came on the heels of their 2015 third album, Black Ocean Waves (review here), which was accordingly their focus. I’ve never seen them live that they didn’t nail their set, and this time was no exception, though part of me wonders if maybe the flawlessness of their delivery doesn’t in a way undercut what they’re doing. People being more used to Southern metal that’s loose, not necessarily with as much of an atmospheric focus as King Giant have with their prevailing darkness, and between how comfortably they sit right on the border between doom and metal and the clear effort they put into how they present themselves and their songs — “Red Skies” from the new record was a highlight — I think people almost have a hard time believing what they’re seeing is genuine. But it’s not like there’s any money to be in it for, and a band like King Giant wouldn’t exist in the first place if their hearts weren’t into it, because why bother? With vocalist Dave Hammerly out front, guitarists Todd “T.I.” Ingram (also Serpents of Secrecy) and David Kowalski, bassist Floyd Walters III and singly-named drummer Brooks filling up the Delmar stage, King Giant delivered one of the most professional-sounding sets of the weekend until their set either got cut short or cut itself short — I never quite found out which — as the show continued to run late.

Solace

Solace (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I was fortunate enough to have been there in Wisconsin in June 2012 when New Jersey heavy rockers Solace played what was then believed to be their last show at Days of the Doomed II. In the intervening three years, bassist Rob Hultz has joined Chicago doom legends Trouble and he and guitarists Tommy Southard and Justin Daniels have welcomed a new vocalist and a new drummer into Solace, with Justin Goins filling the frontman role and Tim Schoenleber behind the kit. I’ll admit that I didn’t know Solace had a (partially) new lineup until a few hours before they loaded in, and I’ll admit further that I had no shortage of sentimental attachment to their prior incarnation — in no small part reinforced by the absolute blowout that was their final set three years ago — but with Southard‘s unhinged guitar at the core, the newcomers Goins and Schoenleber (who’s an ex-bandmate of Southard‘s in Godspeed) more than held their own amidst the chaos surrounding. I went into the set wondering if it could even be done, if it would be Solace, and they proved that yes, it was still Solace, and that if they wanted to move forward — they had new material in tow, so presumably the answer there is also yes — they’ll be able to do that. As they started to wind down the set, Daniels teased they were going to do the last two songs and then take another three years off, which got a laugh, but it seemed pretty clear that’s not what they have in mind looking ahead. Another Solace record? The results were glorious, but it took them nine years to put out 2010’s A.D. (review here), and their bass player lives in Chicago, so I’m not going to hold my breath to have it materialize next month. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen at some point, because only a fool would ever really count them out.

Spirit Caravan

Spirit Caravan (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I’d never seen Spirit Caravan. Again. I’d never seen Spirit Caravan. As far as I was concerned, having them atop the bill as headliners was a big part of what made the trip so necessary in the first place. They brought their own crew, with Darren Waters of Weed is Weed and someone who may well have been Chris Kozlowski helping out guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist/backing vocalist Dave Sherman and drummer Ed Gulli — a former bandmate of Wino‘s in The Obsessed stepping into the post-reunion role filled previously by Henry Vasquez, still in Saint Vitus — set up their gear. Wino and Sherman both had new cabinets as a result of what seemed to be a recent endorsement, and there were some technical issues early on, but Sherman finally asked to put a microphone in front of his bass cab and that solved it. They barreled through the speedy new song “Be the Night” first, almost I think before most in attendance could pick up on what they just heard, and dipped into classics like “Courage” and “Melancholy Grey,” also working “Streetside” by The Obsessed into the mix. I know Spirit Caravan is widely considered a “Wino band,” and Wino‘s the frontman, and the dude’s a legend and as the guy who’s about to wrap up a 200-part series of Wino Wednesdays, I’m not going to argue, but if there’s a singular passion driving Spirit Caravan, it’s Sherman‘s all the way. It’s just as much a Sherman band. If Bobby Liebling was the architect, (and yes, I know Pentagram were from D.C., but stay with me), and Wino is its ambassador, then Dave Sherman is the beating heart of Maryland heavy, and after seeing him for years with Earthride, he looked at home and gladdest of all to be on that stage playing Spirit Caravan songs. Already the reunion has had its share of drama after a fallout with former drummer Gary Isom, but between watching Sherman stomp out his parts or watching Wino turn around and smile to Gulli as they made their way through “Lost Sun Dance” en route to a cover of The Animals‘ “Inside Looking Out,” it was apparent just how precious a thing Spirit Caravan is to those who are a part of it. The house lights came up during the latter cover, which though it was late I’ll say flat out was a load. That’s what 30 years of playing doom gets you: the lights turned on in front of what’s basically your hometown crowd while you headline. Rightly, they kept playing, and finished out an otherwise excellent night with a take on The Obsessed‘s “Neatz Brigade” that seemed all the more righteous for the defiant stance it represented.

