Reckon we can get through a John Garcia album review without mentioning Kyuss? Since the breakup of that genre-defining band, Garcia has regular delivered satisfying slabs of desert rock goodness. And in his latest effort, John Garcia And The Band Of Gold (Napalm Records) he’s just delivered a belter of a dirty Rock record. Continue reading
Before you sink your teeth into this, let me make a quick disclaimer for those of you looking for a standard review. This ain’t it. If you want to read, ad nauseam, about each band that played, who was good, who wasn’t, what songs they played or how many bands are “female fronted,” have female members or where any of these bands are from I can guarantee you a quick internet search will get you your fix somewhere. If you are looking for someone to tell you what any of the bands sound like, look like or act like then here is a novel idea, buy their music, go to a show and form an opinion for yourself. No offense intended to anyone writing something like that or looking for that kind of thing but you won’t find it here because I don’t feel like writing something everyone else has or will. (Offense intended to anyone still finding some ridiculous need to write or read about bands being “female fronted.” Fuck off.)
Oh, also there will be naughty words. Continue reading
With the queue for Sunday’s opening act Wizard Fight snaking out the door of the Black Heart, there’s a little wait to see Wales’ HARK. Although different from Jim Isaac’s previous outfit Taint, the two share a lot of common DNA; Aggressive, angular riffs with plenty of groove, time changes galore, and plenty of chances to bang your head. There’s a big, receptive crowd for so early in the afternoon, and the band respond with a loud and energetic performance. Continue reading
Has the doom and stoner scene ever been in ruder health? Possibly not, judging from the quality of acts on show at the sixth edition of the London Desertfest. The three-day festival, held across a number of venues across Camden Town has riff-mongers of all shapes, sizes, and styles doing their best to shake the capital apart. Continue reading
Psycho Las Vegas 2017 will be taking place from August 18th-20th at the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. The initial lineup seemed to feature every band ever, but now they’ve added Mastodon as the final headliner, and it’s officially one of the sickest bills ever created. Continue reading
Desertfest’s 2017 London edition kicks off this Friday, April 28th and is set to shake music fans to their very souls. Headlined by the almighty SLEEP, Desertfest London also features Candlemass, Turbonegro, Slo Burn, Wolves In The Throne Room, Saint Vitus, John Garcia Band, Bongzilla and more. Tickets are running out for all venues fast and are expected to sell out. Get rolled up, dipped, and ready to blaze with Ghost Cult’s festival preview. Continue reading
Fresh off of their assault on London this fall, Sleep has been named the headliner for Desertfest London 2017, set to play a London’s iconic Roundhouse venue. Coupled with recently named second headliner Slo Burn, this will be the can’t miss music event of the spring in the UK. Continue reading
The 2017 Hellfest Open Air Festival will be taking place from June 16th-18th in Clisson, France next year, and the final lineup has now been confirmed. Continue reading
Two acts, two guitars, no drum kits and three leather sofas. This might well be the most sedate gig London’s Camden Underworld has ever seen. Former Kyuss frontman John Garcia is back in the capital, but this time on a short unplugged tour billed as “An Evening With”. So instead of a full band we have leather sofas and War Drum’s Ehren Groban playing acoustic.
Despite the name suggesting otherwise, Bellhound Choir is a one guitar project from Denmark. The perfect kind of jam for a hot sunny beach around a campfire, and a fitting warm up for the night with Christian Hede Madsen’s smooth baritone and sparse guitar create a mellow combo of dark country and blues.
Where some metal musicians – for example Zakk Wylde – are known for their acoustic leanings, this is new territory for Garcia. Going unplugged allows the former Slo Burn/Hermano/Unida/Vista Chino frontman to show off a more sensitive side to his vocals in a way that’s only occasionally been hinted at on record. He’s always had a quality voice and a back catalogue filled with stoner classics and the stripped back sound allows Garcia to take centre stage from the comfort of his leather recliner and shine.
We get a few cuts from the new self-titled Garcia album; tracks like ‘The Bld’ and ‘Her Bullets Energy’ work well as mellow campfire numbers, but much like on record it’s the jumping riffs of the Danko Jones-penned ‘5,000 Miles’ that stand out as one of the best. The original numbers penned for this tour and potentially new album are a more straight ahead mellow acoustic numbers, but ‘Phototropic’ shows off Groban’s skill with an acoustic guitar; employing a series of loops to really build the layers of the song into something special, while his solo spot shows off some real Spanish classical flair.
Unsurprisingly it’s the Kyuss numbers that get the biggest cheers of the night, culminating in a one-two of ‘Green Machine’ and ‘Space Cadet’. Still sounding fresh even after 20 years, the old classics translate well to acoustic. Garcia still has a great set of pipes on him, but despite being a good show, the trouble with finishing on such a high note, however, is that it brings up that eternal question: when the hell are we going to get a proper Kyuss reunion?
WORDS BY DAN SWINHOE
Stoner rock legend John Garcia has been extremely prolific of late. In addition to touring with Kyuss bandmates in Vista Chino, John has found time to record his first solo record which he is in town to promote.
Before we are greeted by the voice of the desert, it is time for support acts Komatsu and Londoners Steak to strut their stuff.
The former possess some huge riffs but are let down by vocalist Mo Truijens who, despite his best efforts, drops a couple of notes. ‘Lockdown’ is the highlight of their set; all pounding drums and throbbing bass but it is an efficient not spectacular performance from this Dutch outfit.
Steak features Desertfest organiser Reece amongst their number. So it is little surprise that they deliver a convincing take on the genre. Dishing out waves of fuzz from recent opus ‘Slab City’, their set is a swaggering assault on the senses which will win them many friends amongst the faithful gathered here tonight.
Garcia and company are fired up. The set blends John’s solo material, the inevitable Kyuss classics and some charming rarities which are lapped up by the rabid crowd. ‘Tangy Sizzle’ features some punishing low end bass and a fantastically tight rhythm section capable of improvising exquisitely without indulging in showboating.
New single ‘Rolling Stoned’ garners a similar reception to ‘Inch Man’ delivered with that trademark howl but the real highlight is how John delves further into his catalogue as opposed to re-hashing Vista Chino’s recent touring set.
Crowd energy is constantly high but pop of the night is reserved for Slo Burn classic ‘July’ with Garcia visibly impressed by the number of fans who know every word to even this obscure gem.
The solo material allows Garcia to flex his songwriting muscles, demonstrating his capability outside of working with the colossal talents of Messrs Homme and Bjork. The fact that new Vista Chino material is looming on the horizon will make it very interesting to see if John’s solo work has any impact on the direction his main group will take.
A true legend of the genre, Garcia brings the sand and spirit of the desert to a cold English night.
WORDS: ROSS BAKER
PHOTOS: LUKE DENHAM PHOTOGRAPHY