Weedeater Announce August Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

weedeater

By my calendar, the last time Weedeater announced a tour was Jan. 2020. I said it barely qualified as news that they were touring, but for the fact that they were taking out The Atomic Bitchwax and Worshipper as well. I even used the same Scott Kinkade photo. The humdrum nature of that post, and the fact that it was Jan. 20, 2020, that it went up, is laughable now. Sad and laughable.

So yes, Weedeater have announced a stretch of dates in August, mostly in the Southeast heading out from their North Carolina homebase, and it’s definitely news. Also of note is that the band was recently confirmed for SonicBlast Fest 2022 in Portugal, so this is for sure not the last bit of touring they’ll do. Unless of course it is, because the universe as we’ve learned is an unpredictable place, and sometimes reality just turns into the biggest asshole ever. In any case, if you’ve never seen them, they’re a mainstay for a reason, and their live performance is the reason. They are worth appreciating.

The dates follow here as per social media. Tickets are available and the tour’s put together by Tone Deaf.

Behold:

weedeater tour

We have just announced our first tour of 2021! More to come soon. Joining us for this leg will be very special guests Joe Buck Yourself Joe Buck Yourself and Adam Faucett Music

Tickets on Sale Now here: http://www.weedmetal.com/tour.html

08/05/2021 Greensboro NC The Blind Tiger
08/06/2021 Savannah GA El-Rocko Lounge
08/07/2021 Orlando FL Will’s Pub
08/08/2021 Tampa FL The Orpheum
08/10/2021 Mobile AL Alabama Music Box
08/11/2021 New Orleans LA Santos Bar
08/12/2021 Lafayette LA The Freetown Boom Boom Room
08/13/2021 Dallas TX Trees Dallas
08/14/2021 Houston TX The Secret Group
08/15/2021 Austin TX The Lost Well
08/16/2021 Oklahoma City OK 89th Street – OKC
08/18/2021 Huntsville AL SideTracks Music Hall
08/19/2021 Greenville SC The Radio Room
08/20/2021 Asheville NC Asheville Music Hall

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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SonicBlast Fest 2022 Lineup Announced: Electric Wizard, Weedeater, 1000mods & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 10th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

SonicBlast Fest announced its 2021 edition was being postponed at the end of the month, and already they’re turning around and making a first announcement for 2022. That’s kind of comforting. Some of these acts — looking at you, Psychlona — have been waiting to play the Portugal-based festival since being announced for 2020 — but barring disaster, there’s a reasonable expectation that 2022 might be a return year, so in addition to them, SonicBlast Fest 2022 is rolling out the formidable likes of Green LungElectric WizardPentagramWeedeater, 1000modsThe MachineSamavayoThe Devil and the Almighty BluesTia CarreraSlift, and a ton of others with more to come. If you’re going to do a thing, get in there and do it.

Tickets are on sale now, or if you’ve already got them either for 2020 or 2021, they’ll carry over. 2020 was supposed to be my year to hit this fest, as well as a whole bunch of others. So it goes. If you make it to Âncora for the three-dayer next August, you go with my respect and admiration, and no shortage of jealousy.

Lineup info follows here, as per socials:

sonicblast logo

Come fanatics, come to the sabbath

We’re totally psyched to announce Electric Wizard, Weedeater, Pentagram (official), 1000mods, W.I.T.C.H We Intend To Cause Havoc, Night Beats, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Meatbodies, SLIFT, The Devil And The Almighty Blues, BALA, Mythic Sunship, GREEN LUNG, Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Psychlona, Toxic Shock, The Machine, Tia Carrera, The Goners, Samavayo, Rosy Finch, We Hunt Buffalo and 24/7 DIVA HEAVEN to SonicBlast Fest 2022.

*** more to be announced soon***

SonicBlast Fest 2022
11, 12 and 13th August
Praia da Duna dos Caldeirões
Âncora, Portugal

Tickets bought for the 2021 edition are automatically valid for 2022.