By the time I actually left the Delmar parking lot, it was 2AM. I drove back to the hotel where I was staying with the gentlemen of Elder, who were looking to go swimming, and while I appreciated the invite, I knew it was time to crash out. Saturday was 13 bands in over 12 hours, so every minute of sleep I could get counted.

That Day Two wrap will be up tomorrow or the next day. Thanks for reading in the meantime.

More pics after the jump.

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Dorthia Cottrell Added to Vultures of Volume II

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

dorthia cottrell (Photo hamelman.com)

As Richmond doomers Windhand gears up for the Sept. 18 release of their third album, the Jack Endino-produced Grief’s Infernal Flower, vocalist Dorthia Cottrell will be stepping out solo to perform at Vultures of Volume II in Hagerstown, Maryland, which runs on Sept. 4 and 5. Cottrell, who released her self-titled solo debut on Forcefield Records earlier this year, will fill the slot vacated by Philadelphia psych rockers Ruby the Hatchet, who will instead be on the road alongside Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, playing between Wretch and Elder among the evening’s headliners.

Cottrell has a number of appearances coming up in addition to Vultures of Volume II, appearing in Richmond on Aug. 22 with Demon Eye and others, playing the Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Sept. 10, and appearing in Richmond again on Oct. 10 with King Dude. Add to that Windhand‘s upcoming coast-to-coast headlining run with Swedish devastators Monolord (info here) and it’s a pretty packed few months, even before you include the actual Windhand album release and everything that goes along with it.

The festival announced her addition and revised the timetable thusly:

vultures of volume ii poster

We have DORTHIA COTTRELL!!! The voice of Windhand will be bringing her haunting solo material front and center at this years VULTURES OF VOLUME!! We couldn’t ask for a better addition to the fest, we’re super excited!!

As stated before Sadly Ruby the Hatchet will not be playing the show this year. We wish them luck and success on their upcoming tour with Uncle Acid!

SATURDAY***
ELDER 12:30 – 1:30am
DORTHIA COTTRELL 11:30 – 12:15
WRETCH 10:30 – 11:15
WEED IS WEED 9:30 – 10:15
CAROUSEL 8:30 – 9:15
RIGHTEOUS BLOOM 7:30 – 8:15
FOGHOUND 6:30 – 7:15
WITCH HAZEL 5:30 – 6:15
THOUSAND VISION MIST 4:30 – 5:15
WIZARD EYE 3:30 – 4:15
WASTED THEORY 2:30 – 3:15
BUZZARD CANYON 1:45 – 2:15
HEAVY TEMPLE 1:00 – 1:30pm

FRIDAY SEPT. 4th
SPIRIT CARAVAN 12:30 – 1:30am
SOLACE 11:30 – 12:15
KING GIANT 10:35 – 11:20
PALE DIVINE 9:35 – 10:20
KELLY CARMICHAEL 8:40 – 9:25
FAITH IN JANE 7:50 – 8:30
BAILJACK 7:00 – 7:40pm

http://daysofthedoomed.com/Ticket_Info_Shop.html
https://www.facebook.com/events/1467154363582033/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vultures-of-Volume-FEST/578873918893964

Dorthia Cottrell, Dorthia Cottrell (2015)

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Vultures of Volume II Adds Kelly Carmichael to Lineup; The Obelisk Added as a Sponsor

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

kelly carmichael (Photo by John Turner)

Vultures of Volume II is rightfully stoked to add Internal Void guitarist Kelly Carmichael to the lineup. I’m also stoked, because The Obelisk has joined the list of sponsors for the second-annual festival, based in Maryland and set to take place at Delmar Bar & Grill in Hagerstown on Sept. 4 and 5. In addition to Carmichael, who’ll bring an electrified boogie Delta blues set to the mix, the esteemed likes of Spirit CaravanSolaceElderRuby the Hatchet and many more will play and it promises to be a hell of a weekend. I’m hoping to make the trip down for it as well, so assuming that comes together — one never knows when a piano might fall on one’s head, preventing travel to the Chesapeake Watershed or, really, anywhere — keep an eye out for the coverage.

