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The Vitus Touch

6 Feb

Saw SAINT VITUS play this week here in London – what a rush.

Looking even more out-of-time than he did 3 decades ago, greyhead Dave Chandler was so glad to finally have a sizable audience in front him that he played his skittery breaks and white noise solos like he was a giddy teenager. Mark Adams kept his head down, playing his bass smooth and economically. Wino fractured into a wraith of hair, tattoos, and piercing, psychotic eyes halfway through the first song. And new drummer Henry Vasquez was good & effective in a vicious, animalistic sorta way – though I missed Armando Acosta’s languidly loose basskicks that once dragged their records even slower than anyone thought possible. Regardless, when they collectively dug their hooves into songs like “Living Backwards” “Look Behind You” and “The Troll” we knew we were staring at geezers who’d completely changed the sound of rock and roll, for all time.

But can we finally agree to quit with the quips that SAINT VITUS were somehow merely a BLACK SABBATH clone? If BLACK SABBATH were a rich, hearty bowl of minestrone soup, then SAINT VITUS could only be that soup if it was boiled over a high flame all night long, leaving but a viscous sludge stuck the bottom of the pot. And them two meals ain’t nothing like each other. See em live while they still stand, and check out a great, recent interview with Dave Chandler here (so it was OVERKILL who first brought em to the attention of Greg Ginn! Merrill Ward deserves a lifelong pension for such foresight).

Thanks to whenwedie for the killer photo of Vitus live in SF last week

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Stinking Godliness

16 May

Anybody else see THE HIDDEN HAND/STINKING LIZAVETA tour that just blew through Europe? Oh maaaaaaaaaaaaan. It was so, so great. Talk about mindblowing – I still haven’t been able to leave this one behind.

I haven’t seen anything like THE STINKIES‘ hippie metal jazz prog nightmare trip since . . . shit, since I swa – er, saw – THE SYLVIA JUNCOSA BAND rip it up at the Anti-Club as a teen. Hell, I almost thought I was witnessing a reformed GONE, impersonating SAINT VITUS, performing nuthin’ but minor-chord ZAPPA instumentals! And once again: flying fingers on a sweaty fretboard are a source of great and wonderous beauty!

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If you are unlucky enough to have missed out, I direct you to the following YouTube clip of STINKING LIZAVETA live in 2003 joined at the hip by a guest singer and a group of belly dancers who feel so RIGHT in the mix, you wonder why they haven’t conjoined permanently.

And THE HIDDEN HAND? Well any description of a band this primal can only start at ZERO and proceed SLOWLY BACKWARDS, so I ain’t gonna even try. Wino’s Charlie Manson stares did bore holes right through me . . . meeting his eyes got so intense, I found I just had to LOOK THE FUCK AWAY to save what was left of my everlovin’ sanity. At which point, of course: the crushing rhythms/chords BURIED ME ALIVE. But ooh what a way to die!

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Thanks to z0rmulaut (video) and pirlouiiiit and croki (photos)