Tickets are now on sale at BOL (Fnac, Worten, Ctt’s…)
or at https://garboyl.bol.pt/Comprar/Bilhetes/92523-sonicblast_festival_2022_full_festival_ticket-garboyl_lives/Sessoes
and Masqueticket https://www.masqueticket.com/entrada/835-sonicblast-fest-2022

Artwork by Branca Studio
Supported by Antena 3

https://www.facebook.com/events/193315945704188/
https://www.facebook.com/sonicblastmoledo/
https://www.instagram.com/sonicblast_fest

Psychlona, “Resin” official video

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Psycho Las Vegas 2021 Announces Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

If you’re looking for insight into the Psycho Las Vegas 2021 lineup, I have precious little to offer. What started out being accused of being an American answer to Roadburn has become a spectacle unto itself, operating at a scale that’s more in competition with the likes of a heavy metal Riot Fest or Coachella, and has likewise developed a community of its own. As for what catches my eye here, Cephalic Carnage for sure, as well as a few carryovers from what would’ve been 2020, and the likes of The Sword, who I guess are back together now? Fair enough. Oh, and the GZA, for good measure. Katatonia and Mercyful Fate and Elder and a couple others aren’t making the trip, but there’s certainly plenty here to occupy your weekend. If the Vegas-in-August heat don’t melt your brains, the riffs surely will.

What’s a guy gotta do to get invited to do a DJ set at Psycho Las Vegas? I’m gonna send Nate Carson an email and see if he’s got any tips.

Ty Segall next to Satyricon. Fatso Jetson and Profanatica. Immolation and Dengue Fever. The Flaming Lips and Cannibal Corpse. If you’re asking for it to make sense, you’re doing Psycho wrong. This is an event that defines its own parameters.

Approach thusly:

psycho las vegas 2021 banner

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2021 Lineup

America’s rock n’ roll bacchanal returns to Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino August 20th through August 22nd, with another resort-wide casino takeover unlike any of its kind.

Now approaching its fifth year in the swirling neon decadence of Las Vegas, PSYCHO will feature over seventy artists across four stages including the world-class Events Center, the iconic House Of Blues, Mandalay Bay Beach, and the vintage Vegas-style Rhythm & Riffs Lounge in the center of the casino floor.

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2021 will continue to redefine America’s conception of what a festival can be.

Psycho Swim “The Official Psycho Las Vegas Pre-Party”
Old Man Gloom, Bongzilla, Death Valley Girls, Polyrhythmics, The Skull, Blackwater Holylight, Here Lies Man, DJ Scott Seltzer

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2021 Lineup:
Emperor, GZA, Mayhem, Obituary, Ty Segall, Satyricon, Watain, Paul Cauthen, The Sword, Cephalic Carnage, Health, The Bridge City Sinners, MGLA, Intronaut, Exhorder, Pinback, King Dude, Khemmis, Mothership, Toke, Lord Buffalo, Psychlona, Claude Fontaine, Hippie Death Cult, Foie Gras, ALMS, Mother Mercury, DJ Ethan MCCarthy, DJ Scott Seltzer, DJ Nate Carson, DJ Painkiller, Danzig, The Flaming Lips, Thievery Corporation, Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Red Fang, Cursive, Pig Destroyer, Poison the Well, Eyehategod, Primitive Man, Death by Stereo, Curl Up & Die, Boysetsfire, Fatso Jetson, Profanatica, Adamantium, Silvertomb, Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Withered, Flavor Crystal, Highlands, Vaelmyst, Black Sabbitch, The Tim Dillon Comedy Hour, Down, Exodus, High on Fire, Osees, Amigo the Devil, Drab Majesty, Crippled Black Phoenix, Weedeater, Full of Hell, Midnight, Repulsion, Cult of Fire, Zola Jesus, Tsol, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Guantanamo Baywatch, Immolation, Dengue Fever, Creeping Death, Kanga, Warish, Glacial Tomb, Relaxer, Vitriol, DJ Scott Seltzer, “Ask Doc” Q&A with Doc Mcghee

https://www.facebook.com/events/2513255765662644/
http://www.vivapsycho.com
http://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas
http://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas

