Stoned Jesus, Dopelord, Green Yeti // An Club, Athens, Greece // 18.04.2015
Ukrainians, Polish and Greeks under the same roof; Given that we have a 3/3 in “cultures not so shy about total debauchery” , 2 of the hottest names in stoner metal as headliners and a very promising Greek band as the warm up act, we knew right from the announcements that this would be a quality night out. Well, “quality” kind of sugarcoats this sinful event but let’s cut to the chase.
Having praised REVERSED NATURE in a previous report, I knew that GREEN YETI had a high chance of being something good since they share a common member. I don’t know why (perhaps the name did the trick), but I was secretly hoping for a sound reminiscing of SLEEP or something equally hard hitting and “stoned”. And Good Lord I must be a seer, because the first notes take us through a “Dopesmoker revisited” trip. They are slow, heavy as a planet and definitely drawing some inspiration from the teachings of Matt Pike and Al Cisneros. Their riffs are mesmerizing, yearning for you to get lost in them and a quite packed already venue is successfully lost inside the hazy tornado of arguably one of the best and most hard ass rhythm sections I’ve heard from a Greek band.
As we slowly follow the smoke to the riff filled land some variation elements drop in like the spaced out vocals (quite stressful and “off balance” at first, yet definitely finding their way into matching with the music as time progresses, ending in a memorable performance during the last –I think- song), and the “bubbly”, gurgling noise effects on the guitar (introduced to us by the same person as part of REVERSED NATURE’s set, at bass that time), giving a spicy twist to their set and drawing it away from being repetitive. The ideas on the riffs, the sturdy bass and the primitive banging on the drums make me totally impatient about any official release from this band (I don’t need to tell you that you need to check out their live performances should you get the chance).
And what better warm up could there be for one of the most shamelessly and blatantly committed to black arts, noisy music and substance consumption bands in Europe right now, aka DOPELORD? That’s right, with no time to waste all the lights turn to green, the video projector starts to roll (with images varying from crabs to dozens of b-movie horrifying kills and black masses) and when the mood has settled in, it is time for the riff worship. The bass, the drums and one guitar start building slowly, just enough to trick you in believing they might be “softer” live than on their albums.
I don’t buy it for a moment because –insert here any stereotype in ways Polish people are bad motherfuckers- yet that doesn’t stop my jaw from dropping to the floor instantly when the second guitar kicks in. I can only remember UFOMAMMUT being so compact and brutal in this venue and when “Addicted to Black Magick” forces itself on our ears, I know I can hail their sonic levels as high as those of the Italian masters in future conversations. “Ghost Cargo from the Bong” ,“Acid Trippin’” and the “super hit” “Lucifer’s Son” send necks to the hospital and minds in other dimensions and any further comment made on their blazed –as-fuck sound will resort in repetition and clichés, so we’ll seal the deal on “ a tank division driven by shitfaced demons trampling all over our faces”. They do the proper pauses to greet us and grace us with the little Greek conversation pieces they’ve learned, beautiful and educational things like “Cheers assholes” and “Beers and weed”, which they’ll gladly consume on stage only to better themselves in performing the next songs.
The stampede goes on with my favorite song “Preacher Electrick”, which matches perfectly with the images on the projector making me feel like I am in Alister Crowley University of Black Arts and Beelzebub Praising and during their MOTORHEAD infested piece “Green Plague” the first mosh pit breaks out and it’s perhaps the most energetic and violent I’ve seen in a stoner concert. Those Polish sure know how to get in the crowd’s mind. They’ll finish off with “Pass the Bong”, a BONGZILLA/ELECTRIC WIZARD worshipping litany perfect to make us crave for more of their foggy and sinful groove tsunami. They leave the crowd exhausted and content and most definitely keen on watching them again in the near future.
Now, it’s time for STONED JESUS. You might do all the advertising and PR you want, but the only way to ensure a full venue is playing kick ass live shows that will make those who attended them come again and also tell their friends to tag along so they can live the same thing. If you perform a search on our site for last year’s report you’ll see that their previous show here was exactly that. So, the Ukrainian power trio will step on the stage among cheers and claps, with the aura of old friends coming to visit and truly, the emotion of “they are our people, this band is one of us” is palpable. They know it and that’s why they start their ser with smiles and high spirits.
First song of the night is “Rituals of the Sun”, one of the slowest and “vintage STONED JESUS” the new album (“The Harvest”) has to offer and I believe that was a fortunate choice because the late hour (since Green Yeti started with half an hour delay) and the energy draining performance of DOPELORD has the crowd looking a bit out of breath. But what does a good friend do when you seem out of breath? They pick you up and urge you to keep going! That is why their next songs were the dynamites “YFS” and “Indian”. Panic beneath the stage as their funk-meets-punk-meets- fuzzy amplifiers could raise the dead, let alone motivate an already eager to be fired up crowd. Dancing, good mood and intention to party all around, with screams, laughter, pushing and shoving and incessant beer consumption give the stigma of the night, even when the obese riff of “Red Wine” lands on our heads.
By the way, their drummer is a show just by himself; his grimaces and passionate torture of the drum kit deserve a ticket on their own. Any solo is a gift from the fathers of blues to our ears (like I could expect less from Mr. Sidorenko, who was rocking another great shirt this year after –Battle of Los Angeles- after last year’s MARILLION – I think-). The grunge meets progressive rock passages of “Silkworm Confessions” say “chill” to the party, but what better way to pick up the emotions than a trip to “Black Woods” (during which they played once again the motherfucking Imperial March theme, what a great dose of awesomeness in such little time)? A guy dressed as Jesus with a fake joint pasted to his prop beard is the best mascot and a great fire starter when “I’m the Mountain” and “Bright like the Morning” echo all over AN Club and general madness ensues. Clearly these two songs are the most beloved by the crowd, although the new ones have also settled in quite well. But oh, wait, there is a third. Yep, “Electric Mistress” is the icing on their space cake and although it’s getting really late, people would rather miss the last train than miss being part of this huge ball of energy, high spirits and overall shitfaced festivity.
Overall, a night of sonic assault, witchcraft, badass attitude and unstoppable will to party is what sums up another sold out for Smoke The Fuzz gigs. Now, let’s start preparing our spirit for the DOPETHRONE/BELZEBONG live…