For the second time in less than a week, we experienced another first as Californian stoners Sasquatch planted their big feet (sic) on the Emerald Isle for their debut shows in this wee corner of the Überverse. It was a tad disappointing that the brilliant Blind River were unable to make the short trek across the most expensive piece of water in the world, but this nonetheless promised to be an evening which brought the desert to the back streets of Belfast, especially with two other debut performances, at least in our books…
The first of two local bands with whom I have not had the pleasure of crossing paths before, openers Space Shepherds live up their name, herding us through ethereal dimensions of space and time in one 30-minute long instrumental jam session. Their waves of psychedelic ambience evoke the spirit of the likes of Hawkwind and Ozric Tentacles as they transport us through the deepest, furthest reaches of solar system via an hypnotic soundscape that makes you forget where you are for the time they are doing so. A wonderful trip (and a lot cheaper, and probably more fulfilling, than the Branson/Musk alternatives).
- Space Shepherds’ latest album, ‘Washed Up On A Shore Of Stars‘, is out now.
The hills that overlook Belfast may be black in both name and nature but next we’re taking a trek up the Red Mountain with the second of tonight’s ÜR debutantes. There are no Sherpas needed as the quartet guide us along a path of dense, late-60s proto-psych vibes mixed with ’90s neo-noir gothicism. With their vocalist very obviously modelling himself on the likes of Jim Morrison and Ian Astbury, from his stage front crouching to his laconically flamboyant mannerisms, as well as reminding of local proponents such as Chris Fry and Ethan Beattie, this is a journey which transports us back to the back street jam joints of ‘Frisco, with a sound characterized by dense, grungy bass-led grooves, which themselves are very Sabbathian, and delivered with plenty of grit and panache in equal measures.
- Red Mountain’s debut EP, ‘Earthbound‘ is out now.
As mentioned in my opening, Scottish heavyweights Blind River were unable to make it across the Irish Sea, but local trio Skypilot are anything but stand-ins or substitutes. Another local band about whom I’ve typed hundreds, if not thousands, of words over the years, the Doagh beys deliver exactly as I expect each and every time they climb on a stage, as the three horsemen of the sonic apocalypse lay down riffs beefier than the steaks from the butcher around the corner and drop bass bombs more than capable of sinking an entire fleet of Titanics.
Once again, they are aided, like all the bands who play this wonderful little venue, by an absolutely precise sound mix, which draws out every subtle nuance of their intertwining melodies but also emphasizes
- Skypilot’s latest album, ‘Simple Beasts‘, is out now.
Despite it being a dank and freezing cold Tuesday night, squeezed between the commercial excesses of Halloween and Christmas, it’s great to see Voodoo virtually packed for those seeking some Californian desert heat, and they’re about to have to strip off their leathers and bask in its glorious sunshine as our headliners immediately set about stomping the biggest mudhole imaginable in the sleech beds below the venue’s foundations.
The trio deliver a massive classic psych/stoner groove combined with rhythms that impact like a concrete-filled Formula One car and a crunch that would bite the edge off the earth’s crust. Their grunt and growl is backed with granite solid beats and the overall result, combined with some of the most earworm melodies in the genre, is energetic and enervating.
These three guys are genuinely enjoying what they are doing, despite their languid demeanour, and once again the sound is luscious and rich, accentuating every niche of their throbbing, gristly meatiness. A sublimely delicious feast indeed.
- The tour continues:
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