Psycho Las Vegas 2019 aftermovie

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Weedeater Announce Tour Dates with The Atomic Bitchwax, Worshipper & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

weedeater

Hey, look. I know Weedeater going on tour isn’t exactly bizarre news at this point. It happens more or less all the time. But they’re hitting the road this time out with The Goddamn Gallows who do a kind of metalabilly thing that seems pretty off the rails, and they’ll have support from The Atomic Bitchwax and Worshipper along the way, so that’s pretty cool too. Makes me want to road-trip to Philly, to be honest, since Worshipper are always great live and they don’t seem to be on the Brooklyn bill, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that probably won’t happen because, you know, distance and life and March 6 is a Friday but still. They have a day off after their Brooklyn gig. Wonder if that means they’re waiting to add a second show or what.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll do that spot in Teaneck where Brant Bjork played. That’d pretty much be the universe doing me a favor though, and neither Brant‘s gig nor the Crowbar show I saw there before that was particularly well attended, so maybe it’d be better for the band if they didn’t. There’s always Dingbatz in Clifton. Or shit, they could just play my house. Come on by. Just a heads up though, if I’m not in bed by like 8:30PM I become a total prick, and The Pecan’s bedtime is 6:30, so we’ll have to make it a matinee. I’ll even feed the bands, provided I get notified early of any allergies or dietary restrictions, etc.

What the hell were we talking about?

Oh yeah, Weedeater are touring.

Hey, that’s great. Here are the dates:

weedeater tour dates

WEEDEATER Announce Headlining U.S. Tour Dates!

Cape Fear metal legends WEEDEATER have announced a headlining U.S. tour, in which they will be supported by THE GODDAMN GALLOWS on all dates, with rotating support on select dates from ATOMIC BITCHWAX, WORSHIPPER, and LEFT LANE CRUISER. The trek will kick off on February 29 in Asheville, NC and will conclude on March 21 in Hampton, VA at the Hampton Tattoo Roads Fest. Tickets will go on sale Friday at 12:00 P.M. local time. The full itinerary is as follows:

WEEDEATER (w/ The Goddamn Gallows):
02/29: Asheville, NC @ Asheville Music Hall
03/01: Richmond, VA @ The Camel
03/03: Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery^
03/04: Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere^
03/06: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts^*
03/07: Boston, MA @ Sonia^*
03/09: Youngstown, OH @ Westside Ball^*
03/10: Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop^*
03/11: Detroit, MI @ The Sanctuary^*
03/12: Iowa City, IA @ Wildwood^*
03/13: Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s^*
03/14: Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room*
03/15: Memphis, TN @ Growlers*
03/17: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey
03/18: Austin, TX @ Come and Take It Live #
03/19: New Orleans, LA @ Santos Bar
03/20: Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
03/21: Hampton, VA @ Hampton Roads Tattoo Fest +
^ Atomic Bitchwax
* Worshipper
# Left Lane Cruiser
+ No support

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Psycho Smokeout 2.0 Set for April 18; Weedeater, Acid King & More Confirmed

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

Hey Psycho Smokeout 2.0 — sick fuggin’ lineup. With one headliner still TBA next month Psycho Entertainment and RidingEasy Records pair up to present the likes of Weedeater, Acid King, The Obsessed, Cough, Mondo Drag, Heavy Temple, The Well, Holy Grove, Salem’s Bend, and on and on, all on one day — April 18, 2020. Considering there are 19 acts confirmed, let’s assume there will be multiple stages going. I don’t know what that’ll do to the schedule — certainly possible to alternate — but however it happens, it’s a badass assemblage and there’s more to come. Tickets are on sale now, because seriously, why the hell wait?

So yes. Why wait?

From the PR wire:

psycho smokeout 2.0

PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0 To Take Place April 18th, 2020; Lineup Includes Weedeater, The Obsessed, Acid King, Cough, And More + Early Bird Tickets On Sale Now!

Behold! PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0 will make its annual descent upon Los Angeles’ multi-level Catch One Riff Compound April 18th, 2020!