Until then, the announcement of Carmichael‘s getting on board follows. Note no confirmation that he’s the last act to be added. Could it be that Vultures of Volume II has even more up its sleeve?

Only one way to find out:

vultures of volume fest lineup

Just when you thought this outrageous lineup for Vultures of Volume 2 couldn’t get any better we prove you wrong! We are ecstatic to have the one and only KELLY CARMICHAEL, whom many of you will most assuredly know as the six string tone maestro behind Maryland doom legends Internal Void and a former valuable member in the ranks of the mighty Pentagram!! Kelly will be bringing his electrified brand of “Raw Roots Delta Blues” to the Friday night lineup. Carmichael promises this performance to be “LOUD, HARD AND DIRTY” and we are COMPLETELY stoked to have him part of the festivities this year! SO….the question is…do you really need another reason to get your advance tickets NOW?

SATURDAY***
ELDER 12:30 – 1:30am
RUBY THE HATCHET 11:30 – 12:15
WRETCH 10:30 – 11:15
WEED IS WEED 9:30 – 10:15
CAROUSEL 8:30 – 9:15
RIGHTEOUS BLOOM 7:30 – 8:15
FOGHOUND 6:30 – 7:15
WITCH HAZEL 5:30 – 6:15
THOUSAND VISION MIST 4:30 – 5:15
WIZARD EYE 3:30 – 4:15
WASTED THEORY 2:30 – 3:15
BUZZARD CANYON 1:45 – 2:15
HEAVY TEMPLE 1:00 – 1:30pm

FRIDAY SEPT. 4th
SPIRIT CARAVAN 12:30 – 1:30am
SOLACE 11:30 – 12:15
KING GIANT 10:35 – 11:20
PALE DIVINE 9:35 – 10:20
KELLY CARMICHAEL 8:40 – 9:25
FAITH IN JANE 7:50 – 8:30
BAILJACK 7:00 – 7:40pm

http://daysofthedoomed.com/Ticket_Info_Shop.html
https://www.facebook.com/events/1467154363582033/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vultures-of-Volume-FEST/578873918893964

Kelly Carmichael, “Queen Fareena”

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Vultures of Volume II Rounds out Lineup with Spirit Caravan; The Obelisk Added as Sponsor

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 20th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Well, the lineup for the Vultures of Volume II festival in Sept. is complete. The last band, Spirit Caravan have been confirmed as the 19th act of the two-day gig, set for Sept. 4 and 5 at Delmar Bar and Grill in Hagerstown, Maryland. As one might expect, they join the ranks of headliners, playing the first night presumably to close out after Solace, while Elder headline the next night.

vultures of volume iiThat’s something, huh? Solace and Spirit Caravan topping a night’s bill together at a doom fest? I’d love to know the last time those two were on a lineup together like that. Would have to be 15 years, I’d think. Either way, it should make for one hell of an evening, with King Giant, Pale Divine (who also, quietly, have been around about that long), Faith in Jane and Bailjack included and of course the second day to follow, which has Elder and Ruby the Hatchet up top while Wretch, Weed is Weed, Carousel, Righteous Bloom, Foghound, Witch Hazel, Thousand Vision Mist, Wizard Eye, Wasted Theory, Buzzard Canyon and Heavy Temple pack in with minimal changeover time and a full-as-hell day set to continue into the wee hours. Because that’s what rock and roll does, right? That’s what they keep telling me.

