Tag Archives: Black Sabbath

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The Wytches End American Tour Tonight at Mercury Lounge

November 24th, 2014

Kristian Bell (vocals and guitar), Gianni Honey (drums) and Daniel Rumsey (bass and vocals) have been making doomy yet infectious music as the Wytches for three years. Based on the south coast of England, the surf-psych trio began to gain a following in the U.K.—including shout-outs from the Guardian and NME—thanks in part to the release of their debut single, “Digsaw,” an EP and because of their mesmerizing live shows. Their impressive debut full-length, Annabel Dream Reader, came out this past August, and NME made comparisons to Nirvana and Black Sabbath while mentioning “exceptional songs full of both melody and menace.” The Wytches (above, doing “Darker,” live in studio for WFUV FM) have been traveling the country in support of their new album, and that tour ends in New York City tonight at the early show at Mercury Lounge. A pair of Brooklyn bands, neo noir punk trio Lodro and doo-wop garage quartet the Teen Age, open the show.

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Pond Evoke the Past While Providing a Glimpse at the Future

October 16th, 2014

Pond – The Bowery Ballroom – October 15, 2014

61-atxl1Having never been there, I imagine Australia to be like a bizarro northern hemisphere— perspective is flipped, up is down, the earth spinning in the other direction. For all I know, it’s possible the arrow of time is pointing in the other direction, so a band like Pond isn’t influenced by past greats, but is somehow instead influencing classic rock’s future past. As they tore through their late set last night at The Bowery Ballroom, the Perth quintet evoked the sounds of prog and psych rock—bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Black Sabbath and even David Bowie—but made these sounds their own from an alternate universe where those bands don’t even exist yet. Maybe that doesn’t make too much sense, but these are the kinds of things that run through your head when your body and brain are being jostled around by Pond’s live set.

Things got to that place quickly, particularly with “Giant Tortoise,” off last year’s Hobo Rocket, early in the set. With pixilated stripes of primary colors jiggling on the screen behind them, Pond deftly switched gears, high then low then back to high again, propelled by Jay Watson’s superlative drumming. The guys in the band didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously at all. Guitarist and lead singer Nick Allbrook wore a dress more appropriate for a picnic date and a Justin Bieber sweatshirt that only muddled the ensemble, plus he went on a long ad-libbed bit in the middle of “Fantastic Explosion of Time” that touched on a number of topics, including the taste du jour, pumpkin spice.

The music, though, twisted expertly through multisectioned compositions, heavy two-guitar rock-outs and more prog-y interludes. The crowd pulsed with each shift and crescendo, bouncing and bumping around the Ballroom floor. “Don’t Look at the Sun or You’ll Go Blind” was a brilliant Pink Floyd–as-disco jam from their back catalog, while “Xanman” was pure Sabbath fist-pumping energy. As the music pulled in different directions, Pond remained tight, largely on the strength of Watson’s intense playing and focus. The set climaxed with “You Broke My Cool,” off their 2012 album, Beard, Wives, Denim, a dense double helix of psych and funk, and the closing “Midnight Mass (At the Market Street Payphone).” That last tune was pure “save the best for last,” with a long spaced-out bridge zapped with a dreamy slide-guitar riff from Joseph Ryan. Evocative and futuristic all at once, which describes Pond through and through. —A. Stein

(Pond play Rough Trade NYC on Saturday.)

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Swedish Extraterrestrials Descend on Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 24th, 2013

Goat – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 23, 2013


The backstory on Goat is that they’re from some isolated region of Sweden, but after watching the great cosmic freak-out that is their live show Tuesday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, I’m not so sure that isn’t some sort of elaborate cover story for actually being a bunch of extraterrestrials here to rearrange our brains. The band, their music and the buzz surrounding them seemed to all appear at once in some kind of spontaneous combustion some time last year adding to my conspiracy theory. The coup de grâce, though, was how the entire group appeared onstage with masks on, fully dressed for some psychedelic costume party, hiding something.

Once they started playing, though, each instrument jumping in one at a time, the sold-out crowd wasn’t too concerned with Goat’s origins. The music was largely from last year’s World Music album, which is an apt title: Their show was like these aliens had swallowed the planet whole—the people, their music, their clothing, their cultures—and then regurgitated it in mind-numbing musical form. The result was Indian raga crossed with Afrobeat and Native American tribal rhythms through some sort of Black Sabbath-meets-the-Grateful-Dead rock and roll lens. In a word: Whoa!

The set was 60 minutes of relentless activity, the crowd alternating between funk-night boogie, arms-raised raging and eyes-closed beatification. Most pieces opened into an extended instrumental jam, guitars, bass, drums and congas reaching some interplanetary spot. As awe-inspiring as these forays were, the keys to the operation, surprisingly, were the two ladies up front who sang, undulated, danced and maraca-ed their way across the stage in constant motion. Their voices brought form to the songs, their percussive flourishes were the imported finery the music was draped in, their movement rooted the audience to terra firma, lest our bodies join our minds on the mother ship, to be taken back to that spot in Scandinavia, or whatever planet Goat call home. —A. Stein

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Opeth Bring Swedish Metal to The Wellmont Theatre Tonight

April 19th, 2013

The Swedish metal band Opeth formed in Stockholm more than two decades ago, influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and “occult-infused Scandinavian death metal.” There have been multiple lineup changes since the band’s debut, Orchid, was released in 1995. But the one constant has been frontman (and guitarist) Mikael Åkerfeldt, who is now joined by guitarist Fredrik Åkesson, drummer Martin “Axe” Axenrot, bassist Martín Méndez and keyboardist Joakim Svalberg. And while Opeth (above, doing “The Drapery Falls” at Royal Albert Hall) have long embraced a heavy metal sound, on their 10th album, 2011’s Heritage (stream it below), the five-piece veered in a new direction, employing clean vocals, progressive rock and even jazz fusion to achieve critical and commercial success. (The Guardian called it “brave, melancholic and often beautiful….”) But of course, this doesn’t mean the band’s gone soft. Make no mistake: When they play live, they still bring it, which you can see for yourself tonight at The Wellmont Theatre.

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The Sword Rock Webster Hall Tomorrow Night

November 13th, 2012

The Sword—singer-guitarist John D. Cronise, bassist Bryan Richie, guitarist Kyle Shutt and drummer Jimmy Vela—have been making quality heavy metal since forming in Austin, Texas, in 2003. While some have labeled the band’s genre doom metal, stoner rock or even hipster metal, make no mistake, that influenced by Black Sabbath and Slayer, the Sword straight-up rock. They recently released their fourth LP, the acclaimed Apocryphon, which, with its increased focus on songwriting, is “more diverse musically…. It’s a little more a rock album than previous records,” says Cronise. And now the Sword (above, doing “Freya” at last year’s Bonnaroo) are out on the road, crisscrossing the country in support of their new LP. See them tomorrow night at Webster Hall. Just be ready to rock.