Brought to you by Psycho Entertainment and RidingEasy Records, this year’s day-long puffathon features performances from nearly two-dozen artists including North Caroline stoner metal goliaths Weedeater, Maryland doom icons The Obsessed, California stoner rock veterans Acid King, and Virginia sludge bringers Cough, with the final headliner to be unveiled later this fall. Spread across three stages, the glassy-eyed gala will include a massive vendor market and more surprises to be announced in the weeks to come.

Early bird tickets for PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0 go on sale Thursday September 19th. The limited early bird tickets are a cool $39 plus fees and are expected to sellout within 48 hours of being announced. The next tier will be $49 plus fees. The final tier will be $59 plus fees. Don’t sleep on this!

Nab your tickets today at THIS LOCATION.

PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0 is a 420 friendly, 18 and over event.

Psycho Entertainment & RidingEasy Records Presents:
PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0
April 18th, 2020
Catch One Riff Compound
Los Angeles, California

Lineup (in alphabetical order):
Acid King
Casket Raider
Cough
Deathchant
Great Electric Quest
Heavy Temple
Holy Grove
India Tigers In Texas
Leather Lung
Mondo Drag
Mother Iron Horse
Mountain Tamer
Pale Mare
Salem’s Bend
The Munsens
The Obsessed
The Well
Vaelmyst
Weedeater

http://www.vivapsycho.com/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com

Holy Grove, II (2018)

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Weedeater Touring Next Week; Playing with Orange Goblin & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

weedeater

Alright, you know the drill. Weedeater are touring — because of course Weedeater are touring — so get yourself ready to see Weedeater. You know, it’s kind of weird, since I feel like I’ve been clamoring for a new Weedeater record for like the last three years, but it’s only been four since they released Goliathan (review here), so whatever. Good Southern cooking takes time, or so I’m told, so maybe they’ve got some riffs sitting out in a Dutch oven, waiting for the meat to fall off the bone. That’d be fair enough. Point is Weedeater are gonna tour. Fine. It hasn’t been egregiously long since their last release, even if, as album cycles go, theirs feels particularly extreme. Hazards of being so reliable in kicking ass, I suppose.

The thought of Weedeater and Orange Goblin sharing a stage, in Chicago or pretty much anywhere, is awesome, and I can’t imagine this is the first time it’s happened in the history of those bands, but that show’s bound to be a highlight, even if the impetus for the run is the stop at Muddy Roots in Tennessee on Aug. 30. Pretty sure Orange Goblin will be there as well — a ton of bands certainly will — but either way, it’s more Weedeater touring, so you go and you see Weedeater and you know you’re going to have a good time and then you do. Simple as that.

Word from the PR wire was likewise straightforward. Shows are presented by Tone Deaf Touring:

weedeater tour

WEEDEATER Announce U.S. Summer Tour Dates!

Cape Fear metal legends WEEDEATER have announced a run of U.S. this summer! The trek will kick off on August 27 in Johnson City, TN and will conclude on September 4 in Athens, GA. The run will also include a festival appearance at Muddy Roots on August 30. The full itinerary is as follows:

WEEDEATER U.S. TOUR DATES:
08/27: Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway
08/28: Tolono, IL @ Loose Cobra
08/29: Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall*
08/30: Cookville, TN @ Muddy Roots Fest
09/01: Chattanooga, TN @ Ziggy’s
09/02: Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
09/03: Savannah, GA @ Jinx
09/04: Athens, GA @ Caledonia
*Supporting ORANGE GOBLIN

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Weedeater Announce Tour Dates with Irata

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Weedeater (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Am I going to begrudge Weedeater doing more touring? No. No, I’m not. Is it time for the Cape Fear, North Carolina, sludge stalwarts to knuckle down and get to work on a new album? Yeah, it probably is. Four years removed from Goliathan (review here) and they’ve hardly gotten off the road at all. I don’t know if they have any new material sitting around or what, but even if they started writing now and took the next year to put it out, you’d have to say they were due. If nothing else, it would give them something else to sell at the merch stand, which I feel like as they come back around to cities time and again, has probably been visited by fans on more than one occasion. The thing though about Weedeater live? They’re pretty incredible. I mean it. Having just seen them a few weeks ago at Desertfest NYC (review here), I was reminded of their overall badassery and enduring wreck-all. They are one of a kind.

