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Spirit Caravan, Yellow Devil Sauce, Puta Volcano // Stage Volume 1 club, Athens, Greece // 04.07.2014

After 12 years of absence from the scene, Spirit Caravan, the project of legendary guitarist Scott “Wino” Weinrich , reformed and honored Greece with a visit as a part of their European tour. With Henry Vasquez as a replacement of Gary Isom accompanying the killer duet of Wino and Dave Sherman, everyone was super excited to witness the first ever appearance of Spirit Caravan in our country! But first, let’s take aDSC_7786 look on the supporting bands of that night.

It’s always sad for a band to play in front of a handful of people. Either due to the Wolrd Cup games or other personal reasons of the non-attendants, Puta Volcano started their set in front of no more than 15 people, a number quite striking to the eye when it’s combined with the size of the venue. The good news though is that Puta Volcano did not seem to be bothered at all (in fact the singing lady joked about it saying we should come closer to the stage and feel cozier). I had not heard a note from this group before and their sound was a surprise, seeming more like a mixture of alternative rock with a bit of desert rock elements than pure stoner rock. The epically bearded bassist and the drummer delivered a beautiful and sometimes groovy rhythm section, while the guitarist was showing off his melodic alternative rock skills, sometimes spicing up his act with atmospheric parts. Their performance kept getting better with the passage of time, reaching out to more loose structures of songwriting. The star of their show was undoubtedly the singer, who managed to capture the attention of us chosen few with her beautiful raw voice and the hypnotic movements on the stage and not her looks (since she had her hair dropping on her face all the time). When she wasn’t swaying all over the stage she had a real badass tomboy attitude and we always appreciate a powerful style on a female singer. It was a positive appearance for Puta Volcano and they surely overcame the obstacle of the low numbers on the crowd.

Then it was time for Yellow Devil Sauce, whose style I can loosely describe as melodic sludge with a small touch of post essence. They played in front of considerably larger numbers, as the venue had started to fill in anticipation of Spirit Caravan. They delivered some powerful riffs fit for violent DSC_7241neck movements, a metal tradition most honored by their crazy, Jesus looking drummer. It’s always enticing to see a drummer feeling the music, even more enticing to see them delivering their musical part perfectly while thrashing about like a wild animal in captivity. The hard parts were often interrupted for melodic passages showing a nice variation on their sound and an open mind for the metal sound. The highlight was when one of the bass strings was broken and while the bassist was focusing on fixing the problem, the two other members jammed to keep our interest high. The bassist was up in no time and during the next song took his revenge on that bass, doing violent and generally unspeakable things to it. A positive performance for that support band and as well and while, to be honest, their songs were generally not to my liking, time flew by and the crowd seemed to enjoy them. I hope you will excuse the absence of a setlist for both bands since I am not familiar with their discography and only one or two songs were named upon the stage from the bands

The time had come for spirit caravan to show up in stage, so the Doom metal legends Wino, Dave and Henry took their places and the party was ready to start. The crowd was cheering up for the band and Wino said hello to the Greek fans. You could see in the first rows all the crazy doom metal fans worshiping those great people. Dave Sherman on the bass was absolutely great. He proved us why he is considered to be one of the best performers in DSC_8060doom metal. Great vibe, player and person. Behind the drums was Henry Vasquez, well known by Saint Vitus. He replaced Gary Isom, the first drummer of the band. But the energy and furiosity that Herny always has, won’t give you the chance to think something else besides his crazy drumming. He was a beast behind the drums. One of the best drummers out there!

Wino is one of the best (If not the best!) players/singers in doom metal so I don’t think that there is an urge to write something about his performance. Still, I can say one thing about that night… his guitar string broke in the middle of the song but he kept playing. He didn’t miss a note, he finished the song and changed guitar like nothing happened. The setlist included songs like “black flower”, “dreamwheel” (my favorite). A thing that moved me a lot was that they dedicated a song ( “Fang” ) to Jason McCash (R.I.P), bass player of The Gates Of Slumber. For the encore they played “Ice Monkey” from the gods Saint Vitus ..the best way to close an incredible night.

In the end, I personally want to thank Spiros for bringing Spirit Caravan and wish him the best for the future.

Report:  Achilleas Pantogyios, Dimitris “MitsDoom” Balabakis
Photos: Sofia Theodorou, Dimitris “MitsDoom” Balabakis


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