In addition to Spirit Caravan as the last of the bunch, I’m thrilled to announce that The Obelisk (the site you’re on) has been added as a sponsor for Vultures of Volume II and I couldn’t be more stoked to be involved. I’m hoping to be able to make the trip down in Sept., as this one simply looks too good to miss:

spirit-caravan-vultures-of-volume-ii

VULTURES OF VOLUME FEST II — Sept. 4th & 5th

Delmar Bar & Grill
16715 National Pike, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

OFFICIAL TIME SLOTS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

***FRIDAY***
SPIRIT CARAVAN
SOLACE
KING GIANT
PALE DIVINE
FAITH IN JANE
BAILJACK

***SATURDAY***
ELDER 12:30 – 1:30am
RUBY THE HATCHET 11:30 – 12:15
WRETCH 10:30 – 11:15
WEED IS WEED 9:30 – 10:15
CAROUSEL 8:30 – 9:15
RIGHTEOUS BLOOM 7:30 – 8:15
FOGHOUND 6:30 – 7:15
WITCH HAZEL 5:30 – 6:15
THOUSAND VISION MIST 4:30 – 5:15
WIZARD EYE 3:30 – 4:15
WASTED THEORY 2:30 – 3:15
BUZZARD CANYON 1:45 – 2:15
HEAVY TEMPLE 1:00 – 1:30pm

http://daysofthedoomed.com/Ticket_Info_Shop.html
https://www.facebook.com/events/1467154363582033/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vultures-of-Volume-FEST/578873918893964

Spirit Caravan, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2015

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Vultures of Volume Fest Announces Solace Reunion, Disciple of Doom and Righteous Bloom for Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

vultures of volume logo

I was at the last Solace show. It was June 2012 at Days of the Doomed II in Wisconsin (review here). They were piss drunk and still nailed it front to back, a booze-breath tornado of heavy righteousness. Not the best show I ever saw them play — being in New Jersey, I was fortunate to catch them many times and some of my best gig memories are of sharing the stage with them — but their volatility was in full display and they still managed to hold it down. At the time, that was to be it. Three years later, less so.

Even at that point, they’d broken up. The forever underrated Garden State rockers released their last album, A.D. (review here), on Small Stone in 2010, and for my money it was the best record that came out that year. Guitarist Tommy Southard has contributed to various projects since — notably the malevolent sludgers The Disease Concept — and bassist Rob Hultz is now also a member of Chicago doom legends Trouble‘s current lineup, but as Vultures of Volume II — slated for this September, presumably somewhere in Maryland — brings Solace back together, it will be good to see Southard and Hultz back on stage with drummer Kenny Lund, guitarist Justin Daniels and vocalist Jason after such an absence. I won’t hold my breath for new material, but am happy to take what I can get from these much-missed riff pummelers.

Also confirmed for Vultures of Volume II are Righteous Bloom, whose debut LP should hopefully be recorded by then, and Disciple of Doom, which is a new project from Solitude Aeturnus/Candlemass vocalist Robert Lowe. Seems like they’re off to a good start.

Fest is Sept. 4 and 5, venue TBA. Info below from Thee Facebooks:

Let there be silence no more! Vultures of Volume Fest is back for its second installment, taking place September 4th and 5th, 2015!

Followers of the riff… rejoice! The one and only Robert Lowe will be joining us with his brand new project DISCIPLE OF DOOM! Making their first east coast appearance at Vultures of Volume II, Disciple of Doom will be bringing the very best of both Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass! The power of the riff compels you…

Remain steadfast doomers, for another announcement is about to be unleashed!
You want riffs? You want absolute, unbridled heaviness? Hold those tallboys high, because Vultures of Volume II is proud to announce that the mighty SOLACE rides again! Bringing their New Jersey style of alcohol infused stoner/doom, SOLACE shall leave no beer undrunk, no head unbanged, and no one left standing… You’ve been warned!

The final page may have been turned in the story of Beelzefuzz, but Vultures of Volume II is honored to play a part in the journey of RIGHTEOUS BLOOM! Featuring core members Dana Ortt and Darin McCloskey, along with scene stalwarts Greg Diener (Pale Divine) and Bert Hall (Revelation), RIGHTEOUS BLOOM promise to take you on a trip like no other! Let their magical mixture of psychedelia and heaviness consume you!

More announcements coming soon, including venue/location, and more bands!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vultures-of-Volume-FEST/578873918893964
https://www.facebook.com/SolaceBand
https://www.facebook.com/discipleofdoom
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Righteous-Bloom/1444843599138454

Solace, “Man Dog” live at Days of the Doomed II

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