They’ll be out with Irata and they have a date with Pallbearer in Philly as well. So sayeth the PR wire:

weedeater irata dates

WEEDEATER Announce New U.S. Tour Dates

Cape Fear metal legends WEEDEATER have announced a new run of U.S. headliner tour dates in which they will be supported by IRATA. The trek will kick off on May 29 in Johnson City, TN and will conclude on June 3 in Charlottesville, VA. The run will also include a co-headliner with PALLBEARER on 5/31 in Philadelphia, PA. The full itinerary is as follows:

WEEDEATER U.S. TOUR DATES:
05/29: Johnson City TN @ The Hideaway
05/31: Philadelphia PA @ Union Transfer*
06/01: Dayton OH @ Turnbuckles and Brews
06/02: Washington DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
06/03: Charlottesville VA @ The Southern
*With PALLBEARER, No IRATA

All of WEEDEATER’s albums are now available at fine stores nationwide and online at the WEEDEATER Bandcamp page.

WEEDEATER was formed by front-man/bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins. Following the release of their 2001 debut ‘…And Justice For Y’All’, WEEDEATER immediately established themselves as a force in the U.S. tour circuit and quickly gained notoriety in the American metal scene. In the time since, the band have released three critically-acclaimed albums: ‘Sixteen Tons’ (2002), ‘God Luck And Good Speed’ (2007), and ‘Jason… The Dragon’ (2011), and toured around the world with the likes of DOWN, SAINT VITUS, HIGH ON FIRE, and THE MELVINS, HANK III, EARTH, SUNN O))) and more. The band has played prestigious festivals such as Maryland Deathfest, Hopscotch Festival, Stoned From The Underground, Asymmetry Festival, Roadburn Festival, Hellfest, and many more.

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Live Review: Desertfest NYC Night Two, 04.27.19

Posted in Reviews on April 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Windhand (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Well — not to be confused with the Austin, Texas, band of the same name — is around the corner from where The Acheron used to be in Brooklyn and there still stands The Anchored Inn as a congregation point. I was there for not the day’s first cup of coffee before day two of the inaugural Desertfest NYC kicked off back at the venue. It was cloudy and the air was chilled — April in New York — but by the time Electric Citizen were done, the sun was out and would remain so for the bulk of the day. That helped all the more since the main stage was outside.

A large tent was erected on an expansive enclave of a patio space. In back was the merch area, seating at picnic tables and along the other side there was a bar, taco stand, and the raised shipping container up some stairs that had been converted to a backstage lounge, complete with deck. The vibe was immediately relaxed and cool, with another bar inside and the second stage, in a smaller room off to the side of The Well‘s main corridor. My first time in the space, and it seemed ready for the event from its basic structure to the tent outside, though if Desertfest NYC is going to be an annual event, they’ll need a bigger one.

The afternoon kicked off soon enough, but though the venue switched from the Saint Vitus Bar the evening prior, the mood around was much the same. It was something Ron Holzner of The Skull would effectively summarize in saying, “About damn time we had a European festival come to the States. A sign of good things to come.” One hopes he’s correct in the foresight.

It was a packed nine-band day, mostly alternating back and forth between the stages, and it went vaguely like this:

Electric Citizen

Electric Citizen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It had been a few years since I last caught Ohio heavy rockers Electric Citizen, but their 2018 album, Helltown (review here), was a stripped down and switched on groover that at the same time offered the band’s most developed sense of melody yet, so yes, it was something to look forward to. I don’t think they were helped by the early slot, but with the bill as stacked as it was, there wasn’t really anywhere else to put them. There was, fortunately, a good crowd to start the day off, and that only grew in number as the RidingEasy Records five-piece went on, their sound pulling elements from cult rock, glam, doom and proto-metal in order to create a brew that’s readily familiar and nuanced at the same time. They played as a five-piece, with keys alongside the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and frontwoman Laura Dolan noted from the stage that this was their sendoff for a European tour. They’ll spend the month of May in the UK and EU, playing Desertfest in London and Berlin as well as other dates before and after. They sounded ready to go, to say the least.

