By Andrew Bansal
(live photos by Matt Nielson)
March 5th 2017, Complex, Glendale CA: Complex, the only bar/club venue in Glendale CA that supports heavy music, has hosted hundreds of rock/metal shows in the past four years, but last Sunday we witnessed one that was unlike any other, a stoner metal plus pot luck BBQ event put together by Church of the 8th Day. The lineup featured seven great bands from Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, and attendees were requested to bring food supplies to add to the spread. Metal and food is a match surely made in heaven, as was proven by the good times had by all in attendance here for this event.
As cooking preparations began on the patio, Los Angeles band Electric Parlor started proceedings at 4:30 with a 30-minute set of chilled-out bluesy jams that set just the right precedent for the bands to follow, and eased listeners into a long evening of heavy music. Singer Monique Alvarez was absent for this show due to illness, but Salem’s Bend guitarist/vocalist Bobby Parker filled in last-minute as the singer, and did a fine job in this unexpected role which he had very little time to prepare for. A good start to a great event.
Based out of the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles county, stoner rock trio The Rare Breed have made waves rather rapidly since their debut show at Los Globos in April 2015, a show we were fortunate enough to be in attendance for. Following their successful appearance at Psycho Las Vegas in 2016, The Rare Breed have played well-selected local shows, and this was certainly one of them, as they justified attendees’ early arrival with a brilliant set, with captivating songs like ‘The Stranger’, ‘Mountain of Dreams’ and ‘Rusted Diamond’. Guitarist/vocalist Oscar de la Torre rocked so hard at one point that he broke a string on his instrument during the last song. This young trio has already attained priesthood in Sabbath worship, and Los Angeles should be proud to call them its own, because they are truly special.
By this time, the patio was lit and hamburgers were being served, among other things. The 20-minute changeover between every band was the perfect amount of time to grab a bite and head back inside, because there was no stoppage of compelling live music. LA’s own Salem’s Bend took the stage next, and for many, were the surprise package of the show, turning first-timers into fans by the end of the set. The trio put on a spellbinding performance with tunes off of their 2016 self-titled Ripple Music release, songs like ‘Queen of the Desert’ really holding the listener’s attention and painting wild landscapes onto the imagination. This band has the vintage vibes and the rhythmic grooves to impress at first listen, and LA should and will see and hear a lot more from them in the years to come.
Like clockwork, the food continued being served in seemingly endless amounts on the patio, while the riffs on stage did not stop flowing either. Another LA band and another three-piece, Lords of Beacon House were up next. These guys were in charge of most of the cooking, and besides serving up tasty food they also presented equally delicious jams on stage, in their own laid-back, psychedelic manner that kept with the musical theme of the evening but at the same time differed enough from all the other bands to stand on its own and be remembered. Lords of Beacon House sure proved themselves as masters of the hypnotic desert daze.
The only band from Northern California on this SoCal Super Stoner Sunday, San Francisco trio Disastroid took the stage next and absolutely crushed it with their blend of stoner rock, grunge, punk and experimental tendencies, their overall sound and on-stage persona instantly reminiscent of the likes of Melvins and Helmet. This band definitely broke the pattern from the way the evening had progressed musically up till this point, as theirs was a more serious, intense and violent performance, guitarist/vocalist Enver Koneya smashing and displacing the drum cymbals with his guitar towards the end of the set. These dudes had come here with a sense of purpose and did not hold back. The oddball of the lineup, and a welcome variation.
On the patio, the focus had switched from hamburgers to carne asada tacos, while on stage, from the most intense and violent band of the lineup we moved to the most energetic and most ‘metal’ band of the lot, Monolith from Oceanside/North County/San Diego. This band has been a regular fixture in the LA scene, so much so that they might as well be called ‘local’, and they never fail to deliver the goods. Be it playing to a packed house or a room with a handful of people, there is no phoning in from Monolith, ever. Presenting the most righteous blend of stoner rock and traditional metal, Monolith ripped this stage apart with one scintillating tune after another, the set boasting originals including ‘The Emperor’, as well as two wisely chosen covers. To play a cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘Purgatory’ requires serious chops and speed, which this band possesses in plenty, as they nailed their rendition of it, as well as Metallica’s ‘Hit the Lights’. Being a five-piece compared to the mostly three-piece bands that played this show, it was no surprise that Monolith were the loudest band of the evening, and even though the ears might stop ringing after a week or two, their songs will never leave your head.
And lastly, no strangers to the Complex stage, Ironaut closed out the evening and brought their heavy, sludgy jams with effortless ease but maximum impact. The trio of Erik Kluiber on bass and vocals, Patrick McHugh on guitar and Ivan Najor on drums has made this stage all of their own through previous appearances as local opening act for touring bands. Ironaut never puts on a sub-par performance, and it only gets better as they add more new material into the set while retaining the best of the older tunes. Amidst his usual brand of humor and banter, Kluiber also announced that the band is set to enter the studio to record a full-length this year, and with so many gigs under their belt, they have primed themselves to deliver their best on the upcoming record which will be eagerly awaited by their LA fans.
Between members of all seven bands and the people that attended the event, it was a reasonable turnout, but more importantly, a great time was had by each and every person in attendance. You simply cannot go wrong with a cheap, all-killer, no-filler metal show and free food. As temperatures (hopefully) rise in the coming weeks and months, the SoCal Super Stoner Sunday Pot Luck will make for ideal Sunday hang time, should become a regular occurrence, and absolutely everyone in the LA area is strongly encouraged to come out and support this righteous initiative. Cheers to a fun-filled first edition, and here’s to many more.
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