Tower

Tower (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Immediately after Electric Citizen wrapped on the main stage, the second stage launched with the classic metal stylings of Tower, who continue a tradition of gritty NY homage to the NWOBHM and early thrash that goes back pretty much to when that sound was current. There’s always been a place for that stuff in New York, and Tower represented well what Brooklyn has done in the wake of bands like Early Man in the last decade and Natur and others in this one, two guitars blazing to coincide with the first off-stage frontperson of the weekend — presumably not the last, though one never knows — and a riotous stage presence that all the more justified that spillover onto the floor. They were probably the most metal act of the day, but still well accessible to the Desertfest NYC crowd. I’ve made the argument a thousand times at this point that classic metal is the domain of the heavy underground. Tower were another notch in favor of that position, and they effectively captured the spirit of the metal to which they were paying homage via their material. Not unfamiliar, but that’s the point.

Danava

Danava (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Back on the main stage, Portland, Oregon, stalwarts Danava answered such metallurgy with a bit of boogie, a bit of NWOBHM dual-guitar action, and a lot of soul. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Danava a couple times over the years, and though my initial impression of them wasn’t positive, they’ve proven consistent in terms of the high-quality of their work on stage and off — my initial impression, in other words, was wrong. The simple fact that they haven’t put a record out in eight years and continue to get booked on shows like Desertfest NYC and Psycho Las Vegas, where they’ll play the pool party in August, should speak volumes to their continued relevance, and though they had the At Midnight You Die single (review here) out through Tee Pee in 2016, you would have to say they’re due for a record. Overdue. But they killed. Founding guitarist/vocalist Gregory Meleney warned the crowd before they played what was presumably a new song, “Nothing but Nothing,” that they might screw it up, but by all appearances they nailed it, which was basically the case for their entire set.

The Skull

The Skull (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Yeah, I know The Skull is Ron Holzner and Eric Wagner from Trouble, and I know they’ve got Rob Wrong from Witch Mountain on guitar alongside Lothar Keller and they’ve got Brian Dixon from Cathedral on drums (though it was Chad Walls for this show). They’ve got all that, and I won’t take away from anyone’s pedigree whatsoever. But you know what else The Skull have? Songs. Songs. Songs. They’ve got songs that are memorable. Songs that stay with you after you put the album down and move onto the next thing. Songs that, when they play them on stage, you go, “Oh shit yeah, this song!” as I did when they launched into “When the Sun Turns Black” from their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) and the title-track of last year’s follow-up, The Endless Road Tuns Dark (review here). Stage presence is a factor, of course, and if you’re going to call anyone in American doom a supergroup, it’s probably fair to do so for The Skull, but whatever they do, their foundation is there in the songs, and it’s the songs that carry them most of all. They were and are the best example I can think of for a band building something new out of a storied legacy.

Worshipper

Worshipper (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Boston’s Worshipper packed the second stage room beyond capacity — there was a line out the door to get in — and played like a band who are about to release one of the best records of the year, which they are in the form of their second album, Light in the Wire (review here). They opened with “Visions from Beyond” and “Coming Through” from that offering and gave a preview of what they’re soon to take on the road in Europe with their Tee Pee labelmates in The Skull — they too will be at Desertfest‘s London and Berlin editions — as guitarist John Brookhouse and bassist Bob Maloney proffered dead-on vocal harmonies on material new and old, guitarist Alejandro Necochea tore into leads and offered more harmony alongside Brookhouse‘s guitar, and drummer Dave Jarvis pushed the entire thing forward, grounding the psychedelic stretches and keeping momentum on their side, which it was for the duration. They were the band I was most looking forward to in the lineup for the day, particularly in light of their new album, and they very clearly played to the momentousness of the occasion at the first American Desertfest. It was the kind of thing I’ll be glad to have seen.

Weedeater

Weedeater (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Some technical trouble with the bass amp before Weedeater went on, but plenty of shenanigans to fill the time and bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Colins spat out auctioneer’s chatter and lines like “crack rocks” and “wow, wow, mom” in checking the mic. The North Carolinian trio — Collins, guitarist Dave “Shep” Shepherd, drummer Ramsey Ateyeh (I think; someone please correct me if I’m wrong) — are on a forever-tour, their last record, Goliathan (review here), having come out in 2015, but they absolutely packed that tent and people went apeshit for them to the point that, when I went into the photo pit later for Windhand, the barricade had moved up in front of the stage to the point that there was no more access to the other side. Weedeater do nothing but deliver, and I know Dixie is kind of playing to character, but dude is working from the moment he hits stage to the moment he leaves. He’s the James Brown of sludge, and Weedeater‘s legend has grown all the more over their nearly-25-years because of that. They played the songs they always play, they kicked ass like they always do, and they proved once more that there’s only ever been and there only ever will be one Weedeater. Accept no substitutes.

Mirror Queen

Mirror Queen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Let’s face it: you’re never going to beat Weedeater at their own game. Luckily for all involved, Mirror Queen were on a different wavelength entirely. Their progressive-tinged classic heavy rock is a staple of New York’s underground, and with guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal‘s dual-role as the head of Tee Pee Records, their inclusion was all the more fitting. The four-piece, with Morgan McDaniel on guitar, James Corallo on bass and Jeremy O’Brien on drums, bounced and careened through a set that acquitted them well with the Desertfest crowd — doubly fortunate since they’ll be in Berlin soon enough — and asked nothing by way of indulgence while bringing to bear material of melody and weight that wanted neither in perspective or delivery. Mirror Queen have been around, and have had their share of lineup turnover, but the band as they are now was only engaging, and to those familiar with them and not in the crowd, they were a return to consciousness after the bash over the head that the main stage had just delivered. Heavy rock and roll is always welcome, and Mirror Queen were a fitting reminder why.

Windhand

Windhand (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Like Weedeater before them, like Black Cobra the night prior and like Monolord and Elder to follow the next day, Windhand were not an unknown quantity, but for a festival brand feeling its way out in a hard city, they made perfect sense for the bill, and their doom was absolutely massive in the tent that held the main stage. I had been thinking after The Skull played that there was no doom left for anyone else — and certainly Windhand‘s 2018 album, Eternal Return (review here), had more going on than just that — but the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece managed to scrape enough together in order to feel like they were burying the crowd alive in low end. I will gladly argue for Windhand as being among the most important bands of their generation, particularly for those who’ve come up since and have taken influence from the sense of atmosphere they bring to their material in the studio and on stage, and though they had a hard act to follow on the main stage, they lived up to even the mighty expectations that are placed on them at this point wherever they go. They are a headlining band, full stop. They’ve worked hard to become one, and they deserve every bit of significant acclaim they’ve garnered over the years, while still sounding like they want nothing more than to move forward.

Steak

Steak (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Ambassadors from London’s populous heavy underground, Steak were nothing short of a refreshing way to close out the night. They’ve been a staple act of Desertfest London, which guitarist Reece Tee is also involved in organizing via Desertscene, as he was with Desertfest New York, so like Mirror Queen, they also had a family connection to the proceedings, but even their soundcheck drew a crowd keyed in to the fuzz tone and heavy roll they let loose. They were not halfway through the first song before frontman Chris “Kippa” Haley was standing on the front-of-stage riser, and he’d spend a goodly portion of the set up there, toasting the crowd and personifying the entire band’s really-glad-to-be-here mood, which was infectious. They too packed out the second stage room and held the crowd for the duration, begging a revisit for 2017’s No God to Save (review here) and showing off the development in their dynamic since which is set to manifest on their next record, due out before they play Keep it Low in Munich this October. Seeing them live for the first time in I don’t even want to count how many years only made me look forward to that more, whenever and however it might actually show up, and for the first Desertfest New York, they hit stage like a mission statement of what the festival brand is all about, from top to bottom. It was right on and then some.

It was not a small amount of day. As of now, it’s about two hours until it’s time to get back on the road from New Jersey to Brooklyn for the third and final round with Desertfest New York. The weather thus far seems to be uncooperative, but we’ll see how it all pans out this afternoon. Shower first. Shower first.

That’ll be good.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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